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Topic: Some Philosophical Thoughts on Using GPO

  1. #1

    Some Philosophical Thoughts on Using GPO

    Before the main text of this post, let me state that I am not employed by Mr Garritan nor have have I been paid or prompted to make the following statements.

    I am a classically trained conductor and composer who has been in the music profession for 40 years. These are truly exciting times and the future for 21st century composers.

    Since acquiring GPO and using it for my composition work with Sibelius, I have found that this program allows a greater creativity than I have ever experienced. GPO has allowed me to compose with rapidity and assurance knowing exactly what the texture and balance of my work will be.

    When I think of the revolutionary nature of this technology, it boggles the mind! A few thoughts came to mind, some obvious , some not.

    1. The realistic and immediate feedback of what is written
    2. Changes and alterations can easily be made instantaneously.
    3. Great ability to change the balance of the entire ensemble at will.
    4. A great tutor for the craft of orchestration.
    5. Not having to spend a fortune hiring musicians to play a newly written work.
    6. Not having to work with attitudinal musicians (not usually, but it does happen)
    7. No problems with musicians not playing together (ensemble)
    8. No problems with players missing rehearsals.
    9. No worry about musicians not being able to play the part.
    10. The sheer joy of hearing one\'s work in full orchestration.
    11. The incredible value provided to us individuals who can\'t spend thousands of dollars on orchestral sounds libraries.

    on the flip side:

    1. Having your symphony player friends get very angry at you for using GPO
    2. Having to explain to your symphony player friends that they might need to think about training for a new career in the future.
    3. The danger of writing a part which is not playable by live musicians although it sounds great in GPO. Could it be that my computer is a greater virtuoso than many highly trained musicians ????

    Please feel free to add your own thoughts.

    A great debt of gratitude is owed to Gary Garritan and his crew for providing a very important tool for the composer and pointing modern composition in a new and exciting direction.

    Ira Kraemer

  2. #2

    Re: Some Philosophical Thoughts on Using GPO

    Some good points, I have days when I know exactly what I want and don\'t want the hassle of working with others, but then when I need inspiration, talking my computer is nothing spending some time with real people.

  3. #3

    Re: Some Philosophical Thoughts on Using GPO

    Hey Charlie, we seem to be chasing each other around the forum this morning!

    Both computers and people can be frustrating - as can we composers!

  4. #4

    Re: Some Philosophical Thoughts on Using GPO


    I appreciated hearing from someone classically trained and well experienced. As I see things from the opposite end of the spectrum (no training, no talent) it\'s interesting that we share many of the same feelings about GPO.

    I was driving into work this morning thinking about this very thing (GPO must be worthwhile if it makes you think about it all the time :&gt. The classical composers of old wrote often without even hearing their music (we all know the famous example) or at the very least, of only hearing it on a keyboard. I can\'t even imagine what it is like to compose this way -- my admiration for folks like you holds no bounds.

    While my music is poor at least it sounds good to my ears, and while I create it (while I create it) I can hear exactly the tone colors of the sonic palette that is the modern orchestra.

    While GPO is an extraordinary work tool for you, it doesn\'t radically alter the final outcome, which is you will hear your music the way you intended while writing. But for the unwashed masses such as myself, who would never in a dozen lifetimes hear anyone play our music, GPO becomes life changing.

    In many ways tools like Finale, Sonar and GPO remind me of what an amazing change took place when the printing press was invented. Suddenly the printed word became available to the masses and communication was forever different and improved. The computer tools we now have make music communication possible for anyone who can afford a computer and some software, and this revolution in time may have as great an impact.

    Ah... I ramble. Back to playing with GPO <g>

  5. #5

    Libs destroy musician\'s futures?!?

    Wow Ira,

    Some very nice compliments for GPO (I agree with all of them by the way...) and want to get your guys\' opinion on one of the \"flip-side\" comments.

    Do you think GPO (and sound libs in general) affect performing musicians?

    Personal story: When I first got GPO, I quickly showed it to my step-father, John. He was a performing salsa/jazz musician for over 30 years (played with Chicago and Tito Puente). And his *first* comment was about putting musicians out of work (which I actually think is a compliment to the libs realistic sound and characteristics). And my *first* reply was - \"But I can\'t afford to hire the musicians anyway, so its either this or nothing, but performing musicians sure aren\'t losing any of their paycheck because of me...\"

    I believe that these are great tools. I also believe that those who can afford to hire the real deal, will still do so most of the time. GPO, in its conceptual stage, was meant as a sketch-pad only... but look at the way its taken over us all, I don\'t think of my tracks as \"sketches\" - and that\'s okay - because of the sound quality of GPO.

    After many discussions about this very point with my step-father, even he has come around (and because of his background is looking forward to the jazz add-on more than anyone on here...). He\'s even gone so far as to give an endorsment to Mr. Garritan about his wonderful lib.

    So, the topic is: Are sound libs taking jobs away from working musicians? Discuss...

    PS: sorry for the thread high-jack, but I thought you brought up a great point that we should discuss...

  6. #6
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: Some Philosophical Thoughts on Using GPO

    For the most part I love to work with live musicians. On the other hand -- Here is a short account of my experience as a Director / Conductor for a youth theater group performing various musicals;
    For nine of the thirteen years I had conducted an orchestra for musicals comprised of different musicians in every season. Due to budget restraints we were allotted 2 private rehearsals, 2 dress rehearsals, and finally 2 performances. Each year I had to put up with musicians coming late, missing one or more rehearsals and or dress rehearsals. One actually come to a performance 40 minutes into the first act. He was let go on the spot and I had to continue the show without a piano. (The Sound of Music) To make a long story short after the incident with The Sound of Music, I decided to program (midi) the music next year myself \"Annie\". It turned out, as I wanted musically and also for the director (at the time) that always had a problem with the musicians in the orchestra.
    This was not an easy task for me to do because of the few musicians who were devoted and loved to play. To this day I still feel bad about not having these few musicians with me for the performances. For myself, GPO has been a way for me to hear my music with the sounds of an orchestra never before realized by any other means. I could never afford a full orchestra on my own. But, I don\'t believe GPO is the means to an end for musicians. Just a plug in the gap for composers who need to know what there music may sound like with the real thing! Even with GPO I would bet that any one of you would love to see and hear a full-blown professional orchestra perform your music \"live\" in front of a full house.
    It is my deepest feeling that each has a place. I also believe through my own experiences in the past that it is not so much libraries like GPO that will put musicians out of work...it is the attitude of the musician themselves.
    This is my last year with the youth theatre. The performance will go on using programmed music as in the past four. My first thought this year was to hire musicians one last time before I left the theatre. Thank God there\'s GPO!
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    NW Illinois

    Re: Libs destroy musician\'s futures?!?

    Musicians started getting replaced decades ago when recorded music became available to the public. Technology has always taken jobs away from musicians (and people in general) but at the same time new jobs get created supporting technology.

    Being a full time musician has never offered job security. I believe that you have to be flexible and change with the times. Back in the 80’s and 90’s I worked as a studio trumpet player on jingle sessions. It was great. The chance to work with different musicians every day, jazz greats , symphony players, country rhythm sections, recording in first rate studios, getting paid union rates with reuse payments. I thought that was going to last forever. Boy, was I wrong.

    Today a single person on a computer can produce a recording that can rival recordings that took many musicians, engineers and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment just a few years ago. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with this. Things are supposed to change. That’s what makes life exciting!

    Look at Gary. I’d like to hear his story. How do you go from being a harpist to a leading sampling empire? I hope that with Gary’s schedule nowadays, he still finds time to play the harp. I’m very fortunate that my wife plays the harp too. At the end of a hectic day when I sit on the couch and she plays I totally relax.

    Actually that’s one thing that I haven’t gotten from sampling yet. The Vibrations. When I play a sample or hear a recording of a harp it all sounds very realistic. When you sit in a room when someone is playing a harp it’s a very different experience. The vibrations somehow calm the central nervous system. It’s really cool.

    In the end products like GPO help bring music to life. Sometimes it’ll be realized in a sequencer, other times it’ll end up being played by orchestras. It’s all good!


  8. #8

    Re: Libs destroy musician\'s futures?!?

    Hmmm, I wonder how the monks felt when they were replaced by the printing press.

    There is no substitute for illuminated manuscripts. But few are available anymore. Life goes on...

  9. #9

    Re: Libs destroy musician\'s futures?!?

    *Warning: I can\'t stick to the point and I don\'t know when to stop writing*

    In the early 80\'s when I bought my first sampler, my uncle was so upset with me he literally wouldn\'t speak to me for years. He, a classically trained saxophonist, was adament that guys like me were taking away work from guys like him. Anybody in the digital world knows that a real sax will never be replaced.

    My music career took off before I could get through college. I left my major in music composition early on to make money by writing/producing. To make a long, long story shorter, I ended up using the sequencing programs to write and arrange parts, which I exported to a notation program and printed out sheet music. In the course of my carrer, I created hundreds and hundreds of paid gigs for union musicians all over the country, and sometimes outside the country. Because I was able to audition the music to my customers, I was able to convince them to spend the extra buck on live music rather than \"dropping the needle\" at awards ceremonies, etc. Those were jobs that I created BECAUSE of the technology.

    Look, I hate to ruin the reputation that I hope to have here someday soon before I ever get it, if you gave me a pencil and blank staff paper, I would get as far as writing \"AUTOEXEC.BAT\" at the top of it next to a bass clef sign (low brass player go figure) and I\'d sit and wait for it to boot. If you\'d like, sometime I will tell you the story of the first live performance based on sheet music that I exported out of my sequencer. It is a treasure. But the music that we made, those union musicians, my sequencer and I, was fan-freaking-tastic.

    99% of the performance musicians that I\'ve worked with are elitist pigs. They hate everything, and they could have done everything better themselves. God love em. I think they have a complex. They are the ones who chose such a low-paying profession. Some of the best musicians I know will never make more that $13K in any given year. They are absolute master craftsmen at their art. My ex-wife described it best to me one fine day ... \"People like you entertain people like me while we eat.\" I said my EX-wife didn\'t I? Insert expletive here and direct it toward her. Performance musicians are perceived by the general public as the bottom of the barrel - wasting their time goofing off. And they have spent so much time mastering a craft that is older than the hills, no wonder they fear change.

    But I bet the people at the Yellow Pages hate the internet. I bet somewhere there\'s a dying mathematician who totally opposed the invention of the calculator. Progress is a semi-truck, and if you\'re not on it, you\'re under it.


  10. #10

    Re: Some Philosophical Thoughts on Using GPO

    I think the use of computers in music will have a great influence in music. Contemporary composer John Adams said that thanks to his current ability to sketch music in his computer, he can conceive music that could not be done otherwise, because it allows him to heard very complex effects in texture, asynchronicity, that cannot be \'seen\' in written notes.

    Until now, a contemporary composer (from 1940\'s to 1990\'s) could not dare to compose freely for a large orchestra. Orchestras after the wars were scarce and when they were available, they preferred to keep playing works from classic and romantic periods, rejecting the new trends and condemming them to be played only by small ensembles. Even if a composer could compose for a large orchestra, he would only be able to do so after many years of conducting and learning about orchestration.

    Thanks to this music library techonology, a composer can now get into the intricancies of composing for a large orchestra, testing the sound, texture, and all nuances before his work is published.

    Even so, composers will still find that some things are quite difficult to play when a full human ensemble is summoned up to the task. But history tells that these problems were solved by improving instrument design and developing better skills in the performers. It was said about Beethoven\'s 9th symphony that musicians complained it was unplayable, yet they finally did it. More recently, Steve Reich\'s Desert Music demanded several strings sections follow their own metric, but they figured separating the orchestra in several smaller orchestras and changing how an orchestra is typically organized.

    Yes, these are great times for orchestral music, and the libraries won\'t jeopardize real orchestras, on the contrary, they will allow composers to train themselves as they never could ahve done it before, to unleash their creativity and produce huge amounts of new music, beautifully and masterfully orchestrated. If the tools are good and widely available, then there will be more production and among these, some new great works of art.

    I expect however, to see in the future, some works fully created and published without the use of a real orchestra. We\'ve seen this in pop music. However, the finer works of art will make it to be played by real performers, since there is nothing like listening to a live orchestra. So I will say: orchestras, prepare... because many new music is coming for you.


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