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Topic: Do you like violas?

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  1. #1

    Do you like violas?

    Here’s my performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #6 in Bb (3rd Movement). It is actually chamber music rather than the usual sort of concerto, being scored for string sextet plus harpsichord continuo. The instruments specified, and my GPO equivalents, are as follows:



    Viola da braccio 1a. ......................Viola KS solo

    Viola da braccio 2a. ......................Viola KS solo

    Viola da gamba 1a. ........................Cello 3 Pl 2

    Viola da gamba 2a. ........................Cello 3 Pl 3

    Violoncello ....................................Cello 1 KS solo

    Violone e Cembalo ........................Dbl Bass KS solo & Harpsichord KS



    “Braccio” means “arm” and “gamba” means “leg” so you can work that out. The viola da gamba is a Renaissance/Baroque stringed instrument with 6 strings, about the size of a cello but thinner in tone. In this piece they and the Db Bass/harpsichord have only supporting chords, leaving all the real work to the two violas and cello who have almost virtuoso parts.



    I have panned the two violas hard left and right respectively, to make the distinction clearer (I seem to have escaped the phasing problem); the rest are grouped in the middle. Don’t you just love those crunchy viola sounds?

    Terry

  2. #2
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Do you like violas?

    I like! At the two year music conservatory I attended us percussionist would round up the three concert marimbas and play the Brandenburg Concerto’s just for sight-reading fun. It soon grew into a concert treat during the New Music in June event at the University at Buffalo. Ah, to have those days back again when my hands and wrists were in peak performance state!
    This is great and thanks for the spacing it really does help distinguish the instruments respectively!
    Nice, very nice.
    Styxx

  3. #3

    Re: Do you like violas?

    I love violas! And I love the Bach 6th Brandenburg. It's possibly my favorite, except for the other five.

    Downloading your file now. (Won't have time to listen till later, but looking forward to it.)
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  4. #4
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    Re: Do you like violas?

    Nice. I really like the Brandenburgs. After I finish playing around with Vivaldi I think I'm going to try to tackle the 2nd.

    Have you tried this with a little more reverb or ambience?

    The violas should really only show phasing if you play the same note, particularly if the note is sustained. And if the two parts have different velocity, etc. they may not be using the same sample and so wouldn't show phasing problems. I think you get them mostly if you are doubling a part with the same sound. A few times the two violas do seem to be playing the same part and instead of two on either side I hear one in the middle.
    Trent P. McDonald

  5. #5

    Re: Do you like violas?

    Trent,

    I have reverb at minimum because this is chamber music, and I am sitting 10 ft away from the performers. I do not see the point of drowning music in a perpetual fog, as do many people do with too much reverb. I don't like GPO Ambience which colours the sound too much; I use Cakewalk FxReverb. Here are the relevant figures for this piece: Room size Medium small; Decay Time 0.73 sec; Mix 25%. And you hear every detail. Now try the A minor harpsichord piece someone recently put up - can you hear every note?

    I mentioned the phasing because the entire main theme which recurs many times is played in unison by the two violas. I think the spatial difference helped a bit in avoiding trouble.

    Thanks for your interest.

    Terry

  6. #6
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    Re: Do you like violas?

    Ooops....

    see below....
    Trent P. McDonald

  7. #7
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    Re: Do you like violas?

    Forget my previous post (which I edited out). I was hearing it in my head wrong! I found the CD and they are violas. It’s just so thick and bright that the sound in my head (it’s been a year or two since I listened) was the sound of a violin. I was thinking a section because it sounds very thick in the unison parts.

    Usually what I hear in my head is correct, even if it’s been years, but not this time. Sorry if there was some confusion (beyond mine – I’m sure it was obvious I was confused!)

    - edit -I just realized that by deleting the my previous post this one doesn’t make much sense any more – it makes me look like a bigger idiot than I really am (a huge accomplishment). Instead of trying to fix it, since every time I try to take my foot out of my mouth I tend to stick the other in, I’ll just end by saying I really like this.
    Trent P. McDonald

  8. #8

    Re: Do you like violas?

    Listening to it right now. Very nice work!

    It's been years since I've listened to the Brandenburgs. This really reminds me of how much I love them. I have a feeling I'm going to be getting my CDs out soon.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  9. #9
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    Re: Do you like violas?

    Quite a change from your Strouse Walls but equally enjoyable.
    Surely you'll still hear the hall's reverb regardless of where you're sitting?

    Frank

    PS There's a lot of Bach around at the moment....must be catching! I just listened to Chinablue's Bach (and came back to add this) and his production is quite different......It's totally personal but I do think that a reverb between yours and his would be perfect. Having no reverb at all is artificial unless your orchestra is out in the open......which isn't very likely.

  10. #10

    Re: Do you like violas?

    I do not care for the viola, nor its absurd little clef.

    Just kidding. Violas are cool and this is a very nice rendition of the 6th!

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