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Topic: Instant Gratification

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  1. #1

    Instant Gratification

    Hello, I wanted to post a new philosophical topic for discussion.

    I've been a little occupied by this thought lately and I wanted to get some feedback.

    I'm fairly new to these high quality samples. Just two months ago I was using AO strings and Roland Brass and Reason ww and perc. Then I heard a demo of EWQLSO and jumped on those as soon as I could. Back in the day when I did a filmscore I would have to wait until the recording session to hear my music fully produced. I did a string quartet and it took me 3 years to get a live performance. Only then did I get a chance to fully enjoy the piece.

    My question is this: Do you think that the instant gratification of hearing your music being realized right before your ears in stunning quality and in some cases 24 bit surround robs us of the anticipation of the unknown of what's going to happen at a session, a mix or a live performance?

  2. #2

    Re: Instant Gratification

    Nope, not at all. In college, very recently, I was always turning in 2 versions of all my composition projects. The first was my sample mockup, the second was the live recording I'd do with student performers. Especially with wind trios and quintet stuff, using VSL ww's I was able to get some surprisngly realistic versions of the work. Without fail tho - at the live recording, I was ALWAYS pleasantly surprised by the performer's alternative interpretations of phrasing, note transitions, etc. Basically, they are artists putting their own spin on the ideas I've put down on paper. At least on 3 projects I went back and made modifications to my own work, because I wanted to clarify some of the really good things they'd bring to the table, and ensure that if the music were to be performed again, those things would be done in just such a way every time.

    At the end of the day, my imagination benefits from the contribution of competent artists' imaginations in ways that I could never achieve alone.

    Personally, I think I spent a little too much time trying to emulate a 'defacto' orchestral sound instead of taking risks and doing things that I would be doing were I just writing things down. Samples open up experimentation if we let them, since you don't have to freak out over a risk that you just don't know will work or not. You can test it in a way no one could before... without embarassing yourself!

    mike

  3. #3

    Re: Instant Gratification

    Interesting subject ....

    "robs us of anticipation ...", no, I don't think so -- but mike's point about artist performers bringing surprising value to a performance is very true too.

    One great danger that lurks in samples imo is the strong ability to fool the ear, where just a little change of dynamic levels can mask something that in live performance would be very apparent, for good sometimes but often NOT for good.

  4. #4
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    Re: Instant Gratification

    What if the alternative performers took a programming role on the mockup? Wouldn't their alternative ideas also occur on the piano roll?

    "Extreme programming" = sequencing in close-knit teams, a la the software development term ??
    Some experts learn more and more about less and less, until at last they know everything there is about nothing at all.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up Re: Instant Gratification

    I believe we have a revolution in the production of music brewing, guys and gals! The era of truly high-quality sample sets having impossible price tags for the "common composer/musician" is fast drawing to a close. The days when it took "farms" of computers tied together with all of them running GigaStudio are fading into our distant memory.

    Imagine working on a score -- whether it be 40 minutes of film music or a string quartet -- and not hearing your piece for 3 months, 6 months, a year? Now when you want to know how those spiccato strings might sound next to the oboes, flutes and timpani you can hustle over to your music-making computer and give it a whirl and know in 5 minutes. My instrument is still the musical keyboard and, yeah, I have these other boxes over here that work with that and produce "my orchestra". Not a huge paradigm shift.

    And good old American competition is also driving the scene, too: Folks like Gary Garritan take a look at a $1,000 orchestral package and say "wow -- I can do that with a price point of one-fourth that an 95% of the people hearing the results won't be able to tell the difference!" Wow, indeed!

    It's an exciting era!

    I'm glad that I'm around to experience it!

    KevinKauai

  6. #6

    Re: Instant Gratification

    Quote Originally Posted by Alewis
    What if the alternative performers took a programming role on the mockup? Wouldn't their alternative ideas also occur on the piano roll?

    "Extreme programming" = sequencing in close-knit teams, a la the software development term ??

    Intersting idea. Thing is, each performer is a master of the respective instrument, which includes the bonus that any orchestral musician with formal training has basically played most everything notable that was written for the instument. A clarinet player in the LSO could probably tell you how J.Williams writes for clarinet (or at least how his orchestrator writes, I suppose) better than anyone else besides the composer. So when these experienced folks walk in your door to play your music, they bring with them literally the wealth of ages of interpretation of music, and how best to approach such things with their particular toolset/instrument, not to mention the perspective they bring is shaped by so many uncountable and brilliant composers which we ourselves study to get better.

    But it is an interesting idea for someone to try to mockup a flute part based on their own experiences as a flute player. I do this as a clarinet player, as do we all with different insts. Thing is, if I were gunna get a flute player to help me, I'd rather they give me their best - with a real flute. So I'm not sure how useful the idea would be. But it is a cool idea, I think.

  7. #7

    Re: Instant Gratification

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstinen
    I sure have bought into the idea of "Instant Gratification", because you can hear back your orchestrations as you intend them.

    Since I've had a symphonic piece recorded over in Europe about a year ago ("Vermilion River" by the Bulgarian Philharmonic), the results are mixed in comparison to my original MIDI version.

    Of course, you hear all of the human emotion with REAL musicians performing, especially in the violins. That's really encouraging that the music WORKS!

    The downside vs. MIDI is that REAL musicians can play out of tune(!), and a live conductor might miss an important tempo change, as happened on my piece.

    All in all, so far it's been a toss-up for me. I'm sure that better MIDI orchestrations will only help to influence better live performances, if only the live musicians will really LISTEN to what the composer intended.

    Ern
    Aha. You've hit on an important point here. As I'm working with my gold I'm ashamed to admit that I don't think that I would get a better performance from live musicians without a considerable amount of rehearsal time. Which we don't really have in the professional world due to time and money.

    But, the tender nuances are missing so are the sloppy articulations and the sliding between notes all the subtleties that make up "real" performances.

    So I'm left with this horrible feeling of maybe it might even be better to work this way. Which being a trained performer is quite disturbing to me on many, many levels.

    That's what I think I mean by "instant gratification". I use to push hard for live players banging money out of producers because I was convinced that it was much better. Now it's only marginally better. What happens when somebody mixes VSL Performance tool with the EWQLSO sound. I think it might erase the gap between live and samples. And with samples, the b*tch don't give you attitude during rehearsal.

    Cheers,


    Jose

  8. #8

    Re: Instant Gratification

    Quote Originally Posted by josejherring
    Aha. You've hit on an important point here. As I'm working with my gold I'm ashamed to admit that I don't think that I would get a better performance from live musicians without a considerable amount of rehearsal time.
    I don't think it's so bad as that. I am not experienced with studio orchestras in any way, have never hired one for any project, etc, but I do know that any pro musician will sight-read and take instant instruction better and faster than any one of us here can sequence. And the difference is not marginal at all. I say keep fighting for that level of musicianship, as you have been; our music should not be short-changed so if we can help it.

  9. #9

    Re: Instant Gratification

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelAngelo450
    I don't think it's so bad as that. I am not experienced with studio orchestras in any way, have never hired one for any project, etc, but I do know that any pro musician will sight-read and take instant instruction better and faster than any one of us here can sequence.
    Always dangerous to have a strong opinion and preface it with such a comment -- "pro" musicians make PLeNTY of mistakes, plenty and plenty, try hiring some and gain some experience -- not belittling the entire class, just that they are very like your doctor, and your sample developer, and your programmer, and your elected officials, and often pressed for time and attention and understanding even if not lacking in skill, and -- ooops -- make mistakes. They do indeed bring years of practice to bear upon a single part (speaking of orchestral musicians), and that's valuable. But it is far, far far far far from infallible.

  10. #10

    Re: Instant Gratification

    Quote Originally Posted by josejherring
    Do you think that the instant gratification of hearing your music being realized right before your ears ... robs us of the anticipation of the unknown of what's going to happen at a session, a mix or a live performance?
    This question can be interpreted in many ways. It is questionable if anybody can get robbed of some thrill they many times never have experienced before. I've had a few of my works performed by a live orchestra and needless to say, the sampled sound experience was nearly as much of a difference to the real thing, as not having heard my work it realized before the orch session at all. (I did get to hear my work through samples before the orch played it).

    The sampled works today are in most cases all about timbre and pure sound, not rhythmics nor interpretation or phrazing. Whenever a sample junkie sits down in front of the real thing, then that is the time when he realizes how far from the real thing we still are. So, I'd say it is still a surprise and a thrill but maybe to a different level. I've actually seen young composers in rehearsals on the podium in front of an orchestra conducting their works and desperately trying to get the orchestra to sound (and the musicians to play) like the sequenced mock-up of their work - where of course the musicians were looking like .
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

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