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Topic: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

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  1. #1

    Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    I'm reposting this with a "sticky" because relevant questions keep arising. Many of the principles illustrated in this tutorial can be applied to the strings as well, with some adjustments. This is a tutorial I posted a couple of months ago:

    --------------------------
    Here's a quick tutorial for using GPO controllers with the flute file. Actually, this is less a tutorial than a group of illustrations. I've made a number of modifications to the data compared to the original file to illustrate the use of the various controllers in GPO. Keep in mind that the choices I have made are among myriad choices that could be made by the user. All sorts of interpretive variations could be applied. Also, I've worked rather quickly preparing this so additional refinements certainly could be made. Sometimes I have chosen to add a controller (e.g. portamento in bar 2, top note) just for the purpose of illustration. I have also added articulations and accents to show how these are accomplished. Not knowing the musical context of the flute makes it impossible for me to know how the articulation choices fit into the musical scheme of this particular project, but that is not my purpose here. Instead, I've tried to give examples of different situations and how these can be approached using the available tools. I have tried to modify the original notes of the file as little as possible. The mix is placed in an intimate acoustic using Ambience (Jazz Club 2 setting). All of the information below assumes the user has applied the latest GPO update.

    1. First thing up was giving the virtual flute player room to breathe. This is a very "busy" flute part which makes it difficult to find sufficient room for comfortable breaks. As a result, I have had to rely upon very short "catch" breaths in a number of places. Otherwise, the part would need to be re-written to create larger phrase breaks for the player. Longer breath opportunities take place at locations like bar 2, beat3; bar 4, beat 1; bar 6, beat 3; and bar 8 beat 2, among others. Shorter, "catch" breaths occur in the midst of the long, relatively unbroken series of notes. These breaks always result in the foreshortening of certain notes to accommodate the need to take the breath. Examples would be bar 5, prior to beat 3; prior to bar 10, beat 1; prior to bar 11, beat 1; after the 3rd note of bar 12; and others.

    2. For the purposes of this tutorial I have removed the cc7 data and disabled the cc7 option in the player. Static level of the flute is controlled by the setting of the volume knob in the player and, of course, the level settings within CubaseSX.

    3. Dynamic mod wheel data (cc1) has been added for volume/timbre shaping. Notice the nearly constant expressive fluctuations of the data.

    4. Sustain pedal data has been modified to reflect tongue/slur articulations. First notes of phrases are always tongued. At bar 8, beat 3 I have chosen articulations which involve tongue/slur combinations in relatively intricate, but commonly encountered, patterns. Certain notes of the patterns are accented by increasing the velocity value for those notes. Remember, velocity control of attack strength is only available for tongued notes (sustain pedal up). Examine the groupings throughout the file to see where I have chosen to apply slurs (sustain pedal down).

    5. Two of the rapid arpeggios (bar 3 and bar 13) sounded unnaturally fast and even, so I used tempo data to slow them slightly. I also modified positioning and overlaps of the note data to make it more "human."

    6. In line with the previous point, I modified many note positions when I felt they sounded unnaturally even. An even better approach (but one I did not take the time to do) would be to actually play the entire part in from a keyboard or wind controller. More natural expression can usually be achieved this way. If one's keyboard skills aren't up to the task at the given tempo, the tempo should be slowed during recording and returned to the original afterward.

    7. Rapid runs and arpeggios are especially difficult with samples. I have applied several of the tools in GPO designed to help with this. The first is VAR 1 (cc22). This adds random intonational variations. Notice that I have applied it to the rapidly moving notes but not the start and end notes of a run or arpeggio. Wind players use their ears to center intonation but the notes must be of sufficient duration for the player to have time to make these adjustments. Rapid notes in runs and arpeggios are almost never perfectly in tune as a result. Applying intonational variations to these notes more closely emulates a real player. The next controller is VAR 2 (cc23). This adds random variations in timbre. This is also applied selectively, like VAR 1, to the rapid notes and any repeated notes to increase note-to-note variations. Portamento control (cc20) has been applied to the same notes, but confined carefully to only the slurred notes to avoid cross-layer pitch problems. Portamento adds a very subtle amount of "slide" to the transitions between rapid notes. Finally, notice that the volume of the descending/ascending arpeggios gets lower as it descends and gets louder as it ascends.

    8. The "length" controller (cc21) has been applied to the rapidly moving notes too. I have found that I prefer the sound of rapid runs and arpeggios with the cc21 control set to "0" for the duration of the rapid notes.

    There you have a description of the use of GPO controllers for this flute part. The principles of this example can be applied to all wind instruments and certain principles can be applied to string instruments as well.

    I have supplied an mp3 file for reference, a CubaseSX file (where this tutorial was created), and a MIDI file for those who don't have CubaseSX. Here are the links:

    http://www.garritan.com/tutorial/flu...teTutorial.mp3

    http://www.garritan.com/tutorial/flu...teTutorial.cpr

    http://www.garritan.com/tutorial/flu...teTutorial.mid

    Tom

  2. #2

    Re: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    Thank you, very helpful tutorials!

    I believe the links(downloadable files) not working. (At least not on my computer)

    But I found the links in the "old" thread, so I´ve downloaded them from that place instead.

    Just wondering, is it the same files?

    Thomas
    "Every journey, even one of a thousand miles, begins with a single step."

  3. #3

    Re: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    Same files. The links above should now work.

    Tom

  4. #4
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    Re: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    do all controller datas work for GPO with out the Xcustom, I have yet to install Xcustom and I am upgrading my machine so I can start using GPO in Sibelius and work better in Sonar, I am just wondering if all the controllers work for regular GPO? I wasn't able to get like more saturation on Violin and some other controllers you are mentioning here for the winds. Probably a user error on my part. Great tutorial! I was able to download the links*midi file* I'll have to check out the controllers.
    All I can Say is...HA!...HA!...HAAAAAAA!!!!!

  5. #5

    Re: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    Quote Originally Posted by StrangeCat
    do all controller datas work for GPO with out the Xcustom, I have yet to install Xcustom and I am upgrading my machine so I can start using GPO in Sibelius and work better in Sonar, I am just wondering if all the controllers work for regular GPO? I wasn't able to get like more saturation on Violin and some other controllers you are mentioning here for the winds. Probably a user error on my part.
    You don't need to install the X-Custom folder to use all the controllers I described but you do need to install the update from last fall for the library and the player (X-Custom is an optional, additional install, unrelated to my tutorial). The update added several controllers to the library. Please read the update documentation for more information. http://www.garritan.com/support/GPOUpdate.pdf

    Tom

  6. #6
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    Re: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    Thanks when I upgrade my machine tomorrow*I have to totally reload everything(major pain)* I'll make sure I do the full update and make sure I can use all the controllers mentioned. Thanks again
    All I can Say is...HA!...HA!...HAAAAAAA!!!!!

  7. #7

    Re: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    Tom,

    i have a question that maybe you can help me with. I am working on a piece for Native American flute as played by a gentleman who played the regular flute professionally, and switched to the Native flute, whose range he expanded by various half and third hole techniques so he could play a little over a full octave (with all semi-tones). I am using GPO as embedded in Finale 2006 and am simulating this Native flute using the "regular" flute sound in GPO. To do this, I use pitch bends to simulate the pitch changes one can obtain with over/under-blowing (i think that's the term) and glissandos to simulate a "drop-off" of the sound down pitchwise and volume-wise (a drop into nothing). At times, I have been able to get the sound with the glissando how i want it - eg by having an empty measure after the gliss'd note and glissing not to a note but just from the original note. Sometimes that works. But at other times, the gliss sounds very un-flutelike, like another instrument altogether. You can hear this in the piece "Heartbeat of Mother Earth" on my web page at http://www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa (just scroll down alittle and you'll see the piece and its player.) In the very beginnning, you hear a drop-off as I want it to sound. A couple measures after, you hear the weird effect I speak of.

    Is there any advice you can give me on using the glissando with the flute?
    Thanks!
    Karen

  8. #8

    Re: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    Quote Originally Posted by KE Peace
    Is there any advice you can give me on using the glissando with the flute?
    Sorry for the delay in responding but I didn't notice until tonight that an old sticky thread had new activity.

    Could you supply me with the MIDI file of the "Heartbeat of Mother Earth" example? You could do it through Private Messaging if you prefer. I'd like to examine your MIDI data in this file.

    Tom

  9. #9

    Re: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    Tom, I think i sent the midi file to the wrong place. I don't have permission to use the upload button here, and couldn't figure out how to upload on private msgsing. What is your email i'll mail it (sorry i'm pretty new to how all this works!)

    thx
    ke
    Last edited by KE Peace; 07-03-2007 at 11:57 AM. Reason: fix typo

  10. #10

    Re: Tom's flute tutorial (applicable to all winds)

    Somewhat belatedly, thank you for this tutorial, Tom. It has helped me more than a little to sort out the MIDI commands needed to get the GPO to play 'authentically'.

    I've added an image of the three main controllers below the PRV of notes:



    Hope it helps.
    SysExJohn.

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