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Topic: Mod wheel editing is annoying!

  1. #1

    Mod wheel editing is annoying!

    Well, I've been working on my latest piece (a 7:30 largo ) and I am quite annoyed with my method of mod wheel editing. Of course, it makes the piece much more realistic, but it sure is a lot of work, and I am wondering if there is or ever will be an easier way.

    There are actually two ways I've tried mod wheel data. I use Overture because it came with GPO, and I certainly don't have the money for a nice sequencer right now. The first method is to use the keyboard's mod wheel and simply record, but this is very annoying because I have to go through the song many times to record the mod wheel info for each individual instrument. The other way is with the good old mouse and a bunch of clicks, but it never seems to sound as quite the way I want it when I draw a curve, listen to it, redraw it, quite an annoying process.

    Another problem with both methods is that it can be hard to hear how the mod wheel info of one instrument affects the orchestration/sound to all the instruments together. For example, I might make the violin sound too quiet, but I don't discover this until I get the trumpet louder, then I have to go back and edit. Finding the right balance can be laborious.

    However, composers for live orchestras never have to worry about mod wheel stuff, because humans will naturally add dynamics.

    So, my question is, could a program be developed that could develop mod wheel info automatically (based on certain given information of course)? For instance, if I have the Violins I playing forte, in a live performance, they might start quiet but build up to forte, unlike a computer program, which just starts at forte and sounds unnatural.

    Another issue is that our minds can often point out the . . . what to call it? . . . the "key" points in a melody or phrase, the points which seem to need highlighting, the important parts. If the computer user could just tell the computer which notes to highlight, or to build up to, wouldn't it be wonderful if the computer could just generate the mod wheel info from that?

    Or is this kind of stuff already available in software I can't afford?

    Or is it just plain impossible?

    I have so much homework to do, but I really want to finish the piece . . .
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  2. #2
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: Mod wheel editing is annoying!

    You are not alone my friend. Modwheel data in GPO is a labor but necessary for a good finished product. I believe someone once asked if there were a draw tool that can be used in real time like a pencil and paper. Hmm, maybe I am dreaming. I've never used it in Overture but often use modulation in Cubase SE. It is actually quite accurate but that's not to say one doesn't go in and edit anyway. I think all of us do regardless due to our inner desire to have it sound perfect!
    As for all the other ideas you have, I guess that will not come until voice command is perfected (whenever that happens). Still, a good controller should yield at least 75% satisfactory results.
    I just finished the second act of a musical and brother all the modulation editing!
    As for balancing, try the volume of each instrument. It usually works for me.
    Good luck!

  3. #3

    Re: Mod wheel editing is annoying!

    Finale's Human Playback handles the MOD wheel stuff pretty well. Well enough for me since I don't need a super realistic MIDI performance. If I put in crescendos, then they work with out having to do any programming.

    And Sean, I will tell you that if you want to get Finale, you can get the big, fat student discount. It cuts the price in half. You just have to figure out how to get that much moola.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  4. #4

    Re: Mod wheel editing is annoying!


    Although it is possible create software that automatically determines mod wheel expression, I wouldn't recommend it. Since drawing the data with the mouse doesn't satisfy you, a computer program to do the same probably wouldn't either. I would recommend you keep on doing it with the keyboard's mod wheel. It does take a long time to get it just right, but the good news is, you get better at this over time. Pretty soon you'll be doing it without thinking about it.


  5. #5

    Re: Mod wheel editing is annoying!

    I feell very ambivalent about the whole mod wheel thing.On the one hand its a clever piece of programming that introduces whole new levels of realism,on the other,I spend so much time editing mod wheel data(among other controllers) that I sometimes feel more like an accountant than a composer

  6. #6

    Re: Mod wheel editing is annoying!

    Hmmm . . . Finale's human playback . . . I'll look into that! I could buy it with the student discount, but I gotta prioritize all this software I want! There's Kontakt 2, the new Garritan products, now Finale (and also, thanks to you, Mr. Hendricks, Animation Master! ) And first I need an income! Definitely can't have them all . . .

    Drawing in the data with the mouse is satisfying, just for the price of a lot of time. I'm lazy! If there's anything automatic out there, I'd love to try it, if it doesn't cost too much (which is pretty much any cost ) Hopefully, however, I will get used to it, I guess.

    Joaz, I know how you feel! However, I guess we don't have much of a choice . . .

    It would be cool if some kind of automatic mod wheel generator were to come with GPO, no?
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Brooklyn, NY

    Re: Mod wheel editing is annoying!

    Although using something automatic to set mod wheel data is certainly an attractive idea, you have to realize that manipulation of the mod wheel (especially in GPO) is an integral part of the performance and I would find it very difficult to leave that up to some automated system. With GPO YOU are the performer and the labor involved is part of being the performer. After all, it is your music and it should also be your expression. I'm not meaning to sound pompous or self-righteous about this but the reality is that nothing will rise above the mediocre unless some work goes into it.

    Since you are using Overture, have you thought of using the dynamic markings and hairpins to set an initial, overall mod wheel map for each instrument and then tweak from there? (forgive me if you have already thought of this).

  8. #8

    Re: Mod wheel editing is annoying!

    Loogoo is exactly correct, a computer can not possibly know or calculate the expressiveness that the instrument should have at any given moment like you can. Allowing the computer to do a task that is so critical will certainly result in a computer generated lifeless result. All these goofy features that are showing up in music creating software these days, are a bunch of crap, and just intended as marketing bull by their manufacturer. To many prospective buyers, they read this and think "hmmmm, that would make it really easy". Making great sounding music is not easy, especially when it all comes out of a computer. I do admit, it is getting easier with Gary Garritan's new technologies, but it's still a task that should not be attempted by the faint of heart, or lack thereof

    I always start a new midi track by placing a steady line of mod wheel data in the track from beginning to end, then I play in the notes on the keyboard. After I have all the notes correctly placed, and the length and phrasing of each and every note perfected, I then go back and erase the mod wheel data, and record new mod wheel data with the "overdub" feature turned on. This overdub feature should be available in every sequencer. It allows all the existing data like notes to remain, but new additional data can be added, such as mod wheel, pedal, and pitch for slides etc. Playing in the new mod wheel data afterwards allows you total freedom to make the instrument sound exactly the way you want. If you mess up a part, go back to a break between notes, erase the mod wheel data from that point on, and replay the mod wheel data till you get it right. That's what I do anyway.

    Of course, there are many different ways to accomplish a finished product. Wasting time trying to play the notes, mod wheel data and the sustain pedal all exactly at the right time is pointless, but that's just how I like to do it. Try it, I think you might like it.

    After re-reading some posts here, it appears as though my information here is useless if you are not using a sequencer. Sorry if that's the case.


  9. #9

    Re: Mod wheel editing is annoying!

    Hmmm . . . perhaps this gets into the philosophical/theoritical subject of what computers are and are not capable. If I give my music notation to a live orchestra, they will automatically humanize it, and I don't think they're using magical dust from God that only humans can have. If a human can do it, a computer can do it! We just have to figure out how.

    In certain pieces, mod wheel data can get pretty complicated, and I don't think that should be left up to the computer, at least not with our current technology. But with a simple melody, I don't see why it isn't possible.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  10. #10

    Re: Mod wheel editing is annoying!

    Sean buddy ol pal, God doesn't have any magical dust, I was just agreeing with loogoo that the computer will not be able to create the proper expression that we are hearing in our head. Certainly, computers can already create random values, but it won't have the specific expression we want. I don't agree with your statement "if a human can do it, a computer can do it" when did computers get so smart? And, if they are so smart, why do we have to tell them what to do? I also don't think there is anything complicated with mod wheel data.


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