'From Samples to Symphony: A Sample Developer Goes Live' - Film Music Magazine Features GPO Orchestration Competition
The latest issue of Film Music Magazine has a feature article by Andy Brick called "From Samples to Symphony: A Sample Developer Goes Live".
In this 3 page article, Andy describes the processes of going from a rendered MIDI score to a live performance by a symphony orchestra. Andy sets forth the experiences we had with the GPO Orchestration Competition last year, the lessons learned, and details what it took to go from samples to symphony. Heree are some quotes from the article:
"Last year the creators of Garritan Personal Orchestra (GPO) took the extraordinary step of leading their users back to the live orchestra by hosting a composition competition in which the winning entries received a live performance by the 65 member Moravian Philharmonic. This is the story of the process we went through in bringing these compositions from samples to symphony. Andy's well-written article was a great recap of the lessons learned and the experiences we had last year. If you are interested in having your sequenced work performed by live orchestra, it may be worthwhile picking up the lates issue of Film Music Magazine (http://www.filmmusicmag.com).
The first step in the process of going from samples to symphony is to decide upon your orchestration...With the abundance of available orchestral samples, a composer is virtually unlimited in their palette and size of orchestral instruments. This is not the case in a live situation... After the orchestration had been determined, the composers were directed to create their written score mindful of the available orchestration.
The next step in our process was to ensure that all the proper markings were in the score...it is critical that all elements that do translate onto the score page from the computer file do so in a proper manner.
After insuring our composers had well marked scores...we had to make sure that humans can play these pieces. It's easy to write endless legato to melody for a wind instrument...but at some point a live player will have to breathe. ...Very difficult string passages may be viable for a virtuoso player, but unlike a sequencer it becomes a dangerous proposition to ask an entire section to perform such a passage....In addition to the various markings and the human viability of the score, each composition will present very unique situations that must be accounted for within the score.
Only after the scores were perfectly marked and humanly viable could we create the parts for the individual players...In addition, a performance for a live orchestra generates tons of paper.
...MIDI-itis. Since all of the compositions originate as audio MP3's there was an inherent expectation of what these pieces would sound like. No matter how good or bad these MP3's may have been, the live performance was and always will be different from what you would expect. To avoid the dreaded MIDI-itis and to realize the full beauty of the live performance, it is critical that one listens to the live performance for what it is... By the time the samples make it to the symphony, all of the little imperfections of our humanity are infused into the music. It is exactly these little imperfections that make the music so live and wonderful."
About Film Music Magazine: The world's leading trade magazine for the film, television and video game music industry, featuring in-depth articles about the art, craft and business of writing music for film, television and interactive projects. The mission of Film Music Magazine is to promote the free flow of information about the world of film and television music for the benefit of those who work in the businessand those desiring to learn more about the business.