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Topic: I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

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  1. #1

    I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

    Wow, has it been a long time since I've posted!

    First of all, thank you guys so much for the birthday wishes and everything. I really appreciate you guys.

    Anyway,

    One of my favorite pastimes is to work on a piece and finally sequence it in using Garritan Personal Orchestra. I just thought about it.....Personal Orchestra is the perfect name for such a tool. My music, as much as I like to claim that I can imagine, never actually sounds quite like what I expected it to when I take a work that I wrote out and hand it to my computer orchestra. It can sound more energetic, less energetic and more contemplative, or even more novel than what plays in my head. I really like it because it just sounds so wonderful to me whether or not it sounds so wonderful to everyone else.

    However....

    Am I relying too much on GPO? As great as GPO sounds, I'm not all that sure if I can really ensure that my work will sound decent in the hands of a *real* orchestra. Sure, I like the way my stuff comes out in Garritan. But it's not a real orchestra. I guess my question comes here: How do you guys think one can tell whether or not you're imitating the real thing or not with GPO? I pose this question to you all since I know that the primary reason you purchased this product is so that you can hear what your work sounds like by a symphony orchestra. Do you think that's what's going on when you hit the play button in your sequencer, and your orchestra is playing the music you wrote just like they're told, obeying your every command?
    Garam Heo, Contemporary Christian Artist
    Music produced by Christopher and Craig Reeves
    http://www.garamheo.com
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  2. #2

    Re: I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

    With modern composers, very little is often left up to the conductor. The wise modern composer, if he doesn't want too much interpretation, will make sure to be very exacting in his/her notation and performance instructions.

    The only problem that can arise with using GPO, are typical orchestration and balance issues. An intense study of orchestration (such as the Kent Kennan/Donald Graham book) in conjunction with lots of score study is always a safe bet if you want to make sure nothing you are writing is out of the realm of possiblity for the real thing. When I am using GPO as an orchestration "note-pad" I sometimes will put different instrument levels at extremes. I crank up the percussion and brass, and crank down bassoons for instance. That way when I will be careful not to write something unbalanced.

    Not sure if this answers your question, but it is what I do.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  3. #3

    Re: I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

    I had an opportunity this fall to conduct a piece I had composed using GPO. (Only used the winds and percussion)

    The practice and performance of the piece were, in my estimation, strikingly similar to the GPO version I had heard as I developed the piece. It was uncanny when I gave the down beat. I had to force myself to concentrate on the conducting and detail when on stage. That which I had slaved over so much at home on the computer was not going to get across to the performers unless I did some work. After all, I had gotten used to just listening to it after I had it all worked out in my sequencer.

    On the other hand, since I had slaved over it so much in the sequence, I really knew what I wanted from the musicians. It still amazes me the influence one has over a hundred musicians right there in ones uplifted hands. The performance was a premiere performance at Severance Hall in Cleveland, OH and when I get a copy of the CD, I will post it and the original GPO version for all to compare.

    I hope that you will have the opportunity to do the same kind of comparison. GPO is a great tool, but it is only a tool. And a tool is only as good as the person using it! Good Luck Craig and Happy New Year.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  4. #4

    Re: I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

    I forgot the biggest thing I noticed. HAHAHA. GPO, sequencers, or Finale never miss notes. In other words, they don't remind me to put in courtesy accidentals. The UT Orchestra recently recorded my Sinfonietta and at the climactic moment, they played a wrong note in unison. Not their fault, all I had to do was put in a courtesy accidental!
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  5. #5

    Re: I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

    "How do you guys think one can tell whether or not you're imitating the real thing or not with GPO?"

    One way would be to keep listening to lots of real orchestra music (live or
    recorded) so that you have a clear idea as to what you are trying to achieve.
    The more variety the better.

    The other thing is to know your instruments. GPO will not tell you if you
    write outside the range of an instrument. It simply won't sound. But you
    could miss that if it's buried in a dense texture. A real player, however, will
    not hesitate to bring this to your attention.

    Similarly, don't forget that your wind instruments need time to take a
    breath (oboe players need time to both EXhale and inhale), brass player's
    lips get tired and need to rest every now and then, harpists need at least
    a little bit of time to change their pedals during rapidly changing chromatic
    passages, etc.

    Oh, and if you tweak the default volume settings, make sure you keep them
    realistic. You don't want a flute playing a low C to be louder than your trombone section.

    Other than that, I see no reason why GPO shouldn't sound very much like a real orchestra.

    - k

  6. #6

    Re: I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

    Quote Originally Posted by klassical
    Oh, and if you tweak the default volume settings, make sure you keep them
    realistic. You don't want a flute playing a low C to be louder than your trombone section.

    - k
    Yes, we must certainly never allow a flute to overpower the brass!

  7. #7

    Re: I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

    Well, I don't expect GPO to sound 100% like a real orchestra, but I sure do expect it to sound better than any sampler in that price range

    I believe however that live performance will always triumph over samplers, even when they miss a beat and note every now and then, precisely because the orchestra is made of living beings who (un)consciously interpret every little phrase according to their knowledge and skills-and there is just no way you could capture all that into a software song.

    Cheers Matt

  8. #8

    Re: I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

    It all depends on what you write (style, complexity, use of instruments etc.).

    Samples can imitate real performance up to a certain extent. In some areas the imitation will be close, whereas in other areas samples are just plain ugly.

    Knowledge of orchestration, personal instrumental technique, concert experience, imagination, talent, are all essential for you to tell if you are relying too much on samples. And of course, real life interpretations of your own mockups, studies with mentors, reading and analyzing other composers' scores can help a lot too.

    There are 3 possible scenarios: (1) Mockup sounds better than real; (2) Mockup sounds about the same as real; (3) The real orch sounds way better then the mockup. When I compose/arrange, I usually keep the 3rd scenario in mind all the time. The outcome is usually satisfactory.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: I'll rep GPO until I die, but am I relying too much on it? (more)

    Happy Birthday!
    In answer to your question ... nope.
    Styxx

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