Last November at the Christian Musician Summit in Seattle, I had the pleasure to meet Don Chapman, a very gifted composer and arranger. Don arranges for American Idol finalist Chris Sligh.
Last week Chris made the top 10 in American Idol! He'll now be on tour this summer with the rest of the American Idol finalists! Congratulations Chris!
Don wrote me this weekend to tell me about a blog he wrote about using Personal Orchestra on Chris Sligh's new CD that just was released. Below are some excepts from Don's blog which can be seen here.
Orchestrating Chris Sligh's CD
"What's wonderful about being alive today is that you can literally have an entire orchestra at your fingertips. A typical software orchestra library will cost far less than a synth module would have a few years ago. I can remember pining away for a $2000 Roland module about 10 years ago, and the Garritan Personal Orchestra today costs $199. The technology is amazing - wouldn't Bach have flipped!Don goes on to discuss how he uses GPO in various songs with examples of clips. He also mentions how he mixes in other libraries. You can read the rest here.
Here's how I orchestrated Chris's music. Chris gave me a CD of the songs which I ripped and loaded into Sonar. Then I improvised around with the Garritan Personal Orchestra until I came up with something I liked. If my noodling flowers into complexity I'll shift into composer mode and actually write it out.
Once the part is composed to my satisfaction I'll play it into Sonar, performing the part right along with the song, playing in violin, viola, cello and bass parts separately.
The nice thing about the Garritan library is that I can control volume with my keyboard's expression wheel. The part isn't just a static sample but a living, breathing, musical part. This is very important for realism. If I have a soaring string line I may double or triple it with different string samples to thicken the sound.
Once mixed, strings are sometimes felt and not heard, except for choruses where you hear the soaring string lines. Strings really add a professional, epic, big-production feel."
Please support Chris.
You can vote for Chris during the next episode of American Idol. Each contestant will be assigned his or her own toll-free number and text message short number during the performance show. To vote, simply watch American Idol on FOX each week (see local listings for dates/times in your area) and dial the phone number for Chris Sligh.
You can also order Chris' CD here.
And visit the Chris Sligh fan site: http://chris-sligh.info/
Thanks Don for sharing this with us. This must be quite an adventure for both of you! We are cheering for Chris and hope he makes it to the top of American Idol.
Chris Sligh and Don Chapman
GOOD LUCK CHRIS!