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Topic: Thoughts on Ensemble Building

  1. #1

    Thoughts on Ensemble Building

    Hello, all!

    This is my first attempt at compiling a custom string orchestra.

    Since GPO carries only three different violas, not counting the solo from which Plr1 is derived, I have established the following plan to avoid the inevitable phasing problems that would arise through the use of duplicate samples.

    Vln.I(5), Vln.II(4), Vla.(3), Vlc.(2), and Cb.(1) player.

    Even though this is a very small group, it seems to be well balanced, with a good measure of tone-weight. Moreover, I am thus able to completely avoid phasing strings which, of course, would completely obliterate the realism I am trying to achieve.



  2. #2

    Re: Thoughts on Ensemble Building

    I'll let some of the sharper ears and those technically
    more astute and experienced comment on the string
    work, Sean; but I did want to stop by and compliment
    the lovely, tranquil score in this... quite nice work on

    My best,


  3. #3

    Re: Thoughts on Ensemble Building

    Hello, Sean

    It's a lovely piece indeed, and aside from the reverb being too drenched for my taste, the recording is done well also.

    I understand what you outlined in your post, showing us the size of an ensemble you've assembled without duplicating instruments that would cause phasing. That's exactly as the programmers intended, as per the instructions in the manual.

    But of course if you wanted a larger sound, those lead instruments could be backed up by the KS string section patches. Despite being ensemble patches, they can sound great, especially with the solo instruments playing with them.--Just passing that on in case you felt you were stuck with only doing pieces with the smaller orchestra you've assembled.

    Thanks for the music--I really did enjoy it.

    Randy B.

  4. #4

    Re: Thoughts on Ensemble Building

    Nice composition, Sean!

    When It comes to string arrangements, It's a continual struggle. Not an easy thing to pull off.
    .. but you certainly have a keen understanding of ensemble building.

    Really enjoyed the atmospheric mood you created.!

    Great stuff!


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Wilton, NH

    Re: Thoughts on Ensemble Building

    Nice composition and the ensembles sound great. As Randy said - if you want a thicker sound you can always add in some of the ensemble sound, such as the sus&short, but for this the smaller ensembles sound great.
    Trent P. McDonald

  6. #6

    Re: Thoughts on Ensemble Building

    You can use two (or more) identical samples simultaneously, without phasing problems, by detuning one ever so slightly and shifting one forward or backward in time in relationship to the other(s). This works in many cases. There are some circumstances when this method does NOT work, but I have had pretty good success with it.


    Larry G. Alexander

  7. #7

    Re: Thoughts on Ensemble Building

    Hi Sean,

    I think it is a promising start.

    What I miss is more individuality between the single players. A strings group sounds so great because single aspects of the sound weave in and out. So it would be essential to record every instrument individually (in regards to rhythm and with continuos use of the modwheel).

    The main problem of this multitracking approach is that the ensemble effects are more difficult to handle, like keeping the whole thing halfway tight in rhythm and the coordination of crescendo and decrescendo. What helps is a musical click (I use the claves for it) and giving the voice you are playing in a boost of +3 dB that is taken off when recording the next voice.

    Hope this helps

    All your strings belong to me!

  8. #8
    Senior Member LHong's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    San Jose, Ca, USA

    Re: Thoughts on Ensemble Building

    Great deal with small string’s ensembles; say also section/unison for brass and other woodwind as well!


  9. #9

    Re: Thoughts on Ensemble Building

    Thank you for your comments.

    I should have made it clear that this little cue from a film score was intended for a small string ensemble. That is why I dispensed with the idea of using string section samples. I understand the principle of doubling section parts with solo parts, a technique that not only heightens the realism of the sound but also serves to reinforce the section articulation of quickly played progressions such as scales, arpeggios, and ornaments. However, I was a little challenged by the task of deciding on a group size.

    Larry, I find your comments regarding detuning interesting. I will try experimenting with that.

    Hannes, I appreciate what you are saying. From your forum picture I see you are a string player, so I take seriously your thoughts on this point. You should know, however, I do not use hardware in the production of my files. I use only GPO, its bundled Overture SE, and J&BB. I spend a lot of time carefully drawing in my dynamics in a manner intended to avoid identical patterns of expression.


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