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Topic: Carol of the Bells

  1. #1

    Carol of the Bells

    Hi everyone,

    This is not done yet, and has a couple of bum notes, etc, etc, but I'm going on vacation for a week, and though I will have internet access, I won't have access to my music workstation. So, here is a first cut at Carol of the Bells, scored for string orchestra, harp and xylophone.


    (I also re-worked O Come Emmanuel to incorporate your suggestions (and thanks everyone for your input). It can be heard at:

    (By the way, though I offer stuff for sale on soundclick, I'll happily send anyone from this forum who wants an mp3 of anything I write free. It's just that it's hard to maintain more than one central site.)


  2. #2

    Re: Carol of the Bells

    Hi Karen,
    I only listened to Carol of the Bells.
    Many of the fast string parts are lagging behind the beat. This is due to not using the alternating up/down short bows. Using the same articulation of strings won't be fast enough attack for those fast sections. Even though the midi notes look like they are in perfect sync, the audio won't be because the attack of the string sound is sluggish.

    I like this arrangement!
    Thanks for letting us have a peak during the process.


  3. #3

    Re: Carol of the Bells

    Hey DPDAN!

    THANKS! I was wondering about that -- heard it, but had no idea how to fix it!!!! (I was thinking maybe it was some computer/OS/CPU issue). This tells me something, too, it seems, about how Finale renders bowing -- (oh dear) -- you see, I simply use no up/down bowing indicators in the score, because to my understanding, generally the concertmaster would indicate to an orchestra any bowings if it is not obvious from the musical phrase itself, and it is tedious to indicate each one and clutters up the music. I am beginning to see more clearly why, as etLux said, one might keep two scores, slightly different -- one for the digital rendering, and one for human players.
    (BTW, off topic, but (hey it's my thread): just ordered the full GPO, Finale 2008 and the Kontakt player all in one swell foop.) I have been using just Finale with the GPO "light" edition that comes with it, so now MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA... It's ALIVE! ALIVE!

  4. #4

    Re: Carol of the Bells

    So another thought just occurred to me, Dan, could I just "fiddle" with the attack time in from the Kontakt player and make it more crisp instead of trying to up/down bow my score to death?? Do you thinkg that would solve the problem?
    Last edited by KE Peace; 08-11-2007 at 04:56 AM. Reason: punctuation

  5. #5

    Re: Carol of the Bells

    My sequencer (Sonar) allows me to shift any track backwards and forwards in time, in extremely small increments, for synchronization purposes. Maybe your sequencer program has the same feature so you can "slide" your string tracks forward.

    Larry G. Alexander

  6. #6

    Re: Carol of the Bells

    I'm wondering if using a different string ensemble patch would fix this? For example I see from the manual there are "short bows" a.k.a. "AG" ensemble strings in GPO.
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

  7. #7

    Re: Carol of the Bells

    Hi Karen,
    Alot of times, I duplicate the entire 1st violins midi track, and paste it into a new empty track Then I assign that track to 1st violins KS, and set the keyswitch to auto alternating bows. Simpy blend that track's volume with with the other 1st violins track during mixing, but only allow the up/down bows track to play when the phrases are fast.

    This can be done with volume, or simply delete the notes that are legato in the new track.

    I hope that was clear

  8. #8

    Re: Carol of the Bells

    Very well done, Karen -- a pleasure!

    This goes perhaps a little beyond just an "arrangement";
    much more flesh on the bones.

    I'm almost tempted to say, take this further along; as
    the tail section with its change in color and depth would
    happily lead into more development and give greater
    balance against the earlier material.

    My best,


  9. #9

    Re: Carol of the Bells

    thanks everyone for all the ideas -- I shall have to think on all the behind the scenes MIDI- and sound-sample stuff and play with it (I have Finale front-end and ProTools on the back if needed....

    Dave, sounding like maybe this might be a place I need to use two scores - one for the GPO playback and one for the "official" notation for non-cybernetic players? ). Yes, it could use more development, and when I get home, I'll be looking into that -- wasn't quite done before I had to leave town for a week.

    Thanks everyone for listening, much appreciated. I had fun doing this.


  10. #10

    Re: Carol of the Bells

    Quote Originally Posted by KE Peace
    Dave, sounding like maybe this might be a place I need to use two scores - one for the GPO playback and one for the "official" notation for non-cybernetic players? ).
    While I don't (the scores I post are the ones from which pieces are
    rendered) -- there are cases where it can indeed offer much more
    flexibility. For instance, in this piece, I might have used different
    string selections at various points in the piece. A simple way to
    do that is, obviously, to add extra staves for them.

    However, you can also do that by setting up several different string
    configurations on different channels in the players -- and then
    creating a (hidden, usually) expression to change channels to select
    the desired configuration.

    That technique is very, very useful for many situations...

    Yes, it could use more development, and when I get home, I'll be looking into that -- wasn't quite done before I had to leave town for a week.
    While it's surely a case of one man's opinion and the piece stands
    well as is, I do think that that tail section was some of the best
    thinking in the piece, and were it explored further would add much
    to it!

    My best,


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