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Topic: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

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  1. #1

    First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    My previous attempt with GPO was for two instruments only. I'm trying to branch out into orchestral writing now, so I thought I would try to "render" (is that the correct term?) something for practice.

    I picked the second movement of Rachmaninov's famous Piano Concerto #2. Here is the snippet that I have done so far....

    http://www.box.net/shared/s3i6992the

    I would appreciate any observations on how I might improve this. One thing is that I don't like how the clarinet is sounding. It's not smooth enough, especially between repeated notes. Is there any way to reduce the gap? It also sounds too nasal. The flute isn't so great either.

    The MP3 recording is not great either - I know I need to work on volume levels.

    Thanks guys and gals!
    Owen


    Patches used:
    Steinway
    Alto flute solo (I thought the sound fitted better than the regular flute)
    Bb clarinet solo
    Vlns 1 lush mutes
    Vlns 2 lush mutes
    Cellos pizzicato
    Basses pizzicato

  2. #2

    Re: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    HI, Owen

    This is sounding great! Beautiful piece of music to work with and I think what you have so far is going along--swimmingly!

    Perhaps you're pickier and more critical than I am - While I might see why you're finding the tone of the Clarinet more piercing and nasal than you'd prefer, I'm not hearing its performance as not sounding smooth. It's gliding nicely with its dynamics, and it sounds like you're using controller Legato. I'm just not finding myself to be as critical as you are.

    As for the tone or Timbre of the Clarinet - could it be a matter of how you're asking the Bb Clarinet to play in this register? Did you experiment with the Eb Clarinet?

    You're using Sonar I think? - Something I've done on occassion is automate EQ on an instrument's track. A single un-automated setting can mellow out the tone, if you experiment with lowering the higher frequencies. But I've found it useful sometimes to automate the EQ so that the tone can be darker when needed during various passages, then brighter at other times.

    I had a slight issue with the Flute's loudest note in the beginning. It could be because it's the Alto Flute, but overall I understand you're saying you preferred this instrument's sound to the regular Solo. Maybe it was a question of that note's volume.

    I think you're doing really lovely work here, Owen.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  3. #3

    Re: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser-
    You're using Sonar I think? - Something I've done on occassion is automate EQ on an instrument's track. A single un-automated setting can mellow out the tone, if you experiment with lowering the higher frequencies. But I've found it useful sometimes to automate the EQ so that the tone can be darker when needed during various passages, then brighter at other times.

    Automated EQ?!?!?!? What's that? How do you do that?

    Raymond

  4. #4

    Re: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    Englishgent, yes the sound can be better, I agree. But the total impression is that you are in the right direction. This is one of my favorites of R. I used to play that part on concerts too, using the old recorded MMO (Music Minus One).

    Raymond

  5. #5

    Re: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    OH! This question took me by surprise - Raymond asks:

    "...Automated EQ?!?!?!? What's that? How do you do that?..."

    Pardon me, I could have just explained in my original reply.

    Easily done--For Owen, Raymond, and anyone reading this thread who can use the info:

    My point of reference is Sonar, but I'm rather sure this is a fairly standard feature to find in a DAW. -?-

    Most ANything can be automated, so that changes in a given plugin's dials will change during playback.

    In Sonar, you simply right click while hovering over a dial - any of the dials for EQ in this example. Naturally you first have to make sure you've turned on the control which hides or reveals the EQ inserts.

    You can do this in the channel strip available for a track in Track View, or in the mixer Console View.

    When you've right-clicked, check off "Automation Write Enable." That automatically engages automation recording so that now as you play back the project, or a portion of it, when you grab and change the settings of the dial - those movements are recorded as part of your project. And as with any recording, if you don't like what you did, un-do and try again.

    You can of course automate the fader movements - rather essential mixing practice. And you can automate the Panning, if for some reason you want an instrument to move during a piece. You can automate the amount of reverb send being sent to a bus. It's all part of putting together the best mix possible.

    Owen, trying a set-and-forget EQ setting for your Clarinet will definitely help with the shrillness of the tone. And you may want to experiment with the automation I've described here.

    Go forth and Automate!

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  6. #6

    Re: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62
    Automated EQ?!?!?!? What's that? How do you do that?

    Raymond
    I'm not sure what that is either. Yes, I do use Sonar (sorry, should have mentioned that), but I do not believe I have control over individual instrument timbres - I record onto MIDI tracks in Sonar, which are played back through KP2, then I record the end result on a single audio track in Sonar - is there a better way to handle multi tracks?

    OK, just seen Randy's reply. I know what it is now, but still don't think I could do it.

    Thanks Raymond and Randy for commenting. Randy, you're right. reducing the volume of that one flute note would help a lot.

    Eb clarinet sounded even worse!

  7. #7

    Re: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    Helllooo again, Owen

    "...I record onto MIDI tracks in Sonar, which are played back through KP2, then I record the end result on a single audio track in Sonar - is there a better way to handle multi tracks?..."

    Oh my yes there is. You're not utilizing Sonar anywhere near its potential.

    If you would bounce each individual instrument to an audio track, then the second phase of working on your project would be in the audio realm, with complete flexibility available to you.

    After massive MIDI editing, I bounce to tracks. Sometimes I'll do sub-mixes, concentrating on the balance between the string sections, for instance, and letting them end up on a mixed Strings track. But many instruments will still stay on their own track - Piano if I'm using it, Bass if I'm using that - etc. Then, it becomes a purely audio mixing project, with those faders hardly ever standing still, with every plugin I need inserted into the project.

    If you go straight from MIDI to a single stereo track mix--there's hardly any reason to have Sonar - you've skipped 3/4 of the work you could do.

    "...OK, just seen Randy's reply. I know what it is now, but still don't think I could do it..."

    Why? --It's extremely simple. After arming the EQ controls, you just play back the piece, listen to what's happening as you turn the dials - keep the results you like.

    In Track View, all automation you've recorded can be seen as visible envelopes, each identified with a label when you hover over the nodes. You can hand-edit the results by moving the nodes.

    If you're concerned that you'd be dialing things randomly not knowing what you're doing - there's only one way to start getting a feel for it, and that's what needed, a Feel for it - and that is to just start experimenting. I assure you it's easy.

    "...reducing the volume of that one flute note would help a lot..."

    Good, I think you're right.

    And so the Eb Clarinet wasn't the ticket. Well, an EQ adjustment will be. You just need to decrease some of the high frequencies to make it mellower.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  8. #8

    Re: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser-
    "...OK, just seen Randy's reply. I know what it is now, but still don't think I could do it..."

    Why? --It's extremely simple. After arming the EQ controls, you just play back the piece, listen to what's happening as you turn the dials - keep the results you like.
    I didn't mean that I was scared to try it - just that it was not possible. But bouncing back to audio - that would do it! If I can figure out how to do this. I presume it's a case of playing back one midi track at a time, and recording to an audio track. If that's the case, how do you syncronise them?

    Sorry, I'm beginning to sound like a technical dummy again. All the production side of things is new to me. Thanks for your patient explanations, Randy.

    Owen

  9. #9

    Re: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    OH my No no, that's not the way to do it- Owen, I'm going to send you an email with more info, so your thread can get back on topic-which is your great work here. See you in mail--as soon as I have a chance to write.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  10. #10

    Re: First orchestral attempt - Rachmaninov

    Randy, This is an OT thank you for my OT-question.....

    Raymond

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