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Topic: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

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  1. #1
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    I have wanted to do this one for a while. I used a full slate of instruments from JBB and CMB - not so many of those used more exclusively in marching bands, though. But certainly a very fully-staffed concert band.

    Hey, I even did the cc64 thing after I got the sheet music from a piano professor friend (along with a lot of note trimming).

    Keep the critical comments coming. I am doing a lot more with preparing better products because of some of your fine comments.

    Frank
    http://www.box.net/shared/hux4v1se8g
    THIS LINK IS WORKING AS OF 1/05 @ 6 pm (I am now using Box.net)

    http://www.geocities.com/rg4209rg/au...el-c_sharp.mp3
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  2. #2

    Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    Frank

    I must say I would never have expected this piano piece to be arrange for a concert band. You stay very close to the original and I think that this is a very good arrangement.

    I can't get critical, as you seem to have everything under control.

    Well done.

    Ron

  3. #3

    Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    Hi, Frank - How great to see you back so soon with more music.

    Very nice! - It makes for quite an atmospheric, moody piece for a large Concert Band. And your handling of the Garritan libraries is sounding great in this!

    Is it a pipe organ you've brought in 2/3 the way through?--Or is it the effect of so many unison CMB instruments? It could be the latter - there seems to be a continuing issue of CMB yielding an organ-like effect when a lot of the chorused group instruments are used and when their note on events are too identical.

    "...I even did the cc64 thing..."

    lol--Well Good!--it's rather essential to do that, - mandatory I would have to say, rather than optional.

    Thanks!

    Randy B.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    Randy -
    I have noticed your comments about the organ-like sound from multi-instrument, simultaneous attacks. I noticed it once in a piece that I will be posting, but I will fool around with the attack timing to see if that eliminates the effect. As I recall, a couple of the notes are doubled by 'section' instruments. It is interesting, though, because it is a descending passage that also decrescendos (if that is a verb?) and changes from instrument(s) to instrument(s). The first half is ff and f and definitely sounds like an organ. The second half is mf and mp and doesn't sound like an organ. If I remember, I will include some details about this (and its "fix" - if that happens) when I post that piece.

    In the Rachmaninov, in the passage that you are referring to, I only doubled on the notes of the chords for 4, consecutive notes (at the beginning of where it gets really loud). The thing is, though, the instrumentation is completely 'solo' instruments. Also in the rest of that 'loud' section, I doubled the lowest, sustain note and a 'middle' note (of 8 notes per chord) in the short chords. About a quarter of the way through the piece, I doubled everything. About half way through, I quadrupled most of the parts (up to the descending passage - going through many instrument groups) immediately before the very loud passage. So, go tell!

    With so many instruments to choose from, most of the time, if I double at all, it is with two, solo instruments. On a few occasions, I may mix trombones with tenor saxes, or something like that. I rarely hear the "organ", but I do get some rather nice tonal effects from some combinations. And, I think that is the purpose of using the capabilities of a large group (or variety) of instruments. This is especially true of another piece that I am finishing up that has interesting combinations of very high voices (piccolo, Eb clarinet, nino sax). The Rachmaninov is just too dense of notation to hear the subtle nuances of certain combinations of instruments except for about 1/3 of the way into it. I'll be posting some of these, more revealing pieces. (And that's a "threat"!)

    Frank
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  5. #5

    Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    Hello again, Frank

    Thanks for the details. "...About half way through, I quadrupled most of the parts..." - Now that's a lot! wow--OK, but when you multiply those parts, are you changing the copies at all? If you leave the duplicate parts exactly the same - that's when sonic troubles start.

    When doubling like that, it's best to make a copy, and make random edits in the copy, especially making sure the starts of notes aren't always in the same place. Make some a bit early, others, a bit late.

    To my ears, the dreaded Organ effect happens for a logical reason - A single key on an organ can trigger multiple stops at the same time, vaguely emulating an orchestra. But because they're all on the same keys - there's that distinctive sound of the pipes sounding off at exactly the same time - something that never happens in an orchestra, not with that kind of precision.

    But that precision is duplicated in digital music when we're ending up with this same kind of Organ scenario from the way a project is put together.

    I really thought it was possibly an Organ you brought it at that point in your piece.

    I was disappointed when I was playing a CMB project of mine for my sister. She was really enjoying it, and then towards the end, she said, "OOooh you added an Organ"--and I couldn't convince her that I hadn't. - SO. - In that case, at that point in the music I had added sustaining notes on two different Tuba group patches. I still think it sounds the way I intended, but--we Cannot always hear what we've actually done. It took my sister to confirm that without extreme care, my work with CMB can have the same Organ effect.

    Messing up the start times for notes in those heavily layered sections will help a lot. - And it's possible you really don't need quadruple layers for the music to still sound full.

    Randy B.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    Hey, Randy -
    When the parts are copied for multiple instruments, I haven't been changing attack points (times) or velocities or cc1 (although see comment, below). I understand your reasoning, but if I don't hear a problem (and maybe that is a problem in itself - I don't (or can't) hear it), then "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

    I listened to the doubled and quadrupled passages (1/4 and 1/2 into the piece) again, and I just don't hear an "organ" effect. That may be because the trumpet part is a little dominant and all parts are not of equal intensity. That may play into the "organ", too - equal dynamics as well at attack.

    I typically don't have the patience to tweak with the dynamics of every note for every instrument, so I try to set the initial volume settings to give equal "weighting", but I sometimes need to change the basic cc1 setting (or relative range when "expression" is employed) a little for some of the passages to re-equalize the volume for the instruments currently playing. This is particularly true for quiet passages.

    To me, just about the whole Rachmaninov piece has fairly good definition of instruments. Maybe that is because there is some variation in the dynamics levels between instruments on the same chord, even though they all have the same attack (velocity and time). To me, the most "organ" sounding part is the very last 3 chords, with just one instrument per note. The low, sustain notes sound organ-like frequently. expecially at the last. But, again, there is only one instrument per note, but the notes are octaves of each other and two of the three instruments have similar timbres - the euphonium and sousaphone (the third is a contrabass clarinet).

    It should be easy to adjust attacks. If I am using 96 or 120 ticks per quarter note, would you suggest only changing by 1 tick (either way) for a 3 note chord, or what have you 'standardized' on?

    Frank
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  7. #7
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    Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    Frank,

    Wow this is a really cool transcription of this work for band. You did an excellent job in the rendering. I would love to hear this performed live. Thanks for sharing it with the forum.

    Gary

    www.garybricault.com

  8. #8

    Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    Hi, Frank - I'm glad Gary Bric added such a positive reply on your thread here, because it is good to remember that the work you've done is very enjoyable. Any critical feedback I've added is of course hoped to be potentially helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4209fr
    Hey, Randy -
    When the parts are copied for multiple instruments, I haven't been changing attack points (times) or velocities or cc1 (although see comment, below). I understand your reasoning, but if I don't hear a problem (and maybe that is a problem in itself - I don't (or can't) hear it), then "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
    Yes, determining if something is actually "broke" is the trick. It's Always up to you to decide.

    As I said earlier, I was Really surprised to hear my sister say one of my CMB sounded like an Organ during part of it - I couldn't and really still don't hear it at all in that recording. But it was very striking to hear her say that, because what I call the "Organ effect" is indeed something I have noticed sometimes in CMB renderings. - Due, as I said, to notes all coming in at the absolute same time. The wave forms of the instruments all blend in an Organ-like way, and they're all starting impossibly perfectly, like a keyboard chord - that's what I was trying to describe before.
    Quote Originally Posted by 4209fr
    It should be easy to adjust attacks. If I am using 96 or 120 ticks per quarter note, would you suggest only changing by 1 tick (either way) for a 3 note chord, or what have you 'standardized' on?
    I usually use a higher resolution of ticks per quarter note, so it's difficult to say - but I'm rather sure it would need to be much more than 1 tick. I would try 4 or 5 - If it's sounding too sloppy, then dial it down. But don't use the same offset for each note. Some forward, some back, some don't move.
    Quote Originally Posted by 4209fr
    I typically don't have the patience to tweak with the dynamics of every note for every instrument, so I try to set the initial volume settings to give equal "weighting", but I sometimes need to change the basic cc1 setting (or relative range when "expression" is employed) a little for some of the passages to re-equalize the volume for the instruments currently playing. This is particularly true for quiet passages.
    I encourage you to use much more cc1. It really doesn't work well to just insert a cc1 value and leave it unchanging. The best pieces to be heard here in The Listening Room and on the Garritan demo page have continuous amounts of cc1 being applied. You perhaps have seen some screen shots - constant hills and valleys. It's really most intuitively achieved by recording it in real time with a keyboard's mod wheel--you can instantly hear the life you're breathing into the samples.

    Randy B.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    Randy -
    Your feedback is absolutely vital to my climbing the learning curve. I would hope that others with more experience than I would also chime in.

    You seem to be indicating that the organ effect is most prevalent with CMB, and, maybe more so when "group" instruments are used. From what I have seen, almost all MIDI scores employ simultaneous Note On, and, yet, I have not noticed the organ effect except, maybe, very rarely, but didn't particularly notice it if it existed to a minor degree. I seems like this is either a problem with CMB exclusively, or, it is vary rare and for some reason, CMB just brings it to the fore more often.

    For the Note On adjustment, realize that a 1 tick adjustment (with 96 or 120 TPQ) is a 1% change. I notice that I have Copied a passage incorrectly - accidently placed it in the wrong position because of not seeing that the cursor was slightly misplaced or that the Highlight was not sync'd with the cursor - when the 'doubled' instruments are off by (sometimes) 1/32 (12 ticks). This is instantaneously noticable. So I would imagine that, maybe, 3 (either way) ticks would be the absolute maximum. Of course, it is assumed that for 3 instruments, one would be before, one on time, and the last would be after.

    As for the use of cc1, maybe my hearing is going faster than I imagine, but I like the advise of my former harpsichord teacher (highly respected and published in that music world) - 'do whatever seems prudent'. So far, my experience with cc1 (for about 3 years, now), has been that there is a very fine line for what is 'near-perfect' (at least for my 'ear'). Too small of "hills" renders an almost unnoticable effect; too large, and it sounds too 'fakey'. My long time bassoon teacher (I think he was one of the best in the world) always emphasized exaggerated dynamics and expression. So I don't think that I come from a background of not being aware of these concepts. I just find that the use of cc1 is easily overdone and that "prudence" (that is not to say the non-use of) is better than overuse.

    I think that my Scarlatti demonstration adequately showed this. The cc1 was not changed between selections. Some selections seemed to be close to good. The Brass selection was obvious in its overuse.

    For the Rachmaninov piece, do you think that my use of cc1 is close to 'realistic'? I only used it for 'key' passages of 'key' instruments. I don't think that I used it at all for lower parts except for dynamic control with some changes in velocity. The same pretty much applied to the Dueling Frenzy piece except that most parts have short passages where instruments were in the forefront, so I used some cc1 "hills" with those instruments in those passages. I think that every time the trumpets or trombones 'spoke', "hills" were used (and can be heard) except for the short, loudest exchanges (at cc1 = 127). Same with Moonlight. The melody employed "hills"; the accordion did not - just dynamic changes. I have found that cc1 use in lower, accompaniment parts is overkill and counter-productive, but this is the opinion of someone with quite limited experience. You (and others) might want to go back and listen to the examples I mentioned, above, and evaluate if my use of cc1 is "appropriate", or, if it seems lacking. I would appreciate the feedback since this is one of the most important aspects of programming.

    Thanx for spending the time with me and my shortcomings. I hope that you will enjoy some of the things to come, also.

    Frank
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  10. #10

    Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in c# minor for Concert Band

    Frank, I cooked up something for you--and maybe it'll be instructive and/or interesting to other people who come across your thread also.

    This is a visual demo of the kind of continuous volume control that I've been talking about.

    This is a passage from the first thing I did with The Strad, which uses cc11 for volume, but it's exactly the same principal as when you're using cc1 to control the majority of other Garritan instruments. The controller was recorded live with the mod wheel on my keyboard and then edited where needed with the pencil tool in the Piano Roll View of Sonar.

    I hope this file plays for you. It's an animated screen capture done with Camtasia. You'll hear the music while seeing the view in the Piano Roll View which shows the notes in the upper pane, and the cc11 data in the lower pane.

    Side notes - you'll see some of the keyswitches for trills etc, but I had the view set where you can't see all the keyswitches - so don't be confused by that.

    You'll notice that many of the notes aren't starting right on the beat, but are often slightly before the beat, as happens in live performances. Notice also that all the appropriate notes are overlapping slightly, so that legato can be achieved.

    Those are all side issues - What I'm primarily interested in showing you is that the volume data, cc11 in this case, is very active, and you can hear for yourself in the audio that it sounds organic and natural.

    Maybe this will be helpful!

    Randy B.

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