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Topic: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

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  1. #1

    Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    A little fiddle duet featuring legato, dynamic contrast, and assorted ornaments:

    After the Battle of Aughrim, 4:22, 8Mb

    Genre........Celtic fiddle
    Composer.....Irish traditional
    Arranger.....Darwin Kopp
    Arr. date....2007
    Arr. time....a day or so
    Samples......Garritan Strad v2
    Sequencer....Overture
    Reverb.......KP2 Convolution
    EQ...........KP2 3-band parametric
    Monitors.....Dynaudio Acoustics BM5
    Feedback:
    ..Arrangement...yes
    ..Performance...yes
    ..Sonics........no


    I’ve always had a soft spot for Celtic fiddle, and Irish laments in particular. I penned this for two violins sometime last year based on the traditional Irish lament, After the Battle of Aughrim. It’s mostly in A-Dorian and goes through the whole form twice. This first half has the lead in the first violin on your left, while the second half switches lead to the second violin on the right.

    A little historical note (largely from Wikipedia):
    The Battle of Aughrim was the decisive battle of the Williamite War in Ireland. It was fought between the Irish Catholic Jacobites and the forces of William III (William of Orange) on 12 July 1691, near the village of Aughrim in County Galway. The battle was the bloodiest ever fought on Irish soil – over 7,000 people were killed. The battle, according to one author, "seared into Irish consciousness". It also resulted in the effective end of Jacobitism in Ireland.
    No, I'm not Irish.

  2. #2
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    Re: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    Darwin,

    You have penned well here and produced a lovely work. I find it slightly sad sounding, a lament that the strings sing out beautifully. Thanks for sharing it here.

    Gary

    www.garybricault.com

  3. #3

    Re: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    Very nice work with the Strad, Darwin! Had
    this up on the monitors, and the sound on
    this is, in places, almost uncannily "real".

    Best,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  4. #4

    Re: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    Lovely job on this, especially the harmonies and little fiddle licks here and there. On a technical note, does Celtic fiddle music not have any vibrato in it? If this is not a fixed thing, I think some vibrato from the mod wheel would really liven and warm up the performance. I would also prefer (for my taste) a bit bigger space as I find it a bit dry on the reverb.

    Keep em comin! - Del
    Music happens to be an art form that transcends language. - Herbie Hancock

    http://www.mdtcommunications.com

  5. #5

    Re: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    Gary,

    I find it slightly sad sounding, a lament that the strings sing out beautifully.
    I think the best laments are sad, yet still contain a ray of hope in there somewhere. So, "slightly sad" is a very good description. And as a duet, the effect is akin to two souls commiserating, yet somehow hopeful for better days.

    David,

    Had this up on the monitors, and the sound on this is, in places, almost uncannily "real".
    I'm very glad to read you found this "uncannily real" (in places ), as I really think that is about the best one can hope for. And I did try to program this as closely to how one would actually hear it played as I could. As an aside, the violin has to be the most difficult of acoustic instruments to replicate, especially as exposed as something like this is. Mid-to-upper-range, four different gauge strings stretched over a hollow wooden box, and excited with horsehair and rosin is a pretty tough order to fill. However, something like the var 1 & 2 controls in GPO would help, as well as some sort of random, adjustable bow noise effect, especially on attacks.

    Del,

    On a technical note, does Celtic fiddle music not have any vibrato in it? If this is not a fixed thing, I think some vibrato from the mod wheel would really liven and warm up the performance.
    Yes, I believe folk idioms in general do not use a whole lot of vibrato, and some use none at all. There is indeed tasteful vibrato throughout this, though certainly not molto. However, I think you may well be picking up on all the open A's & E's (and some D's) peppered throughout, and noticeably at phrase ends. These tones ordinarily would not have vibrato unless the violinist added sympathetic vibrato at the octave. And the final octave A is purposely senza vibrato in order to to produce a decidedly forlorn effect.

    I would also prefer (for my taste) a bit bigger space as I find it a bit dry on the reverb.
    This is using an 18th century French Salon as the convolution, which is quite noticeable in its absence when temporarily bypassed during mixdown. However, I was going for a rather intimate sound here, though I can certainly appreciate the desire to add more ambience.

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to listen and leave a comment!

    Regards,
    Darwin

  6. #6

    Re: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    Darwin my Forum friend - Allow me to say your musical output is always a constant delight to me. My tastes can't be all That rare - hence the kudos you've gotten on this thread.

    I don't understand the reply about lack of vibrato, I hear it in the degree that seems appropriate for the gengre, as you ably explained in your reply.

    The only technical note I'll pass on is that I feel a softer attack on the beginning notes of many passages could have been lower. I understand you're avoiding portamento, but that's taken care of by making sure the notes following the first in a passage are of a higher value.

    It's a captivating piece - and I applaud in thanks to you for it.

    Randy B.

  7. #7

    Re: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    Randy,

    I'm happy to read you enjoyed this. It's always interesting to learn if there is any interest whatsoever in the various musical leanings that I have discovered and grown to love.

    The only technical note I'll pass on is that I feel a softer attack on the beginning notes of many passages could have been lower.
    You should have heard this before I started fixing the attacks. As it is, I kept lowering things all the while I worked on it. For example, the finished initial phrase now has a starting velocity of only 8 with expression in the low 30s, yet it is still arguably a little coarse. I think the scaling on the velocities out of the box on this instrument could be a little more proportional. However, the programmers had to work the portamento control in there somehow, so that may have some bearing on the situation.

    The start dynamic is not pp, but mf, so though I'm not entirely happy with the recorded result, I do find it acceptable. Some of the coarseness is actually the way a real violin sounds in isolation, close up. That "bite" is naturally there unless one purposely enters pp. Another consideration is that most of the strains alternate f, immediately followed p. So, in terms of contrast, some of the excess attack is quite intentional. However, your point is well taken, and I tend to agree overall.

    Thanks again for the nice feedback!

    Regards,
    Darwin

  8. #8

    Re: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    Darwin

    My ancestors were celts from both Ireland and Scotland. I have always enjoyed a good celtic tune and this is no exception.

    One thing that might help with the attack, is that to my ears the 2 are almost always in synch with each other. A little variation there could go a long way to easing the attack issue.
    A small thing.

    Still a great job

    Ron

  9. #9

    Re: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    Hi, Darwin - Thanks for the reply to my reply - I'm sorry, I was thinking in terms of non-notation, since I use Sonar. I'm so used to having the full range of Velocity values available, 0 to 127, that I can easily forget that some people, notation users, are stuck with a much smaller selection of values.

    When I work with The Strad, it's just a matter of going into the MIDI editing window and slicing off the tops of offending velocities, to any value I want, or raising them.

    I understand your limitations--Thanks for reminding me.

    Randy B.

  10. #10

    Re: Strad Duet - After the Battle of Aughrim

    Ron,

    One thing that might help with the attack, is that to my ears the 2 are almost always in synch with each other. A little variation there could go a long way to easing the attack issue.
    Actually, the posted version is manually randomly offset over the entire performance, and it did help. The stereo imaging makes this perhaps less than evident, though I suppose there could be even a wider spread between the two in spots.

    Thanks, though, for the suggestion and thanks also for lending an ear!

    Randy,

    When I work with The Strad, it's just a matter of going into the MIDI editing window and slicing off the tops of offending velocities, to any value I want, or raising them.

    I understand your limitations--Thanks for reminding me.
    Overture has a very good midi editor. One can quickly and easily edit any controller to any midi value between 0 and 127. But perhaps I didn't make it clear that all velocity values in this piece are already quite low (by normal midi standards), ranging between 1 and 30 or so. In other words, the entire thing is in the first 25% of the velocity range.

    So, I don't think velocity is the issue. If I were to improve upon this, I think I would instead judiciously soften the initial c11 data in spots, though again, I actually want fairly hard attacks when a new section starts forte. The dynamic plan is roughly: mf-f-f-p-f-p-f-p. One of my goals was to demo contrasting dynamic levels. The soft sections tend to lull one, so the following entrance may understandably seem a little abrupt. Or is what you're noticing not actually between sections?

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