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Topic: Perception of others

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  1. #1

    Perception of others

    I lent one of my live brass and JABB rhtyhm section cd's to a musician friend, and received a positive review from him, with one exception - "You must get a real drummer, I can't stand drum machines".

    Now I recorded all the drum parts "live", playing them into Sonar on a midi keyboard, with only a small amount of tweaking - no quantizing. So all the dynamics and rhythmic placements were human. Also, having posted a couple of tracks off the cd in the Listening Room, I received quite a few positive comments particularly concernign the drumming.

    I can only assume that because I credited JABB and Sonar in the CD liner my friend, not being acquainted with the world of sampling and DAW recording, assumed that because I used a computer, the drums must have been sequenced and his knee jerk reaction as "a musician" was to baulk against the idea of drum machines.

    I'm going to lend the same CD to another musician friend but delete any reference to computers and samples on the CD liner and see if I get a different reaction.

    I also get similar reactions when I produce a Finale score at rehearsal - because it is prepared on computer they assume that the computer has generated all of the arrangement/orchestration and all I had to do was print it off.

    Does anyone else experience this sort of reaction from people who don't understand the role of computers as tools in music preparation?
    Richard N.

    Finale 2003 to 2007 ~ Garritan GPO, JABB & Strad ~ Sonar 6PE ~ Kontakt 2 ~ WinXP Home SP2

    Athlon XP 2200 ~ 1.5 Gb RAM ~ M-Audio Sound Card ~ M-Audio 88ES MIDI keyboard ~ Evolution MK-461C

    Bach Strad LT16MG, LT36G, 42B + B&H Sovereign Studio Tenor Trombones ~ Holton 181 Bass Trombone ~ Getzen Bass Trumpet ~ Yamaha TR4335G Trumpet ~ B&H Euphonium

  2. #2

    Re: Perception of others

    I've occasionally had the same reaction to Finale scores; some people assume anything musical created WITH a computer was created BY the computer; all WE had to do was sit back with some donuts and a cup of coffee and wait for the computer to spit it out at our feet. Even after what I think is a pretty clear explanation of the process, STILL they will insist it's somehow less legitimate.

    Publishers and especially composition contest rules committees are still at least somewhat resistant to accepting sampled instrument libraries as "real" instruments. They assume the old general midi standard to still be the current paradigm of music software sounds. From what I've experienced, school band composition contests in particular make it very clear: "live" recordings only.

    I think, though, that this is understandable, given the relative newness of music technology. It's inherent in our nature to be at least a little fearful and distrusting of anything that's a radical departure from what was -- for literally centuries -- the norm. It will just take time for acceptance and understanding to reach full bloom in the collective consciousness of the general public, and we will eventually experience a full "paradigm shift".

  3. #3

    Re: Perception of others

    I experience the ignoarance you're talking about every day. My head of department is easily the world's most ignorant, and openly discourages anyone with any musical talent from taking my music tech course, telling them they're more suited to a 'proper' music course. I also have to tolerate his constant attempts at interference, based on the very few snippets he picks up from friends. I decided to use Cubase as the DAW for my course, but that nearly became Sibelius, when he overheard a friend mention that Sibelius was an industry standard. He came into school the next day convinced that I must not know what I was on about. It took me the best part of a year to persuade him that there is more than one type of music software, and that we didn't want a notation package.

    On the other hand I find that sampled drums are the easiest part of a mock-up to spot, even when they're played live. I think it's probably because you're triggering the same few samples over and over. Even with all the mod-wheel shaping in the world those samples are going to become very familiar. Whereas with a pitched instrument you're going to be triggering each pitch far less frequently, possibly in round robin, and then shaping it with the wheel as well - the illusion lasts a bit longer, so long as you don't do anything too exposed.

    Ironically we tend to sample the pitched instruments much more heavily, believing it will add to the realism. For instance, there is a belief that round robin is necessary with pianos. I think it's nonsense. Having heard a player piano roll which triggered the same note repeatedly, at the same velocity, I can tell you that you actually do get the machine-gun effect on a real piano. The only reason that you don't in an actual performance is that a pianist never does use exactly the same velocity twice. So 127 velocity layers would be great, but there's no need for round robin.

    Whereas, with a percussion instrument, you can hit it twice with exactly the same velocity, and actually get two different sounds. So a really deep round robin seems much more necessary on the percussion, IMHO. But velocity layers are no less necessary - the colour of a cymbal changes more than any other instrument I can think of with minimal changes of dynamic.

    Basically I think I'm saying your friend might genuinely have spotted the fakery, rather than simply assuming that JABB was a drum machine. Maybe you should do the same track with something like BFD, or DFHS, and tell your friend that you've replaced the drum machine with a live drummer - see if he spots it then.

  4. #4

    Re: Perception of others

    Quote Originally Posted by DDW
    Publishers and especially composition contest rules committees are still at least somewhat resistant to accepting sampled instrument libraries as "real" instruments. They assume the old general midi standard to still be the current paradigm of music software sounds.
    And that is one of the reasons I started my own publishing company. Sure, I may not have the international reknown of a Hal Leonard, but the company letterhead is just as nice!

  5. #5

    Re: Perception of others

    This is the very well known perception of all Greek peers: You show them something and it automatically sucks, because they have something better to offer.

    I did have much joy when I played a live orchestra recording and mentioned it was samples! Oh the joy! (It was a bad recording actually, but never mind).

    No matter what you do, no matter who you are, there always needs to be the critisism! The heavy one! In fact it is funny most of the time.

    I mean you turn 30 (my own example, since I'm 30), you go to someone who simply plays the piano and show him a score. He goes how he would actually cut the whole first half and start from the fast movement(!) I tell him that I want him to play, not to change my piece to 1/2... Then I get an American one who is glad and I'm glad and we are working fine together!

  6. #6

    Re: Perception of others

    Quote Originally Posted by DDW
    From what I've experienced, school band composition contests in particular make it very clear: "live" recordings only.

    I think, though, that this is understandable, given the relative newness of music technology. It's inherent in our nature to be at least a little fearful and distrusting of anything that's a radical departure from what was -- for literally centuries -- the norm. It will just take time for acceptance and understanding to reach full bloom in the collective consciousness of the general public, and we will eventually experience a full "paradigm shift".
    The reason I've been given for requiring "real" instruments, particularly from publishers, is that they are aware that computers can "play" passages that live people can't, particularly if those people are still in middle or high school. They dont' want to accept a piece for publication, go to all the trouble of putting it onthe market, only to find that it doesn't sell a single copy because the parts aren't within the abilities of the intended players. I suspect that will be the case for some time to come, regardless of how good we make our submissions sound with computers - that's not the point.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA
    www.bakersjazzandmore.com

  7. #7

    Re: Perception of others

    In response to the OP, jazz drums are REALLY difficult to get truly authentic. There's just too much subtlety involved - I know, who would ever think of putting the words drums and subtlety in the same sentence . A good jazz drummer is known for his "feel" and flexibility, how he interacts with the rest of the band. It's the lack of this interaction that leads knowledgeable listeners to notice what the drummer's NOT doing, instead of what he is doing. Ons of the things that confounds me the most is that the better live bass players rarely play "bass parts" as I know them, and live drummers never play "drum patterns". They actually make music in response to the rest of the ensemble. I don't know what they're thinking
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA
    www.bakersjazzandmore.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Perception of others

    Probably the most negative comment I received was a friend that after listening to several of my band projects said, "Well, it sounds great - I didn't realize computers could write that sort of thing. Do you have anything you've written yourself?"

  9. #9

    Re: Perception of others

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Davis
    "Well, it sounds great - I didn't realize computers could write that sort of thing. Do you have anything you've written yourself?"
    How frustrating!

    For what it's worth, I once "wrote" a music file without using a computer. As I recall, the piece started like this:

    01101010100101001010010101010111010101010101001011 01010000001...
    Best Regards,
    Ernie

  10. #10

    Re: Perception of others

    WHAT!!!! you mean nobody has ever used this button???

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