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Topic: At the park bandstand

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  1. #1
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    At the park bandstand

    OK, all of you snowbirds and rainbirds. Now that we are in the grips of winter, just imagine a balmy, 82 degree, summer day with the breeze rustling through the trees at your local park. It is a Sunday afternoon and the bandstand has been filling with musicians. After a brief warm-up, they are ready for their weekly presentation.

    To begin the program, they have chosen Johann Strauss II's concert waltz, "Roses From The South". It is a compilation of themes (9 of them, many of which are repeated more than once throughout the piece) from his operetta, "The Queen's Lace Handkerchief" (I know everyone knows this, but I just thought it would be nice to reiterate it).

    I like this piece the most of the Strauss concert waltzes. It has beautiful melodies and no section that I want to sleep through. This has been arranged for concert band from the orchestral version.

    Comments (constructive and non-destructive) are welcomed.

    Frank

    http://www.box.net/shared/ngmlvqm0wg
    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
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    Re: At the park bandstand

    Hi Frank,
    It was a little difficult to get past the "box.net" sound. It was very "tin sounding to me.
    A lot of good work here.
    I think you would have better response if you broke it up into two
    different works.
    When one segment has a clear ending, put in an extra measure rest so the ears can adjust.
    Old Timers used to tell me that tradition of Vienna waltzes have the 16th notes played quicker{like a 32nd} just before the next note.
    Just some of the ways I would try.
    Gary

  3. #3

    Re: At the park bandstand

    Hello, Frank

    You're certainly a busy fellow, and full of interesting musical surprises.

    Once again, just the sheer volume of work you had to put into this adaptation is fairly staggering!

    I can easily say that of everything I've heard from you so far, I've had the best time listening to this "park bandstand" rendition of "Roses." The break from winter, picturing the balmy summer day with the band playing in the park - that's a great image and an appreciated antidote to our current winter weather.

    There are many sections that sound wonderful to me, especially when the whole band is playing. Some of the solo lines have an unrealistic pumping quality to the sound, like the attacks of the Flugelhorn are very low - and I'm not positive, but it sounded like maybe you weren't using a solo instrument but a group? The low attacks coupled with the constant cc1 swelling gave it a bit of that unfortunate "buzzing bee" effect.

    I really don't know what our friend Gary Mosse was referring to as the "Box.net" effect--? --Tinny? - The over all sound quality seemed just fine to me.

    --don't shoot me - Last time I pointed out how your post was swimming in reverb. This recording --sounds incredibly Dry - the opposite issue. I think perhaps you were going for that outdoors sound, where there's a deadening effect on sound waves. Outdoors there's reverberation only if there are nearby buildings with walls for the sound to bounce off of.

    My personal opinion is that recordings should always be put together with the goal to make a recording stand on its own without explanations being necessary, ie: "This is supposed to sound like an outdoors concert"--I feel to just make a pleasant, reasonably natural sounding recording needs to always be the goal, and that includes some ambience to add air around the instruments, even when the listener isn't aware of an effect being used.

    Very enjoyable concert--I thank you for it! - I hope in your busy time of coming up with such interesting projects, that you're finding time to listen to the other posts here in our great Listening Room!

    See you again soon, I hope.

    Randy B.

  4. #4
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    Re: At the park bandstand

    Hi Frank (& Randy)
    The sound I spoke of didn't come from your reaization.
    The overall quality seemed unsupported.
    Perhaps different servors get different audio results.
    I thought your piece demonstrated lot of good work.
    Gary

  5. #5
    Senior Member sosmus's Avatar
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    Re: At the park bandstand

    4209fr:

    A very clever and well constructed medley. I'm a little put off by the "hurdy-gurdy-calliope" sound. Is that intentional?

    sos

  6. #6

    Re: At the park bandstand

    Frank, I hope you don't mind me interjecting something in reply to Sos:

    Quote Originally Posted by sosmus
    4209fr:
    I'm a little put off by the "hurdy-gurdy-calliope" sound. Is that intentional?

    sos
    You're reacting to something which can be a point of some frustration for notation users when using CMB. It's been referred to most often as "the organ effect" - and it's an artifact from when Note On events across instrumental sections are too quantized, coming in too perfectly together.

    That's the kind of problem that notation recordings can have regardless of the library or sound source used, and of course the reason that "Human Playback" was devised for use in Finale, to combat the impossible perfection of notated files which makes for robotic results.

    I think the calliope/organ effect creeps in more pronouncedly in CMB because of how so much of the library has a chorusing effect on the instruments - all the group instruments have that, since they are samples of groups of instruments.

    Even though those samples are quite able to sound fantastic in recordings, there's a cumulative effect which makes the sound very much like the hollow sound of tones passing through organ pipes when the instruments are coming in together like a hand playing a chord on an organ.

    The solution - and I know it Is the solution since we've heard CMB projects with no sign of the organ effect--and those were accomplished using this tip: The user has to make sure that no instruments are playing at exactly the same time. Tracks have to be shifted, Notes On have to be randomly shifted - That's Always standard good practice when working with MIDI, but more crucial with this library.

    I know that's more difficult for notation users - and that's the reason too many CMB projects from notation programs are suffering from this unrealistic effect.

    Listen to Gunther's recent brass band post - it sounds great using CMB - He uses a DAW, and is aware of how quantization will spoil his recordings. He shifts notes and tracks as needed - That really has to be done.

    Randy B.

  7. #7
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    Re: At the park bandstand

    Quote Originally Posted by sosmus
    4209fr:

    A very clever and well constructed medley. I'm a little put off by the "hurdy-gurdy-calliope" sound. Is that intentional?

    sos
    Sos,

    Fortunately the solution for Finale users isn't as dire as Randy suspects.

    Randomize. Go to your Finale users manual and put that in as a search term. You'll find a few entries. Look up randomize note durations. Although using HP does offset the attacks slightly, it's not enough with the CMB library.

    Here's a brief quote from the manual regarding randomizing note durations.

    • Start Times limited to ___ • Stop Times limited to ___. The numbers in these text boxes represent the amount by which you want to randomly vary the attack or release points of all selected notes’ playback (regardless of their notated durations). You’re specifying the maximum number of EDUs, of which there are 1024 per quarter note, you want added to (or subtracted from) the Start or Stop Times of the selected notes (see Start and Stop Times for a discussion of Start and Stop Times).
    You might enter an EDU value of 1/16 (or less) of the predominant rhythmic values in the music, unless you want to produce unpredictable, strange rhythmic effects. To subtly soften the rhythmic precision of an eighth note (512 EDUs) passage, for example, you might type 32 into the Start and Stop Times boxes.

    You would apply this randomization to each staff separately giving each staff a different randomizing value.



    There is a section in the Finale user manual under tutorials:
    GPO & HP tutorial, read the whole thing for the best understanding. Or at least read the section on Performance Tips.


    The same controls that are available to sequencer users are available to Finale users, although they are sometimes harder to find. My feeling is that many notation users don't have a background in midi, and therefore never bothered to learn what this part of Finale can do.


    Jeff


  8. #8

    Re: At the park bandstand

    Excellent info, Jeff!--Thanks for it. I'm always trying to dig out more info on Finale's functioning, so I can better understand what people are working with, but people don't often take the time to explain.

    That randomization tool sounds great, pretty much the same as the one I've used in Sonar. As you said - there's the answer!

    Randy B.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Re: At the park bandstand

    Several points -
    (I hope that those raising issues look at this thread, again. I have raised further questions in other threads of mine, but they weren't looked at again, or, maybe no one knew the answer).
    1. I used the Ambience reverb's Recital Hall 2 with a 'medium' (wet) setting (9 in Sonar). I think that, overall, it is a rather 'dry' sound, but considering that I framed it for the 'out-of-doors', I think that it works well.
    2. I'm not sure of the purpose of splitting up this piece. It is longer than many, but shorter than many. I do not see a 'natural' break, so why create an artficial one?
    3. The 'unbalanced' 2nd and 3rd beats is a technique used by many, and, I believe was the practice of the day, but it is certainly optional.
    4. This piece "ate my lunch", while putting it together. There were so many sections, and, I had several goals in arrangining it that made it difficult - reasonalbly good 'playing' time for all parts; reasonable solo opportunities; wide dynamic range through use of small ensembles to tutti; avoiding too much doubling (or tripling) of parts.
    5. "Pumping" is probably due to my overuse of expression. I think that my techniques are OK, but just not so 'radical'. I find that brass are especially sensitive to Velocity, so I typically use something in the 48-72 range, unless there is an fff passage (like near the last of this piece) - I don't like brass for pp or lower. Some passages were solos; others were groups. But I think that your critique of this validates my suspicions.
    6. I found a hint of "organ effect" in a couple of places, but I think that this problem is not quite as straight-forward as mentioned. I tried all of the techniques mentioned in another piece that (as I cautioned in my initial explanation of it) had a "huge" organ effect. (Randy mentioned another, additonal solution of using timbre control (cc23-Var2). I haven't tried this on the very problematic passage, but my use of cc23 either gives no noticeable effect, or, with a slight increase in the level, gives an undesireable effect. I feel that certain instruments (and probably 'groups' compound this) that are similar (like saxes) just naturally sound somewhat organ-like (reference Bricault's sax/organ piece, recently). I'm not sure, why, in the same passage, certain combinations of instruments sound fine, and other combinations give the "organ effect", where everything associated with that passage (from combination to combination) is the same, as far as I can tell. This, despite using the anit-organ effect techiniques or not using them. Another possibility is GREMLINS!
    7. I raised this issue with my last post, but got no response after I posted my reply concerning this question. Mention was made that some of the lowest notes were "out of tune". Indeed, a few notes by the contrabass clarinet and tuba in their lowest octave - not their lowest notes - sounded "out of tune". When listening to these instruments (I only tested these two) on the KP2 keyboard, playing octaves, I still perceived most of the lowest octave's notes to be slightly sharp. I conjectured that Garritan sampled "out of tune" notes. So I recorded the lowest 2 octaves of the contrabass clarinet. I ran an FFT analysis on each note. It turns out that every note was virtually perfectly in tune with its theoretical frequency. (I tested to 0.1 Hz, but ran one pitch to 0.01 Hz. It was within 0.01 Hz of its theoretical frequency). So I am perplexed as to why some of the lowest notes sound "out of tune" when, indeed, they are not. Several people commented about my "out of tune" notes in that thread, so it is not just the imagination of 1 or 2 people. No pitch bend or other pitch-altering devise was used in that piece.

    Well, is that a "plate full" or what?

    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
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    Re: At the park bandstand

    Hi Frank,
    I found that in setting up the Garritan sounds, if I raised the variation dial more than 1 or 2, the pitch could be effected on sustained notes.
    I have mostly stopped using dials.
    If you don't use Mac, this may not make sense.
    Gary

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