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Topic: Progress on "Mood and Melody"

  1. #1

    Arrow Progress on "Mood and Melody"

    Hi everyone –

    Thanks to all who previously posted replies to my first contribution, Mood and Melody No.1. Here, as suggested, is a follow up piece, not the promised improved production version, but instead a string quintet – “Three Serenades for String Orchestra – No.2”. The MP3 file, which should open a new Quicktime player window, is available here:-


    It seems to me that much of the magic in improving realism with GPO is in the performance of the strings, so I decided to concentrate on this aspect of a strings-only piece and see how it went. Primarily, the technique was to “layer” the individual solo player strings and then use Cubase to add variations and humanisation.

    (For the original discussion on layering, please see this previous post :-
    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=62283 )

    The string sections have 10/10/6/6/6 (high to low) solo players (Strad, Gag, etc) in which firstly the standard GPO stereo positioning was amended. Thereafter, the note start and duration times, velocity attacks and CC1 volumes were humanised to a normalised curve. Finally, a higher quality reverb – the convolution effect in Kontakt Player 2 – was added.

    To me the whole thing sounds much improved and the performance more life-like. Longer could be spent on the balances – especially on the final solo violin – but I was keen to post now for any production comments before proceeding further. Of particular interest is the area of the positioning of the sections in the “soundscape” and the contribution that reverb can make to this.

    Once again, thanks for your time in listening and I look forward to learning your views.

    DELL_P4_3.4Ghz_3Gb_1Tb~Creative_SBAudigy2ZS~Tannoy _Reveal_6Ds
    WindowsXP_Pro_SP2~Sib_5.2.5~GPOSE~NI_Kontakt2~Cuba se_CS4.1
    http://members.sibeliusmusic.com/sm ~MMX~

  2. #2

    Re: Progress on "Mood and Melody"


    The layering works very well. I always add a few solos to all of my Strings just to get that added feel of reality into a piece.

    I also like to use cc 11 to play with the strings.

    Very nice piece

    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein


  3. #3

    Re: Progress on "Mood and Melody"

    A beautiful piece, beautifully rendered, JQ... some
    very impressive work on both scores in this.

    On the finer elements of this, the string work, the
    layering, this is outstanding work.

    The one note on rendering I might make is perhaps
    the separation is a bit wide (at least listening on
    headphones). Though positioning is realistic, in a
    real hall, the room tends to do some blending of
    sections for you. I might suggest crossing about
    10-20% from left over to right and likewise right
    over to left.

    Things like this are highly subjective, of course;
    and I'm surely among the least expert at sound
    treatment; but I've found that trick often improves
    the end product if you do it just before the application
    of final reverb.

    Excellent writing in this, JQ. Keep it coming!

    My best,

    David Sosnowski

  4. #4

    Re: Progress on "Mood and Melody"

    Hi Ron and David -

    Thanks for your feedback - much appreciated. Ron I've looked at using CC11 and decided in GPO it is merely influencing a proportion of CC1, which I am already varying. Have I got this right or am I missing a trick please?

    David, thanks for listening - especially carefully on headphones - which I had not done. One of my goals is to create mixes that translate well to other playback environments, so I really should be doing more reference listening!

    Thank you also for your observations re the separation. I had been thinking the sections were too "distinct" myself; ie not "blended" well enough. Also, at one point, as the piece musically rapidly descends through the sections from high to low (followed by a pause in the basses) the whole thing seems to "lurch" from left to right a little disconcertingly! (at least on speakers). I know on pop mixes it is usual to place the bass and kick drum together in the middle to keep the piece "centered". I wonder if it is appropriate to re-position the lower strings more centrally here? Do others do this please?

    Re your suggestion at "crossing", could you please explain a little more? I have already separated out the pan positions of each individual player in a section (by a few percent) but I am not sure what you mean by "crossing about 10-20% from left over to right and likewise right over to left". Could you please elucidate? All new techniques are welcome!

    Once again, many thanks for your time and attention.

    DELL_P4_3.4Ghz_3Gb_1Tb~Creative_SBAudigy2ZS~Tannoy _Reveal_6Ds
    WindowsXP_Pro_SP2~Sib_5.2.5~GPOSE~NI_Kontakt2~Cuba se_CS4.1
    http://members.sibeliusmusic.com/sm ~MMX~

  5. #5

    Re: Progress on "Mood and Melody"


    As far as placement... I'll generally put the second violins over
    toward the right, and slide the 'cellos and basses more toward
    center. I'll make similar concessions with other sections and
    instruments. One thing I don't do is put anything very far
    right or left... that just doesn't work.

    As a side note, the placement of an orchestra is largely up to
    the conductor -- and putting seconds on the right is not all
    that unusual. Other placements I may fudge a little from
    typical for sake of blend and for making it sound more like an
    orchestra does from the center of a larger room.

    On recording generally, my process may be much simpler than
    yours. I take the raw output .wav file from Finale into Audition.
    The first thing I do is cross a small percentage of each channel
    to the other (there's a mixing tool in Audition for that, and
    probably in most other audio editors). This further helps
    blend -- roughly simulating what happens to sound "in the
    room" of a larger hall.

    Thereafter, I apply reverb to the whole recording; usually
    a SIR convolution; though often just Ambience.

    Hope that's of some use, JQ!


    David Sosnowski

  6. #6

    Re: Progress on "Mood and Melody"

    David Hi again -

    And thank you for taking the time to post your helpful clarification. I have some time this weekend so I will try out your technique and see how it goes. I recall I think that Audition is the Cool Edit program, renamed after it was acquired by Adobe? As I am using Cubase, I shall see what features it has for audio editing first. Also they have their own editing/mastering software - Wavelab - which maybe deserves a look.

    So, thank you for your help, but enough of this tech chat! As this is the Listening Room, would anyone else care to cast a musical ear over my offering and have a listen? Any feedback gratefully received!

    Thanks to all

    DELL_P4_3.4Ghz_3Gb_1Tb~Creative_SBAudigy2ZS~Tannoy _Reveal_6Ds
    WindowsXP_Pro_SP2~Sib_5.2.5~GPOSE~NI_Kontakt2~Cuba se_CS4.1
    http://members.sibeliusmusic.com/sm ~MMX~

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