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Topic: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

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  1. #1

    Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    I have been thinking about the practical details of scoring for orchestra.
    While a composer might write on staff paper with fixed tempo there will also be directions such as accelerate, decelerate, play with feeling, etc.

    In the computer this has to be dealt with either by playing the parts live and ignoring the tempo grid, or by mapping out a tempo grid so that one can enter the midi in the grid (or play it to tempo with the grid)

    If played live, are there sequencers that can then map a tempo grid to the notes?

    How do you deal with this?

    Are there books or papers on the internet that I can get that deals with these sorts of practical issues?

  2. #2
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    Hi and Welcome to the forum! I am only familiar with Sonar, but I believe there would be a similar function in most sequencers. In Sonar, there is a tempo view where all changes in tempo can be seen and edited, erased, etc.
    If you wanted a couple of measures at a different tempo right in the middle of the piece, you could specify the tempo and number of measures. Also, ritardando and accelerando can be specified.

    I have found a good resource to be the forum of your particular sequencer or notation program. Cakewalk, Finale, etc. Also, there are quite a few video tutorials and demonstrations on youtube and similar web sites. And there are some books that expand on a particular programs manuals, for instance the Sonar Power series of books, with companion websites.

    It takes awhile to connect the dots, but it's a good journey if you don't go nuts on the way. John

  3. #3

    Re: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    In Cubase and Nuendo you can adjust the midi grid by drag and drop.
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  4. #4

    Re: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    Hi, PT

    In other words, your two responses so far are saying what you've already said - that you can map out the tempo changes in the tempo map of a sequencer.

    But don't think of working with a tempo map as a rigid, unpleasant way to accomplish what you want. I work in Sonar. By turning the grid off, I can draw in tempi which are subtle, curving, and not in stair-stepped increments. It's quick to draw those changes in and quick to audition what those tempi changes sound like.

    I believe there are programs which can do what you're saying, automatically adapt a measure grid to your free-time playing - but I don't believe that would be of any great advantage.

    I record things to the metronome, then work in segments of only a measure or two in the areas where I know the tempo must change. After recording a track for only one or two instruments, I go into the tempo map to draw in the curving tempo change, and then perform and record the rest of the instruments in the piece with that new tempo change already programmed. That way I'm able to perform with the change just as I would under the direction of a conductor's baton.

    Some icing on the cake is go through a piece when it's almost finished, and draw in very subtle tempi changes throughout the entire piece, letting it breathe the way a real band/orchestra does under a conductor's direction.

    See?

    Randy B.

  5. #5

    Re: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    I second what Randy wrote. But then again I always do!
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  6. #6

    Re: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    CTRL+T for Cubase brings out the tempo map! I create the midi files in Finale, NO dynamics, NO tempo, NO nothing, apart from the notes and durations. I input the midi files into Cubase and FIX the tempo map there. In very melodic and solo cases, I input various stuff with the midi keyboard, while LISTENING (using my ears) to what's being played!

    You can do whatever you like with the tempo.

    Nikolas

  7. #7

    Re: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Hi, PT

    In other words, your two responses so far are saying what you've already said - that you can map out the tempo changes in the tempo map of a sequencer.

    But don't think of working with a tempo map as a rigid, unpleasant way to accomplish what you want. I work in Sonar. By turning the grid off, I can draw in tempi which are subtle, curving, and not in stair-stepped increments. It's quick to draw those changes in and quick to audition what those tempi changes sound like.

    I believe there are programs which can do what you're saying, automatically adapt a measure grid to your free-time playing - but I don't believe that would be of any great advantage.

    I record things to the metronome, then work in segments of only a measure or two in the areas where I know the tempo must change. After recording a track for only one or two instruments, I go into the tempo map to draw in the curving tempo change, and then perform and record the rest of the instruments in the piece with that new tempo change already programmed. That way I'm able to perform with the change just as I would under the direction of a conductor's baton.

    Some icing on the cake is go through a piece when it's almost finished, and draw in very subtle tempi changes throughout the entire piece, letting it breathe the way a real band/orchestra does under a conductor's direction.

    See?

    Randy B.
    This sounds interesting;
    "I work in Sonar. By turning the grid off, I can draw in tempi which are subtle, curving, and not in stair-stepped increments. It's quick to draw those changes in and quick to audition what those tempi changes sound like."

    Do other hosts have a feature like this?
    I'm thinking mostly about Sonar, Cubase and Reaper.

  8. #8

    Re: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    In Cubase, I'm not sure how to adjust the grid by drag and drop but you can draw the the tempo in the tempo map. (I would like to know)

    If you play live, you can definitely quantise back to a grid that is preset.
    Derek
    Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever
    NOW WITH Cubase 5, JABB,GPO, Fender Strat, Ibanez RG, Yamaha Fretless Bass, Framus Archtop, The Trumpet and Mr T Sax, together with GREEN SEALING WAX


  9. #9

    Re: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    Reaper and Cubase/Nuendo allow to edit a tempo track. In Cubase and Nuendo you can even drag the bars with the mouse to the desired point (you must set the correct time base for the according tracks before, set it to "musical").
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  10. #10

    Re: Practical issues when sequencing for Orchestra.

    I use Sonar and do things pretty much the same way every time. I play my lead line or piano line in free time without any metronome. Then I open the piano roll window and use the "Set Tempo/Time to Now" function. What this does it adjusts the tempo from that last tempo setting to make the location of the pointer equal whatever measure and beat you set.

    I will set the first measure and find that pretty much the rest of the song is fairly close. I'll go through and reset the tempo whenever the "one" beat is off by more than a few clicks. When I have a significant accel/deaccel I'll maybe hit it every two beats or even every beat.

    This works really well for me. I can then import the MIDI file into Finale and it will bring the tempo track with it. Now everything I write in Finale will track my original tempo perfectly.

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