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Topic: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

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  1. #1
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    How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    Being a traditionalist sort of artist (I'm broke) I have had to make do with more modest means of getting a choir mixed into my arrangements. So for free (true, not a misprint) I located a couple decent choir soundfonts (sf2) and downloaded the Audacity audio program (it's a mixing console, not a host, with native versions for Win, Mac and Linux).

    Then, I set up a folder, mute the vocals, and render out the Finale/GPO voices in aiff format using 'save special as...' If your arrangement is large, and you want to be fussy, save each part separately, or smaller groups of parts, as this will give you much better audio quality as a final product than the all-at-once GPO export. I use HP with ambience effects. Then I save the vocals as MIDI files (sometimes breaking up SATB if I want to edit in post) then convert them to aiff. I use QuickTime Pro and QMidi on a Mac to do this; there are Win equivalents. You need to change the preferences so these apps load your choir sf2 (not the default sofsynth), and the vocals in Finale have to be on channel 1 and set to Choir Aahs.

    Post production is like a recording studio. Open Audacity (it's a bit slow, but at $0, it's $600 less than Bias Deck or any major host) and import your tracks. If your file names are long, you can rename the label on each track. You can sort your tracks after import as well. Your GPO sounds should all line up perfectly. Then I bring in the vocals...those will require a little tweaking to line them up. I leave the vocals dry (no reverb) as this results in clean alignment and minimal edits. You can add VST reverb to the overall result later if you want.

    You can then add the full panoply of vst effects available as needed (be sure to download the VST manager when you download Audacity). Then export your final product as WAV, AIFF, MP3.

  2. #2

    Re: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    Hi passagio,
    Happy New Year 2009!

    I recommend you to try Myriad Harmony Assistant with Virtual Singer.
    It is able to sing in different languages and it is cheap.

    Regards,
    AlexBG

  3. #3

    Re: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    With all due respect, what you are doing is turning the composing of music into a chore instead of a pleasure.

    At my advanced age, I don't think that I have enough time left to perform all of the tasks you describe in order to emulate a choir.

    Welcome to the forum.

    Regards,

    Larry Alexander
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

  4. #4
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    Re: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry G. Alexander View Post
    With all due respect, what you are doing is turning the composing of music into a chore
    Yeah, seems like a chore....until I hear the results. Rendering the tracks separately and mixing as audio yields a much better quality final product than I've been able to achieve any other way. And I can fuss with details.

    So is an hour invested in turning my latest arrangement (harp, organ [four piston settings], oboe, strings, timps, trumpets, congregation, satb choir, and descant) a chore? Given the gain in quality, for me, it's no trouble at all. My goal is to convince someone to play my work (hopefully to publish it), and I am finding out a good audition helps.

    At the moment, I am not in a position to upgrade to more powerful software (and the hardware to run it), and I stumbled into this workflow, which yields an outstanding result for short money ($12, what I paid for QMIDI).

  5. #5

    Re: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    Hi, passagio

    Describing our own unique ways of working always makes the process sound more complicated than it really is.

    I think I followed what you were saying, and it actually seemed like a pretty standard way of putting together audio projects.

    I think you're basically saying that you double up the found Sound Fonts you have with the Garritan choir samples, yes? Gives you a richer more full sound.

    Thanks for posting, it was an interesting read!

    Randy B.

  6. #6
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    Re: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Hi, passagio

    Describing our own unique ways of working always makes the process sound more complicated than it really is.
    Indeed. After I made my last post, I made a complete remix of my score, including several post production VST improvements in only 45 minutes. It took more than twice that long to deal with a couple parallel fifths, which required a fair amount of harmonic editing with this many instruments.

    The reason for my post is that we have been waiting a long time for Garritan choirs, and some composers may be on tight budgets...I wanted to share a solution that is very low cost, delightfully analog, easy to learn, and yields an extremely high-quality rendering, considering.

    We've all got our tricks...lurking around this forum, I've acquired a lot of technique from this community.

  7. #7

    Re: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    Could you please post a link to those good choir soundfonts you found?


    Is Garritan actually working on a choir package? If so, will it be able to sing words, a la East-West Symphonic Choirs? Also, will a children's choir be included?

    Also, someone mentioned the Myriad Virtual Singer. How are the results with that? Similar to Vocaloid? Better? Worse?

  8. #8

    Re: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    Maiki said:
    Also, someone mentioned the Myriad Virtual Singer. How are the results with that? Similar to Vocaloid? Better? Worse?
    I auditioned this online and well it still sounds like Mr. Roboto to me.

    The soundfonts (you mentioned) if EQ'ed and layered correctly will give you a pretty nice ambient choir sound. Just don't put them in the front of the mix or you will be disappointed.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  9. #9

    Re: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    Quote Originally Posted by passagio View Post
    It took more than twice that long to deal with a couple parallel fifths, which required a fair amount of harmonic editing with this many instruments.
    There's nothing wrong with occasional parallel fifths unless they bother you soundwise.

    Here's a funny story about //5th's. Back in '91-92 I was attending music school at Stetson University in DeLand, Fl. We had Mark Hayes in for the week and were preparing a concert of his music in concert choir. In more than one of the pieces, the TB's had //5th's. A freshman, who had just learned of the evils of //5th's in freshman theory approached Mark Hayes and said, "Mr. Hayes, I found a problem in your music." Mark Hayes replied, "yes, what's that?" The student said he had found //5ths, at which point Hayes laughed and said, "so what? it works!" The student was somewhat taken aback by the seemingly flip answer and it showed on his face. Hayes then said "Son, learn all the rules first, then learn what works!"

    Good lesson for all of us.

    Ron Williams
    Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our upmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets -- Zoltan Kodaly

  10. #10

    Re: How I get choir vocals into my pieces

    I am not hijacking your thread but I did want to point out that I achieved some fairly good choral sounds, in some of my original compositions, by using what I have on hand for that purpose...which is not very much.

    "Choir Practice"

    "The Halls Of Ivy"

    All of the choir sounds are from my very old Kurzweil outboard synthesizer. If my decrepit memory serves me correctly, there are even some parallel fifths in there.

    Larry
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

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