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Topic: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

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  1. #1
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    Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    This work was arranged for Vintage Percussion, a senior percussion ensemble based in the UK.

    The show is called "Fight or Flight" and is based on Stravinsky's Firebird. This arrangement is the result of a collaboration between Phil Coulter and Derek Brodie, who reside either side of the Atlantic. Phil is based in the UK and Derek in California.

    http://www.box.net/shared/b36fdc4vve


    "Fight or Flight" was sketched out in Finale 2007 & sequenced in Sonar 7.0.2. All instruments are mostly from CoMB & VDL2.5, with the exception of a vintage electric piano which is from Garritan's JABB.

    This is my first real attempt at sequencing / mixing in Sonar so I would be very interested in recommendations to improve the mix.

    Derek

  2. #2

    Re: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    Great job with this percussion ensemble.

    brsmith
    www.brsmusic.net

  3. #3
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    Hi, I really enjoyed listening to your piece. The only comments I can make are that in the first section, I felt the volume level of the instruments (other than percussion) were much louder than the percussion. The middle section seemed more balanced, and then at the end I thought it moved out of balance just a bit.
    One other thing is a question about the percussion. Is each piece of percussion on it's own track? I thought maybe it could stand a little wider spread, pan it out a bit more.
    If this is your first rendering, you have really gotten off to a great start.
    Why'd you pick such a easy one to start with? (just kidding)
    Great job! John

  4. #4

    Re: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    Now that was fun to listen to.
    Producer ~ Sound Engineer ~ Musician

    http://www.myspace.com/451525581

  5. #5

    Re: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    Derek

    Very nice!

    Like many here, I am also a Sonar user. The only advice I would give on this one is that a few of the runs on the snare have the "Machinegun effect". To get rid of that, try adjusting the velocities to make sure they are all not the same.

    Well done

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

    http://composersforum.ning.com/profile/RonaldFerguson

  6. #6
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    Re: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    I have been until recently working exclusively in Finale, relying solely on "Human Playback" to generate as realistic as possible sound files. Having had Sonar for a while, I decided to dig into the program and learn more about the sequencing environment. I am still low on the learning curve so I really appreciate all of your comments..

    brsmith

    Thanks for the compliment!

    John

    Thanks for your constructive comments. You are spot on, not sure how I did not notice before. The balance is certainly not so even all the way through. This started off as 3 separate movements (where most of the tweaking was done in Sonar). All 3 movements were imported just prior to exporting a WAV file from Sonar. Looking back at the project, it looks like some slider automation was lost. I need to dig into this more. It would probably have been easier if I stated this off with one complete project.

    In regards to panning the percussion, yes they are all on separate tracks. I currently have snares centered, tenors L30% and bass drums R30%. For the cymbals, I have 4 instances (R45%, R15%, L15% and L45%). Do you recommend to pan out further than that?

    Hippie

    Thanks for your endorsement.

    Ron

    Thanks for your constructive comments! I spent the longest time tweaking individual velocities, especially with the snare parts and the marimba. For the most part; the snares, tenors and bass drum utilize LH or RH samples to avoid the machine gun effect as much as possible. I do clearly hear the machine gun effect in places, especially around 2:32. I will try to tweak the velocities further in these areas. Besides 2:32, can you point me to other spots?

    Thanks again for listening and providing your thoughts.

    Derek

  7. #7
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    Hi Derek, In reference to the panning of the drums in your piece, I think you have to decide what you are wishing to portray or present with your mix.
    Traditionally, orchestral percussion is seated to the center rear and off to
    the left side perhaps to about 10:30 or 11 o'clock. (to the best of my knowledge) Your piece I would think isn't a traditional presentation and so the most important thing would be to find a spot where each element can be heard clearly. Perhaps you might want to imagine the drummers on a stage, and then pan them accordingly, or maybe just position them for the best sonic balance. My initial impression was that the parts nearest the center could be a bit wider.
    One thing that I have learned about Sonar is that there are Panning Laws that you can choose from. The default one is "0 db center, sin/cos taper, constant power". I understand that analog mixing boards and most recording software use the standard of "-3 db center, sin/cos taper, constant power". It's recommended that you choose one law and maintain it throughout your projects.
    These options are selected through the "options>audio>general" drop down menu.
    Panning is an interesting subject, and one that I am learning about and experimenting with as well.
    You really have put together some interesting music! Regards, John

  8. #8

    Re: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    Hey Mad Kiltie, I don't know much about sequencing, so I can't say much about that other than I generally enjoyed the reverb settings and the such. I can see how some of the rolls (especially on the vibraphone at the end) has the machine-gun effect rolifer mentioned.

    As far as the piece, itself, goes...a percussionist, myself, I'm always into listening to percussion, so I loved it

    Stravinsky is one of my favorites, so to hear it with percussion was awesome!

    Thanks for the post, glad I took the time to listen!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
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  9. #9

    Re: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    Hi, Derek - This is great! What an inspired idea, to base a field show on "Firebird." Stravinsky's original triggered some really fun re-workings in this collaboration.

    And I'd say you're doing fantastically in your first Sonar efforts! You've worked on the details with good results. You've gotten some good helpful feedback on this thread too.

    As you can well imagine, you can mix a project so many different ways in an app like Sonar, and of course there's no such thing as The Definitive Way a particular piece "should" be constructed.

    The machine-gun effect isn't all that glaring in this, and there's just a limit to how far it can be totally avoided when there are so many percussive passages that demand repeated notes like this. You said you could do yet even more editing of velocities, but I'm saying there will still be a limit to how much you could improve it. Pitch shifting can help, even though you're already using the alternating samples.

    Widening the stereo, sure that's always an option. And something tricky and impossible to completely fix is that instruments already have their own natural ambience, be it ever so subtle, which makes them sound as if they were recorded under varying circumstances--which of course they were! Like the drum line samples in CMB have a very different environmental sound to them than, say, the electric Piano you used. There are just built in limitations when trying to arrive at as natural a sounding recording as possible.

    You're doing great, and I really appreciate you sharing this here.

    Randy B.

  10. #10
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    Re: Fight or Flight - Stravinsky's Firebird for Percussion Ensemble

    John

    Thanks for the information on the panning laws. I was not aware of this so I will definitely look into it further. In relation to the actual panning, yes this is based on how I imagine the player positions on the stage. One thing I did not mention was that even the tuned percussion was also panned across the stage.

    Sanyarem

    Thanks for your feedback. I just used the basic room verb from Adobe Audition to make things simple. I also agree about the rolls at the end needing a little bit more work. Originally I intended using a sampled triangle roll but I could not get it to sound full enough in the mix. I opted to double it on glock however I did not spend much time tweaking the glock part as it was a last minute addition.

    Randy

    Thanks for the encouragement. I feel further improvements may be possible by more editing of velocities but I do agree there are always going to be limitations. Widening the stereo sounds interesting. What is the best way to do this?

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