A violinist friend I had lost contact with many years ago (a symphony player) today sent me a message, after seeing my website and listening to the rendering of my violin sonata (done using Finale 2008, the GPO Steinway and the Stradivari solo violin) sent me a message asking who the violinist was on the recording
It's always nice to know that one must have done something correctly to fool a good musician.
I think it's great that you swung by to tell us the story, Michel.
It's a wonderful testimonial to both Gary's instruments and your expertise in using them.
And to me it shows again that it really isn't a matter of "fooling" someone, trained musician or not - it's a demonstration of how the concept of what constitutes a performance of musical expression has changed.
I'm certainly not prepared to say that your virtual performance with the Garritan Strad and GPO Steinway is any less "legitimate" than a recording done with two musicians playing the real life counterparts of those instruments.
Someone pointed out to me a long time ago that it's amusing how many performing musicians have such great egos for being the conduits for composers. They're serving a function that can sound rather humble.
The Music is always the most important thing, isn't it? So maybe for some people to admire a jazz musician's ability to improvise, to compose ad lib, is actually admiration for something more remarkable than the ability of another musician to accurately repeat what someone else has written?
I'm also very glad you told the story. I've been hanging out at another forum recently, where Gary-bashing seems to have become the norm. There are people there who have previously praised the Strad and Gofriller, now claiming it sounds awful and very synthy. I think they forget that it's a virtual instrument, rather than dead samples, and that you need to breath some cc# life into even a single note. And rather than admit their lack of programming chops, they resort to saying the instruments play well, but are terribly recorded.
It's nice to hear that the instrument can be used so convincingly as to persuade a violinist.
And rather than admit their lack of programming chops, they resort to saying the instruments play well, but are terribly recorded.
I have to say that I've commented both here and elsewhere that the Strad does not play well. Portamento is too easily triggered and soft attacks are too difficult to achieve. And the big problem is that you can't fix this, because the instrument is locked. And you can't use a 3rd-party velocity filter because fixing one issue inversely affects the other. For example, raising all velocities to prevent so much portamento creates harder attacks. Lowering all velocities to to give softer attacks would generate more portamento.
The Gofriller has a much better balance and is much more playable. It's extremely frustrating that a new .nki was never released to fix this problem on the Strad. Both instruments can sound great, but the Strad cannot give a comprehensive playable performance.
I think most would have to agree that The Strad is at least tricky to play in real time. It's difficult to balance the ever-shifting velocity values that are needed, since the instrument responds to velocity so differently than other soft synths. I think it's more possible than what you're saying in your post, but those of us with the instrument can certainly recognize what you're describing.
Your post reminds me that I tend to forget that some people want to play their software instruments in real time. For me a computer and the programs I use, software synths and recording programs, they're all for putting together recordings, all done in slooooow time. I'll start with a live performance, punch in where I want, then most of my time is spent in editing the data, making multiple passes at the recording, drawing in controllers I can't record otherwise - etc. It's all about editing for me, and that's why the particular challenges of using The Strad never bothered me much. I slice the heads off those velocities, or boost them as needed.
It's indeed a very different thing, to primarily play these instruments in real time, compared to slowly assembling and editing data into a performance to record.