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Topic: A short piece for British Brass Band

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  1. #1
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    A short piece for British Brass Band

    A simple "Verse" & "Chorus" featuring the Garritan Concert & Marching Band library (using the instruments that appear in the British band).
    I first wrote the "Chorus" part some 15 or so years ago on my old SY85. The "Verse" part was added in Sonar, using the C & MB library during the Christmas/New Year holidays last year 2007/8! It appears here as a kind of Euphonium/Cornet duet.
    I just got round to splicing them together into what I hope is a homogenous offering. I've used my laptop for this one - nothing special - and in fact I am aware of a bit of crackling here and there which only appears in the rendered version. Probably down to the CPU struggling somewhat!
    Those who heard my rendering of "Smilin' Through' some time ago will not be surprised at the vibrato used - it's a feature of the British Band sound - not everyone likes it - but I've tried to make it sound authentic.

    It's an old fashioned type of piece - unashamedly sentimental, and for want of a better title I've called it Serenade

    Best wishes,

    John

  2. #2
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: A short piece for British Brass Band

    I remember your british band music. They play with vibrato. It's rather strange but beautiful to listen to.

    It sounds very sentimental which is nice.

    Jolly good music I must say.



    Phil

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    Re: A short piece for British Brass Band

    Quote Originally Posted by fastlane View Post
    I remember your british band music. They play with vibrato. It's rather strange but beautiful to listen to.

    It sounds very sentimental which is nice.

    Jolly good music I must say.



    Phil
    Thanks for listening Phil, and for the nice comment.

    Regards,

    John

  4. #4
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: A short piece for British Brass Band

    Hi, I enjoyed the serenade. I have a couple CDs by the Black Dyke Mills Band and really like some of the beautiful cornet sounds on it. I like the horns featured in your piece. Thanks for the lovely "Serenade". John

  5. #5

    Re: A short piece for British Brass Band

    Greetings, John "MisterSynth" -!

    I remember your previous British Brass Band piece, and the discussion about the English use of vibrato which is a bit alien to us Yanks--Yes indeed, that was a fun piece you posted back then, and it was an interesting discussion.

    I simply adored your "Serenade." Whenever a piece of any genre goes for the gusto and plunges in unabashedly, it's to be admired. And I think that regardless of their usual listening habits, most all musicians can enjoy a good dose of sentimentality now and then. It's wonderful, the old-fashioned mood you've captured so well.

    I want to point out something which may help in future efforts with CMB - The group instruments when used in combination can accumulate into a bit of an organ-like effect, and that happens a bit in your recording. The solution is a bit tedious, but worth the effort - The on-set of notes needs to be staggered slightly, avoiding the identical swelling effect which results in that organ-like sound.

    As for the vibrato, I know you took pains to make it authentic to the British sound, but the effect seems to be that all the instruments are in synchronization to the same vibrato rate. Almost as if the entire master file was put through a vibrato effect unit which is effecting everything in one global way. Sorry, but it seems at least a bit like that.

    I remember my first effort with CMB, and the feedback I got was that people thought I'd used some sort of tremolo effect on part of the track, when I hadn't - it was an artifact of the aforementioned problem of needing to stagger the On events more which produced an unintentional vibrato or temolo effect on passages with 16th notes.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the composition and the arrangement. There are always technical things to work on, so felt I could mention them.

    Thank you very much for this post!

    Randy B.

  6. #6
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    Re: A short piece for British Brass Band

    I enjoyed your Serenade, John.
    The test of any piece is made if your mind is still playing the melody while you write. It is!

    Gary

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    Re: A short piece for British Brass Band

    Quote Originally Posted by bigears View Post
    Hi, I enjoyed the serenade. I have a couple CDs by the Black Dyke Mills Band and really like some of the beautiful cornet sounds on it. I like the horns featured in your piece. Thanks for the lovely "Serenade". John
    Thanks for listening John, and for the 'lovely' comment!

    Now, Black Dyke Band - they're terrific - arguably the world's best! In my capacity as a local councillor, (and being a musician), part of my remit is provide the citizens of our Borough with an annual series of high quality concerts at a price anyone can afford. Guess who does one of those concerts?... Black Dyke of course! I've got to say that even after many years of playing in numerous bands and orchestras, it's still an enormous thrill to sit in front of Black Dyke and experience the magic of their sound! They're a great bunch of people and Nick Childs, their MD is such a lovely man. We subsidise the concerts heavily and they only cost the audience £5 each. Needless to say they are a great success.
    We also have a concert by the Manchester Camerata Orchestra - a fantastic chamber orchestra based in Manchester but active throughout the North of England and nationally too - they played at the BBC Proms last year for the first time. They also do an outdoor evening concert for us in our local park each summer - they augment their numbers for that one - up to around symphony orchestra levels. I'm really priviliged to have been appointed to their Board of Directors! They can heard and read about here
    Anyway, enough of me waffling on! Many thanks once more for listening and commenting on my little brass band serenade.

    John

  8. #8
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    Re: A short piece for British Brass Band

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Greetings, John "MisterSynth" -!

    I remember your previous British Brass Band piece, and the discussion about the English use of vibrato which is a bit alien to us Yanks--Yes indeed, that was a fun piece you posted back then, and it was an interesting discussion.

    I simply adored your "Serenade." Whenever a piece of any genre goes for the gusto and plunges in unabashedly, it's to be admired. And I think that regardless of their usual listening habits, most all musicians can enjoy a good dose of sentimentality now and then. It's wonderful, the old-fashioned mood you've captured so well.

    I want to point out something which may help in future efforts with CMB - The group instruments when used in combination can accumulate into a bit of an organ-like effect, and that happens a bit in your recording. The solution is a bit tedious, but worth the effort - The on-set of notes needs to be staggered slightly, avoiding the identical swelling effect which results in that organ-like sound.

    As for the vibrato, I know you took pains to make it authentic to the British sound, but the effect seems to be that all the instruments are in synchronization to the same vibrato rate. Almost as if the entire master file was put through a vibrato effect unit which is effecting everything in one global way. Sorry, but it seems at least a bit like that.

    I remember my first effort with CMB, and the feedback I got was that people thought I'd used some sort of tremolo effect on part of the track, when I hadn't - it was an artifact of the aforementioned problem of needing to stagger the On events more which produced an unintentional vibrato or temolo effect on passages with 16th notes.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the composition and the arrangement. There are always technical things to work on, so felt I could mention them.

    Thank you very much for this post!

    Randy B.
    Hi Randy, and thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to listen and comment so comprehensively on this little tune! I really appreciate it, as I do your kind words on the nature of the piece.

    I know exactly what you mean about the organ effect. To be honest I thought I'd escaped it this time - but obviously not! The difficulty this time probably stems from the way I worked it - as I mentioned in my 'preamble' this was put together using my laptop...literally. In the living room, with a small pair of on. Hardly hifi!! I did go through it a thousand times though, tweaking nearly everything in sight.
    The whole thing was improvised into Sonar a track at a time, using a small midi keyboard rather than placed in accurately using the mouse, so the 'on - off' events are all over the place in reality. The vibrato was drawn in each instruments voice individually too (not on everything either this time i.e. there's none on many of the inner instruments. It's used mostly on the cornets and euphoniums. Apart from the outrageous practice I've just described (laptop/headphones/hustle & bustle of living room!!) the main thing which may have contributed to the synchronisation effect that you describe may well be the vibrato rate. I didn't tweak the vibrato speed in the Kontakt player - probably because, individually, the default rate is a very effective and satisfying speed. Perhaps this is where the synchronisation kicks in. I'll have to experiment with ... I think it's MIDI controller 17.
    After considering your comments about the 'identical swelling' effect, I've realised too that I haven't used the kind of dynamic range that a real band adopts. More food for thought there.
    I'll certainly have another look at it - or rather a proper studio listen to it through the proper amp and speakers!
    Given time (which always seems to be at a premium unfortunately!) I may add little bit to the piece to make it slightly more substantial, and it may be worth running it through Finale to make a playable version.
    Anyway, thanks once again for your much appreciated kind constructive comments and advice.

    Regards,

    John


    Quote Originally Posted by garymosse View Post
    I enjoyed your Serenade, John.
    The test of any piece is made if your mind is still playing the melody while you write. It is!

    Gary
    Hi Gary,

    Thank you too for listening. Thanks too for that wonderful comment. I suppose in a sense, it's the best type of compliment a person could get... for a tune that begins it's existence in one person's head to reverberate in another's - after playback has stopped - what more could I ask?!!
    Thanks.

    Regards,

    John

  9. #9

    Re: A short piece for British Brass Band

    John,
    the resident euphonium player here gives a mighty thumbs up for this melodic band piece.
    If I can negotiate a copy of the score (if one exists), I will have our brass choir (trumpets instead of cornets, french horns instead of tenors, etc) read it and perhaps perform it if the MD likes it. I will sack him if he says he doesn't. If no score exists I will prepare one for you as well as a set of parts.

    As I was playing along with it, I found myself in the key of D...it's ok for me but a better band key would be Eb or Db. I personally like Eb...in Eb the top note in the euph would be a concert C (written D)...a very good note on euph, whereas the B below it is squirrly.
    For those who don't know, brass band instruments are in Eb or Bb, so D is five sharps for the Eb instruments, four sharps for the Bb instruments.

    I didn't hear that much vibrato in the late 80s when I listened to the Yorkshire Bands and played with Aberystwyth, but other bands certainly use it.
    This is an elegant piece of brass writing...my highest compliments

    Jim
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  10. #10

    Re: A short piece for British Brass Band

    Hello again, John

    I'm glad my rambling reply went over OK. I think it's great fun what you're doing with this music, and the results really are good.

    Wow - thanks for describing how you manage to record this stuff! We all have our special home studio limitations!

    One thing in your new post caught my eye, enough that I wanted to respond again:

    "...default rate is a very effective and satisfying speed. Perhaps this is where the synchronisation kicks in. I'll have to experiment with ... I think it's MIDI controller 17..."

    AH - But that sounds like you didn't vary it amongst the instruments, so they all might be vibrating at the same speed. I thought that the defaults were a mixed bag and that wouldn't be a problem, but it is always good to use CC17 throughout to give the vibrato some humanizing variety. Worthy experiment to try messing with that.

    Basically, there seems to be a special challenge involved when using CMB. There are some wonderful samples in the Library, and used sparingly along with other Libraries it's easy enough to lend its sounds to projects, but it seems to take a lot of extra massaging when used as the primary Library. As I said before, I feel it has to do with the chorused group instruments especially.

    Thanks again for the fun music.

    Randy B.

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