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Topic: re tuning

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  1. #1

    re tuning

    I have always hated synthesizers with a passion but now I have discovered that some very nice things have been happening. A simple question - The demos I am hearing do not appear to be using the tempered scale as is usual the case. What is the principle for tuning such things as the Garritan Symphony? How is this accomplished with these programs?

  2. #2

    Re: re tuning

    Hi, aristoxenus - Thanks for the post.

    This may seem like a fine-line difference, but it really isn't - The Garritan Libraries aren't collections of Synthesizers. These are sample libraries, consisting of recordings of real-world acoustic instruments which are then looped and programmed for smooth playback from MIDI keyboards. Synthesizers, on the other hand, construct their sounds from electronic impulses and often feature sounds we wouldn't consider normal "instruments." Some programs are a hybrid between the two technologies, synthesis and sampling.

    As for your question about the tuning - why do you think the demos you've heard don't use equal temperament? I've never delved into alternate tunings, I don't think GPO gives the user the facility to change tunings - but the Garritan Steinway Piano does.

    One other thought--I'm glad you're discovering that some very nice things have developed in the software music field. These programs will never replace the majesty of an actual full orchestra, but they are invaluable tools to composers wanting to hear a semblance of what their work could sound like - and it's also possible to make recordings with these instruments which can stand on their own.

    Somebody with more savvy about tunings will hopefully see your question also and add to this.

    Randy B.

  3. #3

    Re: re tuning

    Thanks for the informative reply. It clears up my thinking. I realize that what is being done today are not really synthesizers but I am at a loss of what to call them. I have been out of music for some years and recently got dragged back into the field. I am astounded at what has been happening with electronic music.

    I hope this is the right place to post a reply.



    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Hi, aristoxenus - Thanks for the post.

    This may seem like a fine-line difference, but it really isn't - The Garritan Libraries aren't collections of Synthesizers. These are sample libraries, consisting of recordings of real-world acoustic instruments which are then looped and programmed for smooth playback from MIDI keyboards. Synthesizers, on the other hand, construct their sounds from electronic impulses and often feature sounds we wouldn't consider normal "instruments." Some programs are a hybrid between the two technologies, synthesis and sampling.

    As for your question about the tuning - why do you think the demos you've heard don't use equal temperament? I've never delved into alternate tunings, I don't think GPO gives the user the facility to change tunings - but the Garritan Steinway Piano does.

    One other thought--I'm glad you're discovering that some very nice things have developed in the software music field. These programs will never replace the majesty of an actual full orchestra, but they are invaluable tools to composers wanting to hear a semblance of what their work could sound like - and it's also possible to make recordings with these instruments which can stand on their own.

    Somebody with more savvy about tunings will hopefully see your question also and add to this.

    Randy B.

  4. #4

    Re: re tuning

    Good to hear from you again, aristoxenus - Thanks for the reply.

    This tech page you're on is a perfectly good place to post this.

    I think it's great that you're re-entering the music field, and that your previous dislike for "computer music" is changing. These tools we now have really can be used to our great advantage, whether we're wanting to record audio demos of our work, or create professional quality scores for printing, wanting to collaborate online with other musicians - The possibilities go on and on.

    "Samplers" - that designation is even a bit outmoded now. That originally was used to describe the hardware machines which could record and playback samples. Now most software "samplers" are really sample playback engines. There are various brands - currently most of the Garritan instruments are played inside the "shell" made by Native Instruments, their Kontakt series of sample players. Gary Garritan is now in the process of moving his libraries of instruments into a new sample player called Aria - an engine his company had a direct hand in creating, so he'll have better control over his software.

    There's a lot online to look up at Forums like this, through Google of course- to help get you up to speed.

    The basic concept is actually fairly simple. Here's the typical set up of a musician using a computer to write and record music:

    --A "sequencer," which is part of a digital audio work station. Wikipedia helpfully capsulizes it like this, "...The term "DAW" simply refers to a general combination of audio multitrack software and high-quality audio hardware..."

    --Inside that program, often referred to as the DAW (even though as per the above, the DAW more accurately refers to both the hardware - the computer, and the software program) - inside that the composer/musician loads "software synths" which come in a dizzying array of types, including the Garritan orchestral sample collections.

    --With a MIDI keyboard communicating with the computer via a MIDI adapter (now most commonly included with external digital audio interfaces)---the musician plays the software synths and records the tracks inside the sequencer.

    ---The generated MIDI data is simply data which has most often been described as the digital equivalent of the old piano rolls. The data is information telling the program what notes to play, how long to hold them, how loudly to play them.

    ---Compositions are layered with many tracks of this MIDI data, each track playing the various instruments needed for the piece.

    --Inside that same recording software, the user can also produce mix-downs of his work as recordings which can be played online or burned to CD.

    --The alternate way of working is inside a notation program such as Sibelius or Finale. People who use these programs primarily are more concerned with having accurate hard copy scores. They can use a MIDI keyboard to input notes, but more commonly do that by hand, inserting notes one by one with a mouse. Musicians working this way tend to be more academically oriented, and prefer seeing how their notes are interacting on staves, as compared to the sequencer oriented musicians who work more by ear.

    AND SO on!

    Naturally there's an investment of time and money involved to get yourself started. The best programs for recording and for notation average around $500. And then of course there's the high powered computer you'll need, perhaps a MIDI keyboard, a digital audio interface (external sound card) - and instruments to play.

    I can at least tell you without hesitation that you will not be able to find a better "bang for your buck" when it comes to software instruments than the Garritan Libraries. Inexpensive but excellent sounding instruments with which you can develop any genre of music you would care to name.

    Hope you get thoroughly bitten by the music bug and plunge in!

    Randy B.

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