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Topic: Need expert advice with woodwind

  1. #1

    Need expert advice with woodwind

    Hi there,

    I'm brand new to orchestral composing. I still have the new car smell, and I'm struggling with it. I've gone through much of the Principles course, and I'm reading a few other books, but since I'm teaching myself its all pretty dull unless I write my own stuff and try to apply the principles I've learned there.

    I wrote a short solo for Duduk. I don't have a good ear so for improvising and composing I split my keyboard up like this: Synth String section on the left, and melodic instrument on the right. Thats how I came up with this piece


    I use East West's Duduk and I love thesoundbut you'll notice that while it sounds really pretty in its low to mid register it sounds kind of nasty up high. I liked the melody as it was, and refused to change either the melody or the instrument to clarinet which can handle that upper register much better. I felt that if flutes, opera singers etc can be so piercing in the upper range, yet beautiful, then there must be a composing technique to fix that.

    So I replaced the synth strings with the various Garritan string sections, and added some new sections to the piece. I'm new to string arranging, but I gave it my best shot.

    Here's the work where it now stands.


    As you can see I still couldn't get rid of that sound in the high register. I even tried doubling it with a second duduk playing an octave lower to try and help, but it seems it might have made it worse. It now has a kind of organ quality to it!


    I don't want to rewrite the melody so as to not use that high in the register, or change to a different instrument as that would feel like giving up. What do you suggest for this freshman composer?

  2. #2

    Re: Need expert advice with woodwind

    Hi Kentrel,

    Welcome to the world of writing with samples (and welcome to Northern Sounds!). Sometimes it has nothing to do with the line but the samples you have playing them and all orchestration will do is mask it or muddy it. The EW Duduk is great for many lines, but as you see abrupt changes in pitch might result in a change in the tonal qualities of the instrument that you would not encounter with a live player.

    Without reshaping the line there are some strategies you can try:
    1.) Processing- EQ and multiband compression can often go a long way to squish out offending frequencies and make them less harsh. Here's a post by Dan Kury that quickly describes the essence of multiband compression:

    2.) Use a different sample set. I'm not sure if you're using the Duduk from EW Silk or RA, but you can try the one in the other package. Alternatively, Bela D Media has a several well-regarded Duduks as part of their Anthology series.

    Many of the EW users are not frequenters of this board anymore. I would also post this or a similar question at the EW forum. There may be composers who are aware of further workarounds for this partiular Duduk's sample quirks.


  3. #3

    Re: Need expert advice with woodwind

    Here's the finished piece. I've done the best I could, and I'm happy with it for now. Its got some positive comments from all the musicians I've showed it to so far, though my girlfriend hated it, lol.


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