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Topic: A simple string quartet theme...

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  1. #1

    A simple string quartet theme...

    Hi friends,

    long time since I last posted some music in here. Too many other things keeping me busy and finally, my whole system crashed. Screw it, thanks to my local Dell dealer, I am back online and GPO is steaming...at least I try to make it steam. Seems as if I am a little bit "rusted" as sound and atmosphere won't find the way to my music, so far.

    Would you mind listening to this short tune of just a String Quartet setting and let me know what you think.

    http://www.windsor-rocks.de/Songs/MKI_Quartet2009.mp3

    I also find it extremely difficult to select the matching and proper "style of playing", meaning the downbows, trills, pizz and stuff, located below the lowest notes.

    I would also like to know how you use them. Do you change the playing style within one track or do you record individual tracks of the same instrument and then crossfade the single tracks?

    I know the track is nothing special, but let's say it's a preliminary mixdown of something bigger. I usually start with a quartet or quintet setting and then extract more tracks to get a full orchestra.

    Yours
    Ray

    Thanks for your comments.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ...life is for living and living is free!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: A simple string quartet theme...

    I enjoyed your little theme. I'm not the greatest at getting things to sound realistic let alone helping others do so, but I'll try.

    I think a little more work with the dynamics and balance (I'd like to hear a little more viola) would help. Use the mod wheel to make the lines swoop and sing.

    Using solo instruments I usually just use one keyswitch instrument for each part.
    Quote Originally Posted by RayWindsor View Post

    I also find it extremely difficult to select the matching and proper "style of playing", meaning the downbows, trills, pizz and stuff, located below the lowest notes.
    I'm assuming you mean using the key switches looking at the piano roll view in a sequencer. If I don't know where the key switches are, I play around with it until I find them. Once found, switching techniques is easy. I've never tried doing them live, but again, once you find them, switch should be easy.

    I'm not sure if I answered any of your questions or not. I hope somebody who's better than me can help out.

    Anyway, nice start.
    Trent P. McDonald

  3. #3

    Re: A simple string quartet theme...

    Hello, Ray - Good to hear from you.

    Trent did a an excellent job of speaking to the issues that came up for me as I listened to your lovely piece. It's the dynamics--the fluctuations of volume, which are most needed in this. There's a static quality to the notes throughout, as if you haven't used the good ol mod wheel (CC#1) in your rendering.

    From reading your post, I feel you're over-thinking things too much. Yes, there are articulations to choose from, the most dramatically contrasting ones being Pizzacato, Arco and the mutes - But keep in mind that a great deal of subtle variation that we can put into projects turns out to be just that - too subtle for much audible difference. The key really is in how you modulate and shape the notes you play, no matter which articulation you're using.

    I'm not sure what kind of software you're using- I use Sonar, and if I am uncertain of where the keyswitches are, I just take a quick look at the KP2 interface - I strike keys on my MIDI keyboard, see where I am as the virtual keyboard reacts, and easily find where I should be aiming.

    A bit more reverb, more attention to velocity values and CC1 use, and your piece would be even better served.

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: A simple string quartet theme...

    HI friends,

    thanks for your replies! You got me wrong... hm... let me scratch my german head and think about how to transmit my question...

    I clearly know where the keyswitches are. No problem with that. My "problem" is how to use them... On the one hand it's "when do I use which"... wanted to hear things like "I use the trills for creating tension and thrill"... and so on.

    Another thing is: Do you have just ONE MIDI track and you switch within this track, or do you create one track with standard style of playing, one track with only trills, one with legate, whatever and then crossfade them in the audio world back to one track. Somebody told me that this is common practise, although this sounds quite complicated to me.

    Got it?

    Yours
    Ray
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ...life is for living and living is free!

  5. #5

    Re: A simple string quartet theme...

    I believe that to write convincing music for any instrumental ensemble, you have to write it as though it were going to be performed BY that ensemble.

    This is part of the magic of GPO. It actually allows you you to do so in most instances.

    I would, to be quite honest, avoid the "one articulation per track" approach if I were you. Musicians don't approach music that way. Remember that a violinist switches from one technique to another in a physical manner. Meaning, the musician often needs time to change bow position, or hand position, or to add a mute or remove one.

    If you simply hop from one track to another, each one with its "effect" then you are in effect bypassing the PHYSICAL act which the musician would normally go through. You need to think of each effect as an actual, live "gesture" which is posed by each musician.

    Effective music for instruments is written as though the actual instrument is required to perform it.

    As far as I'm concerned, there is no answer to your "which articulation for which effect" question. Trills, for example, are not necessarily "tension". They can also be "shimmering light", they can be "density", they can be so many things.

    These are the sorts of musical decisions which are entirely in your hands, you as the composer. You are the creator, you are the decider. I would highly recommend you not pigeon-hole effects in the manner you appear to be suggesting.

  6. #6
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    Re: A simple string quartet theme...

    Hi Ray,

    Here is a view from another German head. I think your music is really nice. In my view, there should be no fluctuation or only most modest fluctuations of volume introduced. This is a string quartet - chamber music.

    I think some phrases do not sound complete. The monotony of the music could be broken up by not having all instruments play all the time and by having sections of the music interposed by other short motives. This however may change your intention and change the character of the music.

    The best way to find inspiration on instrument use is to go to concerts. As to how you apply key switching is a matter of personal preference. With lots of staves in the score and many key switched instruments, I think it is better to key switch each instrument in its staff, with an annotation about each key switch for clarity. This way you reduce the size of the score, assuming that you use notation.

    Best wishes,

    Herbert
    GPO, JABB, CMB, GWI, GOFRILLER, HALION PLAYER, ACCORDIONS by E Tarilonte
    Cubase 6, Notation Composer, VSTHost, GoldWave audio editor.

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  7. #7

    Exclamation Re: A simple string quartet theme...

    Ok, great folks... I've reworked it a little bit... deleted some parts for the 2nd violin and added more modulation to all tracks as well as a classical ritardando at the end...like it?

    http://www.windsor-rocks.de/Songs/MK...tet2009_V2.mp3

    The middle chorus is already in my head and about to come soon...if you want to...

    See you
    Ray
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ...life is for living and living is free!

  8. #8
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    Re: A simple string quartet theme...

    Hi Ray,

    This is a more polished version. Let us hear more as you advance with your simple string quartet theme.

    gccowboy’s advice is good.


    Herbert
    GPO, JABB, CMB, GWI, GOFRILLER, HALION PLAYER, ACCORDIONS by E Tarilonte
    Cubase 6, Notation Composer, VSTHost, GoldWave audio editor.

    Interests:
    Good Food, Gemütlichkeit, Wein Weib und Gesang – History, Politics, Civil Law –
    Electronics, Software Development, Physics – Plant Physiology, Creative Horticulture –
    Photography, Painting, Wood Working - Midi Orchestration, Music, Music, und Musik …

  9. #9

    Re: A simple string quartet theme...

    Hello again, Ray - It's great to see you working away at your piece!

    This new recording is more successful, and for me it is so because I can hear the slight variations in volume which give more believability to the instruments. It still flows in the constant stream you have in mind for this piece, but is breathing a bit more naturally. I'm sure you can hear that effect--you did the editing! The ritard at the end is a big improvement.

    I feel there are moments of awkwardness in the transitional measures and is probably what Herbert was referring to on this thread when he said that some phrases don't sound complete.

    And I join with Michel in recommending that you do Not use the "one track for each articulation" method. One track--use those keyswitches.

    Thanks for being here.

    Randy

  10. #10
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    Re: A simple string quartet theme...

    Hi,

    Ray originally asked:

    “Do you change the playing style within one track or do you record individual tracks of the same instrument and then crossfade the single tracks?”

    I understand this to be a question about the efficiency of use of the music software. I have used both methods, but have never run into any problem with either. Using only one staff (track) for an instrument and use key switches within that staff would be more efficient in computer use, but have fewer possibilities than the other method.
    Michel advises on the musical aspect of key changes. I do agree with Michel.

    Herbert
    GPO, JABB, CMB, GWI, GOFRILLER, HALION PLAYER, ACCORDIONS by E Tarilonte
    Cubase 6, Notation Composer, VSTHost, GoldWave audio editor.

    Interests:
    Good Food, Gemütlichkeit, Wein Weib und Gesang – History, Politics, Civil Law –
    Electronics, Software Development, Physics – Plant Physiology, Creative Horticulture –
    Photography, Painting, Wood Working - Midi Orchestration, Music, Music, und Musik …

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