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Topic: Notturno - partially orchestrated

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  1. #1

    Notturno - partially orchestrated

    Notturno for Wind Quartet and Strings
    http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...songID=8832656

    This is a first attempt at orchestrating my Notturno for Winds (that I never mentioned in the Listening Room) which in turn was a complete rewrite of my (now deleted) Andante Moderato for string Quartet.

    Definitely a work in progress. Too much doubling of winds and strings. Possibly the wrong combination of winds. Also, I'm still convinced I can get better string sounds out of GPO4 under Sibelius 6.1 without resorting to a sequencer. (Maybe not very good, but better than this.) So expect further changes.

    Pat

  2. #2

    Re: Notturno - partially orchestrated

    The string sound is indeed the weak point; especially faster passages need a lot of tweaking (velocity, controller movement) to come alive, and I don't know how far you can go in Sibelius (I'm a DAW user myself), but the piece itself is good. I couldn't always follow what was going on in the basses, and I found the dynamics a bit flat (or perhaps it sounded a bit crowded at points; probably the doubling you refer to), but on the whole it was interesting, with a lot of movement, and contrasts. I'd expected a notturno to be a bit slower, though; that might make the busy parts also sound calmer. Anyway, it's musically interesting. How did you write this? Did you use some kind of rule or system?
    Theo

  3. #3

    Re: Notturno - partially orchestrated

    Theo,
    Thanks for listening and commenting.

    Quote Originally Posted by FLWrd View Post
    The string sound is indeed the weak point; especially faster passages need a lot of tweaking (velocity, controller movement) to come alive, and I don't know how far you can go in Sibelius (I'm a DAW user myself), but the piece itself is good.
    I seem to specialize in poor string sounds from Sibelius - worse than other people get. Sibelius lets users insert MIDI text in the score so I should have ample control ... but there is little doc on what Sibelius is already inserting (other than note-on, note-off, and CC#1). Also, GPO doc is a bit sparse on the MIDI differences between "standard" and "notation" instruments. I haven't haven't tried much yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by FLWrd View Post
    I couldn't always follow what was going on in the basses, and I found the dynamics a bit flat (or perhaps it sounded a bit crowded at points; probably the doubling you refer to) ...
    This thing, in its current incarnation, started as a wind quartet. When I added strings I took the four wind lines and copied them into the 2 violin, viola, and 'cello lines. Then I removed a lot, changed a lot, and added the bass line. In other words, the bass line is sort of an after-the-fact add-on. It often doubles the 'cello (or bassoon), but not always. And in many places I've got pizz. bass, pizz. 'cello, and staccato bassoon in unison or octaves. The delete key may be called for.

    I cut the dynamics a bit because some of the problems I have with the string sounds are worse the louder they play. Maybe I move more toward the quiet end so the crescendos can still happen.

    Some of the crowding you refereed to may be overly busy middle voices. What was fairly clear in the wind quartet got muddied up when I added strings. More "delete" needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by FLWrd View Post
    ... I'd expected a notturno to be a bit slower, though; that might make the busy parts also sound calmer. ...
    I have trouble with names and sort of grabbed "Notturno" out of the air. I'll try it slower and see if it is better. If not, I'll try a different name.

    Pat

  4. #4

    Re: Notturno - partially orchestrated

    Quote Originally Posted by FLWrd View Post
    How did you write this? Did you use some kind of rule or system?
    In its first incarnation I pretty much wrote it straight though, not thinking of structure at all. I discovered it had (at least) 5 themes, some of which appeared only once. Not good! Some imposed a little order.

    The themes always appear in order.
    The first theme is essentially unchanged each time it appears (except in the coda). The other themes change a little.
    I go through the sequence 3 times.
    I end with a code based on the fist theme.

    Pat

  5. #5

    Re: Notturno - partially orchestrated

    Quote Originally Posted by pokeefe View Post
    but there is little doc on what Sibelius is already inserting (other than note-on, note-off, and CC#1). Also, GPO doc is a bit sparse on the MIDI differences between "standard" and "notation" instruments.
    I think the difference between notation and normal is the legato and sustain control numbers. But I've found that you need to add envelopes to all string notes to make the sound more natural, and match velocity with the speed of playing, and change the gaps between the notes and the "length" parameter sometimes for the faster passages. Sometime changing articulation can also help. It's a lot of work, and not always worth it.


    I've got pizz. bass, pizz. 'cello, and staccato bassoon in unison or octaves. The delete key may be called for.
    I had the idea the pizzicato sections could be shorter, just a few notes, and then followed by a slightly less intrusive articulation, or perhaps double only on the stressed beats, not on every one, to get a bit more space in the arrangement.

    Maybe I move more toward the quiet end so the crescendos can still happen....
    Some of the crowding you refereed to may be overly busy middle voices. What was fairly clear in the wind quartet got muddied up when I added strings. More "delete" needed.
    Or try to play with the balance between the voices, or making the outer voices more expressive, perhaps that can help focus attention. This is difficult stuff. The texture of your composition is on the complex side, with all these "tumbling" themes, so it might be worth helping the listener a bit.

    I have trouble with names and sort of grabbed "Notturno" out of the air. I'll try it slower and see if it is better. If not, I'll try a different name.
    I think it's a good name, and I can imagine this piece a bit slower. Perhaps changing the tempo can already clear up some of the denser parts. Anyway, I think you're doing great.
    Theo

  6. #6

    Re: Notturno - partially orchestrated

    Ok. A little bit slower (a very little bit), and a lot of changes in balance to de-emphasize inner themes, some changes to phrasing. Real editing will probably have to wait until I get brave enough to buy a sequencer. (Even if I can do it in Sibelius, I probably will never figure out WHAT to do unless I try it with a visual MIDI editor of some sort.)

    Pat

  7. #7

    Re: Notturno - partially orchestrated

    That's good. It could use a bit more "drama", e.g. rallentando at a few spots, or a short breath pause, but that's just details.

    When listening to it for the 2nd time, I noticed how neo-classical it sounds. Although you're no Stravinsky (at least, not yet ), it reminds me of some of his later works, like the Pulcinella suites or Dumbarton Oaks: I like the constant movement, which is actually more Baroque than classical, and it sounds systematic, so perhaps I'm just imagining too much romanticism in your composition!

    Perhaps another forum member can help explaining how to model the controller movements in Sibelius? If you want to go that way, of course...
    Theo

  8. #8

    Re: Notturno - partially orchestrated

    Quote Originally Posted by FLWrd View Post
    That's good. It could use a bit more "drama", e.g. rallentando at a few spots, or a short breath pause, but that's just details.
    I agree. For some reason I have trouble hearing where tempo changes would work ... even though I'm thoroughly bored by the constant tempo. I'll work on it. I DO know where some breath pauses would work. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Quote Originally Posted by FLWrd View Post
    ... it reminds me of some of his later works, like the Pulcinella suites or Dumbarton Oaks: I like the constant movement, ... perhaps I'm just imagining too much romanticism in your composition!
    I think you're hearing more than I put in it. I would love to claim I was using any baroque or neo-baroque composer or composition, but I was not. I had no model in mind, but if I had it would have been a romantic. As much as I love both Pulcinella (I think the whole ballet - with voice - is better than the suite) and Dumbarton Oaks, I was imagining this as a romantic period piece.

    BTW, I haven't done much about the base line except to remove a few short stretches of it.

    Pat

  9. #9

    Re: Notturno - partially orchestrated

    I've now added some variation in tempo ... perhaps a bit too much. More editing to follow.

    BTW, putting "breaths" in via Sibelius is harder than I expected if I want the score and the sound to match. It's beginning to look like I can't expect this stuff to compose itself.

    Pat

  10. #10

    Re: Notturno - partially orchestrated

    Yesterday I think wiped out the original file . I've updated the the link in the original post so that it works again but that edited link does seem to work.
    (The new link is displayed, but my browser still gets the old URL. I'm sure that makes sense to web gurus, but not to me.) I'll see if I can fix it.

    In the mean time, here's a new copy of the link:
    http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...songID=8832656

    Pat

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