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Topic: Jabb3 Brass Shakes Tutorial

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    Jabb3 Brass Shakes Tutorial

    (Lip Trills between Natural Harmonics)

    This tutorial will cover a new technique for creating brass shakes in the just-released ARIA version of Garritan Jazz and Big Band. In previous Kontakt versions of JABB the creation of shakes was one of the most difficult features to use - a very involved process of manipulating a number of simultaneous MIDI controllers. No longer. The new method is greatly simplified and is semi-automatic. While it does not automatically create shakes per se (as in, "hold a note and a recording of a shake plays back") it does remove almost all of the burden for supplying appropriate controller data to adjust various aspects of the sound to create successful shakes. The necessary data is now generated automatically when Shake Mode is turned on with a cc102 data switch. This method is considerably more flexible than static recordings of shakes. Virtually any type of shake of any interval(s) and speed can be constructed using the new method in JABB. It is still possible to do it manually (if you are a glutton for punishment) but almost everyone will, no doubt, prefer the new, easier method. At a later date I will create an additional tutorial covering the manual approach for those who are interested.

    Shake Characteristics

    I'll start by talking about the nature of brass shakes. They are most common in trumpet playing. I have included audio files to illustrate examples of common shakes behavior as the range ascends. Just sequencing the desired notes of the shake will not simulate the typical changing transitional Helmholtz resonant behavior between intervals over the range of the instrument. The primary elements that contribute to this behavior are bends introduced just before the pitch snaps to the upper or lower note of the lip trill and the fact that the harmonic series intervals become smaller as the pitch ascends (eventually becoming so close together that, for all practical purposes, they no longer lock into specific resonant nodes.) The bends are slight for lower shakes and become rather "siren-like" for the highest notes. Here are some additional general characteristics of shakes:

    1. Shakes are generally executed faster on lower notes and slower on higher notes.
    2. Shakes also tend to get slower as the interval widens because it takes a bit longer to cover the greater span of the wider interval shake.
    3. The upper note of the shake is generally somewhat softer than lower note - a small difference for narrow intervals and a larger difference for wider intervals as the embouchure compression presents more resistance.
    4. The release of the last note of a shake is often accompanied by a release "kiss" or "rip" on higher notes (usually above high concert C.) The higher the notes of the shake, the more common the release "kiss" (when a shake resides at the end of a phrase.)
    5. The interval of the shake should be consistent with the harmonic overtone series and standard practice. This is a subject that could occupy an entire separate essay so, for now, I'll assume that the user has a basic knowledge of the harmonic series behavior of brass instruments and when shakes are used in standard practice.
    Shake Simulation

    In previous versions of JABB it took note data plus five separate MIDI controllers to construct a successful shake. It also required the user to apply the appropriate values of the various controllers dependent upon the conditions of the intended shake. With the new JABB-ARIA this has been reduced to note data plus 2 controllers and all values are automatically generated based on the conditions of the shake. The new version places the shakes mode as a subset of the Auto-legato Mode.

    The controllers in the new version are as follows:

    1. Auto-legato (cc102) - acts as a switch. Mid values (e.g. 64) of cc102 will switch to shakes mode. A value of 127 will return behavior to standard Auto-legato "on" and 0 will turn Auto-legato "off."
    2. Velocity - acts as a volume "trim" for notes of the shake.
    And as supplemental controllers: cc15 = release effect (switched for falloff, doit, kiss) and cc29 = release effect level (continuous controller.)

    So, when Auto-legato is engaged it is only necessary to place a cc102 (value 64) datum just preceding the location of the first note of the shake to turn on the Shakes Mode. One cc102 (value 0) datum would then be placed just following the last note of the shake to turn off the Shakes Mode. Any notes that overlap will then generate the appropriate controller data to simulate the transitional behavior between notes of the shake for any range and interval. Velocity can be used to tweak note volume to favor the lower notes of the shake as necessary.

    One nice feature for those using a keyboard to record shakes: As with standard Auto-legato trills, the player can hold down the first note of the shake and then intermittently strike the upper note of the shake and the notes will alternate.

    Shake Simulation Audio Examples

    That's the basic information. Now, I'll give some trumpet examples using JABB Trumpet 1 Open. All note identification will be given in Bb concert. I'll first give comparisons of audio files for the playback of three shakes, first without the Shakes Mode and then with the Shakes Mode Engaged. MIDI data is otherwise identical between comparison files. As you'll hear, the transitions between notes sound very artificial without the Shakes Mode and closely resemble real shakes behavior with it engaged:

    • Here's a midi file with the data used in the above shakes: (ARIA Shakes.mid) Note: be sure to save the midi file (right click 'save as') to use in your sequencer.
    Next, I'll examine each of these.

    Simulating Shake #1 on the High C:

    Note placement, velocity, and cc102 data look like this in piano roll mode in Sonar:

    Simulating Shake #2 on the High G:

    Simulating Shake #3 on the Double High C:

    These are just three examples to give you an understanding of the Shakes Mode and a hint of the possibilities. There are many ways of choosing and manipulating the notes of the shake to accomplish custom results but the above examples should give you a good grounding in the principles.

    Tom Hopkins

  2. #2

    Re: Jabb3 Brass Shakes Tutorial

    Please update. None of these seem to work and the pictures aren't visible either. I'm using Safari 6.0.5 (latest version) on a 2.3Ghz i7 Macbook Pro.

  3. #3

    Re: Jabb3 Brass Shakes Tutorial

    Would love to see the links repaired in this tutorial. Looks like just what I need, but the links are all dead.

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