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Topic: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

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  1. #1

    Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    Hi all!

    I have not posted anything here for quite a while so I am finally surfacing with a piece I did almost a year ago now for piano and orchestra. (Beginning of the End) Unfortunately my job these days takes care of most of my spare time.

    FYI - This is the same post as over in the open Listening Area as my intention was to "only" post it here but I did not notice i was in the wrong forum at the time.

    So... I am using the Garritan basic Steinway piano (which is the only piano I ever use these days) plus a variety of strings and brass from a couple of different libraries. The piano is front and centre in terms of the composition so it was a challenge to figure out how and how much of the orchestra to add into the mix.

    Any suggestions, concerns with the composition, rendering and or mix are always welcome!

    Del

    http://www.mdtcommunications.com/del..._Orchestra.mp3
    Music happens to be an art form that transcends language. - Herbie Hancock

    http://www.mdtcommunications.com

  2. #2

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    I really like what you've done here. I think the orchestra could be a touch more present, and up front. I feel like the piano should be "placed" aproximately where the conductor would stand, while the strings are in their normal positions, but wrapping around the piano a bit in a semi circle. Really lovely piece you have. Reminds me a LOT of some of the Harry Potter music by Nicholas Hooper.
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  3. #3

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    It's too short! Really, I would love to see this piece developed into a longer work with contrasting sections based on the opening but with a bit more vigorous activity in later sections. This much of the work whets my appetite for more. I like it... a lot!
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  4. #4

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    Excellent mood and atmostphere. The piano sounds great. I see what you mean about the basic version. Does sound better than the GPO bundled one.

    You're almost there with the strings, there just seems to be a little 'hop' when the trem changes pitch - and there is I think a little bit of fuzziness in the strings when they are playing.

    It reminds me of soundtrack style pieces. The piano being front and centre here is the right choice. It's a piano piece, with background orchestra for support.

    Cheers
    Graham
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  5. #5

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael135 View Post
    I really like what you've done here. I think the orchestra could be a touch more present, and up front. I feel like the piano should be "placed" aproximately where the conductor would stand, while the strings are in their normal positions, but wrapping around the piano a bit in a semi circle. Really lovely piece you have. Reminds me a LOT of some of the Harry Potter music by Nicholas Hooper.
    Hi - Thanks for your kind words. When I first started to do this piece (piano came first and then the orchestra) I "gradually" built up the presence of the orchestra so I find it interested that you feel it should come out more. (food for thought) We lose our objectivity so fast doing this stuff. I also found that it depends greatly on how you are listening to this - and at what volume. (headphones or speakers) With headphones (you don't miss much assuming they are good quality) at a loud but comfortable level (I listen as loud as possible to get the full effect of the music but it has to be "comfortable" - especially with piano. Like i am there in the room. I also found that playing the piece with speakers, the orchestra tends to get lost more easily (the piano sticks out more except at the lower registers) An interesting analogy about all this is when we post a piece to this forum we have no idea how everyone is listening to it. Most people probably don't equalize their systems (people listen on good speakers, really bad speakers, and the same goes for headphones. It is sort of like sending a video signal to 100 different TV sets. They all look different!

    Almost forgot - I only watched the very early Potter movies when my kids were younger so I cannot say that I am familiar with Hooper's work. Maybe he has been influenced by my work. Kidding! (I wish!!) I am just grateful to be mentioned in the same sentence as him.

    Del
    Music happens to be an art form that transcends language. - Herbie Hancock

    http://www.mdtcommunications.com

  6. #6

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    Hello, Del - Well it's certainly been too long since you've posted. Sorry your life's schedule is keeping you from your music. --Work late at night! Who needs sleep anyway?

    This is an effectively melancholic piece, with a gently ominous layer to it also. Such a dramatic title!--visions of death? or of the world's end?

    That piano has a very extreme stereo field, so it's the player's perspective. That kind of stereo spread is only possible when sitting at the bench. That's probably fine with you, since it's a recording your producing, and I don't think the sonic limitations of real life need to hamper what we do in recordings. Just pointing it out as something to consider - because at times you may want to create more of the impression of a piano on stage, in which case a piano's sound becomes almost monophonic. When I need to tame a wide stereo spread on a piano like that, I use Sonar's Channel Tool which narrows a stereo image easily.

    You said we lose perspective on our own work, and of course that's true, but ultimately, we're still the experts on what we're doing, so input needs to always be measured carefully.

    That being said, I want to say that I find the orchestral layer to be plenty loud, I don't think it would sound as good as this, with the piano nicely soloed, if the strings were any louder.

    Thanks much for the chance to hear this!

    Randy

  7. #7

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    This is great. I really like the piano with the strings gently coming through in the backgroud - building up then going down again. Really nice work, thanks for sharing.

  8. #8

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    Hi Del,

    Wonderful melancholy mood you've evoked here!

    I agree with the other posters. The piano sounds great and you've paced the development well. I also agree with Randy's comment about the stereo field. I've listened to it on cans and monitors and it's too wide compared with the orchestra. Fares much better on the nearfields than headphones though. Given the sparsity of the orchestra backing I think a little bit of narrowing would go a long way.

    Strings around 1:32 cut off way too fast, they need a decrescendo or release tail (or more reverb). I'd also knock the tuning on them up a couple of cents as they sound flat relative to the piano. The muted horns will also benefit from a little reverb.

    Have you got a master verb on everything to gel it together? I would recommend adding one or increasing its presence. Give it a nice long tail, and I suspect you could add a cool "close but distant" quality to the sound.

    All the best,
    Reegs

  9. #9

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    Quote Originally Posted by bionicbub View Post
    It's too short! Really, I would love to see this piece developed into a longer work with contrasting sections based on the opening but with a bit more vigorous activity in later sections. This much of the work whets my appetite for more. I like it... a lot!
    Hi BionicBub - Thanks for your encouragement and concerns. I used to write even shorter pieces - still do sometimes. I "sometimes" don't like pieces that are too long (mine included) but I understand what you mean and I actually agree. Sometimes the length gets determined by the fact that I have said all that i want to in a piece and other times it is a matter of time - mostly the latter. Thanks for taking the time to listen!

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End
    Excellent mood and atmostphere. The piano sounds great. I see what you mean about the basic version. Does sound better than the GPO bundled one.

    You're almost there with the strings, there just seems to be a little 'hop' when the trem changes pitch - and there is I think a little bit of fuzziness in the strings when they are playing.

    It reminds me of soundtrack style pieces. The piano being front and centre here is the right choice. It's a piano piece, with background orchestra for support.

    Cheers
    Graham
    Graham
    When the piano is up front and centre you need a piano that sounds good. I will eventually move up to the full version of the Garritan Steinway as it has the soft pedal and a more complete sample set not to mention the different mic positions. But you can't go wrong with the basic version. I got it when it was only 100.00 too (intro pricing) As I said, I need all the help I can get as I cannot practise all the time. Thanks for the heads up about the hop and fuzziness. When you compose, add instruments and then mix it, it adds up to too many times having to listen to it. After a while you just don't hear things as they become part of the piece. Like that noise that your car makes that starts very gradually and you don't see it coming until it's too late. Times like this i wish we could reboot our brains for that added objectivity! Thanks for taking the time to listen!

    Hello, Del - Well it's certainly been too long since you've posted. Sorry your life's schedule is keeping you from your music. --Work late at night! Who needs sleep anyway?

    This is an effectively melancholic piece, with a gently ominous layer to it also. Such a dramatic title!--visions of death? or of the world's end?

    That piano has a very extreme stereo field, so it's the player's perspective. That kind of stereo spread is only possible when sitting at the bench. That's probably fine with you, since it's a recording your producing, and I don't think the sonic limitations of real life need to hamper what we do in recordings. Just pointing it out as something to consider - because at times you may want to create more of the impression of a piano on stage, in which case a piano's sound becomes almost monophonic. When I need to tame a wide stereo spread on a piano like that, I use Sonar's Channel Tool which narrows a stereo image easily.

    You said we lose perspective on our own work, and of course that's true, but ultimately, we're still the experts on what we're doing, so input needs to always be measured carefully.

    That being said, I want to say that I find the orchestral layer to be plenty loud, I don't think it would sound as good as this, with the piano nicely soloed, if the strings were any louder.

    Thanks much for the chance to hear this!

    Randy
    Randy
    Good to hear from you too! With me, I find trying to play music late at night when I am slowly getting tired ends up in frustration as what I think is really good late at night turns out to be mediocre in the morning. Your observation of the title was apt but not quite as serious. I wrote it around the end of a special relationship with a woman that I had to end as we wanted different things.

    Thanks for your perspective on the strings etc and for taking the time to listen of course. The wide spread is probably contributed by a plug-in that sometimes gets copied into new pieces from a different one (to avoid having to set everything up instrument by instrument.) I need to pay more attention to that. Your 4 cents is always appreciated!
    Music happens to be an art form that transcends language. - Herbie Hancock

    http://www.mdtcommunications.com

  10. #10

    Re: Garritan Steinway and Orchestra - Beginning of the End

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisHurn View Post
    This is great. I really like the piano with the strings gently coming through in the backgroud - building up then going down again. Really nice work, thanks for sharing.
    Chris - sry i am a bit late with my replies - appreciate the listen - love your music BTW!

    Hi Del,

    Wonderful melancholy mood you've evoked here!

    I agree with the other posters. The piano sounds great and you've paced the development well. I also agree with Randy's comment about the stereo field. I've listened to it on cans and monitors and it's too wide compared with the orchestra. Fares much better on the nearfields than headphones though. Given the sparsity of the orchestra backing I think a little bit of narrowing would go a long way.

    Strings around 1:32 cut off way too fast, they need a decrescendo or release tail (or more reverb). I'd also knock the tuning on them up a couple of cents as they sound flat relative to the piano. The muted horns will also benefit from a little reverb.

    Have you got a master verb on everything to gel it together? I would recommend adding one or increasing its presence. Give it a nice long tail, and I suspect you could add a cool "close but distant" quality to the sound.

    All the best,
    Reegs
    Reegs Thanks for all your input and concerns. This attention to detail is important. I wish I had a better monitoring situation as most of the time I end up using cans as to not to disturb others. I use the plugin Canz3D for headphone monitoring but I sometimes forget to turn it on or off. (another similar plugin is Red Monitor?) It tries to emulate the spread of monitors when you have to mix with headphones.

    I generally do use a "master" convolution reverb on this type of thing as it saves time and CPU energy. You have given me some food for thought!

    Del
    Music happens to be an art form that transcends language. - Herbie Hancock

    http://www.mdtcommunications.com

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