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Topic: Beginner Question about entering parts.

  1. #1

    Beginner Question about entering parts.

    I am trying to understand the best way to use the Garritan Library. I use Sonar X1. I enter parts in staff view. I am wondering to what level of detail parts are entered. For example, I put all violins on one track and all Violas on another. I use the section patches. I also see in GPO 4 that there are solo patches for Violin 1, 2 and 3. Do people actually record, rather than write in with notation software, say 8 separate tracks for first violins and 6 separate tracks for second violins to recreate a small orchestra. I don't know if this makes any sense or not. I appreciate any experience that can be shared.

  2. #2

    Re: Beginner Question about entering parts.

    Hi Richard,

    Sounds like you've got it sorted. It really depends on how much detail you want. Generally I'll load up the sectional patches (vl 1, 2, vlas, cello, db, all on seperate tracks), then sometimes I might create a whole bunch of tracks to create a smaller string section - and then you can just alternate between it, and blend as you need to. Some parts you might want to have the sectionals playing and a few solo strings on different tracks playing the same lines with different timings etc so it sounds more natural, or maybe in a quieter section you just have all the solo bits playing, or maybe the sectionals playing at a lower volume with the solo strings coming above, etc etc.

    Personally I notate everything, copy and paste duplicate lines, and then just drag notes around a bit in the piano roll to make it a bit more imperfect/realistic, but recording the parts track by track, including all the solo parts is also very common..Whatever works best for you is the way to go. Keep in mind if you do any copy pasting, it should only be for notes - not timings and velocity etc. You will want to go and re-create a new performance for that line in the piano roll by shifting the notes around, changing the velocities, editing the cc data...overlapping notes, depending on how far you want to get into it.

    As a side note, how are you getting on with X1's staff view? I tried the demo and found it to be completely un-usable because nothing snaps correctly and the snap settings for the staff are universal, not done by musical values...Wondering how it works for you, maybe they've released an update since the demo I tried...I decided not to upgrade.


  3. #3

    Re: Beginner Question about entering parts.

    Hi Richard,
    welcome to the forum!

    I would like to share how I do my music with Garritan samples, and maybe it will shed some light on what is important.

    I don't know hardly anything about notation software, but I do know,... that proper notation must have a time signature so that it can create measures with proper places for you to enter your notes with regard to beat one ee and a two ee, and a three ee and a four ee etc.

    It is impossible for a sequencing or notation program to produce what we humans can if we play the parts in on some type of midi controller device, whether it be a midi keyboard or something like an Akai EWI. When you play the violins' part on a midi keyboard, you absolutely should not be playing with a click. And you should not be playing chords, You should be playing lines with one note at a time, just like the first violins would be playing from their printed score. The overall tempo should be in your head (soul). Once you have all the notes for first violins recorded, use your sequencer's piano roll view (I think you said Sonar) to correct any wrong notes, then meticulously nudge forward or backwards any of the notes that hit too early or too late, relative to good time. Never quantize! Of course your rubato will be played in real time since you are playing with the same emotion and feeling that you would direct the piece if it were being played by real musicians. Once you are happy with the first violins, human logic says... "OK now let's play the second violin part.... heck let's copy and paste, that way we don't have to play most of this part again. WRONG!!!!!!! Play the second violins part just like you played the vlns 1 part, (in real time) except this time you have 1st vlns to lead the way.
    Again, once you have all the notes for second violins recorded, use your sequencer's piano roll view to correct any wrong notes, then meticulously nudge forward or backwards any of the notes that hit too early or too late, relative to good time. It is perfectly normal for these two parts to have notes that don't hit precisely together. We don't want that "computer" perfectness. We also don't want so much sloppiness that our end product sounds like high school players. Not that there's anything wrong with high school musicians,... I look forward to your letters

    Progress your way through all the string parts, then work on woodwinds (ONE AT A TIME... NO CHORDS)
    Then percussion, of course you can record any of these parts in any order you want, but it is logical (to me) to record strings first since most orchestral pieces are more heavily supported by the strings as opposed to heavy brass or woodwinds, but of course this is just MY general preference for the order of recording. Once all the string section parts are finished you can use a few solo instruments to add into the mix to insinuate concert master etc.

    It is imperative to understand how to use the mod-wheel for Garritan sounds. The mod-wheel (cc1) is used to create expressive dynamic crescendos and decrescendos, not volume (cc7). For wind and brass instruments,... increasing the mod-wheel would be the same as blowing harder into the instrument, for strings, the mod-wheel will simulate bow pressure (loudness). The mod-wheel has no affect for instruments that are hit or struck like piano and other percussive instruments, instead, the velocity of each midi note determines the volume and overall harshness of sound.

    NOTE: Instruments like strings, winds and brass are not only affected by the mod-wheel, but the velocity also affects the sound of the initial attack of each note. To create a convincing legato phrase, use the "Auto-Legato" feature in the ARIA player for the specific instrument/s. ARIA's "Auto-Legato" feature will automatically eliminate the punchy "attack" sound of any notes that are connected (overlapping) in any given legato phrase.

    Brother I said too much.

    Following these guidelines accurately can help you to make an audible recording of your music that will be presentable as a decent "midi mock-up". The sequencing project that you create will be useless to create an accurate score from. To create an accurate score, you will need a notation program like Finale, Sibelius etc. If you use notation to create your score, and then use that midi file to import into a sequencer, you will completely throw out the human feeling that could have been captured by playing all the notes in real time.

    Now, if a notation program will allow you to play in the parts in real time, and without a click reference, that's great. But your human emotion will be thrown away once you click "quantize".


  4. #4

    Re: Beginner Question about entering parts.

    Thank you so much Dan. This is exactly the information I was looking for. I have been writing in the parts in a notation environment (staff view in Sonar). Unfortunately I can not afford a great notation program. Now I understand that I have to write the piece and then play the individual parts in from the score to get the best rendition. Scary thought to play without a click but I understand. Thanks again.

  5. #5

    Re: Beginner Question about entering parts.

    Brother I said too much.

    Not for me!
    I'd agree with Richard and add, some of these things I already knew
    (ie don't play chords) but there's a lot of detailed info there that explains why my compositions don't sound near as realistic as others here.
    Thanks very much Dan,
    EDIT: I went to your site and heard evidence of what I was trying to say above.
    I'm amazed that all of that came from Garritan libs.
    the solo violin in Meditation from Thais and Young Frankenstein must be from the now defunct Stradivari software (not GPO) right?
    BTW,Transitions in Life is beautiful bud...well done, you must have loved ol' Sparky very much.

  6. #6
    Senior Member caher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Re: Beginner Question about entering parts.


    Thanks so much for your excellent description of your creative process! Although there are many different ways for the creative process to work, yours resonates with me at the gut level.

    On the Finale forum, discussing rhythmic precision of musicians, I posted the following:

    While real musicians work hard at rhythmic precision, in reality this is never actually achieved and we probably wouldn't like the result if it was. If you take a recording of a real musician and import it into a DAW and then try to match each beat with the metronome function you will see that imprecision very clearly. There are subtle shifts in the rhythm and attacks on practically every note. Some of these are very small and probably random but others are probably intentional, either on the conscious or sub-conscious level, to make the music live and breath.

    The usual example used to demonstrate this is Marty Robbins recording of "The Streets of Laredo" but if you do the same exercise with Arthur Rubenstein's exquisite recording of Mozart K511 (one of my personal favorites) you will see the same thing.

    In other words, click tracks SUCK!

    Specifically they suck the life out of music, IMO.

    The random offsets of attacks and pitch by libraries are attempts to emulate what musicians do naturally. They work OK for mitigating the organ effect but they don't replace real musicians performing.

  7. #7

    Re: Beginner Question about entering parts.

    Hi, Richard - I bet you're glad you used my suggestion of posting some questions here in General Discussion---I mean, wow--look at these detailed, great replies you got! Really some excellent advice and comments from Chris Hurn, Dpdan and Chris "caher." Lots to experiment with!

    On your thread in The Listening Room, you said, "...I know there is a Humanize CAL which I should have used. I tried experimenting with CC1 but I guess I just don't have a firm enough understanding of how real players naturally fluctuate in volume and how that would be recreated using the Garritan Library and CC1..."

    As you can gather from the input you've gotten on this thread, that Humanize CAL script isn't something that would come highly recommended. It can be useful if you've managed to come up with an overly perfect part, but it's just a dumb randomizing plug-in that can't make any kind of musically intelligent choices when it messes up the timing of your notes. It just randomly shifts the start times - with some human intervention it can help, but really is something to grab only when you're stuck.

    As for the second part of the quote I pulled out, about fluctuating volume, - a large part of accomplishing that relies on your imagination. As you record and work on each instrument's track, if you picture yourself playing that instrument, the violin, the trumpet, whatever it is- you can picture yourself playing that instrument and relying on your musical sense to really perform on that instrument, which is to play the volume along with the notes. You've heard a lot of music in your life - let that be your imagination's guide. And it's always helpful to pull out reference recordings, especially ones that feature solos on the instruments you're working with.--And then of course there's the over-all volume of the whole band/orchestra to work on.

    Dan sketched in so well the elements to making the most natural sounding recordings with GPO, like those heard on the GPO demo page. Playing the parts and not using a click track are key things he pointed out. When you're able to work that way, the results are the most like recordings of live orchestras. Here's some more to think about:

    --The biggest disadvantage of not using a click track is that you have no decipherable measures to work with. You might have a long piece of 10, 15 minutes or more. Working in detail can be hampered by the inability to easily go to various parts of the score. You can insert as many markers in the timeline as you want, and label them --that can help you navigate.

    But there are many people who Do work with a click track, and do that for a number of reasons: The ability to have a MIDI file which can be imported into a notation program, so they have a visual aid in the Staff View that matches the music they're working from - and simply because it makes more sense to them. These people don't quantize, wanting to keep the natural imperfection (within reason) of what they've played, but they Do want measures that make sense.

    That's where the Tempo View comes in. Don't neglect this view in Sonar (and any sequencer program) - With the snap off, you can draw a fluctuating tempo as much as you want. When you want your project to make visual sense, as I've described, you'll find that complex pieces of music need hundreds of tempo changes, both subtle and broad.

    Something else not mentioned on this thread is that one really needs to learn how to use the Piano Roll View in Sonar (or any other DAW software). That is MIDI central in a program. From there you can access all MIDI controllers, and you can make fine adjustments to notes. But usually a musician who hasn't used MIDI before will look at the PRV and not make sense of it. There's a different matrix going on in there as compared to traditional notation. I HAted the PRV when I first started using Cakewalk/Sonar - but then I stuck with it--now it's my primary work space. There's an elegant logic to it--and once you're accustomed to it, you'll love it. You can see your notes in relation to each other, and you can see their lengths - their real lengths, not theoretical lengths like in the Staff View. You can see how hard the notes were played (Velocity)--- Without understanding and using the PRV, the best of MIDI eludes the user.

    If one only uses the Staff View, inserting notes--that is automatic quantization. Start times are perfect, and note lengths are always the same. But over in the PRV, all the data relating to a note can be seen and edited. - Using either view, actually playing the notes, as Dan said, is The Key - AND keep in mind that you don't need to play long sections at a time. You can develop a way of recording just a few measures at a time, and still keep the flow of music natural sounding.

    CHRIS HURN - Need to point something out--You said, "...As a side note, how are you getting on with X1's staff view? I tried the demo and found it to be completely un-usable because nothing snaps correctly and the snap settings for the staff are universal, not done by musical values...Wondering how it works for you, maybe they've released an update since the demo I tried...I decided not to upgrade..."

    I still use the last version of Sonar, 8.5.3 - I own X1 and don't care for it. But these problems you mentioned here with the snap settings being universal were only in the earliest version of X1. That's all been changed with free updates. In fact, there's been a vast improvement since X1 was first released a year ago. I still prefer 8.5, but I wanted to point that your info on X1 is dated.

    And--wow, I've been a typin' fool!--- Thanks for starting this thread, Richard. Now - dig in and have fun testing things out more. Like everyone, you'll develop your own working methods, and they'll not match exactly the various things brought up on this thread. But you'll make informed decisions which will become what works best for You--and of course that's the only important thing.


  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    NW Illinois

    Re: Beginner Question about entering parts.

    DPDan has given you some great advice. The only item I would disagree with is the click track. You should use the click track. All the click is doing is taking the place of a conductor while you're playing. I worked as a studio musician for 25 years, we always used a click. Even with that click, as long as you're playing in the separate parts yourself, your own performance will never be as perfect as the click. There will always be human imperfections even among great players.

    Have fun.

  9. #9

    Re: Beginner Question about entering parts.

    Dang, this thread keeps getting better and better ...thanks guys!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Ellendale, ND

    Re: Beginner Question about entering parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by GRB53 View Post
    Dang, this thread keeps getting better and better ...thanks guys!
    Okay - third try to reply:

    Thanks for all the information. I use the samples in Finale and enter all the music by mouse.

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