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Topic: New Piece for Concert Band

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  1. #1
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    New Piece for Concert Band

    UPDATE: Dan has posted a streaming mp3 of this piece on his website. Thank You Dan! I really appreciate your help. Scroll down to Dan's comments below to find the link.

    I have not been happy with the playback of large ensemble pieces by the audio tools in the program Finale. This is my first attempt to export sound files to Logic Pro and work with them there. I like the results much better than what I was getting before but would appreciate some help with these things.

    How can I make percussion and other instruments sound like they are near the back of the stage? How can I get better control of the loud glockenspiel and chimes passages? Some of the loud pitches are too loud but if I fade them back other notes tend to be too soft.

    The piece is for concert band but uses instruments primarily from GPO 4 and some sounds from Garritan instruments for Finale.

    Comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    To hear the piece Click this link and double click the file A Swedish Melody.m4a

    https://public.me.com/jandjnelson

    Norman Nelson

  2. #2
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    Re: New Piece for Concert Band

    Is there a way to listen to this without downloading? I tried with both Firefox and IE and I couldn't find any option except download.
    Trent P. McDonald

  3. #3

    Re: New Piece for Concert Band

    Your link took me to a website that told me that I had to buy software to listen. I don't think so.

    Make the file available in mp3 format which is a universal way to listen to music files.

    Regards,
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

  4. #4

    Re: New Piece for Concert Band

    Not everyone will have a player for 'mp4' files, and nor should they have to be downloaded. I see you're using MobileMe iDisk. Recommend you sign up for one of the free sites like http://www.box.com to upload tracks and allow us to stream them.

    It'll encourage people to listen and then help.

    In anyway, what you said about the glockenspiel and chimes - using a compressor can help but more so, the velocity settings could need adjusting in the midi version and/or perhaps there is too many more powerful instruments playing at the same time drowning out the low notes.

    You can also just adjust the volume envelope of the audio track for those instruments to drop the loud and increase the low, but I would instead try to fix at the source - velocity. Difficult to be sure without being able to listen. I started downloading the track but for some reason it was only at 20kbps...so I cancelled the download.
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  5. #5

    Re: New Piece for Concert Band

    Click HERE to listen to Norman's Swedish Melody!

    Norman, I must say that this is a beautiful piece of music!!!!

    I converted your M4A file to an MP3 and uploaded to my server for you.

    I love all the suspensions in this. WOW!

    I have really just two small recommendations, when you have those soft moments where woodwinds play, make sure you have at least two "like" instruments playing unison and make sure that one or both of them has a very slight amount of VAR 1. The instruments in Garritan's libraries are pretty accurately tuned, but the real problem is that the looping starts way too quick leaving no time for us to hear the musician locking the tune of each note. This always happens and since the tuning is so perfect with the samples those sections sound like a pipe organ. Allowing GPO to randomly alter the tuning of every note will cause some imperfection to the sound and the difference will be astounding. Not too much though. The reason libraries like GPO use looping like this is to keep the size of the library small and the same sample can be used for long notes and short notes.

    The second recommendation will fix your excessively aggressive percussion notes. Since we are dealing with samples there will always be some notes that just blast out rediculously. The best way to fix those is to simply automate the volume of those notes. A real abrupt drop in volume for the nasty note and then right back up before the next note.

    One of the nice things about Garritan Concert and Marching Band is that this imperfect tuning exists in the samples because each sample is many players, not just one. I suggest you purchase COMB if you do a lot of Concert and Marching Band music. Considering you didn't use COMB you did a fantastic job of imitating a concert band,,,, WELL DONE!!!!!

    Great piece of music,, did you write it?
    Awesome!
    Dan

  6. #6
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    Re: New Piece for Concert Band

    -Got it. Thanks Dan-

    Hi Norman. I enjoyed your Swedish Melody. I'm assuming this is a Swedish folk melody that you arranged into a concert band piece. I really like it. Sounds majestic, the way forests and hills are majestic. I can't answer your technical questions since I have trouble getting the mix right myself - Dan is your man for that...
    Trent P. McDonald

  7. #7

    Re: New Piece for Concert Band

    Hello, Norman! Warm welcomes to The Listening Room.

    I didn't have any problems downloading your piece, even though I'm on a Windows machine. I download most everything I want to hear, and have the capability to play all file types--even these pesky MP4s from Apple land. But the advice you've been given here is good, to get a Box account. Many of use that. It's a very clean way to present your music, no reduction in quality, and the listener can stream the music. - If you haven't made MP3s on your computer yet, that would be a good thing to get into for more universal compatibility.

    NOW - The text in your post prepared me for something much more modest than this. This is quite beautiful, and an Excellent arrangement. The recording is serving it pretty well too. This is exciting, to have someone like you joining in here - Thanks for stepping forward!

    I'll answer some of your questions here:

    Quote Originally Posted by jandjnelson View Post
    ...This is my first attempt to export sound files to Logic Pro and work with them there. I like the results much better than what I was getting before but would appreciate some help with these things.

    How can I make percussion and other instruments sound like they are near the back of the stage?
    The standard, conventional way of doing this is done in your program's mixer. --You'll need to look up some things in your Logic Pro manual, but what you'll be looking for is this: You want to have a Bus with a reverb plug-in in its effects slot. The audio tracks in the project then have Sends in their controls which send however much of the signal you want to that Effects Bus. Once you have those mechanics sorted out, the theory is simple enough. Reverb is creating the sound of hearing things in a real environment. The farther something away is from the listener, the more we hear that sound bouncing around in the venue before it gets to the ears. So, instruments you want to have closer to your audience, have less reverb, and the percussion in the back will have the most. You just don't want to over-do the difference between front and back.

    Quote Originally Posted by jandjnelson View Post

    How can I get better control of the loud glockenspiel and chimes passages? Some of the loud pitches are too loud but if I fade them back other notes tend to be too soft.
    Working in an audio program now brings a whole new set of things to learn. You won't want to have your tracks just playing as-is--They'll need working, massaging. As you discovered, you don't just want to set an instrument's fader lower because some notes are so loud. That will make the soft notes too soft. The percussion instruments, glock and chimes in your example - the volume for those is controlled by velocity. You can't have all those velocity values the same. The first thing to do is start working with Logic Pro's MIDI editor so you can lower the values of those loud notes. Then, if the rendered audio tracks still have moments that pop out too much, then you need to use a volume envelope to fluctuate the volume as needed throughout the track.

    --I know, too much info all at once - those are some brief replies, but they are things you'll start learning about and figuring out as you crack the Logic manual.

    Meanwhile, this is really quite an outstanding debut. I really love your arrangement.

    OH--reminds me of one other thing. - If you truly want solo woodwinds, then of course don't double them. Then layer more of the same family of instruments (Flute 1, Flute 2 etc) to have an ensemble sound when you don't intend for the results to be a solo. Again, that's really just a logical thing to do--I just wanted to make sure you didn't think that anyone meant you have to always double your instruments. And, as Dan pointed out, ARIA has a nice feature, "VAR 1" and "VAR 2" which can do subtle tuning changes in your instruments so they're not overly perfect.

    THANK YOU!
    Randy

  8. #8
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    Re: New Piece for Concert Band

    Quote Originally Posted by jandjnelson View Post
    I have not been happy with the playback of large ensemble pieces by the audio tools in the program Finale. This is my first attempt to export sound files to Logic Pro and work with them there. I like the results much better than what I was getting before but would appreciate some help with these things.

    How can I make percussion and other instruments sound like they are near the back of the stage? How can I get better control of the loud glockenspiel and chimes passages? Some of the loud pitches are too loud but if I fade them back other notes tend to be too soft.

    The piece is for concert band but uses instruments primarily from GPO 4 and some sounds from Garritan instruments for Finale.

    Comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    To hear the piece Click this link and double click the file A Swedish Melody.m4a

    https://public.me.com/jandjnelson

    Norman Nelson
    I've tried three times to respond, hope this one works. I am a composer, not a computer expert, so I'll only comment about what I know. This piece of music is really very impressice. I would love to hear it in live performance.

  9. #9
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    Re: New Piece for Concert Band

    Dan, Thanks for the help and the suggestions. I have found a way to make mp3's in the bounce window of Logic Pro and will use that instead of iTunes in the future.

    I listened to the the glockenspiel and chime parts in Finale and I can make some key velocity adjustments there easily. I also want to try placing MIDI channels in logic pro with these Garritan instruments inserted and see how well I can control them there.

    I will definitely buy the Garritan Band library since I will be composing another band piece soon.

    I am the composer. The piece will be premiered in late February.

    Norman

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    Click HERE to listen to Norman's Swedish Melody!

    Norman, I must say that this is a beautiful piece of music!!!!

    I converted your M4A file to an MP3 and uploaded to my server for you.

    I love all the suspensions in this. WOW!

    Great piece of music,, did you write it?
    Awesome!
    Dan

  10. #10
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    Re: New Piece for Concert Band

    Thank You Trent,

    The complete title of the piece is

    A Swedish Melody,
    Haunting and Sublime

    The work is based on Ack, Värmeland, du sköna.

    This is one of those melodies that keeps popping into your head when you don't expect it. Thus it haunts you.
    The Lyrics deal with the beauty of this region of Sweden and the emotional ties that draw people to this land. There are many pictures and videos on the internet about this song and this part of Sweden. I'm not Swedish but I really like the tune.

    I wrote the piece for band director, Gary Garner, who requested a work that was easy to play but mature in aesthetics, scoring, etc. He asked if I could make a good MIDI recording that he could use for lectures and other events that he does on tuning. The recording I give to him will be his equal tempearment example. But, he does not want a sterile, unexpressive, computer playback.

    Norman

    Quote Originally Posted by trentpmcd View Post
    -Got it. Thanks Dan-

    Hi Norman. I enjoyed your Swedish Melody. I'm assuming this is a Swedish folk melody that you arranged into a concert band piece. I really like it. Sounds majestic, the way forests and hills are majestic. I can't answer your technical questions since I have trouble getting the mix right myself - Dan is your man for that...

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