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Topic: What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?

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  1. #1

    What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?

    I am posing this question to get your ideas on the range of GIGs that would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute. Instead of the flute, I could have asked about all woodwind instruments in general--but I thought specific responses about one instrument in particular would be more informative.

    My reason for asking this question is the total lack of any consistency in the selection of samples offered for each instrument in the various commercial CD packages. If we discuss what the ideal range of GIGs should contain for a popular instrument like the flute, maybe we could help set some standards for the sample makers. And then maybe the sample sets we shell out so much money for would be really useful with GigaStudio.

    I am hoping people will tackle such issues as:

    1. the ideal number of note samples per octave for the flute (related discussion currently going on in another topic area.)
    2. the range of durations (in seconds) in a set of GIGs.
    3. the range of dynamics (from ppp to fff?) in a set of GIGS
    4. type of attacks
    5. are note samples containing crescendi or diminuendi of any practical usefulness--when one can program a crescendo or diminuendo in volume with MIDI?
    6. distance of mic placement in recording samples
    7. reverb and panning

    I\'m sure you will think of others.

    Regards,
    Alkan


  2. #2

    Re: What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?

    This is a topic of great interest to me - I\'m tackling a piece with lots of solo oboe now, so I\'m thinking a lot about what I really wish I had in the way of woodwind samples.

    Two things top my list at the moment. One is the ability to pick between a truly vibratoless (or tremolo-less) sample, and one that is played very expressively. I *think* that good results could be achieved with a vibratoless sample by attaching different controllers to different LFO\'s, but I\'ve never personally had good results with this - I\'m assuming because I don\'t have any truly vibratoless samples. Adding LFO\'s to a sample with even a little bit of vibrato (or tremolo) sounds just weird. The already-expressive samples can sound pretty nice, but after a short while they give themselves away with their sameness. Those are the ones I\'m having to use, however.

    The next item is maybe even more important on my wish-list - though I may be getting into realms that are currently impractical to program. The big difficulty for me in solo wind (and string) samples is in the transitions between notes. Take clarinets, for example (which I know because I used to play clarinet). If you start playing middle C then play the D above it, you\'re letting a finger off. If you start with E and then move to D, you\'re putting a finger down. The two D\'s have different attacks. Is there a wind library out there that gives you this difference? The libraries I know of (and my experience is admittedly limited) all record notes that start from scratch, with maybe a different attack envelope for \"legato\". What you\'d need is also to record notes preceded by notes above or below, so you could hear the finger-up or finger-down part of the attack. I think it would be possible to get much more realism with this. Or, maybe there\'s a library out there that already has this, and I just don\'t know about it. Or - maybe more likely, since I\'m still pretty new to this sampling business - maybe I\'m totally off base.



  3. #3

    Re: What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?

    Thanks Ursatz for the interesting response.

    In my experience, vibrato added to samples by fooling around with the LFOs is not merely weird, it is musically unacceptable. Artificial vibrato is one of those features that is present in samplers because electronically it is cheap and easy to add, but musically it is useless. It sounds mechanical and irritating. I think that if you want natural sounding vibrato, you have to find samples that already have the vibrato that you like. However, you should look into this new program Melodyne that is causing such a fuss. One of its claims is that it can modify vibrato in an audio sample without any musical degradation. (How it manages to do that is beyond me.)

    Getting back to the topic question: so what should sample makers provide to us on their CDs for the flute? They should provide us with GIGs containing sets of individual sampled notes that play:

    1. senza vibrato
    2. poco vibrato
    3. dolce
    4. espressivo
    5. espressivo molto
    6. appassionato

    These Italian musical terms have worked well enough for musicians for centuries, and they are good enough for me. And certainly the flute player who plays the notes for the initial sample recordings understands exactly what they mean.

    Regards,
    Alkan

    P.S. I\'ll respond to your second point in a later post.

  4. #4

    Re: What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?

    OK, Ursatz--now to take up your second point:

    You said that with respect to legato samples, maybe you are totally offbase. On the contrary, in my view your remarks have hit the nail squarely on the head. You have pinpointed the single most important reason why the commercial CD samples--and I will name names here: Vitous, Advanced Orchestra, Denny Jaeger, Ultimate Strings and others--produce legato lines that sound very little like the real instruments playing legato.

    The reason is that in every case, the sampled notes on commercial CDs have been played and recorded separately. Consequently, every note has a separate attack with varying amounts of percussive noise in it. When the sample CD\'s try on rare occasions to provide legato notes with no attacks, they give us notes in which the player sneaks in slowly. But that is not what a legato note sounds like all by itself; it speaks immediately. When a flute plays a legato phrase--one in which the notes are not tongued, there is an attack containing some percussive noise only on the first note of the phrase. The following notes have no attacks whatsoever; they simply begin like toothpaste coming out of the tube. However, since the sample makers recorded every sample note separately, the user cannot make a legato phrase with their samples. None of these sample makers provide users with notes with no attacks that speak immediately.

    Well, the sample makers might ask: how can anyone play and record notes with no attacks? There are several ways, and they take care, patience and time. I have tried making my own sample notes without any attacks, by recording professional musicians. And in every case I have been able to produce legato phrases that are obviously superior when compared to the samples in the big name (and incredibly expensive) CDs.

    The first way to produce note samples with no attacks is to record instruments playing legato scales. Then you cut the WAV into separate notes with Sound Forge or a similar WAV Editor. You discard the first note that way played. Because the different pitches are not clearly visible in the continuous WAV form display in Sound Forge, a considerable amount of trial-and-error editing is necessary to cut the notes perfectly. Again I have to mention Melodyne, the revolutionary audio editor now premiering its product at NAMM. According to Celemony\'s website, Melodyne clearly differentiates the individual pitches in its Waveform display. So extracting the individual notes of a legato phrase should be a piece of cake. Considering the astromical prices the sample makers are charging users for their CD\'s, perhaps they should shell out for Melodyne. (No, I have absolutely no financial interest in this product.)

    The second way of making note samples with no attacks is quick and dirty--and the results are sometimes acceptable, depending on the instrument. You extract the WAV samples from the commercial GIGs, cut off their attacks with Sound Forge, and then put the WAVs back in the GIGS. Sometimes this works quite well.

    Regards,
    Alkan

  5. #5

    Re: What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Charles-Valentin Alkan:
    ...The second way of making note samples with no attacks is quick and dirty--and the results are sometimes acceptable, depending on the instrument. You extract the WAV samples from the commercial GIGs, cut off their attacks with Sound Forge, and then put the WAVs back in the GIGS. Sometimes this works quite well.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I use a technique something like this. For me it\'s less trouble (and more flexible) than editing the audio files. I split the melody between two tracks, start each note a bit early, and set the expression controller to 0 until it\'s time for the note to sound. As you say, sometimes it works.

    But really, all this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you\'re using vibrato samples, then even if you get a reasonable facsimile of legato this way, the vibratos in two adjacent notes aren\'t going to match up (without herculean effort). So you hear an unnatural discontinuity between the notes. It\'s also very difficult to get the dynamic transitions sounding right.

    It seems to me - again, based on relatively little experience in the sampling world - that we\'re bumping up against the limits of what sampling technology can reasonably be expected to do. But I haven\'t checked out melodyne, yet - you\'ve piqued my interest.

    BTW, Monsieur Alkan - when are you going to favor us with a Giga-ized version of your piano music?



  6. #6

    Re: What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ursatz:


    BTW, Monsieur Alkan - when are you going to favor us with a Giga-ized version of your piano music?

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Just as soon as I can get up from underneath this huge, heavy Torah which just fell off of my bookcase and on top my head!

    Regards,
    Alkan

  7. #7

    Re: What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?

    My searches turned up nothing on Melodyne or Celemony
    Do you happen to have that handy?
    peri

  8. #8

    Re: What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?

    I got plenty for celemony - as in \"Japanese Wedding Celemony\" (no kidding - try google.com)



    - Chris

  9. #9

    Re: What GIGs would constitute an IDEAL set of samples for the flute?


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