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Topic: in a timely manner (bossa nova)

  1. #1

    in a timely manner (bossa nova)

    This is mostly a bossa but it has a little change in the middle. It uses JABB horns and I cannot remember where the harmonica comes from. Anyway please give it a listen.


  2. #2

    Re: in a timely manner (bossa nova)

    Mmmmmmm, tasty - a reeeeeeeeeeeeeally smooth one from that endless pool of talent you have, Jay. Nice one indeed. And as usual, an A+ in the mixing department also.

    The Harmonica might be from JABB - there's a nice one in that Library. If so - it responds to AfterTouch for Vibrato, and the attendant CC17 for Vibrato speed. Not having any Vibrato on the Harmonica track in this sticks out a bit as a missing ingredient.

    Also, you may have noticed in my "Sawyer" threads that I've mentioned using a wah-wah plug-in on the Harmonica when it's included in a song. That's a Cakewalk/Sonar wah-wah - I can't keep track of what programs various people use, but if you use Sonar, you'll find that plug-in and you'd have fun experimenting with it. The approach is to automate the plug-in, not to leave it at one setting. Then, in a recording pass through the track, you play the wah as needed, and it adds another touch of realism to the instrument.

    In any case, really enjoyed this one, Jay.


  3. #3

    Re: in a timely manner (bossa nova)


    Another masterfully prepared piece. You really shine on this one! As Randy pointed out, a little vibrato on the harmonica and maybe the wah effect artfully placed would add a bit more realism. The bends you incorporated work well on the harmonica. The mix is superb. I am sure you put a lot of time into getting the mix right. I admire your skillfulness at the mix! Nice, really nice!!!

    Excuse me now as I relax on a beach somewhere and watch the beautiful sunset you have conjured up in this piece.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong


  4. #4

    Re: in a timely manner (bossa nova)

    Randy! I am glad that you enjoyed my bossa. Now that you mention it, I think the harmonica is from JABB. I have a tendency to shy away from vibrato on harmonica just because my misuse of it might make it sound like cowboy playing "home on the range" at a campfire. I do have SONAR and I did not even think about using the WAH WAH. That would be a great way to produce a forced blowing and hand cupping effect on the harmonica. I will definitely play around with that.

    Rich! Thanks for the nice words. I was trying to emulate a little bit of "Toots Theilsman's" sound on this. I don't recall that he used a whole lot of vibrato, if any, but he used a fair amount of note bending, which I attempted to incorporate in this. I wish I would have thought of using the WAH WAH effect when I wrote this piece. I think it would have added some "spice" to the sound. Oh well. There is always another time.
    I thank you both for your valued input.

  5. #5

    Re: in a timely manner (bossa nova)

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01 View Post
    ... I have a tendency to shy away from vibrato on harmonica just because my misuse of it might make it sound like cowboy playing "home on the range" at a campfire. I do have SONAR and I did not even think about using the WAH WAH. That would be a great way to produce a forced blowing and hand cupping effect on the harmonica... I think it would have added some "spice" to the sound...
    This sub-topic about the Harmonica inspired me to put together a few things for you this morning. Hope you don't mind this little side trip on your thread.

    Your Harmonica sounds really nice in this piece. I think Harmonica is one of those instruments that just doesn't ever translate with complete success into the virtual instrument world, because its sound is so complex and changeable. So it's impossible to be completely convincing when it's exposed in a solo spotlight, as it is in your piece. But still, it's a beautiful line you composed for it, and your Pitch Bend use is spot on.

    I do think that touches of Vibrato would make it more convincing. Even though we may not always hear Vibrato being used in recordings with an actual Harmonica, as usual, I think what works best when we use virtual instrument conterparts for any instrument is to do some things with them which are expected, even cliche things which help cue the listener's ear in on what our synthetic sound is supposed to be.

    That being said - For some time I've been wanting to explain the Wah Wah effect in a bit more depth, ever since it was brought up in a "Tom Sawyer" thread. Back in February when "Me And My Best Friend" was posted, thread title "Huckleberry Finn Enters," part of the discussion on the thread was use of the Wah Wah on the Harmonica. Here are some bits from that:

    "...The harmonica in JABB that I used is a perfectly good sample set, but the harmonica is a very difficult instrument to emulate. The wah-wah plug-in added some of the characteristic playing technique I wanted to suggest. It's not as if the harmonica track would stand on its own as a solo, but it's working fine in a mix, so the "Sawyer" tunes are sprinkled with bits of wah-wahed harmonica.

    By the way, I'm not talking about auto wah, like a guitarist may use. I disengaged the auto trigger, and automated the controls, tying them to knobs on my controller keyboard. That way the Wah effect would always come in and last as long as I really wanted. I played that plug-in.


    The harmonica! - Getting that wah action going on it did help fill in the blanks in the static samples. I've used that technique a few times, and it's always a bit tricky - The wah plug-in from Cakewalk that I used also has EQ controls that need adjusting while working the data.
    Jamie "Skysaw" liked the wah/harmonica concept too. Try it! Turn the auto wah off, and automate the parameters. Used in combination with the vibrato control in the Garritan Harmonica, done with AfterTouch, and you can get some much more natural results than if the patch is played with just volume control. Glad you like that tip..."

    This morning, I isolated a short section from that Sawyer song, soloed the Harmonica, and made an MP3 of it:

    JABB Harmonica Wah Wah demo

    It's important to note that I DON'T think that stands up in solo like that, but that it worked in the ensemble setting as in the full MP3 I posted in February. I left the gaps in as they are in the recording so that the following screenshot matches what you hear:

    The Wah Wah plug-in is in the FX bin of the Harmonica's audio track. It's set to Manual, I've set the EQ to where it sounded right to me, then I set the Wah slider control so it could be automated. The arrow is pointing to the automation data as it looked after I recorded it in real time.

    Below, in the controller panes of the PRV, you can see, in descending order: Velocity, Pitch Bend Wheel, Channel Aftertouch, and CC1.

    I feel those touches of Vibrato helped the instrument out, and that the Wah in particular is what gave the instrument the most life - coupled with the volume control and attack time controlled by Velocity.

    ANYWay, you probably already got all that, but it was fun to put this together - May be helpful to other folks who see your thread.


  6. #6

    Re: in a timely manner (bossa nova)

    Yo Randy! Thanks for the info. When you mentioned automating the WAH-WAH sound, I thought that it was a midi effect. I did not realize that you were referring to the sonitus audio effect. I am in the process of messing with that right now. I do use the cc#'s as you describe, but I have work at getting the vibrato as subtle as I can.
    Thanks, Jay

  7. #7
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Suburban NYC

    Re: in a timely manner (bossa nova)

    Hi Jay,

    Yeah ... more laid back Bossa jazz ... Sounds great!

    You sure tackled a tough solo instrument and really did a nice job with it ... I thought of 'Toots' as soon as I heard it, before I read it in your comments. I enjoyed Randy's suggestions for the wha-wha; like a little mini-course. What I really liked with the harmonica was the improv ... it would take a lot of breath, but real nice solo! Rhythm change @1:20 was nice contrast too. Harmony reminded me a little of Jobim's "Corcovado" or "How Insensitive".

    Take care,


    PS: Back in the early 70's a friend of mine (a great guitarist and a big Toots fan) found out Toots lived only a few miles from us, so I had to go with him one evening so he could watch Toots walk his dog ... and no, he didn't play his harmonica while the dog did his thing.

  8. #8

    Re: in a timely manner (bossa nova)

    Hey Frank. Thanks for the listen. I hope that I am not responding to late on your message. I lost track of time in the universe the past couple days or so. I have a pretty good feeling that if TOOTS or anyone else tried to play some of this, their lips would probably explode and fall to the floor. I really should have been more aware of the real performance issues. It was a lot of fun to play with the harmonica sound. I have another harmonica piece sittin' in the wings and I definitely plan to apply some of Randy Bowser's advice.

    I think that is quite cool that you guys actually saw TOOTS. Was his DOG playing harmonica when he was doing his thing? You never know.

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