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Topic: An experiment.

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  1. #1

    An experiment.

    Purely out of a sense of fun (Bach fun?), and hoping to learn a bit more about changeing tempi, I decided to render these two tracks. The Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue.

    I also decided to play with pitch. Baroque harpsichords were tuned about a semitone lower (A=415) than today, as the wire making technology wasn't as advanced. Higher string tensions would have resulted in frequent breakages.

    Additionally, "wohltemperierte" didn't mean equal temperament.
    So I used a non-equal temperament. Can you work out which one?

    Not my original MIDI files, they were discovered at classicalarchives.com.

    But I had some fun.

    https://www.box.com/s/deec1fc9dc09e43e3d95
    https://www.box.com/s/84858c6395100ae953ca

    I DON't expect agreement on tempi with these.

    The harpsichord is from GPO and the convolution reverb is the small chamber space.
    In retrospect it could have a little more depth.

    John.

  2. #2

    Re: An experiment.

    Hello John! I must say, I felt quite snooty this morning, listening to some great harpsichord music while making breakfast

    Kidding aside, I really enjoyed this, and despite you saying that you felt they may need some more depth, I felt the harpsichords sounded remarkably full, especially in the lower registers. Since I got it a year or so ago, I don't believe my sub-woofer has been so happy! I'm not feeling very musically apt this morning, but if I were to hazard a guess, I would say the Chromatic Fantasia is varied in tempo, and it certainly helps the fun you had in rendering this shine through! Thanks for sharing!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  3. #3

    Re: An experiment.

    Great, more from the studio of SysExjohn!

    And that's a lot of music! -- That really can be fun, interesting, and educational to find good MIDI files online and use them for experimental purposes. And I'd say you not only found some excellent files, but you made some excellent recordings with them.

    I'm totally in accord with Michael "Sanyarem," the harpsichord sounds wonderful. And your use of the small chamber space was an ideal reverb choice, and I wouldn't want to hear it any deeper than you have here - totally worked for me.

    What temperament? Oh man, I'd have no idea - Temperament differences are pretty much lost on me really. All I know is you don't have the "out of tune" effect that is sometimes the only thing I sometimes notice when anything but modern equal temperament is used.

    You said that focusing on tempi was a big focus for you when you worked with these. You worked in the Tempo View of Sonar probably? Once you have a handle on working there, it can really be a rewarding part of working with MIDI. Turning the Snap off, and using the pencil tool instead of the line tool is my preferred way to work with tempi. That way, you're completely free to draw complex, curving changes, much as when working with CC data in the PRV. Also, you probably see that you click on the menu item that brings up your list of tempi on the right - That's very useful for zeroing in on specific markings you may want to edit.

    Highly successful experiment, I'd say!

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: An experiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by sanyarem View Post
    Hello John! I must say, I felt quite snooty this morning, listening to some great harpsichord music while making breakfast

    Kidding aside, I really enjoyed this, and despite you saying that you felt they may need some more depth, I felt the harpsichords sounded remarkably full, especially in the lower registers. Since I got it a year or so ago, I don't believe my sub-woofer has been so happy! I'm not feeling very musically apt this morning, but if I were to hazard a guess, I would say the Chromatic Fantasia is varied in tempo, and it certainly helps the fun you had in rendering this shine through! Thanks for sharing!
    Hello Michael,

    So pleased you liked it, and pleased too that the sub had a walk in the park with the sun shining.

    Quite right, tempo alterations in almost every measure of the fantasia. Often several in one measure.
    With harpsichord, being that dynamic changes are not possible in the real instrument (unless using the coupler, and then only terraced dynamics), all one has is chords to change loudness and tempo to breathe some life into the music. Or, as is the case with the fugue, the very development of the themes to create an academic interest.

    And, of course, the chromaticism.

    The chromaticism is what amazes me with these pieces, as Bach weaves his way it seems, through every key available to mankind, and then some.

    There's no doubt I shall revisit these two SMFs and work some more on the tempi.
    A fascinating day's adventure, and a useful learning exercise.

    Kind regards,
    John.

  5. #5

    Re: An experiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Great, more from the studio of SysExjohn!

    And that's a lot of music! -- That really can be fun, interesting, and educational to find good MIDI files online and use them for experimental purposes. And I'd say you not only found some excellent files, but you made some excellent recordings with them.

    I'm totally in accord with Michael "Sanyarem," the harpsichord sounds wonderful. And your use of the small chamber space was an ideal reverb choice, and I wouldn't want to hear it any deeper than you have here - totally worked for me.
    Thank you, Randy.
    Yes, the small chamber space was, in my view, the only choice.
    The harpsichord is a relatively quiet instrument naturally and doesn't lend itself easily to larger venues.

    What temperament? Oh man, I'd have no idea - Temperament differences are pretty much lost on me really. All I know is you don't have the "out of tune" effect that is sometimes the only thing I sometimes notice when anything but modern equal temperament is used.
    For temperament I went for the relatively new 'Lehmann/Bach' one.
    The story of its discovery in the squiggles at the top of Bach's Wohltemperierte Clavier, Book 1, of 1723 is a long story which I won't recount here, fascinating and controversial though it is.

    It just sounds so good, and that's reason enough.

    You said that focusing on tempi was a big focus for you when you worked with these. You worked in the Tempo View of Sonar probably? Once you have a handle on working there, it can really be a rewarding part of working with MIDI. Turning the Snap off, and using the pencil tool instead of the line tool is my preferred way to work with tempi. That way, you're completely free to draw complex, curving changes, much as when working with CC data in the PRV. Also, you probably see that you click on the menu item that brings up your list of tempi on the right - That's very useful for zeroing in on specific markings you may want to edit.

    Highly successful experiment, I'd say!

    Randy
    Actually, for the majority of editing work I still use XGworks.
    The tempo pane is just another one, as with CC#1 or cc#11 etc., that can be opened at the foot of the PRV or staff views. So I can have tempo as one of the 3 controller panes at the foot of the staff window, along with cc#11 and velocity. This is a fair way down my work flow, once the broad brush work has been done setting initial values as outlind in my other post.

    Once the main work is done I now import the almost finished SMF into SONAR 7 for final rendering.

    The program has so many draw tools from simple line, convex or concave curve, sine wave as well as freehand, that it makes editing controllers really easy. The sine curve, perhaps surprisingly, is particularly useful. A sine wave can be pulled out as high and as wide, either positive or negative going, as one needs. A trick I often use is then to delete the negative controller values, that go below the starting point, and then too the -ve going values, leaving me with a nice smooth +ve going waveform.

    As the number of ticks between value insertion is an easily modifiable preset, one can have as many or as few CC value insertions as is appropriate, i.e. close together for pitch bend, which the ear is particularly sensitive to, and further apart for cc#11. They can then be dragged around the pane as required. I've experimented with Sonar for this, but it doesn't seem to be as flexible as what I use. Maybe it is but I've just not got to grips with it.

    Anyway, it proved a useful exercise.
    Glad you liked it.
    Kind regards,
    John.

  6. #6

    Re: An experiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    ...Actually, for the majority of editing work I still use XGworks.
    The tempo pane is just another one, as with CC#1 or cc#11 etc., that can be opened at the foot of the PRV or staff views. So I can have tempo as one of the 3 controller panes at the foot of the staff window, along with cc#11 and velocity...The program has so many draw tools from simple line, convex or concave curve, sine wave as well as freehand, that it makes editing controllers really easy...I've experimented with Sonar for this, but it doesn't seem to be as flexible as what I use. Maybe it is but I've just not got to grips with it...
    Thanks for the memory jog, John! I remember now that in January you talked about working with Yamaha's XGWorks sequencer.

    Very interesting stuff on that thread and here on your current thread.

    For those who haven't heard of it, as I hadn't before January, XGworks is Yamaha's "extended General MIDI" sequencer originally intended as an editor for Yamaha's hardware synths. It was discontinued in the west, but a lot of references come up about it online, like this detailed tutorial posted January of last year.

    John, as you explained on that earlier thread, you use MIDI Yoke to connect VST instruments to XGWorks, since it doesn't host VSTs natively. And you get good use out of the controller panes which can be displayed in any work space, including the Staff View. It's a neat concept that the tempo map can also be displayed in one of those panes, just like MIDI controllers. Nifty!

    After all these years, I could probably count on one hand the times when I've used the pre-set envelope shapes in Sonar, so I actually don't have enough experience with them to be positive - but I think you're right that they aren't as flexible as what you describe in XGworks. Sonar has the pre-set shapes, sine, triangle, square, saw, random and free hand, and it's easy to control vertical height, resolution size of the repetitions etc, but what you say here about XG's tools sounds like they have even finer control.

    A few times I've wanted things like perfectly timed panning swoops in time to the music, or wah-wah-like volume pulses also playing in time, and the shape pre-sets have been the perfect way to do those things. But 99.9% of the time I do my editing work free hand so I get exactly what I want without perfectly repeating shapes. It's also extremely rare that I draw MIDI CCs as envelopes, preferring to record data in real time, then touch up by free hand in the PRV.

    But anyway - in my earlier post I went on a bit about working with tempo data since you said you were embarking on learning a bit more about changing tempi - but I can see you certainly have a thorough understanding of how to work with the tempo data in both XG and Sonar.

    So - Carry on!

    Randy

  7. #7

    Re: An experiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Thanks for the memory jog, John! I remember now that in January you talked about working with Yamaha's XGWorks sequencer.

    Very interesting stuff on that thread and here on your current thread.

    For those who haven't heard of it, as I hadn't before January, XGworks is Yamaha's "extended General MIDI" sequencer originally intended as an editor for Yamaha's hardware synths. It was discontinued in the west, but a lot of references come up about it online, like this detailed tutorial posted January of last year.
    Thanks for posting the reference to that version of my tutorial, Randy. I'd quite forgotten I'd posted it to that group.

    For those interested, but I suspect many are way more advanced than this, my tutorials can be found at my own small web forum here http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi which also includes a couple I wrote on Cakewalk pro-audio and XGworks. A few can also be found at the XGworks users group on the Yahoo forums here http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/xgworksusers/ in the files area. As I recall, I converted them to pdf for this.

    Those were all done in the days when I had a little spare time. I must get round to writing a few more someday. One on using XGworks with VSThost would be worthwhile, then people could use Garritan libraries with it.

    John, as you explained on that earlier thread, you use MIDI Yoke to connect VST instruments to XGWorks, since it doesn't host VSTs natively. And you get good use out of the controller panes which can be displayed in any work space, including the Staff View. It's a neat concept that the tempo map can also be displayed in one of those panes, just like MIDI controllers. Nifty!
    When I think that all these features existed in XGworks more than ten years ago, and the big boys haven't yet caught up with them!

    Here's the (short) list of the controllers that be edited in one of three controller panes.

    Velocity, Program, Pitch bend, Lyric, Chord, Tempo, Bank MSB, Modulation, Breath Control, Portamento Time, Entry MSB, Volume, Pan, Expression, Bank LSB, Entry LSB, Hold 1, Portamento, Sostenuto, Soft Pedal, Harmonic Content, Release Time, Attack Time, Brightness, Portamento Control, Reverb Send, Chorus Send, Variation Send, RPN Increment, RPN Decrement, NRPN MSB, NRPN LSB, RPN MSB, RPN LSB, All Sound Off, Reset All Controllers, All Notes Off, Omni Off, Omni On, Mono, Poly.

    The Program one allows the complete patch change (Bank MSB, Bank LSB and Program Change) to be inserted in one go. Very useful for hardware sound modules.

    The chord controller is interesting in that, when inserting an event, a pop up window with a list of root notes A to G natural or with up to 3 sharps or flats opens up, one can then choose from a further list of 35 chord shapes. These affect the "style file" being created which can subsequently be merged into the MIDI file.

    Will Sonar ever catch up? I doubt it. As a MIDI file editor, I still believe that one has to go a long way to beat XGworks.

    There is also a specific pitch bend creation utility which allows many different styles of bend to be inserted from predefined MIDI files (much like harp glissandi in GPO) that can later be tweaked to one's own taste.

    After all these years, I could probably count on one hand the times when I've used the pre-set envelope shapes in Sonar, so I actually don't have enough experience with them to be positive - but I think you're right that they aren't as flexible as what you describe in XGworks. Sonar has the pre-set shapes, sine, triangle, square, saw, random and free hand, and it's easy to control vertical height, resolution size of the repetitions etc, but what you say here about XG's tools sounds like they have even finer control.
    It's just that there is a 'spin box'(?) at the foot of the controller panes where one can dial in the interval, in ticks, of how far apart one wants each controller event inserted when drawing a series of events.

    A few times I've wanted things like perfectly timed panning swoops in time to the music, or wah-wah-like volume pulses also playing in time, and the shape pre-sets have been the perfect way to do those things. But 99.9% of the time I do my editing work free hand so I get exactly what I want without perfectly repeating shapes. It's also extremely rare that I draw MIDI CCs as envelopes, preferring to record data in real time, then touch up by free hand in the PRV.

    But anyway - in my earlier post I went on a bit about working with tempo data since you said you were embarking on learning a bit more about changing tempi - but I can see you certainly have a thorough understanding of how to work with the tempo data in both XG and Sonar.

    So - Carry on!
    I certainly shall do!

    But ... I digress.
    Back to Dvorak today.

    Kind regards,
    John.

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