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Topic: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass Cl.

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass Cl.

    Hi Friends!

    Since everything I've ever posted here is always 90-100% all-Garritan, I thought it would be fun to post some music from an era before the fabulous Garritan libraries even existed ... BG!

    Actually, this piece goes back even further ... to a time before 'soft-synths' existed at all. It's a brief, original, animation score I produced for an animator back in the late 90's (and developed into the early 2000's).

    It also marked the first time I tried to integrate some live audio into a project utilizing MIDI synths and sample playback modules. These two very short live-audio clips are at 1:22 (me playing my Mark VI doing my best Stan Getz subtone imitation! LOL), and then again at 1:45 (your's truly on a creepy bass clarinet cue).

    The underscore called for a combination of 'Mickey Mousing' as well as playing through the action ... I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to comment!

    Click Here ---> FRANK'S ANIMATION SCORE


    The Virtual Scoring Orchestra

    Reed 1 - Flute, piccolo
    Reed 2 - Flute, piccolo
    Reed 3 - Flute, piccolo, Bb clarinet
    Reed 4 - Bb clarinet, oboe, English horn
    Reed 5 - Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
    Reed 6 - Bassoon

    Trumpets 1, 2, & 3 (open & w/ cup & harmon mutes)
    Trombones 1, 2, & 3 (Tb3 is bass trombone)(all open & w/ cup & straight mutes)
    Horns 1 & 2
    Baritone horn
    Tuba

    1st and 2nd violin sections
    Viola section
    Celli section
    EDIT: Add Harp

    Piano
    Bass
    Electric Jazz Guitar
    Percussion 1 - Drum set
    Percussion 2 - Xylophone, Bells, Vibes, timpani, wood block, conga, misc.

    EDIT: Add Choir (Female voices)

    About The Score ...

    What you hear is an amalgamation of many 10-12 second cues; each written (over a four year period) to a rigid scene specification with exact timings. Before it was completed, the project was dropped by the animator ("if I had a nickel every time ..." LOL) when he realized it was too big to animate by himself, and his budget had evaporated. BUMMER!!

    Although the cues seem to flow fairly well, this was not necessarily the final amount of music throughout. I had put this file together not as a final score, but simply so I could hear the individual cues and evaluate them. What you hear is the mix, as-is, from 2004 (when the last cue was written). Before posting, I only added a tad of EQ to give a little sizzle to the high-end, since a lot of those older 'patches' were not nearly as crisp as what we have now (some are 8-bit, 13-bit, etc.).

    The beginning 30 seconds is the MT Opening Roll (where the opening credits are rolled). The entire short follows two non-human characters (who can fly ... 0:46: "The Chase") and their afterhours misadventures as they romp through a large complex. They are boy-girl and frolic at 1:12, have a romantic dance at 1:22, which is the live tenor sax cue, and ultimately get into trouble at 2:15. They are then mesmerized at 2:22 by a creature in a large, neon-lit tank ... and so on.

    The project would have had more music after 3:05, but then it was cancelled. What you do hear @ 3:05 (the all-percussion walking music) is the start of the film's ending. At 3:33 the screen goes black and "Directed by ..." followed by the end credits. I faded-out the old file here as the ET music was only started ... you can see where I was going with the jazzy ending.

    Before Soft-synths ... How Did We Do It?

    We still used a DAW (in my case, Cakewalk Pro-Audio 8 (the precursor to Sonar), and via a MIDI interface box (Sierra 8-In/8-out which was tethered to a connection from the Soundcard), we sent MIDI commands out on cables (1-8), and each MIDI cable in turn went to an outboard synth or sampler (Ensoniq EPS, Kurzweil PX+, Proteus 1 & 2, Roland SC 88).

    That was only Half of it! Each module had a stereo pair of audio cables that went to your mixer. There you mixed all the incoming audio, and if you wanted it imbedded in your DAW project file, you needed to play the sequence and record the incoming audio at the same time. This required a decent duplex audio card capable of playback and recording simultaneously (my beloved Frontier Design's Dakota ... 8-in/8-out). Things worked best with 10,000 RPM A/V drives. Not a simple, cheap, or easy way of creating music ... thank God for Gigastudio (which was just about coming out back then) and then shortly thereafter, Garritan.

  2. #2

    Re: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass

    Really festival-ish, really fun-nish.
    The music too seems to fade away at the point the budget blew off.
    Fabio
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  3. #3

    Re: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass

    Fantastic Festival Fun From Frank!

    These cues for the unfortunately unfinished animation project are simply top notch. Sophisticated in every way - in composition, arrangement, performance, recording - Outstanding work.

    AND I love your closing paragraphs which outline how we worked before soft-synths. It still doesn't seem all that long ago when that's how I was working also. I still have major remnants of my old hardware set up here in my little studio - Two MIDI Patchers that split up the incoming MIDI data stream, cables octopussing out to my sound modules and keyboards, the line mixer handling the audio before going into the computer. Those units are still sitting there, because I go through the fantasy once in awhile of including my old modules in projects again. I never do it though. But it makes my studio look more - studioish, to have that stuff still sitting there. I was using Pro Audio 9, the last iteration of Cakewalk's Pro Audio line before it became Sonar.

    I distinctly remember when I was working on a big project, and a musician friend told me about these software synth plugins he was starting to use - It sounded so wild to me. Software instruments? Science fiction! And at the time, I dismissed these young software whippersnappers. I snorted in disdain at these so called "soft synths"- deciding they were mere toys compared to what I was using.

    Then of course, time moved on, and a major turning point for me was getting GPO. -- And now, here we all are, soft synths galore on our hard drives, any hardware modules still sitting around have gathered years of dust. Well actually, there are folks still using hardware, but they are in the minority of computer musicians nowadays.

    So you inspire me to maybe also post a recording from my pre-soft synth days.

    Meanwhile, back to your fabulous animation cues. They're excellent. They not only show off how good hardware synths could sound, but how professional you were in your use of them.

    THANKS, Frank - This is great stuff.

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass

    These cues were so much fun to listen to and so well crafted. Great job on the live winds also. I really enjoyed listening to these works. This post reminded me of how I used to work with the sounds off my Kurzweil digital piano also. I still love the percussion of the Kurzweil and I never have to worry about distortion either for some odd reason, but I started using GPO4 when my music went beyond the uses of the digital piano and could not inspire me anymore.
    ~Rodney

  5. #5

    Re: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass

    So, this proves that it is not the camera that takes the photo, but the photographer!

    Really great,

    Raymond

  6. #6
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass

    Hi Fabio ...

    Just listening and commenting to some great music here at the forum tonight, so I thought I'd start answering some comments left here as well ....

    Quote Originally Posted by fabiolcati View Post
    Really festival-ish, really fun-nish.
    The music too seems to fade away at the point the budget blew off.
    Glad you had some fun listening to it; it was a really fun project until it went belly-up!

    Yes, that entire 'walking music' sequence beginning at 3:05 was a separate file I just appended onto the last cue I had written when the plug was pulled (the entire animation would have been 5-6 minutes long). The 'walking music' sequence was the start of the ending of the animation and where you hear it fade-out, it would have gone on another 20-30 seconds to allow all the end-credits to be rolled.

    So much for evaporated budgets! Someday, I may revisit this piece and possibly turn it into something, or at the least, finish the last few cues.

    But now, all energies are focused on the Christmas song!!

    Ciao

    Frank

  7. #7

    Re: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass

    Hello Frank! It's great to hear this. Really wonderful work with these soft synths. The things I did with soft synths in Finale Print Music and MusicMasterWorks were never near this caliber, this is wonderful.

    And of course, the writing is great. I'm really surprised how well everything flows together for being a smattering of underscores! You certainly have a nice amount of jazz thrown in with your "cartoon antics" style music. (Cartoon antics being the official term to reference the genre )

    This was a really fun listen, thanks for bringing it back from ancient history!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  8. #8
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass

    Hi Randy! ...

    As is my poor style, I'm behind in getting to my thanks and responses. We did lose power here in the NYC metro area for a couple of days; hope things were more tranquil in the PNW! ...

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Fantastic Festival Fun From Frank!

    These cues for the unfortunately unfinished animation project are simply top notch. Sophisticated in every way - in composition, arrangement, performance, recording - Outstanding work.
    Many thanks, Randy, for taking the time to listen and for your kind and supportive words; means a lot to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    AND I love your closing paragraphs which outline how we worked before soft-synths. It still doesn't seem all that long ago when that's how I was working also. I still have major remnants of my old hardware set up here in my little studio - Two MIDI Patchers that split up the incoming MIDI data stream, cables octopussing out to my sound modules and keyboards, the line mixer handling the audio before going into the computer. Those units are still sitting there, because I go through the fantasy once in awhile of including my old modules in projects again. I never do it though. But it makes my studio look more - studioish, to have that stuff still sitting there. I was using Pro Audio 9, the last iteration of Cakewalk's Pro Audio line before it became Sonar.
    It was SOOOOO much extra work, right? Not so much the music per se, but getting all the gear working together, adjusting so many remote parameters, etc. I don't know about your experiences, but I tried a few 'patch' librarians to preserve the various settings (especially like which patch was loaded on what channel, etc.) for each remote module. But, unfortunately, they were wastes of my money; they never delivered as advertised and I always had to resort to writing down all this data so I could recreate the setups. I would photograph my mixer settings ... Oye!

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    I distinctly remember when I was working on a big project, and a musician friend told me about these software synth plugins he was starting to use - It sounded so wild to me. Software instruments? Science fiction! And at the time, I dismissed these young software whippersnappers. I snorted in disdain at these so called "soft synths"- deciding they were mere toys compared to what I was using.

    Then of course, time moved on, and a major turning point for me was getting GPO. -- And now, here we all are, soft synths galore on our hard drives, any hardware modules still sitting around have gathered years of dust. Well actually, there are folks still using hardware, but they are in the minority of computer musicians nowadays.
    A funny and telling anecdote ("Shape of Things to Come" Department): In the early 2000's, I worked with a dance music producer, primarily assisting him with audio engineering. I would record vocalists into Pro Tools and also import his H/W sequencer files into PT as well. When we had all the raw materials recorded and rendered to audio, we would take the whole magilla (MIDI and audio) to a pro-studio in NYC. Our contracted mix engineer was renowned in the dance music field and I thought what a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from a master ... for 24 hrs no less!

    In addition to hi-end computers, monitors, mixing board, etc., the studio had wall-to-wall Fx, synth, and sample H/W modules in floor-to-ceiling racks. TONs of them. Everything terminated in enormous patch bays. The engineer started the first song, creating a new PT file and loaded in everything we provided. After a couple of hours of working his magic with a variety of new-fangled Fx 'Plug-Ins' (all the latest RTAS), I noticed he was doing everything in software.

    I asked him "Do you do everything in S/W?". "Yup". "How about all those hi-end H/W modules?" He laughed and responded "They have to have them to get the business here; you can't have a pro-studio and not offer the latest modules, all with pretty colorful lights (in the early 2000's at least) ... but as far as us engineers go, we do the entire mix in S/W. Mastering engineers will still use a few H/W compressors, but that's about it" As it turned out, the engineer used ONE external sample player to fatten a bass line for about four measures ... that was it for the entire 24 Hr Mix-down!

    That session really changed my philosophy on creating and mixing virtual tracks; I never spent another dollar for H/W Fx and sound modules.


    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    So you inspire me to maybe also post a recording from my pre-soft synth days.

    Meanwhile, back to your fabulous animation cues. They're excellent. They not only show off how good hardware synths could sound, but how professional you were in your use of them.

    THANKS, Frank - This is great stuff.

    Randy
    Thanks again ... and I feel having started in this environment was really good training in simulating ensembles. You needed to bleed every nuance you could out of the sounds. This is where I first thought to pan every instrument in my ensembles; you absolutely had to use, say for trumpets 1, 2, & 3, trumpets from different manufacturers or you got chorusing; vary the start/end times of all notes; double ensemble strings with a barely audible solo violin (or whatever) to give a nice clean edge; etc. These really helped back then, but they proved just as useful with soft-synths. It was good training!

    The Bottom Line: We made decent music before Garritan ... But, OMG, Garritan made the process so much more efficient, and consequentially, FUN!!!!!!!!!

    Frank

  9. #9

    Re: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass

    Frank: I think this is pretty amazing music, and it sounds pretty polished to me! At the beginning, why do I picture an animated dog family riding in a convertible, pulsing together up and down to the beat, along a flowery country road?

    You're lucky to have been immersed in digital sounds for so long. When I was in college (1966-70), I either wasn't aware of such opportunities, we didn't have them, or I foolishly dismissed them.

    This sounds very imaginative to me!
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
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    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  10. #10
    Senior Member Silh's Avatar
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    Re: Festival Fun: A Brief Animation Score , BG (Before Garritan!) w/Live Sax and Bass

    Well, from my vantage, can't really complain about the sound you've got there... I quite like it! As much as virtual instruments can try to mimic the real thing, they'll never quite match it, but you work with whatever you've got, whether it be samples, synths... and take the view that they are just instruments in their own right, just different and perhaps similar sounding to something real, and just make them 'perform' to produce a pleasing sound, regardless of if you make it sound 'real' or not. At least, that's how I've come to look at things.

    I love hearing/reading these nostalgia trips, of 'how things used to be done'. For myself, alas, almost all I've ever had to work with was software, and until I decided to venture into the world of VST instruments a few years back, almost all of it was an eclectic mix of whatever free tools I could find on the internet (or BBS's before the days of the internet), some of the heavily modified; or programs written myself (*insert big cringe*). Maybe one day I'll feel brave enough to post something from the olden days...

    Since I'm starting to ramble again here, thanks for sharing this l'il compilation, I really enjoyed listening to it!
    -- Matt Wong

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