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Topic: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

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  1. #1

    A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    https://www.box.com/s/pgh346qvlm7480ti0ifg

    Here is "A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty" for concert band. I created it in Finale with Garritan Concert and Marching Band 2 sounds.

    The first part of the piece (0:00-1:30) is a grade 2. The second part is a grade 3. I wrote this piece for students with about 2 to 2½ years of experience.

    This piece is 95% completed--I'll adjust the balance more, and fine-tune the instrumentation. I'm hoping someone here can offer advice on this piece's presentation. I notice that some of the instruments, especially brasses, have an electronic, "blippy" sound. I'm guessing this is a harsh attack--correct? I need to know what the problem is before I can fix it. Can this be altered in Finale/Aria (midi tool?), or do I need Sonar for that? I'd like to try to do this in Finale/Aria first, if possible.

    I'm also using Garritan Ambience's Concert Hall 1 reverb setting with the dry setting at 1.5dB and the wet setting at -4.4dB.

    As always, I'd love to hear ideas on the music itself and on its presentation.

    And, as always, thanks!

    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
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  2. #2

    Re: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    Hello Art, great to see another post from you this evening! This is a really nice piece that sounds right at that level and would be enjoyable for students at that level. I was curious as I was writing that last sentence, were you writing this specifically for students of yours, or just any concert band of that skill level?

    As for the quality of the recording, I'm sure someone else could give you a more sure-fire answer as to why the brass may sound a bit "blippy," but I can at least offer a suggestion that shouldn't take too long to try out. For my taste, it seems slightly on the dry side at the beginning. I usually use wet settings right around 0.0 dB and dry settings right around 3.0 dB (give or take a decibel). In your case, though, setting wet that high may turn the final minute or so to mud, but you might twiddle it a bit and see what you like. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to try a few different settings, but let your ears rest between each run through. Imagine what it sounds like in your head, and see if the new settings are any closer to what you want.

    Just some suggestions that may or may not help! Lovely piece, thanks for sharing!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  3. #3

    Re: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    Hi Michael. Thanks for your comments.

    I wrote this piece for any concert band at that skill level.

    I toyed with the reverb wet and dry settings, and I found that if I set the dry level any higher, the red clipping light came on for the master volume. I've heard that the ideal setting for the dry level if 6dB (all the way to the right), but that's way too high if I'm going to avoid clipping. I kept turning it down until the clip light didn't come on (1.5 dB). The recording is without amplification. But I can do that in Audacity, if I need to (I've done that before). I'll still experiment along the lines you suggest.

    Thanks again.
    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
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  4. #4

    Re: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    What a neat concert band piece, Arthur! I enjoyed it all, and especially liked the middle section starting around 1:40 or earlier, with the way some fun, unexpected developments are introduced. Then, the re-voicing of themetatic material following that section made for a nice boost in the piece.

    Technical notes in response to things on this thread:

    --There could be some attacks sharper than you want. The relative softness or sharpness of attacks is controlled by velocity levels. So if you go into Finale's MIDI tool, hopefully you could run an experiment by lowering the levels (they range from 0 to 127) on the sections where you feel the brass is the most "blippy."

    --As soon as you move any reverb controls over 0, you're boosting the over-all volume of the project, so that's why you go into the red, and of course you're right that you want to avoid clipping.

    --The advice you quote about having the dry level up to 6db is odd - I'd actually say it's erroneous. Before any reverb is turned on, look at your levels. If they're already way up there, adding any reverb is going to bring up the level - so adjust everything you can accordingly.

    --My starting point for reverb when it's used the way it has to be in a notation program, is 80% dry, 20% wet. That's vastly different than various figures on this thread - But then, so much music produced in Finale is way too wet, dripping with reverberation which spoils the music.

    --The reverb levels you have here seem pretty good - Just keep in mind the main point I'm making, that adding reverb adds volume. Keep experimenting with proportions so you don't clip, don't drown out your music.

    Not that it's especially helpful, since you're working in Finale, but using reverb in DAW software gives the user so much more control. We don't use wet/dry sliders - We have a reverb plugin set 100% wet, then use Send knobs on each instrument's tracks to add small and different amounts of reverb to each instrument.

    Michael "Sanyarem" pointed out that you could get a reverb setting that's good for most of a piece, but then when the instrumentation is thickest, things can turn muddy. That brings up another advantage of using reverb in DAW software - the amount of reverb can be automated. It works great to have a setting for establishing the size and sound of a room, but then when that setting is making the thick sections of a piece muddy, the over-all reverb level can just be automated down to a lower level. Instantly better clarity.

    And so on. - Maybe some of this info will be helpful.

    Meanwhile - thanks again for the very nice post!

    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    Hi Randy. Thank you for these comments! As I touched on in my comments on Frank's animation music, he--and you, I presume--are lucky to have latched on to digital music early, and it's obvious you both have mastered it. I wish I had done more of that. I probably had many opportunities, maybe not so much in undergraduate work, but certainly later on. I guess I dismissed those chances, or I was unaware of them, or perhaps I didn't see their significance for the future. I am learning now, though, so I'll get there some day. And your feedback here and that of others is really terrific and beneficial. I'll experiment in Finale with velocity levels. Thanks again.
    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
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  6. #6

    Re: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    Arthur,

    Quick question: do you hear the bleepy parts when you have accents on notes?
    ~Rod

  7. #7

    Re: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    Hi, Art...
    Just stopping in to say how much I like your composition. Most appropriately titled--the mood of the piece is a perfect match for the title! During commencement season (I played 7 college commencements) I played "Crown Imperial" 40985345345 times and "Pomp & Circumstance" at least that many times. I like yours better!

    As to the "blippies," they may well be "clippies" as I am hearing some clipping in the audio file. Around the first or second week in October, if you'll send me the file, I see what I can do to it without leaving Finale, especially as concerns the brass parts.

    Until then, I am snowed under between the day gig (finance professor/financial planner) and euphonium gigs (yes, I get them) on the road in three states, and the occasional chat with my wife. I'm also preparing a concerto for performance at a fine conservatory with their wind ensemble. That has me quite uptight, since I am mostly self-taught and certainly not in the "music school loop." But I keep getting asked...

    I just got the word that Sonar X2 is available for download. I'm not going near it until October!!

    Again, this is a fine piece that should go over well with directors, performers, and the audience. I share Randy's opinion about the little fugue-y passage at 1:40 as well.

    The only thing I'm missing is that 5-minute euphonium interlude you said you would put in the piece. After all, anything rhapsodizing about royalty HAS to contain solos for the euphonium.

    Anyway, I just wanted to stop in since I haven't been on for a while & tell you how much I enjoyed the work. Once I am not working so much I will be here more often & we can talk Sonar as well.

    Tip o'the hat to you, Art.
    Jim
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  8. #8

    Re: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    Rod: I'm getting bleepy blippy playback accents or not! Do you think this could be a CPU issue?

    Jim: Thanks for your comments! I'll take you up on your kind offer and send you the file during the first week of October. Thank you for taking a look!

    And speaking about the euphonium, I'm thinking of writing a piece for solo euphonium and moderate-sized concert band, the euphonium part around a grade 3-4 and the band parts a grade 3. Do you think I should include the solo part and a euphonium band part, or just the solo euphonium part?

    Thanks again.
    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
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  9. #9

    Re: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    Art,
    If you have a euphonium solo, I wouldn't put in a band part for another euphonium UNLESS you need the color when the soloist isn't playing.
    Since the euphonium is conical, it doesn't cut and pierce like a trombone does, so another little rule I try to observe is to use brass sparingly while the euphonium solo is playing...then I let the brass expand a bit when the euphonium is out, filling in short gaps or longer interludes as the music dictates. There are, of course, exceptions to that, but it seems to work well, as the euphonium blends well with woodwinds without being overpowered by the woodwinds.
    I'm happy to provide whatever insight I might have as your piece unfolds.
    Thanks for applying your talents to the king of instruments!!

    Jim
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  10. #10

    Re: A Rhapsodic Procession of Royalty

    Thank you, Jim. I'll keep these ideas in mind as the piece bubbles up. The waters are still calm, but that will change. I don't write fast.
    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
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

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