First of all, I would like to say thank you to Randy for teaching me the importance of dynamics and humanization of midi based compositions. Without his encouragement, I'd still probably be ignoring it most of the time due to my old ways of composing. I have been really pushing myself these last couple of months with dynamics and the whole human-feel of music.
I wanted to share this composition of mine. I have posted a few different compositions related to Tara, but none with much dynamics.In this composition I "strictly" wanted to focus on the melody I created for her many years ago. So I decided to play her melody constantly on different scales. However, I used a lot of dynamics on this. A lot of my piano or harp based tunes tend to have that robotic feel which I can now see why it loses expression.
In this composition I used only a piano and background ocean noise. I wanted it simple and as mentioned above only focused on the melody (meant to be repetitive). I used a lot of velocity levels and timing... timing was the hardest part of them all. Unfortunately, I didn't use any Garritan Instruments for this composition I tried to make do with the piano with GIO, but it didn't fit what I wanted therefore I used Truepianos. I wanted to share this with everyone.
First of all, I would like to say thank you to Randy for teaching me the importance of dynamics and humanization of midi based compositions. Without his encouragement, I'd still probably be ignoring it most of the time due to my old ways of composing. I have been really pushing myself these last couple of months with dynamics and the whole human-feel of music...
Well, that's great, Richard - Thank you for letting me know anything I've passed on has been helpful.
Basically, you've shifted into the realm of understanding MIDI as a means to produce music more like it was always originally played in the real world. Years ago when I first started getting into MIDI, it was basically being used as a way for pianists/keyboard players to record their performances as a data stream which could then be manipulated, and used to drive any available synth sound. In other words, originally MIDI was mostly an extension of the piano. Early on, velocity sensing wasn't available, so that the constantly fluctuating strength of the pianist's weight on the keys wasn't being captured. That resulted in tracks that were at one dynamic level - LA LA LA LA LA. It had a mechanical sounding charm of its own, but things were much improved for keyboardists when their MIDI keyboards began to have velocity sensing. Suddenly it was possible to produce recordings that much more accurately reflected the organic ebb and flow of velocity strengths that just naturally occur when a keyboard is played.
Things evolved way beyond how MIDI was being originally used. I still have trouble wrapping my head around how now, for years, we've been able to have musical playback come from notation files. It still feels like a thing of putting the cart before the horse - Musical sound resulting from MIDI instruments being triggered by musical symbols? For me, notation was the second factor in writing - the symbols jotted down to formalize what's already been composed. But here we have what was once a MIDI byproduct, notation, driving synths and samplers.
Also, now it's possible for many people who were never pianists, to make music using MIDI. And they can have an astronomical number of different sounds, natural and totally synethetic, at their command. It's amazing to look back at those early days of MIDI, how magical it all was at the time, but how incredibly things have advanced since then.
Some stylistic things developed in the gaming world which were directly due to the capabilities of MIDI, and the way writers were using the tools. It became typical, for example, for little repeating arpeggio riffs to loop under a game, with all the notes quantized to their absolute position, and with all notes entered at the same unchanging velocity. Nobody expected that kind of "music" to sound natural - it was part of the Gaming sound. Things are more sophisticated now, but there are still artificial, synth driven, robotically derived elements in some gaming music which is still part of the genre.
And so, part of how you've been working with music up until recently, was mainly influenced by what you were accustomed to, gaming music. Robotically perfect harp arpeggios can sound pleasing, but now, as you're explaining in this post, you're enjoying going back to what was being done earlier with MIDI - and that is to emulate the nature of "real world," organic music.
What you're describing about using more dynamics is definitely heard in this recording. The piano has a much more natural sound than what you were doing earlier - We can hear how some notes are appropriately quieter than others, and we can hear the less tight timing - It sounds really nice.
You auditioned the piano in GIO, the one called "Piano Super Light" - What didn't work for you? Before writing just now, I loaded that piano to refresh my memory of how it sounds. I added the "Film Score Space" Convolution impulse response, Send turned to 12:00, and it sounded surprisingly good to me - as good as the piano in GPO. I'm just curious what you didn't like about it for this recording.
Good work, Richard, thanks for posting it - and once again for letting me know that you're enjoying doing this more detailed MIDI work.