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Topic: Reverb issues again

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  1. #1

    [Solved]Reverb issues again

    I recently posted my first piece, Skating. I have heard from Steve johnson re: it. He, as many of you know, espouses the doctrine of mucho reverbio. Others (rbowser and reberclark) have cautioned me against going off the cliff, so to speak, with my reverb. My reply to Steve was, that I think that how reverb much you should use, depends on the texture of your music. Steve's music sounds a lot like Sibelius (my favorite composer, but damned if I can figure out how to write like him). I think Sibelius' music generates a lot of reverb naturally, as he favors the lower end of the spectrum, which creates huge waves of resonance. So, if you write like that, it's understandable you'd want to choose a large space, and a reverb to fill it. My orchestra is smaller, basically a classical ensemble. While I try to create a more intimate sound, my music also has a lot going on it (probably too much at times), and I find that too much reverb only blurs the various musical lines. I tend to like to fill up the vertical column of sound, so each line really needs to sound clearly. The effect I try to achieve is akin to Impressionism (Debussy is my other favorite composer). But the texture is closer to Baroque polyphony, expanded out to create a bigger sound picture.

    So, does anyone have any thoughts on Skating, vis a vis the amount of reverb I used in it?

    Thanks, Mike
    Last edited by michael diemer; 10-02-2015 at 01:42 PM. Reason: Post is solved

  2. #2

    Re: Reverb issues again

    Quote Originally Posted by michael diemer View Post
    I recently posted my first piece, Skating. I have heard from Steve johnson re: it. He, as many of you know, espouses the doctrine of mucho reverbio. Others (rbowser and reberclark) have cautioned me against going off the cliff, so to speak, with my reverb. My reply to Steve was, that I think that how reverb much you should use, depends on the texture of your music. Steve's music sounds a lot like Sibelius (my favorite composer, but damned if I can figure out how to write like him). I think Sibelius' music generates a lot of reverb naturally, as he favors the lower end of the spectrum, which creates huge waves of resonance. So, if you write like that, it's understandable you'd want to choose a large space, and a reverb to fill it. My orchestra is smaller, basically a classical ensemble. While I try to create a more intimate sound, my music also has a lot going on it (probably too much at times), and I find that too much reverb only blurs the various musical lines. I tend to like to fill up the vertical column of sound, so each line really needs to sound clearly. The effect I try to achieve is akin to Impressionism (Debussy is my other favorite composer). But the texture is closer to Baroque polyphony, expanded out to create a bigger sound picture.

    So, does anyone have any thoughts on Skating, vis a vis the amount of reverb I used in it?

    Thanks, Mike
    You've hit on a few considerations that are influential in what I would deem to be proper use of reverb. Here are additional views from 40 years experience composing, recording, and engineering.

    1. reverb is broadly an effect. The effect is intended to provide an ambiance/space/atmosphere that is not found in the original source itself even if some ambiance/room is present.

    2. ALL effects must be applied judiciously with a goal in mind.

    3. In orchestration, the problems of big/ small, loud/soft, and articulations are solved. That requires no ambiance as it's purely the musical consideration of composition, orchestration and ultimately performance.

    4. Since reverb "adds" an ambiance it is essential to imagine the performance environment to get a good choice made. If the piece is a large orchestral work typically performed in a Modern Symphony Concert Hall, you need that ambiance reflection in your reverb selection. If it is a small chamber ensemble typically performed in a quiet chapel setting then a completely reverb must be sought to match the reflections of such an environment.

    5. Modern production uses reverb for more that the "real room" effect that is traditional. It uses reverb to a. add strength and power by accenting the reflections of lower frequencies...this film 101 and yu can hardly see a film that doesn't rattle the spine with low end. b. reverb is often used to add size to the perception of what would otherwise be a smaller orchestrated sound. c. reverb is effectively used to designate distance from source origin location...that to a degree is sfx production rather than musical thinking though not exclusively.

    6. this is purely my opinion, but reverb at times can be applied to hide or mask what what is going on with a purpose to somehow improve it. That doesn't work and is like pounding your fender with a hammer when the tire is flat...just fix the tire.

    7. Llastly, there is no absolute right and wrong and that is applicable to music and sound. It can be adequate reasoning to add reverb just because you like the way it sounds when applied. Be strict though by demanding a standard. If the result truly improves the listening experience it can be said to be a a valid choice.

    In mentioning Sibelius etc., you really bring focus to composition and orchestral writing and styles found in it. That could presume a performance environment sufficient for the scope of the work. You;d naturally expect 100 pieces and full chorus to be performed in a big space and vice versa. Composers should not compose with the space in mind alone though it is a legitimate inspiration...I believe Fanfare for the Common Man was heard in a huge space when still within Copeland's mind.

    Listening to a track performed in the often times static computer realm can be tedious without some spacial suggestion. Be the Responsible party and choose what you believe is appropriate whether as a possible and likely performance environment or an sfx. Be honest with your writing and a modestly good choice will help it sing.

    For the record, very busy writing in theory should have smaller decay times in order to hear the music motion. Very slow motion can utilize much bigger space. That is a prime guideline in sound production and well as frequency and room tuning.

    Good luck.

  3. #3

    Re: Reverb issues again

    Thanks for your insightful reply. I will consider it in depth and apply your suggestions as appropriate. At some point I will be remixing SKATING, and your ideas will come in handy. Thanks again,

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