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Topic: New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

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  1. #1

    New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

    Hi all, This is an 8 minute work for full orchestra, titled Samsara Breakdown, my first attempt at a project this big. I'd appreciate comments, feedback.

    The score was put into Finale. I imported the MIDI file into Digital Performer and used GPO4 as plugin. Actually, listening to the piece helped me to make decisions on a number of orchestration issues (percussion, flute doublings, some string registers), and I often worked back and forth between the score and DP.

    I decided against using Horn and Trombone overlays, as it seemed to be too much to my ear. Also, I finally decided to use the Traditional Symphonic Concert Hall reverb space. It seemed to be more resonant than the Modern Symphonic space; the Large Symphonic Concert seemed too much. I also used a European style arrangement of the orchestra, with vln II opposite vln I. Here is the link on Box.com:

    https://www.box.com/s/3hsk65jm12uhvdnetcd8

    Thanks,

    John
    John Newell
    www.johnnewellmusic.com
    GPO4, Garritan World Instruments, Digital Performer 7.24, Finale 2012, Miroslav Philharmonik

  2. #2

    Re: New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

    Hi John,


    How nice to hear you again. And it is quite an amazing comeback! I like it a lot. You succeeded in realising a good orchestral balance and in spreading the musical story in the whole orchestra, without overdoing it. (Single instruments, small groups, ensemble, tutti, string techniques...) A pertinent rhythmic ostinato sneaks through the entire piece but it's never dominant or obtrusive. And finally, you set down the movement in a quiet string choir with your beloved flute.

    Overall sound is good, but maybe (my personal preference) a little more reverb (mainly for the strings) would make it somewhat more realistic as orchestral sound. The balance is fine and no instrument is dominant (which is often the case with the flute in GPO).

    Well done!

    Max

  3. #3

    Re: New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

    Thanks for your comments Max. I'll try putting more Send on the the strings, especially the violins. I noticed that they don't quite have the presence that some of the other groups have (all instruments are set at about "1:30" on the Send knob).

    John
    John Newell
    www.johnnewellmusic.com
    GPO4, Garritan World Instruments, Digital Performer 7.24, Finale 2012, Miroslav Philharmonik

  4. #4

    Re: New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

    Hi, John - This is a very effective, detailed work that I've really been enjoying. You surely must be feeling a gratifying sense of accomplishment because of your work here.

    I like what you've written about listening critically to the work by studying it in DP, and how that helped you make some orchestration decisions that hadn't occured to you when you were working only in Finale. Very interesting.

    You're referring to some of the Impulse Responses available in ARIA's Convolution Reverb - I'm glad to see you choosing from those. The Convo plugin really has upped the power available in ARIA.

    Max's note about perhaps using more reverb is a good one. I think with some experimenting you could try some higher Send settings.

    My one note is that there seem to be some string passages meant to be legato which aren't especially smooth. If you really were going for some legato passages, use the old style Garritan legato control which is with CC64. We've been talking about this in a current General Discussion thread. I find it works best to not only use CC64 but also to lower the velocity values in a legato passage, in order to get as smooth a playback as possible.

    A really interesting piece of music - Thanks so much for posting it.

    Randy

  5. #5
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

    I am not qualified to critique this piece since I grew up on the three B's and advanced by now to Mahler,Bruckner and Dvorak. But, for your understanding where this comment is coming from, for me your composition sound almost like Bartok. I admire your skill of orchestration, you obvious talent and imagination even if at 85 I can not understand all you are saying with your music.
    I take my hat off to you.

    Ted

  6. #6
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

    Hello John,

    This is really excellent and it sounds good!

    Your title suggests it's about issues with the cycle of life. I can sense that in this music if that is the case.

    Really solid work here.

    Bravo!



    Phil

  7. #7

    Re: New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

    Hello John -

    Wow! I like it!!

    After I finished listening to your composition, I noticed in your "signature line" that you had a web site. So, I visited it. THEN it all made sense to me: Composing is your thing! This ain't your first or second or third piece that you've written.

    Usually when I comment on pieces, here, I usually differentiate the composition from the "sound" that's been produced from the software-based sound library, sequencer/notation program and all the neat and handy-dandy plug-ins like reverb and EQs, etc. Some do a really top-notch job composing the music while their sequencing/audio chops may not represent their musical ideas well. I truly believe that one can be a great composer but still be more of a novice (or not as "expert") in using the computer-based tools to produce their music. (I'm still working on both!) It seems that you've managed to develop really good chops for both the composing thing and the notation/sequencing/audio thing. Compositionally, for me, it was a well-developed piece that was masterfully orchestrated. Regarding the compositional and orchestral aspect of your piece, I say this as a compliment: I learned from listening to your piece! (I'm always looking for "free education"! LOL! ) Now, regarding to how you "produced" this piece, again, I also learned! As others have pointed out, the sound is even and (at least to my ears) it seems to represent the orchestra in a realistic manner. My only comment is that maybe there could have been more reverb used for the strings in the mix. Also, as Randy pointed out, the use of CC64 and strategical use of velocity might prove beneficial in producing very convincing legato passages. (I turn off the auto legato function within the Aria Player and just use the "sustain" pedal for the legato passages.) Although the legato passages in this piece were quite evident and seemingly faithful to the sound you were working to produce.

    The score was put into Finale. I imported the MIDI file into Digital Performer and used GPO4 as plugin.
    If I understand your methodology correctly, you input everything into Finale first and refine the sound in Digital Performer. Do you compose directly into Finale or do you do the old "Pencil to Manuscript Paper" during the COMPOSITIONAL process then input your already written piece into Finale?? I have the Finale program and I like it! But I am too used to using "Pencil to Manuscript Paper" during the compositional process to use Finale during this phase of creating music. Then I go from what I've written by hand to sequencing it using either Apple's Logic or Motu's Digital Performer. It seems that other composers use similar methods as you do in working on their projects. I'm just not accustomed to using a notation program.

    I have a couple more questions to ask you. Do you pan your instruments on your own or do you use GPO's pre-panned instrumentation? I ask this to learn from you, by the way. I strive to produce a somewhat realistic orchestral sound which is something that you seem to produce already. (By the way, I say the word "somewhat" because I'm a "composer" first and a sound engineer way down the line in talent and know-how! LOL!)

    This is a well-written and well-produced piece. Again, I learned much from listening to this piece. To this I say, "Thank You"!

    Ted
    (Full-time ICU Nurse/Composer Wanna-be)
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  8. #8

    Re: New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

    Quote Originally Posted by efiebke View Post


    If I understand your methodology correctly, you input everything into Finale first and refine the sound in Digital Performer. Do you compose directly into Finale or do you do the old "Pencil to Manuscript Paper" during the COMPOSITIONAL process then input your already written piece into Finale?? I have the Finale program and I like it! But I am too used to using "Pencil to Manuscript Paper" during the compositional process to use Finale during this phase of creating music. Then I go from what I've written by hand to sequencing it using either Apple's Logic or Motu's Digital Performer. It seems that other composers use similar methods as you do in working on their projects. I'm just not accustomed to using a notation program.

    I have a couple more questions to ask you. Do you pan your instruments on your own or do you use GPO's pre-panned instrumentation? I ask this to learn from you, by the way. I strive to produce a somewhat realistic orchestral sound which is something that you seem to produce already. (By the way, I say the word "somewhat" because I'm a "composer" first and a sound engineer way down the line in talent and know-how! LOL!)

    This is a well-written and well-produced piece. Again, I learned much from listening to this piece. To this I say, "Thank You"!

    Ted
    (Full-time ICU Nurse/Composer Wanna-be)
    Hi Ted, guess what... You're at BMC? I think that our paths have crossed in the past. We moved to Maine from Pittsfield MA almost two years ago! I really appreciate your comments. So, yes, I am a composer who began learning Digital Performer fairly recently, and still learning about production. That's why I value the GPO forum so much.

    Actually, I am an old fashioned pencil and paper (and eraser) composer, and that is how all my compositions to date have begun. I'll do the first draft on paper, then when I'm confident that I'm on a good track, begin the input into Finale. I can't see Finale as any more than an engraving tool (I think one should match how they use their tools with what their aims are). With this piece I did the entire 3 or 4 staff "piano reduction" score on paper first. Then began the Finale input; I tried something new: with the orchestra template, I inserted 4 staves for the piano reduction and input the music there first. Honestly, I had not thought much about the orchestration, except for opening violin melody, the brass fragments and a few wind licks. After completing the piano reduction staves I then used copy and paste to fill out the instrumental parts. This worked well for me, I think... it made me focus on the details of the orchestration.

    Once the score was completed (minus a few details like percussion) I saved the Finale file as a MIDI file and imported it into Digital Performer, then went to work on editing (I cannot stand -- really cannot stand -- the Finale approach to editing a MIDI file). I had fun choosing the GPO instruments... this was the first time I had to create an orchestra in DP. I started with the pan and Stereo Stage settings in GPO, but Randy is right -- there isn't enough depth and breadth, so I spread things out.

    Again, I'm an amateur at production. It is so easy to become obsessive about every stage, and so I have to choose what I am going to be obsessive about.

    Best regards, John
    John Newell
    www.johnnewellmusic.com
    GPO4, Garritan World Instruments, Digital Performer 7.24, Finale 2012, Miroslav Philharmonik

  9. #9

    Re: New Work for Orchestra - finally completed (hah!) GPO realization

    Hi John!

    No, I don't work at BMC. Rather I work at BMC's "sister hospital", Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. It's all part of the Berkshire Health System, though. Did you work at BMC?!?!? My wife, who is also a nurse (she works in the O.R.), works per diem at BMC's Crane Center (which does out-patient surgery). Maybe you've been in contact with her?? Do you know/remember Bob (Robert) Diskin, RN, and possible Rick Glasener, RN?? If so, I'm sure we have a story or two to share.

    I appreciate you sharing your methodology in writing music. It's nice to see that there are other composers who use the old "pencil & eraser to paper" method of writing. I'm am just sooooooo used to doing things in that manner. But I guess this aging dog can learn new tricks. LOL!

    Looking forward to hearing more of your works, Take care!

    Ted
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

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