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Topic: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

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  1. #1

    Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    Here is "Celebration," a Grade 3 string orchestra piece with a duration of about 2:30.

    https://www.box.com/s/akpbfc6jpbd52r7akydg
    Here's my main concern with this piece: I work in Finale 2011 with GPO4 and the Aria player with convolution reverb. I'm having difficulty eliminating boominess and rumbling in some passages of the string bass staff. So far, I've tried:
    • lowering the volume through dynamics in the score, overall staff volume settings, and bank and master volume settings
    • decreasing the amount of reverb
    • decreasing the lows and increasing the highs in the equalizer
    • turning off the stereo staging
    • changing the staff from section basses to a solo player

    Some of these adjustment combinations have helped, but I'm still getting an overall muddiness (do you also hear it?), and with these settings changes, I'm concerned about balance. My pan settings are wide, so I don't think they're a problem, and I've left them alone.
    I know I could tackle all this in Sonar, but for now, can anyone suggest anything else I can do to correct the problem in Finale, GPO4, and Aria?

    Thanks for listening and commenting.

    Art

    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: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    have the bass play less; use it as accent.

  3. #3

    Re: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    Hi Art -

    First. . . I wish to comment about this piece from a compositional point of view. I LIKE IT! I checked out your web-site (which I often do to get to know the person behind the music) and it seems that you write music for specific levels of orchestra and ensembles. Very cool, Art! To me that means that you're mindful of the playing levels/abilities of the people performing your compositions. To be able to do this plus keep the composition sounding "interesting" is an art-form all by itself. If you plan on sending this piece to be published, I wish you success with it. I can only imagine that the string orchestra that will be playing it will have fun!

    Regarding the production sound of this piece. . . I'm afraid that I simply don't have the chops to be able to help you with eliminating what you think is the "boominess" or "muddiness" of the piece. The overall EQ of the sound seemed OK to me. I will comment that it does have the commonly found sound of a piece rendered by a notation program. By this I mean that it has the overly quantized sound to it. My only suggestion would be to transfer the midi information to what ever DAW you use and "humanize" it more. (I just re-read your post and see that you use SONAR.) I know that there are a few people that can make a composition produced by a notation program come alive. Most often, though, I read how composers who use notation programs often transfer projects to their DAW to fine-tune the sound to their liking.

    Thank you for sharing your music! The composition is fun and enjoyable. I wish you success with this!

    Ted
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  4. #4

    Re: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    Hi Art,

    This is really good. A pure string piece is always difficult, since you don't have any means to camouflage the naked sound of the strings. The only help you can get is from your acoustic environment. You did well using the convolution (which I really appreciate in GPO), but maybe you could add some more space (distance) in your string orchestra: don't put all the instruments in one line or half circle, but in two or three half circles (by changing the mic distances in the balance) and review the reverb settings according to these distances (basses need less reverb or reflection) and with the equaliser, you could emphasize some frequencies in the bass line (experiment here to decide which setting suits you best - maybe you will have to reduce the lowest frequencies a bit).

    I hope this is of some use to you. Thanks for sharing the lovely piece,

    Max

  5. #5

    Re: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    Ted:

    Glad you like "Celebration"! Thanks for visiting my website! I do write music for specific levels mostly of bands and ensembles. Yes, I try to be mindful of the playing abilities of students at various levels, and I try to consider the quirks of learning each instrument, as one progresses. I also try to fill my music with an educational purpose, and I try to give directors plenty of fodder for musical lessons. On top of all this, I try to make the music both fun to play AND fun to listen to. I do find this kind of composing very challenging.


    Thanks also for your comments on this piece's rendering.

    Max:

    Thanks for your kind comments.
    Camouflage the naked sound of the strings.
    I like that! Yeah, that is a challenge. Thanks also for the rendering suggestions. I have been toning down the reverb selectively by staff. Unfortunately, the only settings for convolution reverb in the Aria player are dials for pre-delay and level. Still, I can "adjust" some reverb and EQ settings in the string bass staff by using more channels and patching.


    I will, however, experiment with distancing instruments from the mic. This seems more difficult with only five staves, but I'll see what I can do there.

    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: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    That is a nice and original piece. It has a childlike playfulness to it that is refreshing and different from how most people write. Very interesting intervals also. As for the eq problems. It might be possible to fix it in the Aria player, but there are no guarantees and it will be a lot of work. If you have sonar I'd just use that instead of using the Aria player which IMO isn't suited for it.

    However if for some reason you can't use sonar, use the mid range eq to cut from your lowest and second lowest instrument. For example cut about 6db at 110 from your bass and 6db at 400 from your cellos. The cut the bass from your cellos. Of course this isn't going to work exactly, because I don't know the exact frequencies that are causing problems. You'll have to sweep through them yourself to find the clashing frequencies and cut them. Good luck.

  7. #7

    Re: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    This is a very nice orchestral piece. Where were you when I was conducting my high school orchestra. Back then (I won't say how long) it was difficult to find playable, yet interesting pieces. This would be one I definitely select for my group, fun, light and very playable. I like the use of the pizz versus arco. It makes for a nice challenge.

    Congrats on a nice piece.

    Try my Finale settings and see what happens to the reverb. You have to give up the newest Aria Engine with all its bells and whistles and use the Garritan for Finale Engine, but I find it works with very little muss and fuss.

    Best regards,
    Bill
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  8. #8

    Re: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    Hi Bill. Thanks for your comments! Uh, what Finale settings?

    Art
    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: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    Quote Originally Posted by gogreen1 View Post
    Hi Bill. Thanks for your comments! Uh, what Finale settings?

    Art
    Hi Art,
    Sorry. See my post in the Quietly the Storm Comes Thread.

    Best regards,
    Bill
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  10. #10

    Re: Celebration - String Orchestra - Grade 3

    Got it! I copied the settings and will experiment. Thanks!

    Art
    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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