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Here is my new piece for 3 flutes and piccolo. Produced using Berlin Woodwinds (1.6 and EXPB). My idea was to link baroque with contemporary minimalism.
Does the performance sound realistic to your ears? If not, could you please say, where it sounds like computer?
Overall, the piece does have a fairly good sense of realism to it.
A few things that I saw and heard have to do with the balance you presented in the rendering. A flute in it's lower register has little or no carry power. It's a beautiful sound, but the scoring has to allow it to come through. In the trills that start in m45, the sound will almost be more of a color against the flutes, which are in a very strong register as far as projection. The sound will take on an almost "breathy" tone. Think in terms of "Prelude to Afternoon of Fawn" type of sound.
The piccolo on the other hand doesn't have a p in it's upper register. The register alone will create projection, plus it's very difficult for a player to keep the extreme register soft. A single picc can be heard over an entire string section at ff in this register.
As far as the actual sounds, they are quite good to me. I don't think a player would interpret the staccato quite as short as you've rendered it. Think more as a detached note instead of short. They also seem to take on an accent which would probably not be played.
FYI, in a chamber score, all parts should be represented at all times. It gets tough to know which flutes are playing when you drop lines of the score.
Overall, very nice job.
My feeling is that there needs to be some kind of phrasing. You have every note articulated. You have no dynamics or crescendos or decrescendos. So, yes it sounds very much like a computer. Also, the piccolo sounds like it is very far away as it would if it were in an orchestra setting.
The sounds themselves are nice, it's just how you've used them that needs a little more thought.
You seldom have all for instruments playing together. One flute has the melody for a measure then hands it off to another flute, while the third might have something sometimes. This type of writing seems more suited to keyboard than a quartet. Think about having all four play together more to add contrast to the parts that are thinner. Yes, I know you want to be minimalist. In that case maybe two flutes could play most of this.
Thanks for posting this. Keep writing.
As an aside, I feel that all parts should be visible in all scores all the time. When I conduct, I like to be able to look at the same spot on every page for any particular instrument. Others feel differently.
Many thanks to you, Tim and Bob for your replies. This was very important for me, yet a little bit disappointing. I am very glad to hear opinion of a conductor.
When I read your replies I try to divide the problems in the track into "composition problems" (or how the score is made) and "sample sequencing problems" (or how the samples are used and set up). Currently sample sequencing problems are most important to me, although I understand, that some problems cannot be corrected without changing the score:
1. Phrasing and dynamics. I see that although I used a lot of dynamics (can see here: http://clip2net.com/s/392GtCj ) - it appeared not enough. I think one of the reasons is that the dynamics were most of the times not synchronized between instruments and some instruments are playing dim, while at the same time others are playing cresc. Also, perhaps I have to use even more deep dynamic changes, is that what you are talking about?
2. You have every note articulated - Are you talking about accent and staccato feel? Does this apply to the whole piece or to some parts only?
3. Piccolo. It seems to me that the score needs to be changed. It is impossible to play piccolo at correct dynamics here without changing the score, because this will cover all the flutes. Am I right?
4. More playing together. Does this really influence the realism of the track? I understand, that this way of arrangment is not usual, but what if this score was played live?
When a wind player looks at your score as written, they will articulate (in wind speak) or tongue each note. There are hard or soft tongue techniques. We don't know too much about how music was played in the Baroque era. There is a book on flute playing from that time. One of the few, if only, texts. I don't know the name of it, but it can't be hard to find.
So the question becomes: Is this a piece written with Baroque and minimalist values, and meant to be played in a Baroque style? Or to be played in a modern style? In which case, there would be phrasing marked. Your samples may or may not offer any phrasing
To me, this piece(which I like) looks like a keyboard piece arranged for four instruments. Nothing wrong with that. I only mentioned it originally because with flutes, you have the opportunity to do some things a keyboard may not do as well. Like sustained notes that hold(without fading) while other notes change around them. Legato sections, where notes blend together in ways keyboard notes can't. I'm sure you can think of more.
I was also talking about a little four part harmony, instead of four independent lines, all the time.
Real piccolo doesn't have to be loud. But an interesting grouping might be two flutes, alto flute, and bass flute.
I think the piccolo may need less reverb to bring it forward in the mix to be with the flutes.
Thank you Bob! I almost do not play keyboard instruments, but I understand that this piece feels keyboard-like. I am planning to post a piccolo/flute/alto flute/bass flute piece soon.