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I've managed to turn out a score that is, to the best that I've learned, not bad for the second movement of my Violin Concerto. All critiques are welcome.

The piece is here. https://soundcloud.com/artlowell/a-melody-for-violin-and-orchestra

Score pdf attached.

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"The thread is about  the score, not the audio".

Do you know what Art, I think my original post was all about the music and in a very (un-acknowledeged) complimentary way. My beef about audio is because your work deserves better, although according to your ears...not. Even now a compliment from a professional who has bothered to listen has probably bypassed you so, if it's all about the score, I now don't have the time nor the inclination....see Slavas' post above and doubtless multiply.

Yes Mike, time? me neither. I offered to produce a better audio recording for Art with a friends request but that has been ignored and now the reason has been spelled out.

present audio better than some LP's? I don't think so.

Never mind, we move on and I've just completed a produced and mixed recording for a friend who is very grateful for my time and effort (no charge).

Whoa, no need to get so touchy, guys... it's OK to chill a bit around here. ;-)

Finally got to listen to the audio.  I liked the music very much, especially in seeing the intent as indicated in the score.  I know it's not your intent here to focus on the audio, Art, but I found some aspects of it really detracted from the quality of the music.  The instruments aren't well balanced against each other; the flute / bass flute are way too soft, parts of the clarinet passages are too loud, and some sections of the violin solo sounded like it was played on a midi keyboard with a sustain pedal rather than a real violin.  Please don't take this as harsh criticism or nitpicking; I'm just stating the perception the audio gave me. Which is a real pity, because musically speaking, this piece is so fun-filled and quirky that even something as simple as tweaking the instrument volume balances a bit could have made it so much more enjoyable -- even without necessarily going for expensive high-quality DAWs which not all of us here (including myself) can afford.

You may or may not choose to do anything about the audio quality, which is totally fine by me (I often face the same issue myself, and usually choose to focus on the music rather than the production, with what little spare time I can actually squeeze out of my busy day to work on music).  But I just wanted to add a counterpoint (ha!) to Mike's comment that it may not necessarily require going full-out on the latest and greatest VSL/DAW to get much improved audio, even if it's not quite all the way there yet.

Duly noted, Slava. Apparently,my tempo notations disappeared in the editing process. (I didn't know that the strings got to have their own tempo marks. I'm not sure where the notes came from in bar 72 of the solo violin. The violin is resting at that point, both in the MIDI and the Logic Score windows. No notes at all.  I've heard of Muse Score. It would seem unwise to be exporting midi clips out of Logic in order to import them into a different program. Too many things to go wrong. 

I am pretty attached to Logic Pro for creating music, and Logic's score function seems pretty comprehensive to me. In fact, Logic has been developing its scoring function longer than it's MIDI function. I suppose people tend to develop a loyalty to things that they're most familiar with.

Everything that is wrong with my score is a result of my lack of knowledge about conventional scoring, plus sloppy proofreading. I didn't read through the score to check for errors like extra slur marks or "divisi" marks that I thought I had eliminated or erroneous instrument names.

So, thanks for the critique, especially the info about where to put the pizz and arco marks. I had questioned how to place both a "pizz" and a "mf" at the same place. 

Ray, you haven't heard some of my LPs that were produced in the '50s and even the '60s. Some have been played so many times that they have giant gouges in them. The point being, that my interest is in the music, rather than in the stereophonic experience. And please accept my apologies for not acknowledging your kind words about the music. 

H.S. the solo violin vst is the best one I know of, mostly because of the control over the speed and depth of the vibrato. the sample has a bit too much bow noise for my taste, but it gives me the control to create expressions pretty much like I would have played them, if I were still playing. 

Careful though. My samples don't technically go out of range, but they can allow you to write in ranges best avoided, used sparingly or which make certain dynamics impossible and certain textures weaker or stronger than you'd expect.

Art Lowell said:

I'll check those out. Ordinarily with these VSTs, they won't go out of range.

I haven't heard your favourite LPs, but I'm still prepared to state that it doesn't. No offense, but c'mon . . . unless your favourite lps were recorded with cheap samples and no obvious midi expression, even an orchestra recorded with a single cheap microphone will have more warmth and expression than this. Even those early Holst recordings.

If you want musical critique, which I can only offer from my own perspective, it jumps around a little too much. There seems no unifying theme or style. There's an absolutely beautiful moment at 4.35-4.43 but I feel it's then squandered.

Art Lowell said:

it far exceeds the quality of some of my favorite LPs

As it turns out, It's the SampleTank voices and some ESX24 (Apple Logic) voices that go out of range. Actually, it's my LP of The Planets with Adrian Boult and the London Phil circa 1950 that has taken the worst abuse. It's a very low-fidelity recording, but I love it the most. I also have a recording of the same piece with Leonard Bernstein made about 20 or 30 years later. Much better fidelity, but I'll take the Boult, any day. (I think you have to be British to perform english music). Part of the disconnect may be because I have never listened to my music over a sound system, but rather only with headphones. The mids sound just fine to me.

That's a great recording. At risk of sidetracking, do you genuinely think your samples sound better than the Boult recording?

Art Lowell said:

As it turns out, It's the SampleTank voices and some ESX24 (Apple Logic) voices that go out of range. Actually, it's my LP of The Planets with Adrian Boult and the London Phil circa 1950 that has taken the worst abuse. It's a very low-fidelity recording, but I love it the most. I also have a recording of the same piece with Leonard Bernstein made about 20 or 30 years later. Much better fidelity, but I'll take the Boult, any day. (I think you have to be British to perform english music). Part of the disconnect may be because I have never listened to my music over a sound system, but rather only with headphones. The mids sound just fine to me.

I'll answer by critiquing the Boult recording. The orchestra sounds like it's about a hundred miles away and the highs and low frequencies are very flat. Almost like they were highly compressed. So yes, I do genuinely think my samples sound better, at least with headphones. I have spent a lot of time in the same room with actual musicians, so I think I know what a live sound sounds like. Perhaps the better way to say it is that my samples sound much more realistic and "present" than the Boult recording. 

An addendum. I think that people have become inured to the highly processed sound that has become the industry standard. All kinds of EQ enhancement and plenty of reverb. Howard Hanson insisted on recording all his records in a completely dead room. No room ambience whatsoever. Deadly to listen to. I have added a small amount of overall reverb in order to avoid that. The heavy processing makes for a pretty spectacular sound, but I prefer a sound that is more realistic, more like you might actually hear in a concert hall. I guess it's all a matter of taste. 

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