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Adagio for Strings

Using Albion one by Spitfire studios.

Regards,

Saul

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It's a beautiful melody, Saul, and some ravishing harmonies.

I can't really add to what others have said but if you don't mind me saying so, I'm inclined to agree with H.S.Tech's comment about the thickness of the lower register chords, as if they've been transcribed straight from a piano score. Dare I suggest it may be worth trying out a version with those chords thinned out? However, they do give the work a liturgical atmosphere which could be exactly what you wanted, in which case please disregard these remarks.

Incidentally I've been looking at Spitfire of late. Acquired the BBCSO freebie but am struggling with it at the moment - the velocity cross fade. The manual isn't too helpful - so it's great that you've made strides with your Spitfire libraries.

I enjoyed listening to it. No surprise there.

Many thanks,

Dane..

Yes I played it on a keyboard and the strings were just the color, it is more of a keyboard work, that's the way it sounds.

It was not conceived with an orchestra to play this, and of course it was an improvisation.


H. S. Teoh said:

I apologize for dumping my nitpicky remarks on your work again... but here are some comments:

You appear to have taken an organ score and played it on strings. ;-) Or at least, that's what it sounded like. The scoring for the lower register, in particular, is a bit too thick for strings, and sounds quite muddy. IMO, you could have scored this for organ and it would have worked better with the current chord spacings!

If I were to score this piece for string ensemble, I'd keep the general pitch range higher, and leave wide spacings in the low register to avoid the muddiness. Also, I'd write with much more polyphony or at least independence of lines when I'm writing for string ensemble. It would be more idiomatic that way (and more interesting, if once in a while an inner voice comes through with an interesting melodic fragment or two). Block chords on strings ought to be used sparingly; writing block chords for extended periods of time like this for string ensemble gets a bit tiring on the ears after a while. At the very least, I'd shift the overall distribution of pitches once in a while -- say for one passage the basses could temporarily drop out while the higher instruments do their thing above an empty basement, so to speak, then for another passage thin out the chords a bit and have the upper strings and lower strings interact with each other contrapuntally for a while, before returning to the full-scale, all-octave block chords. Maybe even throw in a solo line or two at strategic places to really emphasize a particular melodic fragment. IOW, more variety in the texture than the same block chords scoring the whole way through. (You did have one passage around 2:25 or so that leaves the basement for a bit -- that was refreshing, but IMO could be carried further -- consider completely leaving out the bassline for one or two passages, for instance.)

Alternatively, the current chord spacings would work really well with a brass ensemble instead -- perhaps that's something to consider.  A properly-scored brass ensemble would go very nicely with the grandiose, hymn-like music that you currently have. IMO brass instruments generally do better with block chords than a string ensemble, esp. for extended periods of time. Or possibly add some horns to strengthen the chordal mix a little, on top of the strings. Also, in some parts a trumpet or horn in high register (the so-called "epic horn" cliche) would really bring out the mood much better than violins. Or perhaps even have both at different points, just for extra flavor.

But definitely clear that basement -- i.e., thin out the lower notes of your chord more, esp. below middle C. Two or more octaves below that, seriously consider doing only octaves; anything closer will seriously cloud your lower register with muddiness. An organ with the lower stops pulled out would have a similar effect (which is why I said this piece might work better on an organ!), but even then you wouldn't want to stay in that register for too long. If it were up to me, I'd use it for one or two key passages just to shake up and awe the audience a bit with those 32' stops, but pull back soonish afterwards in order to avoid ear fatigue.  Staying in such a low register for a long time, esp. with full-scale block chords, can become rather tiring to listen to, no matter how grand the music may be. Learn to use these gestures sparingly, and in strategic locations, and leave the other passages relatively in the "clear zone" (around the middle register, not going too low or too high, except for intentional special effects), and your music will become more much effective.

Thank You Dane, yes you have a point please see what I have responded to H. S Teoh which basically pointed out the same thing.

Best Wishes,

Saul

Dane Aubrun said:

It's a beautiful melody, Saul, and some ravishing harmonies.

I can't really add to what others have said but if you don't mind me saying so, I'm inclined to agree with H.S.Tech's comment about the thickness of the lower register chords, as if they've been transcribed straight from a piano score. Dare I suggest it may be worth trying out a version with those chords thinned out? However, they do give the work a liturgical atmosphere which could be exactly what you wanted, in which case please disregard these remarks.

Incidentally I've been looking at Spitfire of late. Acquired the BBCSO freebie but am struggling with it at the moment - the velocity cross fade. The manual isn't too helpful - so it's great that you've made strides with your Spitfire libraries.

I enjoyed listening to it. No surprise there.

Many thanks,

Dane..

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