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Dear Forumites

I am writing to see if anybody would be interested in entering a competition to select a piece of concert music written by one of you to be programmed by myself and mastered by Ray. 

I have at my disposal high end orchestral samples that can be used to show the winner how their score would sound in a more realistic way. The samples are not perfect nor a replacement for real players of course, but the difference between what I can offer and whatever notation software is used for rendering is very marked, so much so that when the winning composer hears his/her piece, they may well get a nice shock! The fact that Ray has kindly offered his considerable skills in mastering for whatever comes out of my studio, means that the winner will have a full quality professional recording of their piece. 

I know some here will have the same pro samples as me and I respectfully ask them not to apply as I would like to limit this to those who can only use notation software for playback. 

I was thinking of setting this up pretty much the way Gav has set up competitions in the past
( and I thank Gav for his advice in this matter) with me choosing one out of the best 3 pieces voted for by the forum members to work on.
All this would be anonymous of course, but once the winning piece was announced online, I will have detailed discussions with that composer regarding performance details and interpretation. 

RULES

The music should be a concert work of between 2- 6 minutes for small, up to large orchestra. For clarification, a full orchestra can comprise up to (but not essential!) triple wind (auxiliaries are allowed) full brass up to 6 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone and 1 tuba, percussion a4 if required (all mallets and non pitched perc available) 2 harps and full strings. Chamber orchestra is a paired down orchestra and personnel numbers can be left to the composer but there must be a minimum of around 20 players although if strings are used, then the composer must specify how many in each section. Please note that divisi in strings is also possible, with a limit of a3 for each section. 

No choir or avant-garde techniques should be used because they are not very convincing at present with samples. Any style/period of music is permitted and pieces will NOT be judged on this. The piece can be anything from an overture to a symphonic poem in any mood and on any subject if you need one to write with, but it must be a concert orchestral piece.

What I will be looking for whilst judging, apart from a good piece of music, is clarity of intent in the score because I will have to in effect perform it, this means as detailed a score as possible regarding articulations and dynamics. If I feel there is a problem with the scoring in terms of balance or performance on an instrument, I will gladly liaise with the composer in order to find a solution they are happy with. 

You can submit more than one work if you wish, but not with the same alias and you can submit a work previously posted on this forum. If you are interested please let me know in this thread. 
  Entrants should then submit mp3 and full score for each piece they enter and forum members will then be asked to vote for their three favourite pieces, the winner will be chosen from the top three. If the interest is there, I will sort out the next anonymous posting phase using Gavs’ advice and set-up procedures.

Deadline for entrants to register - 15th September

Deadline for entrants submission - 30th January

Here is a well known piece programmed by me in order to give you an idea of the quality of the samples I will use on the winning piece. There are 2 files, one is live, the other isn't. I didn't try too hard to create an exact replica of the live recording and it is possible to tell the difference, but they are pretty close. Also this file has no mastering applied to it, which will be done by Ray on the winning piece. Hopefully this will entice a few more entrants.

Any questions, please ask here and I shall endeavour to answer, as an added bonus, it will also bump the thread. 

Mike.

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Hi Mike, any chance you could post your DAW project file or exported Midi file for this?  Would be interesting to see what the Midi looks like as far as how you used CC's to make for a more realistic mock.  I use Cubase Pro myself, and certainly don't have your quality samples, but may be interesting to open up the Midi file and have a look at that (and may be fun to play it back with my lesser quality samples hehe).  

I'd also be interested in seeing how you approach the automation side of things, if it's convenient.

eboats said:

Hi Mike, any chance you could post your DAW project file or exported Midi file for this?  Would be interesting to see what the Midi looks like as far as how you used CC's to make for a more realistic mock.  I use Cubase Pro myself, and certainly don't have your quality samples, but may be interesting to open up the Midi file and have a look at that (and may be fun to play it back with my lesser quality samples hehe).  

@Dave and Eboats,

I'm pretty sure you wont be able to make any sense of this, but here it is. The problem being that Spitfire audio uses uacc for cc and articulation work, VSL and others use complex key switching. This means that for example, release control is on cc17 for Spitfire sounds whilst it is cc23 for VSL. The only thing you will be able to sensibly glean is expression/ velocity control riding. I use 2 tracks for each part, 1 for notes and the second for cc work, although sometimes that gets mixed up! The template is  organised into instrument groups, wind, brass etc. and the arrange page is arranged in score order from top to bottom.

All cc work is done over bluetooth via apps on an iPad. Mixing is done in Logic ProX with a Motu1248.

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No, that makes some sense. I have to use a combination of keyswitching and CC (annoyingly I have no KS string libraries so I need 20-odd tracks for 5 sections), but it's always interesting to see how someone more experienced approaches it and their project flow. It looks like Logic X or whatever you're on has upgraded the CC panel significantly - I can only switch between expression, modulation etc but you apparently have real-time control/view over multiple channels simoultaneously. I'd upgrade but I'm worried about stymieing my workflow for months.

"All cc work is done over bluetooth via apps on an iPad" - so you play back the project and input expression live? What apps do you use for that? I have a Faderport but haven't got it to work for years so using mouse has become second nature, I'd never explored other options.

Do you have the multiple instruments like trumpets condensed into one track?

It's interesting to see you use volume automation as well, I almost never use that except for incorporating live instruments I have no midi control over. That said, I've had to recently for some percussion instruments where the velocity dropoff is uneven (127 - 100 loud, 99-50 inaudible) and there's no CC options.

Thanks for taking the time to post.

Logic ProX has indeed improved cc editing in what they call the step editor. Here you can group custom cc lanes together for each virtual instrument. Yep, real-time control over as many cc's as you want to display. I have custom lanes for all instruments, so when I come to edit any automation, it is all there on one page and unique to the instrument.

For the iPad I use VSLs' own app and I build my own custom sets for others in TouchOSC. I play in the part on a midi piano to minimise latency, I then sculpt the sound with cc's over a few passes. The iPad apps have faders and buttons for all relevant cc's and all articulation manipulation.

Re trumpets et al, no I don't condense, every single instrument has its own track and automation - what you are seeing on the tiffs are the trumpets etc. packed away into folders.

I don't normally use volume automation as it can be done with velocity layers and expression, but sometimes it can be a handy option as you've found out.

Most interesting!

Re packing into folders, I don't know if this is a new feature or one I've just not found (there are many of the latter) but how do you set up the screensets like that? It'd save me a huge amount of space... there's another 20-odd tracks that won't fit on the screen.

Mike Hewer said:


Re trumpets et al, no I don't condense, every single instrument has its own track and automation - what you are seeing on the tiffs are the trumpets etc. packed away into folders.

The midi file presented by Mike is pretty useless to anyone other than those having the same DAW and sample libraries.

The amount of work needed to convert the control of these midi notes to anything meaningful on audio output is a mammoth task for all but the nerdiest nerd. Possible but, better things to do.

I would find it easier starting from scratch.

I wasn't interested in trying to resurrect his midi or copy his approach, I'm just interested in how he does things.

Ray said:

The midi file presented by Mike is pretty useless to anyone other than those having the same DAW and sample libraries.

The amount of work needed to convert the control of these midi notes to anything meaningful on audio output is a mammoth task for all but the nerdiest nerd. Possible but, better things to do.

I would find it easier starting from scratch.

Sorry if you took my comment personally Dave, it was said as a general observation towards most active members here.

Ah, fair enough.

Ray said:

Sorry if you took my comment personally Dave, it was said as a general observation towards most active members here.

Hi Dave,

I can't recall if there is a folder function in logic9. In LPX it is in a drop down menu  called functions and all you need to do is select everything you want to put in a folder and create one. When I create a new software instrument, I can pack the tracks into a folder immediately.

As for screensets, that you can do in logic9. Using the numbers on your keyboard, you can have as many screensets as you want. Press number 2 and cf on the keyboard and you will probably find some default sets. To set up your own, just close any windows you find on a new screen (unless you want them of course) and open the windows you want, re-arrange them how you want them on the screen and press lock (which you will find on a drop down menu along the top bar somewhere).

What you see on the tiffs is LPX's new GUI and it is brilliant. I highly recommend LPX for its organising ability alone. My template has around 700 tracks, all packed away until I need them.

Dave Dexter said:

Most interesting!

Re packing into folders, I don't know if this is a new feature or one I've just not found (there are many of the latter) but how do you set up the screensets like that? It'd save me a huge amount of space... there's another 20-odd tracks that won't fit on the screen.

Mike Hewer said:


Re trumpets et al, no I don't condense, every single instrument has its own track and automation - what you are seeing on the tiffs are the trumpets etc. packed away into folders.

MIND BLOWN

There is a folder option in LP9. Probably clumsier to get to but just from a bit of messing I think that's going to be a huge help. Slightly odd how it works but presumably similar to LPX, it condenses the selected regions into a new track which you can then double click and edit as normal. The original tracks then just stand empty (update, I can delete and unpack to new ones if needed). I can even sub-pack, so packed brass and then individual tpt, hn sections etc. Yes I know you know all this but this is very exciting for me

I knew about arranging but never really used it, but suddenly stupidly realised I can set up templates for all the mixing and panning etc. Need two monitors to really mine that lode though. Aaaahhhhh

Perhaps the difference is that all my big projects have been for myself on my own time so far, but the current thing is the first large orchestral work done on commission I'm realising it's time to streamline.

I'm rapidly running out of ways to say "thanks for improving the efficiency of something very important to me, Mike".

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