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This is one of several short pieces for a contemporary dance troupe. For various reasons live performance will be impossible and renderings will have to do. Actually the troupe is happier about that because recordings are unchanging, making rehearsal easier. As I came aware of this it was a chance to use a few of the weirder libraries I acquired during cheap sales.

The piece has some swing interludes but is generally fluid. Among other things I swapped a harp for an acoustic guitar.  

Contemporary 

The score is about the best I can get and took a fair bit of work. The pdf doesn’t show glissandi marks and can’t cope with a few other things but it shows what’s happening.

The Mp3 does it no favours either. The 320k one was too big.

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I really like the succession of instrumental colors and the interplay of the different parts in this piece, Dane. In fact, early on I was reminded of Klangfarbenmelodie. Also, I feel the guitar was perfect for this - I'm not sure a harp would have had as much character. Do I understand correctly that this was realized on a DAW, and then the score was written out from the rendered music? How do you create the score then? These aren't urgent questions of course, I'm just curious since it's apparently a very different way of working than I'm used to.

Overall, nice job.

Hi, Liz

Thank you for listening and your kind comments.  The idea of a sound-colour-melody appeals! My former stuff was more impressionistic but some of it has carried through I'll bet. This one only started because it's unlikely to be played live - like I suppose most music on acoustic instruments starts live somewhere in origin but arrives played through loudspeakers/phones for most people.

Yes, this was done in a daw. From a few pencilled sketches I put it in the daw. If you're unfamiliar with how they work, daws contain a Midi Editor. I've put a picture up in the link. To the left is what looks like a piano keyboard except it has 127 notes! Horizontally there are lines attached to the notes, so you draw in a note of the length/duration as you want for each instrument - it looks vaguely like the old pianola roll (and works the same way). You do some setting up: tempo, time sig, choose your instruments (which become "tracks").

Anyway, the daw usually has a means of converting this into "notation view" (score). The "View" dropdown lets you choose between "piano roll" and "notation". You can easily change between them (and do often when tarting up the score (notation view). They can do much but aren't perfect by a long way  So then the last stage is saving a notation view as a pdf - which is the score I present.

If I were going to submit a piece with the hope of live performance, THEN I write it out by hand copying the daw's notation view and adjusting as I go, writing in things the daw doesn't allow me. (Nor does most notation software, I might add),

Does that help? Here's the picture:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=picture+of+a+DAW+midi+editor&...

Notice the space beneath the piano roll. In the large pic on the right there's space beneath the piano roll with small vertical bars. It's a control channel (I'm guessing it controls the volume of the note being sounded). You can set up as many channels as you need until they cram out the piano roll (edit) work space, for things like pitch bending, sustain pedal, filters, instrument switching and things.

Wishes for a pleasant day.

Hi Dane,

You can tell from one single hearing that you've put a lot of effort in that piece. It's simply delightful as to ensemble playing, orchestration, variation, sound, balance and rendition. I wonder whether a live band could perform any better. You've made the right decision for yourself and the rehearsing dance troupe.

Congratulations!

Jos

Good stuff Dane, I like the horizontal ensemble concept, it keeps the sound clear and expressive. So many things that should be beautifully harmonic end up muddled for whatever reason but you avoid that and the blend of sounds (colors?) you have is easily appreciated.  Any chance of seeing the dancers?

Hi, Jos,

Thank you for listening. Your comments are most appreciated. One tries...I have to try with the eventual selection because they'll be played publicly. Yes, the troupe leader was concerned that with contemporary music slight differences, tempo changes, mistakes and the like that in concert wouldn't matter too much (except to composers!) may throw the dancers off. Rehearsal time behind the scenes would have made the costs prohibitive. It's very much in the spirit of Merce Cunningham who almost always worked with recordings. 

Cheers,

Dane. 

Jos Wylin said:

Hi Dane,

You can tell from one single hearing that you've put a lot of effort in that piece. It's simply delightful as to ensemble playing, orchestration, variation, sound, balance and rendition. I wonder whether a live band could perform any better. You've made the right decision for yourself and the rehearsing dance troupe.

Congratulations!

Jos

Ingo, thank you so much for your comment and listening. I think I know what you mean about things being muddied up and, as atonal as some of my stuff is, I try to make it translucent. Sometimes a muddied texture seems necessary to throw the thinner lines into relief. Occasionally they seem to move through moments of tonality.

I've honestly heard too much contemporary music broadcast that sounds just a mess. So I'm really appreciative of you noticing my attempts to keep it clear.

I think the show is tabled for June this year. Rehearsing starts in April. I think the lady has already decided who'll be performing. The rather simple sets and lighting are under way. No doubt video will be recorded and it'll probably end up on youtube or somewhere! I'll keep in touch with that.

Again, thank you.

Ingo Lee said:

Good stuff Dane, I like the horizontal ensemble concept, it keeps the sound clear and expressive. So many things that should be beautifully harmonic end up muddled for whatever reason but you avoid that and the blend of sounds (colors?) you have is easily appreciated.  Any chance of seeing the dancers?

Hi Dane,

Thanks for the explanation of how a daw works. So you can set up much the same parameters as in a score via notation software... Am I correct, though, that you have much finer control over individual notes, in things like technique, mode of attack, duration...? Or are those all managed by software with a few indications from the artist? It sounds like, with a virtual  (or actual?) keyboard for input, you would have a good deal more control over the notes than in notation software.

It's good that the daw can create at least some semblance of a score, though the actual engraving is maybe less satisfactory and needs to be done by hand for human performers. About text: both MuseScore and, it seems, Sibelius, allow you to put arbitrary text into a score, though different types of text are attached to different elements, such as staves, voices, or individual notes. In MuseScore though, the text by itself has no effect on playback unless it is put there by a control supplied by the software. I'm less familiar with Sibelius.

Again, thanks for the explanation. Though I'm unlikely to invest in a daw anytime soon, it's good to have some idea of what its capabilities (and limitations) would be.

Dane Aubrun said:

Hi, Liz

Thank you for listening and your kind comments.  The idea of a sound-colour-melody appeals! My former stuff was more impressionistic but some of it has carried through I'll bet. This one only started because it's unlikely to be played live - like I suppose most music on acoustic instruments starts live somewhere in origin but arrives played through loudspeakers/phones for most people.

Hi again, Liz,

Thanks for the response.

My daw, Reaper, came at about £60 (as a personal/small business user) and it does all I want. It works "from the box" but to get it to do exactly as you want takes a bit of setting up. But this is only the start. The midi editor side that I use comes with no instruments (VSTs) although it provides hundreds of effects. You'd have to buy "sample libraries" and the good ones don't come cheap. Sometimes you can find free samples on the web. A supplier I use has monthly sales, usually 30% - 40% off so it's a question of waiting until the library you want comes up. (They were so successful in the early days with bigger studios and rich composers that they threw their products open to the less wealthy and committed amateurs!)

All sample houses seem to have sales though. Occasionally a topic comes up here. Time+Space is a good site to keep in touch with what's going on. It sells them all. 

You're right about how finely you can control every note that you write. Reaper resolves to 1/128th of a beat. So even if the tempo is 60 bpm (1/4 note) that's pretty fine. You can 'snap to the grid' if you need to - handy when writing in very short notes - switch it on and off ad lib - and you can adjust the hairpins exactly where you want them and what shape they are. You can choose what midi-controls you want and control them on the editor. (I'm useless at midi but I've got by so far).

Then once ready you render your work into a sound file like WAV or Mp3..... then save the midi file under a different name so you can TRY to get a score from it! 

What I lack is the notation software. Like you, I've had much trouble and still don't know whether I'd be happy shelling out £500. A couple of years ago I had an ardent Sibelius enthusiast persuading me. Ok, a few versions ago but I wasn't convinced. 

:)

Ahh, delightful. I really appreciate this piece, it has character. And the choice of guitar is splendid. It gives the music a modern touch and the guitar playing is a pleasure to listen to. You know how much I fancy the guitar.

Very nice and interesting.

Kjell

Hi Dane,

Thanks again for the detailed explanation. I'm surprised that you can get the basic hardware for as little as £60, still under US $100. It sounds like the sample libraries would be the most expensive component. Then again, notation software with good rendering capability is very expensive too, depending on what you need. The question is also how much work it takes to get a musically satisfactory rendering of your work, and in some cases it takes a lot of work with notation software too. You do seem to be able to get almost magical-sounding results from your daw though Dane, so kudos on that.

Liz

Dane Aubrun said:

Hi again, Liz,

Thanks for the response.

My daw, Reaper, came at about £60 (as a personal/small business user) and it does all I want. It works "from the box" but to get it to do exactly as you want takes a bit of setting up. But this is only the start. The midi editor side that I use comes with no instruments (VSTs) although it provides hundreds of effects. You'd have to buy "sample libraries" and the good ones don't come cheap. Sometimes you can find free samples on the web. A supplier I use has monthly sales, usually 30% - 40% off so it's a question of waiting until the library you want comes up. (They were so successful in the early days with bigger studios and rich composers that they threw their products open to the less wealthy and committed amateurs!)

Hi Kjell,

Most flattered by your comments and thank you for listening. Pleased that it made sense. 

Cheers,

Dane

Kjell Prytz said:

Ahh, delightful. I really appreciate this piece, it has character. And the choice of guitar is splendid. It gives the music a modern touch and the guitar playing is a pleasure to listen to. You know how much I fancy the guitar.

Very nice and interesting.

Kjell

One thought: it might be possible to realise a combination of recorded and life played music.

To my ears the 'cello sounds terribly artificial here. If you were to have a real 'cellist to play to the rest of the recorded ensemble, it may be musically (and even visually - if the musician can be seen) more appealing. whilst it would maintain the reliability of timing for the dancers.

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