Now this is something that happens to me quite often. Have you ever been in the situation where someone asked “What are you using to create your music?”. Probably since most people aren't familiar with the technology nowadays, at least where I live. I cannot recall how many scornful looks I've received for stating that I take my Horns and Violins from an orchestra library. Most people don't even want to take a look at it because it seems totally ridicolous to them. I don't know if it's pure ignorance or the technology that most people aren't aware of. I guess it's a mix of both since people are trying to avoid it. I highly respect the real orchestra and I would always prefer it if I had the choice, but samples became really important because they give people with lower budgets the chance to listen to their compositions. Yeah I know, that's nothing new to everyone who reads this. However, I wish more people would acknowledge that. So how's it where you live? Well I can imagine that sample libraries are much better known and understood in states like LA, the situation in my country (Germany by the way) is stated above. Any similar situations so far?

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    • First of all, I am working on a recording of another composers composition working off of his Sibelius midi files. Sounds horrible on Sibelius but fantastic when tweaked with VSL et. al. So I've noticed my own inherent inability to really judge a composition from a weak midistration. Plus I am listening on my Macbook built-in speakers.

      This is after one brief listen before a meeting so I don't stand by these as definitive comments.
      The opening theme was great. I would tweak dynamics more and I'm not sure but the tempo might feel too fast for me. Slightly slower might feel more powerful... Maybe.

      Then the oboe theme is beautiful. Nice space and contrast. There seems to be a large section after than with chordal strings, repeating bass and periodic oboe or clarinet runs. Doesn't seem to go anywhere for me there.

      High trumpet entry and section nice.

      Piano entry and build with orchestral hits is great.

      You know, in general I would agree with Chris about the samples. Specifically when you have long held lines, the swell in the sample gets cut off when the note changes and the new note has a slow attack so you get this artifical sucking sound. Newer libraries allow for a legato feature that fixes this for you, otherwise you have to choose samples that don't swell so much and you have to adjust the attack and release in your sample player. Runs can seem choppy because the sample has a short release. Make it longer. Loop a section and adjust the controls until it sounds smooth. (Sorry, I don't know Cubase, but I do have Miroslav but use only two or three patches from it.)

      Another suggestion is to play each part separately. Don't copy and paste. You will naturally play the sample in a way that will sound more natural and you will naturaly accomodate some of the vicissitudes of the sample.

      Then for sure don't quantize. Just reduce the tempo some if a part is hard to play.

      After you have done than use a tempo map to adjust the temp within each section so that it breathes.

      Actually a lot of this music can be played without any click at all.

      I was definitely genuinely inspired by some of what I heard in spite of these mere technical issues. INspired in the sense that it made me want to compose and thankful that I write music. This is always one of my litmus tests.

      Well done and thank you for having the confidence to share. Honored.
  • Prime Example: Steve Reich's "Different Trains" piece.
  • Simon and Marius,

    I'm woefully unfamiliar with Moussourgsky. Can you suggest some recordings for me?

  • Chris, I agree with you about the whole 'structure' idea. Chaos is NOT pretty and usually does not sound good, but I have heard very artful sound effects applied in music. If the musician is talented, any technique can be 'successful'. What is the big difference between a barking dog snippet and, say, the inclusion of a crash cymbal? I just don't see the dividing line. On the other hand, when there is a repeating loop recording, it 'feels' automatic, machine-like, and stiff. The element is cold. Sometime the repeating loop is great for conveying an austere un-feeling mood, as you might use in a film like 'Metropolis'. The sound effects on Dark Side of the Moon were well-chosen and artful. But, hey- that's just my opinion. The problem with using sampled loops in music, is that it can be a lazy way to appropriate a rhythm track or general structure. A repeating loop will always be unaffected by the surrounding 'live' tracks. The indifference will be there and it oftens becomes annoying.
    In Floyd's 'Money', most people would not want to listen to the cash register sounds through the ENTIRE piece. Floyd tastefully used it just for the intro. For some, 'Rights of Spring' or the work of Berlioz sounds 'druggy', and prefer Bach and Mozart :) If Beethoven was alive today, he would incorporate sound effects, ...but maybe just for his commercial drivel sections! Peace.
    • On the topic of chaos:

      Is anyone out there familiar with the album "Solomon's Daughters" by the drummer Kranklin Kiermyer featuring Pharaoh Saunders?

      Simple structures holding together utter chaos. Many times left me breathless and laughing with joy.

      Obviously not a loop in sight, but definitely outside the realm of conventional sounds, particularity Pharaoh.

      Chris is probably pretty up on Pharaoh and late Trane, though my ears are pretty new at it.

      Chris? Not wanting to draw you away from deadlines with code, but . . .!
  • It always seems that the world is full of folks who know better.....of course a real orchestra is better, I've spent a big proportion of my life playing in them, but who, realistically, can afford a full orchestra for every demo session?

    Marketing, business-type guys I know who are not musicians themselves but who make the decisions on the money (which always matters!) often can't tell the difference between sessions where I've used real players and situations where I've mixed in some Garageband samples, never mind real "pro" sampled sounds. And without drum loops I'd be lost!

    Also, I know Austria isn't Germany, but it's close by, so you have the guys who create the Vienna Symphonic Library on your doorstep!
  • All video game composers in the world and many movie composers as well use programs like Cubase and Reason to make their soundtracks. I use FL Studio for composing my music. These awesome programs are necessary for people who cannot write sheet music because they have no musical education such as myself. Writing music in software studios is a real help, saves money and the production time is faster.
  • I'm not sure I understand. How much must you regress? I am a university educated composer. I don't feel my compositional style has changed all that much. I don't have to rely on my inner ear as much, but I sit at a piano and compose lines and harmonic structures just the same.

    Uneducated composers cannot compose what you can, no matter what the software.

    Exactly how does software use by others diminish you and your skills?
  • I don't think that's a tolerant post. I guess every kind of musical education is good and broadens your mind. But you shouldn't condemn people like me because we make music with samples. Do you think "these machines" make the music themselves? Not at all. The musician has to write the music himself/herself of course. It's not the traditional way of writing music, but it's the same amount of work.

    Look, I am 22-years-old. How should I afford getting a whole orchestra or a band for my type of music? Only software studios give me the opportunity to write music.

    "noncomposers sit at these machines and produce these fantastic sounds (without any interesting melodies, harmonies or rhythms)"
    An interesting sentence. Go on the site of the starter of this thread called Denny Schneidemesser and listen to his music. He works with "these machines".
    • Yeah. I hear ya. There are good composers and there are bad composers, regardless of the tools used, or the type of education. By necessity, composers who want more exposure are venturing into the realm of recording, so besides using 'sample gadgets', there's also droves of composers investing time and energy into learning about recording techniques, -one more 'untraditional' area.
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