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An impressionist piece: breeze over summer lawns sort of thing. It’s based on the expansion and mimic of motifs, a recap opening the coda. More chromatic than atonal.

Please offer any comment or crit. It would be gratefully received.

Thank you.

There isn’t much sense in me presenting a score (32 tracks/staves). The shortcomings of my daw’s ability to set up a pdf mean it would just be a nuisance to read particularly on a small screen. I could get it down to 27 staves because the strings, all but the basses, are divisi throughout.

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Hi Dane,

This comes across to me as the composer stretching their wings, in other words, you venturing into new territory, and very much an experiment. I've posted such things before myself. Usually what I have been seeking when I posted experiments/partial pieces is some cue that what I was doing was either interesting, or not, so I could decide whether or not to keep at it. What you have posted here is interesting. It has a bit of a sci-fi sound, a bit jazzy in harmonic approach. It reminds me in mood of Williams' theme song to Catch Me If You Can. It is hard to say anything critical about such a piece, other than: with the free-floating way in which the different parts of the piece come and go, there is no sense of rhythm, which is obviously intentional, and which can be done with good effect - as long as it's not too long. If I've misread where you are with the piece, and this is indeed not experimental, but a complete and final version of a work, then I would suggest that it might enhance the coda to do a long fade - slowly quiet it down to nothing, and then perhaps plunk in a louder sharp chord as a final note. Thanks for sharing!

Gav

Thank you for your interesting and informative commentary, Gav. Much appreciated.

I’m never sure where I stand with ‘style’. Perhaps I ‘over-believe’ it but I think it goes back to rebellion against rule-based composition, also the sugary impressionist stuff I wrote 10 years ago. I suppose this piece is experimental in a line of experiments to produce something listenable but without the constraint of key or classical form. I had a hope that such music could express something if listeners have enough anchors to catch on to, to make sense of it; which means this is under continual consideration through the evolving composition. If there ever was a model that hit me like a thunderbolt it was Villa-Lobos’ Quinteto em forma de Choros. Life was never quite the same after that!

As for the coda, it won’t hurt to experiment with your suggestion. I’ll give it a go.

You raise an interesting point about hints of jazz. I hadn’t noticed this until you mentioned it. It could be the occasional lounge/cocktail playing (obviously not during lockdown) creeping in. I sometimes think my two harmony teachers were an organist / choirmaster using Kitson, and Gershwin.

Again, many thanks.

Qué bien suena!

Without going into a technical analysis, I can "a grosso modo" say that you achieve a "post-romantic atmosphere" with balance, nuance, color, chromatic melodies, exquisite timbres and articulations.

The recent works that you have published in this Forum (Music for Orchestra 1, Music for Orchestra 4, Soliloquy for Horn, Music for Orchestra 2) all have a very good workmanship. They can be considered professional musical productions. I deduce from other chats that you have participated, that you have done it using the Vienna Symphonic Library. Well, you develop very well working with them !. I am still nailed with the Sibelius+NotePerformer. I also bought a version of the VSL. With my latest work (Brossa) I took the test to translate it to Cubase + VSL. After the first part I was already exhausted and without optimal results (I did not finish, I have to practice more!).

I believe that these productions that you have obtained are ready to be listened to as complete musical works, without the need to wait for a possible future interpretation by a real orchestra. The important thing, in this case, is the good product achieved and not the interpretation used. You just need to get a good broadcast channel.

Thanks for sharing. I will listen to it more times !

Ramon

All of the good sound, many varying colors and clever phrasing we expect from you here, but with longer phrases and a sense of peace, maybe even sentimentality?

Ramon raises a good point here, we have to consider something like this as a finished work, would a live recording really be any better? Live groups have an expressive advantage to be sure but the logistics of effectively recording a large group is quite daunting. Can you keep an orchestra in a studio for long periods with all of the necessary equipment and do the exacting work necessary to get this kind of accuracy?

On a technical note do you use separate instances of the VSL player for each instrument?

Hello Ramon,

Thank you for listening and your most generous comments. Much appreciated and so encouraging.

I try my best to make it sound like a real orchestra which means a lot of detailed work - with the idea that "it isn't just what notes are played but how they're played," (to quote another member here). It means a lot of keyswitching and velocity control so it's gratifying to learn that the work seems to pay off. I ponder on what I'd say to a conductor or the orchestra to persuade a particular sound from the performers, then try to work out how to do it with VSL and Reaper

Sounding authentic became important because of an ensemble project earlier in the year with a dance group. I needed good mock-ups to show live performers what they had to do. When the leader of the group heard some of the pieces she said "They'll do as they are!" (which would save the group a lot of money AND ensure consistency from one rehearsal to the next. (I'm acquainted with most of the performers but they'd still expect their out-of-pocket expenses to be paid.) Sad that because of this covid, the project was shelved - at least for now.

Yes, I've found VSL to be among the best. Their site put up a demo of "The Rite of Spring" and though it wasn't perfect it was superbly done and that persuaded me to give it a try when they put their Special Editions up at sale prices. I've never looked back. But even now, 18 months later I'm still much of a beginner. There's always more to learn!

Again, thank you for all you've said, and listening. 

Ramon Capsada Blanch said:

Qué bien suena!

Without going into a technical analysis, I can "a grosso modo" say that you achieve a "post-romantic atmosphere" with balance, nuance, color, chromatic melodies, exquisite timbres and articulations.

The recent works that you have published in this Forum (Music for Orchestra 1, Music for Orchestra 4, Soliloquy for Horn, Music for Orchestra 2) all have a very good workmanship. They can be considered professional musical productions. I deduce from other chats that you have participated, that you have done it using the Vienna Symphonic Library. Well, you develop very well working with them !. I am still nailed with the Sibelius+NotePerformer. I also bought a version of the VSL. With my latest work (Brossa) I took the test to translate it to Cubase + VSL. After the first part I was already exhausted and without optimal results (I did not finish, I have to practice more!).

I believe that these productions that you have obtained are ready to be listened to as complete musical works, without the need to wait for a possible future interpretation by a real orchestra. The important thing, in this case, is the good product achieved and not the interpretation used. You just need to get a good broadcast channel.

Thanks for sharing. I will listen to it more times !

Ramon

Hello Ingo,

Once more, thank you for listening and your most kind comments, particularly noticing the tranquillity - a change from sometimes 'edgy' sound - and that with refinement it could be close to an idealised performance.

You and Ramon bring up an interesting point here. When care has been taken, with some works (including your own) it's possible that live performances wouldn't necessarily sound better unless played by truly magnificent orchestras/ensembles. A piece I presented here was played by our County Orchestra and frankly sounds shabby enough that I wouldn't dare present it here. (As much a problem no doubt with my portable Tascam recording.) I was grateful for the performance and I hope they'll play more in due time but it didn't match my rendering. I hope that doesn't sound arrogant. It isn't meant to be, Just an opinion. 

As I learn more about VSL I find it yileds a good amount of expression along with humanising it in Reaper. The more advanced player which is now available with one license (not 3) incorporates some humanising. I'd buy it at 55 euros but I'm scared that it'll disrupt my existing projects.

Reaper tracks always send on Midi Channel 1 (so I understand) so it's always one instrument per track. So if I have 24 instruments that's 24 tracks. It's no problem to me as I have the midi editor set up to 1 editor per project and can select the track I need to edit while seeing what's happening in all the others.

Is that what you meant?

Until later,

Dane. 

Ingo Lee said:

All of the good sound, many varying colors and clever phrasing we expect from you here, but with longer phrases and a sense of peace, maybe even sentimentality?

Ramon raises a good point here, we have to consider something like this as a finished work, would a live recording really be any better? Live groups have an expressive advantage to be sure but the logistics of effectively recording a large group is quite daunting. Can you keep an orchestra in a studio for long periods with all of the necessary equipment and do the exacting work necessary to get this kind of accuracy?

On a technical note do you use separate instances of the VSL player for each instrument?

I have already mentioned before the name Delius. You should wear it as a badge of honor. It is not identical by any means, you retain your unique expressive voice and style which is the way it suppose to be.

I like the 4:25 section in particular because it lets go of the tension of the piece, and there is a moment for reflection, kinda think about then entirety of the piece, a beautiful perspective. 

Thank you for sharing.

I think I understand but let me just repeat, so each instrument in a project gets its own daw track with its own instance of the VSL player? That would seem to give us the most flexibility for daw functions like eq and automation.

Well the new VSL player is tempting since I don't have much already done with the free one yet but heck I was just starting to get the free one working, thanks to you of course, so now I'd be starting over, arghhh!

Yes we, well you at least, are facing a change in approach I think. We've all been kind of conditioned to think that getting a live performance was the ultimate goal but maybe we need to just take our product directly to the consumer? You wouldn't have to refuse a live performance of course but perhaps there are other options to consider in addition to the traditional approach.
 
Dane Aubrun said:

Hello Ingo,

Once more, thank you for listening and your most kind comments, particularly noticing the tranquillity - a change from sometimes 'edgy' sound - and that with refinement it could be close to an idealised performance.

You and Ramon bring up an interesting point here. When care has been taken, with some works (including your own) it's possible that live performances wouldn't necessarily sound better unless played by truly magnificent orchestras/ensembles. A piece I presented here was played by our County Orchestra and frankly sounds shabby enough that I wouldn't dare present it here. (As much a problem no doubt with my portable Tascam recording.) I was grateful for the performance and I hope they'll play more in due time but it didn't match my rendering. I hope that doesn't sound arrogant. It isn't meant to be, Just an opinion. 

As I learn more about VSL I find it yileds a good amount of expression along with humanising it in Reaper. The more advanced player which is now available with one license (not 3) incorporates some humanising. I'd buy it at 55 euros but I'm scared that it'll disrupt my existing projects.

Reaper tracks always send on Midi Channel 1 (so I understand) so it's always one instrument per track. So if I have 24 instruments that's 24 tracks. It's no problem to me as I have the midi editor set up to 1 editor per project and can select the track I need to edit while seeing what's happening in all the others.

Is that what you meant?

Until later,

Dane. 

Yes, that's about it. One Reaper track links to one instance of Vienna Instruments. As I understand, we can't change the reaper track's channel number...but here I fail. My knowledge of midi is limited and maybe I haven't looked deeply enough. I couldn't find anything in the manual.

That list of instruments, just below the "File....Instance...Edit....Channel....(etc) bar, stretches right across and beyond the Vienna Ensemble Service panel and I have to click on the last instrument in the line to bring the next one into play. A nuisance but it has to be borne! (I've standardised most matrices now so the cells all have the same articulations so I don't keep having to shift the instances left or right every time).

As for the more advanced player, why not? You won't be starting over. It's basically the same but with a fair extra features including 8 slots, polyphonic legato / portamento and some useful humanising features. Just more stuff to learn in time. I may go for it. If it does mess me up VSL's customer service is excellent and they'll talk me through uninstalling it. You don't have to raise queries through the forum, they answer emails pretty quickly.

I remember Michael Diemer had things to say about it. He felt it offered too little and reverted to the free player.



Ingo Lee said:

I think I understand but let me just repeat, so each instrument in a project gets its own daw track with its own instance of the VSL player? That would seem to give us the most flexibility for daw functions like eq and automation.

Well the new VSL player is tempting since I don't have much already done with the free one yet but heck I was just starting to get the free one working, thanks to you of course, so now I'd be starting over, arghhh!

Yes we, well you at least, are facing a change in approach I think. We've all been kind of conditioned to think that getting a live performance was the ultimate goal but maybe we need to just take our product directly to the consumer? You wouldn't have to refuse a live performance of course but perhaps there are other options to consider in addition to the traditional approach.
 

Hello again, Saul,

Sincere thanks for listening and your generous comments - along with the reference to Delius. I smile. Perhaps I should wear the badge. Even I can see a certain likeness as his music was motif-based with much chromatic harmony. I don't think this piece could match, say, his North Country sketches or A Poem of Life and Love from which the Song of Summer was derived. Or the warm mistiness of Cynara, the most beautiful of songs. But there's evidence I've borrowed the technique here and there! Or so it seems.

Thank you.

Dane.

Saul Gefen said:

I have already mentioned before the name Delius. You should wear it as a badge of honor. It is not identical by any means, you retain your unique expressive voice and style which is the way it suppose to be.

I like the 4:25 section in particular because it lets go of the tension of the piece, and there is a moment for reflection, kinda think about then entirety of the piece, a beautiful perspective. 

Thank you for sharing.

Hello Dane,

This is a wonderful piece. It falls in a sweet spot for me of lush harmonic sounds with extensive chromatic variation and interesting modal melodic lines. Playful and rich with nice surprises for the ears. The same feelings I have for RVW and some of the other early modern Brits. 

I have not exactly been a regular here, in part due to work, but right around the time I joined, I also reached out to a French composer (living in NYC) whose videos I had admired and asked if I could hire him for a few hours a month of "coaching" on orchestration, composing, and effective use of sample libraries. So he has been giving me feedback on suggested exercises including orchestration of a piano sketch that he wrote. This is adding some structure and experience to my lightly-armed attempted transformation from singer-songwriter to composer. Soon we will add original pieces to the mix and I hope to have something to share in a couple of months. I also have been getting some tips from a fellow user of Notion and Studio One who specializes in ultra-realistic VI mock-ups of mostly early Brits. I may adopt some of his workflow especially now that Studio One 5 has an integrated notation editor (it shares a common code base with Notion). 

Cheers,

Bruce 

I posted a while back that this was one of the most difficult things to do.  You do it well and I am happy to listen and learn.  I would like to incorporate a bit of this style into my music, down the road, as I learn more.    

I really don't feel like there is anything to critique, since it is not a style I'm very familiar with.  For me personally, I'd like to hear it venture into some more melodious moments to break things up.  That's me and my ear.  But I can appreciate very much what you're doing.  It's a very interesting listen for me.  

I also caught a little bit of the jazz flavor along the way.  :)  

Thank you for posting! 

Doug 

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