I am what you would call a beginner in the world of composing. I currently use Sibelius 5. I have written the attached for 2 violins. The sounds though on Sibelius are not the best and my piece sounds... well... not as good as it could.

Thing is I dont have lots of cash floating around so wondering if there was a good cheapish alternative software I could obtain to improve the sound. I have been looking at the photos of all your equipment and its VERY impressive! Unfortunately I am at the beginning of the road so each investment I make I want to be worthwhile.

Any suggestions? Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

Sonata for 2 violins.mp3

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  • so.... if i REALLY keep at this, I have a SHOT at doing the music for the worst, cheapest porn on the planet?

    Cool... it'll pay "2 hours" and I'll spend 80 hours making it...

    that'll be cool... I don't care if its the "1 dollar thailand DVD", as long as I can BUY one and point to my name...

    then I can try to "work my way up" to c-grade hunting videos... LMAO...

    10,000 hours of hobby studying and work to make 2 hours of minimum wage pay... *shrugs* seems fair...
  • Hi Ray!
    Do you work in Sibelius and export to sequencer for tweaking?

    This is my way of working and I'm not really comfortable with going straight for the sequencer.

    Cheers
    Tom



    Ray Kemp said:
    I've already said, you can export your sibelius score as a type 1 midi file (keeps the instrument tracks separate). Then import that midi file into the sequencer of your choice. In the arrangement page on Cubase or whatever you can set each track to any vsti you choose. Then you can tweak timing, note length etc to your heart's content towards creating a more realistic recording.
    My music sounds pants! Which programs can i use to get good sounds???
    I am what you would call a beginner in the world of composing. I currently use Sibelius 5. I have written the attached for 2 violins. The sounds thou…

  • Thanks Ray. :)
    Ray Kemp said:
    Rather than me getting long winded on the subject of side chaining read this.
    My music sounds pants! Which programs can i use to get good sounds???
    I am what you would call a beginner in the world of composing. I currently use Sibelius 5. I have written the attached for 2 violins. The sounds thou…

  • Thanks Chris, your answers are very illuminating. I found that you write to fit your samples very helpful. I heard the caveat you gave about music loops. Ok, good scolding...don't get lazy and rely on software write your heart out and then write some more and most import ask for advice. :)
    Chris Alpiar said:
    Well I understand you using my name as an icon that I am (hears the crowds go wild, rock star composer!... well in his head) lol and insert professional_composer_01 for my name in this and there is a lot of truth to what you are saying. Again it all comes down to what you are expecting to get out of your productions.

    Are the productions just to hear voicings and movement while you compose until a live orchestra can play it?

    Are the productions just for you to listen to and dream of being up on the sound stage waving a baton?

    Are the productions for you to be learning the technology while you learn your compositional voice so that as your career takes off and you find yourself with a budget for technology that you will be already past the learning curve phase (at least part of the curve)?

    Are the productions for you to release *as-is* in a final format to sell or be used in productions? (film, concert hall, recordings, musical theater, etc)

    If they are, are you intending them to be unrealistic and "synth"y?

    If they are are you intending them to be good but not good enough that if the money was there the producer could easily hear the value of a live orchestra recording?

    Is this (digital mockups) going to be how you compose? Or are you composing for real instruments?

    Where do you see the time and energy required to create fully realized through the roof perfectly mixed digital mockups having a place in the pro arena that will pay for the sheer time and focus needed?

    I can only answer for myself. For me, I am a full time pro composer and I have luxury and limitations both as a result. I want to excel at all aspects of all stages of the composition and production process, to have it all down solid. Not so I will always do it *all* but rather so I can communicate effectively in a team setting and be a viable member to a great scoring team no matter what part is needed.

    Realistically, mockups will stay mockups, with little exception. It simply takes so much energy and money invested in all the latest libraries and concepts that one has to spend so many hours staying on top of every new learning curve (like Im excited to get into VI Pro, but I cant conceive of time needed to build new templates and put to good use the new multi-legato stuff, I have spent so much time in the last 8 years learning and relearning emerging music technologies) that one has not the time to keep growing organically as a composer. Which is why we end up with these boring formulaic scores that come out (check out Hans' Inception, is there even some music in that score at all??? Boring, trite. But it works perfectly to picture.) because everyone is spending all their time learning the new technology instead of eating mushrooms and getting in touch with hmm a river and the tree that grows there and the ants and beetles that live in it and etc.

    And the only time mockups are used are: by emerging composers and amateurs who have no choice but to spend hundreds of hours to get paid for 10 hours if you are lucky; and by the far other end of the spectrum, by the Hans Zimmer teams who have 10 composers and a huge team of techies and assistants working on a project. Dont get me wrong about Hans now, I respect the man deeply, and he has created something nobody else has. He is very talented, even genius, with creating this formulaic approach to emotional interpretation via score music/sound design. But there is not a whole lot of "higher music" there, not like John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith. And thats because (I think) Hans realized what is happening with technology at the right time in the right place and started to put together his Remote Control thing, and so now (not at his fault, we are all part of this puzzle) we are trapped into these walls of confine created by the technology we use.

    Im not saying you cant be creative with a computer, but its VERY difficult to do something different and not be drawn into the stuff we hear as normal now for film score. I am working on a short right now and I am trying to get that very sound happening, I hope I can get that sound down so I can graduate to bigger jobs (god I hate myself sometimes!)

    But ultimately I fear that I am trapping myself into the process by which I work. I stubbornly maintain that all motif and basic sketches are done with piano and score paper only, and so I kind of tell myself that I am maintaining some semblance of "composerdom" lol. But then after basic sketches I am into the DAW and samples, and I have enough samples and tools and expectation from my clients that I am going to deliver a certain live orchestra sound and so I have to spend a full week of serious production grinding to squeeze out 3-5 minutes of music. and 95% of that time has nothing to do with composition.

    And because of working with samples, and the inherant nature of sampled instruments and available articulations, and specifically how those articulations are played by various libraries I have to bend my writing to fit_the_samples and *not* make the samples play_my_composition.

    Ah thats it! The root of my dismay. Being a composer in the orchestral/media way has traditionally meant owning every note, every performance concept. Some of it is written on paper, some of it is in how I conduct. But with samples I can only do the pizz sounds that I own, plucked the way they plucked it that day when they recorded it, with those instrumentalists playing those instruments at that tempo with those inflections. There are 100,000,000 ways to play C3 pizz on a cello, but I got hmmm (some cello samples I have have 3 layers some 7 - for each velocity layer, and I have probably 20 different cello section pizz libraries and 8 or 10 solo cello). So I have to make the composition work with THAT pizz (much less anything trickier like a tremolo with a sfz< or f>p) and forget about special effects.

    So even if you own the most amazing libraries and spend a year programming Le Sacre du Printemps like the amazing VSL only version hearable on their site, you are limited to the specific samples that are in that lib. Yea using them in the way the library intends will let you make *something* that sounds really real. But its NOT organic, its in a box and so are our compositions as a result.

    Summary: (!) Understand what you are trying to accomplish. If you just love tripping out on the fact that you have a string section at your fingertips that sounds pretty cool and that is *good enough* for you, do it! Buy buy buy, and keep buying (god knows I probably will). But also think about what you are willing to sacrifice; what you are expecting the final product to be; what your final product will realistically achieve for you (monetarily or artistically). If you dont really expect that you will be trying to produce stuff that is released without a live performance, just buy enough stuff that inspires you in your writing process. If the sounds trigger happy-release in your brain, then DO IT! But ultimately the *real* compositions will always be with live orchestra, or with live instruments mixed with electronic stuff, or be stylistically specifically an electronic genre.



    SEDstar said:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnWdjCvDrA&feature=related

    The above link is a YouTube demonstration of Edirol orch, at least th first 2:45 of it is...

    the "sound" you make, i think anyways, is primarily two things... one, your skill as a composer writing the score in MIDI, two, your digital instruments. The above link, well, the first half anyways, gives you an idea of how good that software instrument can sound in the right hands.

    Its not perfect, and can be outdone by other stuff, but... its pretty good, and its no longer "cutting edge" and can be had amazingly cheap... (well under a hundred bucks, I believe?)

    a THIRD thing is your skill as a mixer. Mr Kemp and Mr Alpiar are professional mixers, and well... naturally they can do things the home guy cant appreciate. That basic edirol orch link demonstrated above, is a low cost way to get a half decent sound out of anything you use to compose the midi notes on...

    any high end composer is I think going to out-do a newb, even using more primitive tools, within reason. If me and Mr Alpiar were to suddenly switch "studios" for a week for some reality TV show... I'm pretty sure I would look at all the "stuff" he has at his disposal and not know where to START to use it all... I'm also fairly convinced one he got over his initial disgust at my "cave man" basic stuff on a small PC, he would sit down and compose something that would FRY me even with me having all his stuff in front of me...

    the same comparison could likely be made with straight mixing... again, if me and Mr Alpiar were to switch studios for a week for some reality TV show... I dont think i could "mix" trax any better even given all his "stuff" at my disposal... and, once again, I think once he got over his initial disdain for my "caveman" tools... he would employ his basic mixing skills and again FRY me, if we were both given the same raw tracks to mix a demo with...

    NOW... if we were to severely handicap Mr Alpiar? Lets say, give him a 80 dollar "casio" keyboard and a 80 dollar battery powered 4 track bottom of the line entry level Behringer mixer? And let me have my software and Edirol Orch I am used to using?

    Then, I might have a decent chance to out do him... but it would have to be very unbalanced with our tools for me to have a chance...

    and even then... a "pro" would likely sit and listen critically to our scores... ignoring sound quality... and might well say that his score was technically superior to mine...

    Edirol Orch basic (link above) is under a 100 bucks, and will instantly give you a half decent orchestral sound.

    When I hear a track and am just blown away? I keep hearing "east west" a LOT when I ask what they used, as well as a few others. Piano in particular, to get that "jaw dropping effect" the piano instrument alone is a couple hundred or more, just to get a good sound... Steinberg "the grand" and "Akoustik" (sp?) come to mind immediately... some of the best high end software out there, has horrible "built in" sounds... you need to use an add-on VST instrument to sound decent...

    but, always be mindful of SKILL and experience... a really good sculptor skilled in the use of a CHAINSAW, will make something prettier to look at sculpture-wise... then ME even if you gave me all the tools someone like Michaelangelo used to make "david" statue...

    but, for under a 100 bucks, Edirol orch (above link) is a half decent start... a couple hundred dollar computer with a couple hundred dollar DAW software will activate it fine... leaving you with over a THOUSAND bucks to decide what VST/Luibraries you want to spend the rest on...
    My music sounds pants! Which programs can i use to get good sounds???
    I am what you would call a beginner in the world of composing. I currently use Sibelius 5. I have written the attached for 2 violins. The sounds thou…
  • Thanks for answering Ray

    The thing is that when using Sibelius I have a good overview of the score. It's easy to see the structure and harmonies etc...
    Besides this the score is ready for use (should anyone like to use it).
    From Sibelius I can now play VSE which reacts to articulations and dynamics automatically allowing for a pretty good sound.
    I usually export the MIDI to Sonar and then overlay other libraries (EWQL and Philharmonik) to improve the sound.

    When I start the process in Sonar I miss the overview e.g. It's difficult to make sure that chords are properly filled out (all the chord tones present). I also have to do a lot of editing of the keyswitches and furthermore the process of producing a readable score is very time consuming.

    What do you think?

    Tom




    Ray Kemp said:
    Toomas Erm said:
    Hi Ray!
    Do you work in Sibelius and export to sequencer for tweaking?

    This is my way of working and I'm not really comfortable with going straight for the sequencer.

    Cheers
    Tom

    Toomas,

    I never work with Sibelius but I have produced and recorded a few pieces written by others using it. Just last week I did this from a member's sib file converted to midi, mounted in Cubase and took it from there.

    You say you're not comfortable doing this, perhaps you could explain the problems you have and either myself or others here may be able to help.
  • Hi toomas,

    I tend to write directly in the DAW but I can often see harmonies clearly when working in Piano Roll View. In more complex situations I write things out on the stave with pencil and paper.




    Toomas Erm said:
    Thanks for answering Ray

    The thing is that when using Sibelius I have a good overview of the score. It's easy to see the structure and harmonies etc...
    Besides this the score is ready for use (should anyone like to use it).
    From Sibelius I can now play VSE which reacts to articulations and dynamics automatically allowing for a pretty good sound.
    I usually export the MIDI to Sonar and then overlay other libraries (EWQL and Philharmonik) to improve the sound.

    When I start the process in Sonar I miss the overview e.g. It's difficult to make sure that chords are properly filled out (all the chord tones present). I also have to do a lot of editing of the keyswitches and furthermore the process of producing a readable score is very time consuming.

    What do you think?

    Tom




    Ray Kemp said:
    Toomas Erm said:
    Hi Ray!
    Do you work in Sibelius and export to sequencer for tweaking?

    This is my way of working and I'm not really comfortable with going straight for the sequencer.

    Cheers
    Tom

    Toomas,

    I never work with Sibelius but I have produced and recorded a few pieces written by others using it. Just last week I did this from a member's sib file converted to midi, mounted in Cubase and took it from there.

    You say you're not comfortable doing this, perhaps you could explain the problems you have and either myself or others here may be able to help.
    My music sounds pants! Which programs can i use to get good sounds???
    I am what you would call a beginner in the world of composing. I currently use Sibelius 5. I have written the attached for 2 violins. The sounds thou…
  • HI Ray

    you are right of course and I'm not arguing that things should be done my way.

    I realize that most people work directly in the DAW and I trying to myself but find it much easier to get anywhere using Sibelius and then completing/tweaking it in the DAW.

    BTW Legato notated in Sibelius produce the overlapping in the midi you describe along with cc11 for dynamics and hairpins.
    All the articulation keyswitches end up in the midi as well.

    Sorry for taking over this tread

    Toomas





  • Once you have your new computer, get Finale for notation (it's over a hundred quid cheaper than Sibelius). For a DAW, get Cubase Essentials 4 (it costs just over a hundred quid, and is fine for orchestral composition work). For a sample library, start off with EWQLSO silver (only a hundred quid, plus you won't need any reverb). Then if you want conventional instruments like guitars, basses, and drums, I'm pretty sure that there's a few packages about that won't break the bank.

    That all comes to a lot less than £2000.

    Adam Drake said:
    Wow!!! $300,000???! I certainly dont have that lying about!

    I will have a budget of about $2000. From this though i would like to get a new computer(as mine is very slow at the moment), some notation software like Sibelius, and then I guess I will have to get a DAW - not sure which one yet though and then some sample libaries. I think this would be enough to keep me happy for a while.

    Thank you for your help though. I will have a look into these DAWs which looks like another problem in itself! :o)
    My music sounds pants! Which programs can i use to get good sounds???
    I am what you would call a beginner in the world of composing. I currently use Sibelius 5. I have written the attached for 2 violins. The sounds thou…
  • I have to chime in here and agree with Chris- Writing with Samples in mind, rather than trying to find samples that conform to a preconception, is a really good practical strategy.
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