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A solo piece, and I wanted to write something more cheerful than my usual stuff. A nice rest from orchestral scoring. 

This may seem short-ish. It could probably be developed more but I had to bear in mind the limitations of playing. Although a high G (written) should be no big deal for a competent player, too long up there is tiring. This piece briefly touches high A a couple of times. So best to keep it short or leave longer pauses between phrases.

Anyway, I'd be sincerely grateful if you could give it a listen and a comment, good, bad, brief, whatever and thank you if you can.

Hoping everyone is keeping well.

Dane.

Edit: I tried to produce a score which ought to be dead simple but my daw's notation side just wouldn't play the game. I transposed it to written pitch (in F) then removed the key signature, after which it wouldn't let me alter the accidentals to a more rational arrangement. So I gave up at that point. Here it is but useful for bar references only.

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Hi, Ingo.

Sincere thanks for the flattery! And listening. 

It was a welcome break. I once tried my hand at the instrument but it was really taking on too much. We have an ex-pro in our town orchestra but lockdown has prevented contact. He usually plays half-drunk! I spend a lot of time talking to performers about their instruments and no doubt bore them silly but some appreciate the interest. A few are retired pros or players sadly made redundant but keep going in our town and elsewhere nearby. 

Hmm, I suppose a concerto is an idea. Thank you for suggesting it. We'll see..... :) 

Your comments are most encouraging.

All good wishes,

Dane. 

Ingo Lee said:

Very nice piece Dane, a nice change of pace from your orchestral works. Great use of the expressive possibilities of the horn. You either know a talented player or you know this instrument and the articulations and dynamics built into your library quite well. This should become a concerto, you've got everything for a cadenza here already.

'

Hi Dane,

Once more a pretty piece...

bars 1 -14 first sentence of A ends with F
bars 14-19 transition
bar 19 begins the second structure -23
bars 24 - 32 second sentence of A
bars 32 - 38 transition
bars 39-44 question+answer sentence (B?)
bars 45- 50 transition step
bars 51 -57 question+answer sentence
bars 58 -62 transition sentence (4 bars)
bars 63 -69 ending sentence of B (8 bars)
rest is recap of A by same begs but important alterations

1-Stops imply whole sentence(question+answer) when Dominant
to tonic relation is used between them.
2-Irregular rhythms are used abundantly but a four - eight
bar length can be noticed at the most critical
point.
3-Length of phrases serve as a higher level of abstraction
of the use of irregular rhythmical beginnings of motives.

I tried to learn as much as possible, took me some time though...

Any comments of your own ? about the structure or how you did it?

will be very welcome.

Warm congratulations.

Ali

I have a question Dane when you have a moment. I have recently purchased VSL solo strings and I'm happy with the sound and the basic articulations that are included but learning to use the player is difficult, mainly because of a lack of instructional material.  So I've loaded some articulations and I'm keyswitching  between them and that works well but I'm wondering how to get crescendos on a note that is held eg. in your measure 83 of this piece the dotted half-note has a quick crescendo. I can change dynamics with velocity but I only get one velocity setting per note in Reaper which doesn't allow for a volume change without repeating the note, if I'm explaining this correctly. Any advice you might have would be appreciated!

Huh, yes, that player is all things to all people isn't it?  But pleasing that you're pleased with the sounds!

How are you manipulating the velocity? 

The manual just mentions the velocity cross-fader so as the velocity increases it takes the sound smoothly up through the various layers recorded in the samples of the particular articulation. Some articulations have only a single layer but others have 4 layers like the sustains (solo strings). 

If you're already doing this then please skip but otherwise - go to the "Vienna ensmble service" and click on the instrument in the "Vienna Instruments" sub-panel within it. Near the top right hand side just above the choices of Preset/Matrix/Patch you'll see two choices of view: Advanced and Basic. Click on the Basic tab. Just above the keyboard there's a set of 8 controller faders.

Take any one, click where it says "N/A" and from the dropdown, click "Velocity X-fade". Once selected, click the little "on/off" tab at the bottom of the fader to "on". 

This selection defaults to Midi control channel 2 (Breath control or more likely "breathalyser" for me!!). Anyway, it's just the name of the controller. I've been quite happy to go along with that.

So you then go to the midi editor in Reaper and add in controller No 2 down in the bottom half. Then you can draw in your crescendos and diminuendos ad lib by left-click and hold on the mouse and dragging it along and up. Expand the scale of the view and widen the control channel to get more precise if you want (and best if you click off working to the grid for this).

You can also switch "Velocity Off" at this point, looking through the list of CC channels.

If the dynamic range is too narrow - like if you cant get the quiet notes as quiet as you want, you can adjust the dynamic range: go to the Advanced view for the instrument, click on the relevant articulation in the matrix area, then adjust the "Velocity Curve" in the editing panel to the right - just means clicking on the vertical axis tab and sliding it down. (I set mine to about -40db according to the little figures to the right of the curve).   

Here's a shot of some fast crescendo/diminuendos where I wanted to notes to start with a very soft edge and fade out quickly.

The extra hidden channel below the "02 Breath MSB is the one where I set Velocity to off. The one above it also hidden is channel 20 used for the "slot x-fade". Have you used that at all? It's an absolute boon. I'll do another post to mention it in case anyone's having the sort of trouble I did when first trying to work out what to do!

Anyway, here's hoping that helps. :) The VSL solo strings produce some wonderful sounds. I initially made the mistake of controlling the volume through the master volume controller and it was awful!!

Slot X-fade

This lets the composer gradually change between articulations and useful if you want to control from a non-vibrato to a vibrato, a vib or non-vib to a tremolo or to give a more emphatic start to a note by applying a bit of staccato (if you don't like their sfz samples).

Choose your main articulation in the matrix or add it to the matrix, then click on The Vienna Instruments player's "Advanced" view (above the Preset / Matrix / Patch options to the right). The "slot rack" is at the top middle-right. On my basic player there are 4 slots: top row 1a and 2a, bottom row 1b and 2b. The main articulation you chose should be in slot 1a. 

Now go to the patches and chose the new articulation you want to dissolve to. Click and drag it to slot 2a.

Then click in the little circle that appears between the two slots to bring up a X which makes the cross-fade active.

Now go the "Basic" view of the player and choose a fader in the bottom half of the panel, click N/A to get the dropdown and click on "Slot X-fade". It defaults to channel 20 (fine by me. Never had cause to change it).

Then in the daw, set up channel 20 to control the X-fade in the midi editor. You can then fade between both articulations ad lib by dragging the mouse along and up or down. When channel 20 is set to zero or near it, your main articulation alone is in force. With the level at 128 or very near the top, the alternative articulation sounds.

With things like an emphatic attack (main articulation is a sustain, say; the alternative is staccato) set the level of channel 20 to give the desired effect. Just one click to make a vertical bar is enough and it'll stay like that until you change it. 

Here's a shot where cellos move from a smooth "perf legato" to full tremolo and back again. Channel 20 is indicated to the left. Beneath it is the velocity X-fade. 

Excellent explanation Dane, I’d have never figured all that out. Much to absorb here, thank you very much! I’ll report back as I have time.

My pleasure. 

:)

Ingo Lee said:

Excellent explanation Dane, I’d have never figured all that out. Much to absorb here, thank you very much! I’ll report back as I have time.

Hi, Ali,

Thank you for listening and your detailed comments. They're always appreciated.

Yes, it's a little more structured than my usual stuff. As I said in the intro, I'm concerned about its playability because of the many high notes which are all too easy to "fluff" - I suppose that's saying that if a chance of performance came up, I'd take it! 

So I didn't want it too long. You spotted the altered recap! I was thinking of developing that more, maybe 8 more bars but it led itself to the ending. I saw it as two lots of thematic material, the arpeggiations, and then the more lyrical phrases.

Unfortunately I'm pretty useless at writing melodies so it was an exercise to some extent, seemed easier to follow than the other solo "soliloquies" I've written.

Again, many thanks. I'm indebted to you for your comments.

Dane

.

\

Ali Riza SARAL said:

Hi Dane,

Once more a pretty piece...

bars 1 -14 first sentence of A ends with F
bars 14-19 transition
bar 19 begins the second structure -23
bars 24 - 32 second sentence of A
bars 32 - 38 transition
bars 39-44 question+answer sentence (B?)
bars 45- 50 transition step
bars 51 -57 question+answer sentence
bars 58 -62 transition sentence (4 bars)
bars 63 -69 ending sentence of B (8 bars)
rest is recap of A by same begs but important alterations

1-Stops imply whole sentence(question+answer) when Dominant
to tonic relation is used between them.
2-Irregular rhythms are used abundantly but a four - eight
bar length can be noticed at the most critical
point.
3-Length of phrases serve as a higher level of abstraction
of the use of irregular rhythmical beginnings of motives.

I tried to learn as much as possible, took me some time though...

Any comments of your own ? about the structure or how you did it?

will be very welcome.

Warm congratulations.

Ali

I applied the velocity controller and the articulation cross-fade as you explained Dane, not without a bit of fumbling, but your explanations were right on thank you.  I do have more questions and I was thinking of posting my examples too; I don't know if you're up for all of this but perhaps we should start a new thread under 'Virtual Instrument Use' or 'Daw Discussions'? Might take a bit of copy and paste to make use of what you've already done here but I'm sure others are interested.

Hi, Ingo,

By all means. Either a new thread or the 'let's talk about daws'. The latter is getting a bit long - but does that matter? Mind, I'm no expert by any means but I don't mind surrendering what little I've worked out. It'll be more of an exchange though as you've probably learned a few tips! (And anyone else who cares to offer something - though it'll most likely be more towards Reaper. However, most daws have similar workings.)

Cheers. 

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