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My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:40 pm
by Joe Sum One
Ron Snijders wrote:

And why the harsh assumptions on 'the thinking of the DAW-musician'? I've studied harmony quite extensively

Fortunately, I'm still only 27 years old (thank you, parents, for making me play the humble recorder when I was seven!), so I'm hoping to have the time to learn more about composition before my years are over :)

So sorry if I gave a bad impression on how I intend to do stuff, I hope the extra info helps clarify that :)

''And why the harsh assumptions on 'the thinking of the DAW-musician'?''

Because I was talking harmony and you were talking quality of samples and patches.

''I've studied harmony quite extensively''

That's good. Don't stop.

''Fortunately, I'm still only 27 years old''

You can see it either way. Don't take time for granted, it's a mistake. The older you get, the faster will time pass you by. Exponentially. I know.

''So sorry if I gave a bad impression on how I intend to do stuff''

You didn't give a bad impression. You asked for advice, and I gave you that. Make of it what you will. All the mistakes I mentioned I have done myself. That's the best advice I can give.

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:58 pm
by Ron Snijders
Joe Sum One wrote:
Ron Snijders wrote:

And why the harsh assumptions on 'the thinking of the DAW-musician'? I've studied harmony quite extensively

Fortunately, I'm still only 27 years old (thank you, parents, for making me play the humble recorder when I was seven!), so I'm hoping to have the time to learn more about composition before my years are over :)

So sorry if I gave a bad impression on how I intend to do stuff, I hope the extra info helps clarify that :)

''And why the harsh assumptions on 'the thinking of the DAW-musician'?''

Because I was talking harmony and you were talking quality of samples and patches.

''I've studied harmony quite extensively''

That's good. Don't stop.

''Fortunately, I'm still only 27 years old''

You can see it either way. Don't take time for granted, it's a mistake. The older you get, the faster will time pass you by. Exponentially. I know.

''So sorry if I gave a bad impression on how I intend to do stuff''

You didn't give a bad impression. You asked for advice, and I gave you that. Make of it what you will. All the mistakes I mentioned I have done myself. That's the best advice I can give.
Well, thanks for the advice :) I think we weren't on the same page about the samples. It wasn't the actual samples I was talking about, but the difference between trying to write a 'strings' part as opposed to writing parts for the individual instruments. You're completely right in that the samples used don't matter. I think (feel completely free to correct me if I'm wrong!) that writing one 'part' (just chords, really) for an entire section was way too big a corner to cut when I wrote the track this thread is about.

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:57 pm
by tacitus
I think there are two aspects to this - it's perfectly fair to say that you need to learn the ropes and write for the instruments properly, which is what I try to do with Sibelius. However, I don't do anything tio improve the playback quality on Sibelius as I'm writing for other players and the computer version is only to hear approximately how it fits together. If oyu're not going to have people play your music, you need to consider sample quality if you want to assemble something good to listen to, because there's no other way of hearing it. So in out ideal world we would address both the 'quality of composition' side and the 'quality of samples' side.

Given that most of us fall short in one or more areas in the whole chain of taking a piece from conception to completion, I think it's understandable (and justifiable) to take some short cuts. But it would help to know what you're skimping on, and why, so you can fix it later or make other arrangements to deal with the stuff you can't handle yourself.

On that basis, I refrained from comment on the sample posted at the start of the thread as it was put together in a way completely alien to me and I felt my comments come over as negative. That said, I think those that did comment made good suggestions and hopefully you'll be able to move on from here, Ron.

I would just say that writing out parts for each instrument is very rewarding, but it is a heck of a lot of work! I've been at it on and off for forty years and I'm still not what you'd call fast. Maybe that's why I write a lot for small ensembles (that and being able to get my stuff played ...). I'm still amazed when I look at a Mahler or Richard Strauss score at the amount of detail there is there.

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:05 pm
by Joe Sum One
'' I think (feel completely free to correct me if I'm wrong!) that writing one 'part' (just chords, really) for an entire section was way too big a corner to cut''

I am not sure what you are saying. Chords are made of 4 parts, actually.

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:17 pm
by Joe Sum One
''If oyu're not going to have people play your music, you need to consider sample quality if you want to assemble something good to listen to, because there's no other way of hearing it''

All of this is obvious. But you don't need to waste time meditating too long about that stuff, it's only details. Buy what you need and then get on the music. When I hear people talking more about samples than music, I know they are mentally masturbating. I have done it too.

If you can't write well it doesn't matter how good the samples are. Having said that, the samples in Sibelius are ghastly. These are there just to make a demo, certainly not to produce a track.

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:36 pm
by Ron Snijders
Joe Sum One wrote:'' I think (feel completely free to correct me if I'm wrong!) that writing one 'part' (just chords, really) for an entire section was way too big a corner to cut''

I am not sure what you are saying. Chords are made of 4 parts, actually.

What I mean is that rather than use separate instruments (and thus write separate lines) for the double basses, cellos, violas and violins, I just played some chords on the piano while using a big 'string ensemble'-patch, which means I have no control over what instrument actually plays what, at least not in the areas where their ranges overlap. Basically playing the entire string section as a piano. In retrospect, I think that's not the right way to write for an orchestral division.

Joe Sum One wrote: ''If oyu're not going to have people play your music, you need to consider sample quality if you want to assemble something good to listen to, because there's no other way of hearing it''

All of this is obvious. But you don't need to waste time meditating too long about that stuff, it's only details. Buy what you need and then get on the music. When I hear people talking more about samples than music, I know they are mentally masturbating. I have done it too.

If you can't write well it doesn't matter how good the samples are. Having said that, the samples in Sibelius are ghastly. These are there just to make a demo, certainly not to produce a track.

You're absolutely right there! There are tons of amazing samples out there, so it's easy to get carried away on the sample-side of things. But in the end, a beautifully written piece with lousy samples will still be far more interesting than a lousy piece with beautiful samples.

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:25 pm
by NicoleProducer
I am shocked to hear you produced such a great piece for your first attempt! Of course, every track can improve with fine tuning. Here is my advice for producing orchestral:

If you want to compose orchestral, I recommend buying the best out there - East West products, such as East West Symphonic Orchestra (the one I own and love). The strings sound great, but probably the best one would be Hollywood Strings (which I don't currently own).

Next, is to explore your sound library, and figure out what instruments will sound best in your piece of music. For example, if you choose to produce a romantic or sad piece of music, maybe a solo violin would suit the part for the main melody?

Get to know what instruments go where and how to place them so they fit in your song. Listen to a lot of orchestral and hear to how the music tells the story, at the same time keeping track of what instruments are playing at what time. For example, if you are listening to a soundtrack of a film, look at what is happening in the film and how the instruments interacts with the film. How does it correlate? Maybe you hear more horns at the point of victory, or lower octave strings and sharp staccatos at the point of horror?

A good technique is remembering to build crescendos before a change in your song. A good tip is to use woodwind and violin trills, harps, timpani and snare rolls, and also cymbals at the point of climax and transitions.

Using automation I say is a must (this is more advanced) for making it sound professional and realistic. You would want quiet and loud parts in your orchestral songs, because a real orchestra has dynamics and movement. This is where 'read and write' comes into play. I use a product called Leap Motion and software called Geco and loopMIDI on Windows, which helps me use my hands as a signal to change the volume, expression, panning, and other effects of the instruments during plackback. When 'write' is selected on an instrument, it records this in real-time, and 'read' just means to enable what you are recording so it is heard during playback. Of course, this is for advanced users, so I wouldn't want to confuse you at this precise moment in time. There are a good amount of tutorials on Youtube for these products.

I really hope I have been of some help. Please contact me if you would like more advice, and I will do my best to answer.

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:38 pm
by Guest
Hi Ron,

There is a bit of a nice theme there. FWIW (cos everyone has a different opinion on these matters) I reckon it would sound better if...

1. ...it was half the length.
2. ...it was piano and string quartet - you could get the guy that comes on here and does strings (with the website address I can never remember) to do you an arrangement maybe? I would lose the wind too.
3. ...each part was stronger - what I mean is there are some clashes going on which are slightly jarring. With less parts, but each doing something stronger harmonically, where parts don't overlap, it would be more effective. It sounds like there's some thirds missing in some of the harmony too. I think it needs a bit more emotional depth which you might get with real strings.
4. ...there was no percussion.

IMO

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:54 pm
by Guest
NicoleProducer wrote:
If you want to compose orchestral, I recommend buying the best out there - East West products, such as East West Symphonic Orchestra (the one I own and love). The strings sound great, but probably the best one would be Hollywood Strings (which I don't currently own).

I think things have come on a bit since EW products. They are quite old now and sound quite dated tbh. I have Hollywood Strings and even on a very powerful computer each instrument takes an eternity to load. When it does load you wonder why you bothered. LASS, for example, can load a better sound in an instant.

However, things continue to move forward. I do recommend Spitfire Audio for your orchestral needs. I think their products are as good as you are gonna get at the mo.

https://www.spitfireaudio.com/

IMO

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:45 pm
by Luke JD
I recognised the damage samples straight away. Cheeky ;)

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:36 pm
by Luke JD
Salty Dog wrote:I think things have come on a bit since EW products. They are quite old now and sound quite dated tbh. I have Hollywood Strings and even on a very powerful computer each instrument takes an eternity to load. When it does load you wonder why you bothered. LASS, for example, can load a better sound in an instant.

However, things continue to move forward. I do recommend Spitfire Audio for your orchestral needs. I think their products are as good as you are gonna get at the mo.

https://www.spitfireaudio.com/

IMO

Agree fully on all fronts

Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:45 am
by TSWO
Ron Snijders wrote:
- Explore ideas rather than copy-/pasting them.
- Be aware of how an instrument is actually played.
- Make sure parts actually add to the composition, even if they're just supporting.
- (Learn to write proper percussion, I suck at that).


Couldn't have summed it up better myself. This is really like the 4 commandments... I suck at writing percussion too. :headbang: