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My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Joe Sum One » Fri May 31, 2013 10:42 am

The samples are fine. I was referring to how the individual parts interact with each other. The chord at 0:36 does sounds like a break, but it sounds too startling, if I were you I would check if I can hold notes in common with the chord it precedes and if the voices of the chords make unnecessary leaps.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Ron Snijders » Fri May 31, 2013 11:49 pm

OK, clear! I think I have a lot to learn on proper orchestration, probably starting with ditching the 'String Ensemble' patches and writing actual part for the individual instruments. I guess that will force me to think more consciously about what the different parts are adding as well :)
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Joe Sum One » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:15 am

forget about patches, samples and all that stuff, it doesn't mean jack.

They are actually the last thing you should worry about.

That's the problem with all this technology, people think that they just need to get a DAW and to splash out on a sampling library and they can turn themselves into Jerry Goldsmith and write orchestral music. Well, think again, you need a lot more than that. Orchestral music requires very specific skills like harmony, composition and orchestration and this is training that you can't get by asking for advice in a forum.

You said you have made music for 20 years. That's a long time. It's time to put some real work in it and actually learn about the the things I mentioned. Forget about samples. Forget about the computer. Forget about all that crap. You shouldn't worry even about production, what I mentioned will already more than fill up your schedule for the next few years. Do you want to be a producer or a composer? It's time to make decisions, 20 years have already wooshed by and we don't live forever.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby DAGGILARR » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:48 pm

I think that this view is a bit harsh, its almost as if you would have us scratching away with quills by candle light. Back in the days before notation when there was only plain song and chant, phrases were memorised and utilised to realise the composers ideas, what, essentially is the difference between that and a sample library?

For me composition and music creation is about having fun, expressing myself and adding some meaning and purpose to my life, I have no pretensions to be a great composer and for me to try it your way would render it beyond reach, technology, however, changes that and thats a good thing.

My greatest regret is that I did not learn formally, Piano and theory (to busy getting high and low) but I did not ( I have great respect for those who have), so I for one am very grateful for the DAW and all that goes with it, as well as all the patient support I have had on this forum.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Ron Snijders » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:06 pm

Joe Sum One wrote:forget about patches, samples and all that stuff, it doesn't mean jack.

They are actually the last thing you should worry about.

That's the problem with all this technology, people think that they just need to get a DAW and to splash out on a sampling library and they can turn themselves into Jerry Goldsmith and write orchestral music. Well, think again, you need a lot more than that. Orchestral music requires very specific skills like harmony, composition and orchestration and this is training that you can't get by asking for advice in a forum.

You said you have made music for 20 years. That's a long time. It's time to put some real work in it and actually learn about the the things I mentioned. Forget about samples. Forget about the computer. Forget about all that crap. You shouldn't worry even about production, what I mentioned will already more than fill up your schedule for the next few years. Do you want to be a producer or a composer? It's time to make decisions, 20 years have already wooshed by and we don't live forever.

It's definitely not about the patches, maybe I should have elaborated a bit more on that.
What I meant is that when I'm writing on the 'string ensemble'-patch I mentioned, I'm not writing for individual instruments, but letting the software decide what instrument plays what. The point I was making is that I should actually write a double bass part, a cello part, some violas et cetera, so I'll be working with actual lines and thinking about the role of an instrument in the whole of the piece, rather than just playing some chords and being done with it.

And why the harsh assumptions on 'the thinking of the DAW-musician'? I've studied harmony quite extensively, I have half a dozen books on theory and composition. I'm putting in the hours, but at the same time I'm also trying out stuff and asking for feedback. I've actually been taking piano lessons purely so I can compose on the piano, without the burden of the PC. (Finding out that I actually love playing the piano helps as well :) ).

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 :)
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Joe Sum One » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:40 pm

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.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Ron Snijders » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:58 pm

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.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby tacitus » Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:57 pm

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.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Joe Sum One » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:05 pm

'' 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.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Joe Sum One » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:17 pm

''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.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Ron Snijders » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:36 pm

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.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby NicoleProducer » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:25 pm

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.
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Guest » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:38 pm

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
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Guest » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:54 pm

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
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Re: My first orchestral, tips very much appreciated

Postby Luke JD » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:45 pm

I recognised the damage samples straight away. Cheeky ;)
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