Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

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DesireeBowen
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Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

Post by DesireeBowen » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:38 am

Two questions, not very related though..

1- When there is a post for an instrumental piece, generally how long should they be?

2- I want to record some piano pieces- I tried using my mike (which is better suited for voices) and it sounded terrible. Is there a good way to record the piano, or should I just use my keyboard and Logic piano sample? My keyboard sucks right now, but I am going to get a new one pretty soon with weighted keys.

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Re: Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

Post by simonrushby » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:43 am

Hey Desiree

Generally with instrumentals I guess it depends what the listing is, or what your target is, or what style of music you are writing. A lot of libraries like 1 minute pieces, and if you're writing for commercials you certainly won't need anything longer than that. Then again, soundbeds/underscore type pieces could be 2 or 3 minutes long.

As for your piano, for a real one I use two condenser mics, one near each end, about a foot or 18 inches away, unless your room is really dry, in which case mic it close and add some effects later. Then again (my favourite phrase, sorry!) the logic samples are pretty good for a lot of instru cues, but a weighted keys keyboard is good if you're going to do lots of piano work on it.

Hope this helps, and I'm no more an expert than the next guy so feel free to disagree people!

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Re: Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

Post by greggo » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:19 pm

Again, I'm not an expert, but what I also learned at the rally is that instrumental cues should be anywhere from one to three minutes in length, have no tempo or key changes and no fade outs.

As for the 2nd question, there are lots of really good acoustic piano samplers. I use Akoustic piano. I think that miking a piano would be much trickier and more painful in getting a proper sound for recording, IMO.

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Re: Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

Post by kelysian » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:09 pm

You need two condenser microphones to record an acoustic piano decently. Even with the right mics, your sound will still depend on the piano cabinet and the room acoustics too.

I'd really recommend a good sampled piano. (Mainly because I can't always guarantee a flawless performance from myself, and having it all digital lets me fix my mistakes!)

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Re: Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

Post by davewalton » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:34 pm

Two to three minutes for most tracks.

Use a good piano sample. Judge for yourself whether the one that came with Logic is up to par. Brindabella is a good Taxi member to judge your piano sound against. She uses a very nice piano sample from SampleTekk (they're actually not expensive... under $200 and I think she got hers on sale which they do quite often)...

www.taxi.com/brindabella

I think some of her tracks on there use her old piano samples. Check out Poem... I'm pretty sure that uses her new samples (it sounds pretty good anyway). 8-)

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Re: Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

Post by Len911 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:29 pm

For the microphones, room, skill, and piano needed, it would be much much cheaper and better to buy a very good piano sample package. I listened to many demos, and was struck by the Ivory Upright, however when my dealer sent it they sent the Ivory Grand which is a little more expensive. I wasn't really interested in the grand because I thought they would sound too classical, but they have each of the pianos with several samples and genres and it was much more versatile than I had thought so I kept it because they had run out of the upright and they were on backorder. They sounded the most real imo. I think there are only 3 or 4 pianos but they each have a ton of presets and many variations, tweaks and effects. They have a ton of demos on their website to listen to.

http://www.synthogy.com/products.html
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Re: Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

Post by DesireeBowen » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:35 pm

Thanks for the advice- I am definitely thinking the piano samples are the way to go! It if funny though- for YEARS I've been such a snob about playing the piano instead of the keyboard- ALWAYS telling my students to go with a piano (which really is better when learning classical music) but now I am actually picking the keyboard over the piano...going over to the dark side! :) I feel a little disloyal to my piano! :)

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Re: Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

Post by kelysian » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:34 am

DesireeBowen wrote:Thanks for the advice- I am definitely thinking the piano samples are the way to go! It if funny though- for YEARS I've been such a snob about playing the piano instead of the keyboard- ALWAYS telling my students to go with a piano (which really is better when learning classical music) but now I am actually picking the keyboard over the piano...going over to the dark side! :) I feel a little disloyal to my piano! :)

Desiree
Not at all! There's nothing that can substitute for the feeling of playing your heart out on a great piano.

I have a theory that pianos are like wizard wands - you don't choose the piano, the piano chooses you. The first time I played a Yamaha C3, I knew I'd never find one that would make me sound better. My dad (who plays schmaltzy coctktail piano) went for a Kohler & Campbell with a much softer touch and (to me) mushier tone. But that's what he wanted.

I'm totally with you on learning on an acoustic piano. Totally. But once you get to the point where you've mastered the skills you need to create what you want to record, digital is the way to go.

If I'm writing a piece for other instruments, I'll naturally use the keyboard ... but if it's a solo piano piece, I'll write it on the piano because it keeps me from cheating. (I've been known to write piano parts digitally that would be impossible for one person to play!)

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Re: Instrumental Pieces & Recording Piano

Post by fullbirdmusic » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:07 pm

For instrumentals, I agree with 1 - 3 minutes, no fade-ins or fade-outs and nothing crazy in between. Using a decent piano sampler with Alti-Verb will make it sound exponentially better than any stock reverb in Logic, even if you are using the stock piano sounds in Logic. Alti-Verb is expensive, though. It's totally worth it and pretty much an industry standard convolution reverb - not that it's necessary to have, but that it provides an incredible quality/value ratio at about $500.
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