Getting from here to there

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edteja
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Getting from here to there

Post by edteja » Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:37 am

My question is hardly new, I suspect, but I'm SOOO confused I would appreciate some insight. Dave W has already kindly answered several questions, but I am still grappling. The situation is this... I record songs using Cool Edit Pro--that is no problem, except for the frustrating limitations of all software and those stupid operator problems. But I am happy there. I also compose. But I compose by writing music. Currently I use finale songwriter. The audio from it sounds real nice to me, and I can use some of it in mixes with real stuff in Cool Edit, but apparently, according to Taxi's pros (and I believe them) the sounds are too artificial. I have been researching tons of better sounding programs, but the thing I don't yet get is how effective something like EWQL Silver would be intranslating midi files from finale S into real music. I know that they are supposed to be exceptional the way most of you do it, plunking on a keyboard, but I kind of like the way I am composing.Now I am just sorting all this out and open to all sorts of radical ideas--paper and pencil and a real band to play it? there is a thought. I am hoping there is some hope for either the EWQL or GPO. Unfortunately they tend to be symphonic and I need about half the instruments they offer and some they don't, such as tenor sax (a separate problem), so if you have any ideas I will follow them up. Thanks.
"In the future, when we finally get over racism, bigotry, and everyone is purple, red, and brown ... then we'll have to hate people for who they truly are."--George Carlin

edteja
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Re: Getting from here to there

Post by edteja » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:09 am

Okay, I seem to have stumped our expert panel , so here is the 25-cent tossup question... is anyone (besides me) out there doing notation - to - soft synth music? I know Finale has a version that works with GPO, but it is scaled down according to Garritan, and I don't know if it is worth upgrading to Finale for it. There is one that will work with Sebelius, but I wasn't impressed with the Sebelius demo (not that it lets you do enough to find out what happens in the crunch).Am I doomed to turning to a keyboard and a midi connection? (It wouldn't be the worst fate, I mean I could learn to live with it, I suppose. Maybe even get to like it.)
"In the future, when we finally get over racism, bigotry, and everyone is purple, red, and brown ... then we'll have to hate people for who they truly are."--George Carlin

andreh
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Re: Getting from here to there

Post by andreh » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:32 pm

Ed-There are some excellent sample libraries out there these days (including the ones you mentioned), but even the highest-end sampled sounds won't be convincing if you don't use the phrasing and build the dynamics into them that real players do with their instruments.I've been developing my skills at creating authentic-sounding orchestral music with a computer for awhile now, and I'm finally getting to the point where listeners are wondering if I actually hired a real orchestra. Your first post is a clue to one of your biggest limitations: no notation program such as Finale or Sibelius (which I use when notating) is going to let you address the idiosyncrasies of each sampled sound the way a midi sequencing program (such as Cakewalk or Digital Performer) will. For example, many string and horn samples, and others with slow attacks, need to be triggered early to sound on the beat with other sounds; this requires nudging of indivual or groups of notes that notation programs don't allow.As another example, the dynamics that you write into a score may not correspond with the way a particular sample is programmed to respond, so a very important aspect of musical emotion - dynamics - is being under- or overrepresented.I find that playing notes with a keyboard yields better and more authentic timing and dynamics than your method, but if you're not used to playing notes on a keyboard you can still use your current approach with great success. You'll have to export your song as a standard midi file and open and tweak it in an actual sequecing program (the piano-roll mode is great for this), but this is inevitable with either of our approaches.One more thought on getting most out of your libraries: some samples will invariably be stronger with certain phrasing or dynamic approaches, so use your ears to cater to your sounds' strengths and downplay their weaknesses. If you find it impossible to write the music you hear in your head with this caveat, then it may be time to bring in some real players (especially for tenor and other saxes, which are known to be some of the most challenging virtual intruments to create a convincing sound with).I encourage you to look at creating a notated score as a separate process from creating a produced song; although you may use similar techniques in both cases, in the end they each require an individualized approach to fine-tuning them for their final formats.HTH,Andre
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edteja
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Re: Getting from here to there

Post by edteja » Sat Apr 15, 2006 1:57 am

Thanks for that Andre. I do play keyboard (albeit not that well) so I suppose I will need to separate the composition and performance aspects just as I do for recording acoustically. I appreciate the insight into some of the problems that I hadn't even thought about. Which sequencer do you use?
"In the future, when we finally get over racism, bigotry, and everyone is purple, red, and brown ... then we'll have to hate people for who they truly are."--George Carlin

andreh
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Re: Getting from here to there

Post by andreh » Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:47 am

Glad to help, Ed.I use Pro Tools for pop music composition & production, and I use Digital Performer for scoring to picture.Both of these programs are great; I think I could live with having just one of them for everything. But, here's what I generally like about each over the other:- Pro Tools' work flow is very intuitive. Having only two main screens and all your options in menus makes things easy to find, and access to them is very good as well (although having to bounce back and forth between editing note velocities and note lengths is very tedious).- It's nice to have all the CPU power you need with a Pro Tools TDM system; even with the fastest CPU's, you can get choked up on dense productions with a l ot of soft synths.- Digital Performer has excellent tempo-based options, such as calculating tempos dynamically to help you land on as many hit points as possible when scoring to picture.-Digital Performer allows faster-than-realtime bounces, which Pro Tools does not. This is a life-saver for longer sessions that need to be re-bounced often and/or quickly. I use DP for VO and editing sessions for this reason a lot.I'm doing everything in PT these days, since the latest version (7) precludes me from using DP with my Digi hardware until MOTU provides a compatible update. I actually haven't missed DP yet (but I"m sure I will).Andre
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edteja
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Re: Getting from here to there

Post by edteja » Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:03 am

Thanks for that information Andre. It is useful to learn how other people use programs, not just what they use. There is a confusing ton of information out there, and a lot of it contradictory. Personal input is so helpful.
"In the future, when we finally get over racism, bigotry, and everyone is purple, red, and brown ... then we'll have to hate people for who they truly are."--George Carlin

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