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Topic: 3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

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  1. #1

    3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

    3 French Horns (hens?) two turtle doves?

    I was reading through some of the major libraries instruments and noticed, for example, a sample called French Horns Ensemble, obviously, an ensemble of French Horns.

    I thought about how these same libraries (i.e. VSL, Garr, EWQL, etc), offer instruments solo so one can build their own (layered) ensemble, which leads me to this….

    If one where to set out to build a (3) French horn ensemble, what school of thought would one take?

    For example:, if it where audio, (not midi), one could create three identical tracks and shift one a few milliseconds ahead, and another a few milliseconds behind, thus giving a “thickening” effect to a horn section. This I suppose could be done (with samples/midi) by also shifting the info ahead and behind. (best way to do this?)…..

    Then of course, is the school of thought to create an instrument/score, duplicate, then transpose the information, a P4 (perfect 4th) or Octave (+12 or –12 in midi)? Or is it perhaps to do a little of both, duplicating the track, transposing, as well as the shifting of notes.

    Just a few thoughts…..

    Seasons Greetings and may you all be well, healthy, joyus, learn something new each day, and help someone out...

    cheers,
    frankii

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: 3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

    Originally posted by filmtvbiz:
    For example:, if it where audio, (not midi), one could create three identical tracks and shift one a few milliseconds ahead, and another a few milliseconds behind, thus giving a “thickening” effect to a horn section. This I suppose could be done (with samples/midi) by also shifting the info ahead and behind. (best way to do this?)…..

    Then of course, is the school of thought to create an instrument/score, duplicate, then transpose the information, a P4 (perfect 4th) or Octave (+12 or –12 in midi)? Or is it perhaps to do a little of both, duplicating the track, transposing, as well as the shifting of notes.

    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Neither one.

    The first technique rarely works, unless you have completely disparate samples of disparate players, but from the same basic perspective. It tends to sound very phasy.

    The second technique is workable, but not via copying. It\'s much better to play all the parts, so that the different performances lend a more genuine musical intention to the line. Even manually shifting the parts around to get variation rarely works as well. It\'s all about performance. Getting the best possible performance on each part, even if it involves sitting at the keyboard or other controller and doing some woodshedding, is well worth the time.

  3. #3

    Re: 3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

    I would have to agree playing the parts would probably be best, however, what about if you where using a notation program, ( of course it doesn\'t replace the player) built in. The playing method wouldn\'t work. Unless you can vary each staff (will have to look into that)..

    Then of course, it comes down to final product - tv? film? What the producer wants....plus of course, having a good ear to detect the weakness\'s/strengths of what sounds realistic or not.

    My post was really to see what methods other use around here.

    I had some success copying a good performance, duplicating it, transposing, then varying the velocities, but haven\'t delved into it on the notation level at this time...

    I enjoy finding out what others prefer to do.

    Cheers,
    fe

  4. #4

    Re: 3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

    Leading on from this question, what does everyone here do about splitting up an ensemble? You know when you want something played divisi after a lot of unison playing. Easy if you\'ve been building your section from a whole bunch of solo instruments, but I think probably all of us use ensemble patches.

    Say, for instance, I\'m playing a unison line for four horns, using an ensemble patch, and then want to go to a four note chord. I can\'t just play the chord using the ensemble patch, because that would be like having 16 horns. And I can\'t suddenly jump to a chord played on solo patches, firstly because they wouldn\'t be the same four horns, and secondly because I can\'t afford four different solo patches.

    So what do the pros here do?

  5. #5

    Re: 3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

    There is nothing wrong with using a single solo horn to play divisi. That is, as long as it has basically the same sound as the ensemble. You don\'t need four programs. Technically, four seperate, chromatically sampled, programs, from 4 different players, recorded in position, is ideal. BUT IN REALITY, most samples are already lacking in so many ways that having four different programs will not significantly benefit your music. You\'d be MUCH better off using one really good solo program.

  6. #6
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    Re: 3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

    I think Nick\'s correct. However, I do often use the same preset but play it on two or more seperate tracks per voice/s for, say, four part horns as it gives more individuality to each part and those parts will enter at fractionally different times, adding to the realism.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: 3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

    Originally posted by Nick Phoenix:
    There is nothing wrong with using a single solo horn to play divisi.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Especially if it\'s in the same collection, with image-cohesive solo and ensemble patches, so that going from a four-horn section to a 4x solo horn playing the divisi will have roughly the same timbral and imaging quality.

    Even if it\'s not imaging cohesive (or even from the same producer), this is what engineering is all about!! Make it so!!

    The only time you\'re going to get in trouble with 4x solo is trying to get a unison \"ensemble.\" You\'ll get a phasy mess, then. Even with four patches of the same player (this actually exists in many collections if you pick your articulations carefully), you\'ll likely not get a good unison, because people tend to have a signature tone. To build a unison out of solos, you\'d almost have to have four different players sampled in the same spot. Even then, it\'s going to be a challenge, unless the producer is constantly telling the players to articulate like they\'re in unison. People tend to articulate a lot more gently in a solo setting. This is sometimes even a problem with \"solo\" instruments in sample libraries. In the isolation of being a single player in a studio or soundstage, one can easily slip into \"solo\" articulations, when the end use of the library is likely to be section/tutti work. Speaking as a trumpet player, one definitely uses a completely different concept when playing in an ensemble than playing solo literature. You articulate a LOT harder in ensemble, or you get caught up in the \"mush.\" It seems that producers are more aware of this now, and you hear a lot less \"blossom\" on solo attacks. Back in the AO/Miroslav days, it was hard to even get a line to sound at times, the players were getting SO mushy and blossom-y with their attacks (and I can only guess that the producers did not understand that you have to DEMAND attacks from wind players, even in great ensembles).

    OK, that is getting way off topic.

    Frankii, I am not sure what the point of using notation programs to make audio renderings would be. Notation programs are just not appropriate for producing listenable mockups or works...they have no capacity for performance.

    What I do, in cases where I want to produce notation, is produce the tracks in a sequencer first, to get the right sound and quality of performance. Then, I quantize the living snot out of those tracks, and import them into the notation program...and just fix whatever got over-quantized/simplified in the process. Trying to get musical performance out of a notation-based program is just going to make your hair change colors and fall out. Every time someone tries to make it better (the Sibelius producers seem to be wasting inordinate amounts of time on this instead of making the notation aspects easier to use) it\'s just worse. Sequencer manufacturers at least have figured out by now that you can\'t really program musicality, and they\'ve given up on all the hootuses and whatsits that are supposed to automagically make people musical (with the exception of that \"Style Enhancer\" program out of Russia, which can still take any good track and ruin it with great zeal). Ultimately, music is performed, and the only way to get a performance is to play a performance.

    So, I guess I\'m saying that I don\'t see the logic in trying to get a notation program to somehow play music. It\'s like trying to get pasta to be rice, or listening to Barbara Striesand sing jazz. You\'re better off hitting yourself in the head with a 2 x 4. It\'s quicker.

    I would say that if a person actually composes in notation programs, it would still be far quicker to go ahead and get the piece entered, then print out the parts and play it into a sequencer to get a listenable rendering of it. Someone posted a piano concerto here not too long ago, which was quite a decent piece of work, but it was torture to listen to it because they used their notation program to render the piece instead of playing it. You just can\'t get away with not performing music--it\'s the essential element. That said, one can take great pains to abstract a performance, but you really have to be a performer and a mega-brain on top of that to abstract all the elements that make \"performance.\" There are characteristic ways phrases are turned, notes are shaped, and in general, just a way of doing things which has nothing to do with the notation.

    I guess to make the best analogy, it would be the same thing as using a script writing program to write a play, then hitting the \"perform\" button and expecting a video of the play to appear on the screen. That can never happen, for the same reason a notation program is never going to produce a listenable performance. No matter what you do, it\'s just not going to be one unless it\'s performed. Each performed part is the result of literally hundreds of decisions being made per instant, all based on what is happening in real time to a real person being surrounded by a whole ensemble of other real people (or in our case, abstracted real people). Take that element away, and it ain\'t music, any more than squiggles on the page are music. They\'re nothing until a human breathes life into them.

  8. #8

    Re: 3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

    Interesting indeed.

    I could have sworn that the Keyboard article/review of VSL (DEC 03) said it\'s quite commong to build sections using solo\'s instruments layered, thus the dryness of the collection.

    I must re-read the article I suppose, as it was after reading this article that made me wonder how this was done as I would usually use a sample that was recorded as a plural (horns vs solo horn).


    cheers,
    frankii

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: 3 French Horns (hens) and 2 turtle doves? (creating sections)

    Originally posted by filmtvbiz:
    Interesting indeed.

    I could have sworn that the Keyboard article/review of VSL (DEC 03) said it\'s quite commong to build sections using solo\'s instruments layered, thus the dryness of the collection.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I\'m not surprised that someone might write that, but it\'s certainly not accurate. VSL\'s recording methodologies were developed primarily to accommodate two things: post processing and their legato/alternation/performance methodologies.

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