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Topic: Where Do I Go from Here?

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  1. #1

    Where Do I Go from Here?

    GPO Experts...I come with questions!

    Some background:

    *I am a brass player, NOT any kind of a keyboard player, so expressive MIDI entry through keyboard playing is out. Step-time city for me, but I know how to \"humanize\" a MIDI file sorta OK. Learning keyboard is on the agenda for retirement, which is 12 or so years away [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    *I work mainly in notation (Finale) and currently use it with GPO successfully via GPO Studio. I am aware of the tricks needed to make Finale and GPO get along well.

    *My only current sequencing program is the Cubasis that came with my GPO. I do have a copy of Cakewalk 9 that I never opened but could if needed.

    My goal is to improve the realism of playback to APPROACH the quality of the demos I hear by the GPO users. I realize that I may not be able to MATCH it because of lack of gear and/or MIDI skill, but I\'d still like to come CLOSER. So...

    1. What are some more things I can do manually to MIDI files to enhance GPO playback? I\'m already randomizing or humanizing velocities, note lengths, etc. and am using the VAR 1 and VAR 2 parameters in GPO (most of my work is for brass groups of varying sizes). I am doing crescendos, etc. in Finale using the MIDI tool, etc...Please give me some advice as to what else I could be doing manually to my MIDI files to prepare them to get the most out of GPO.

    2. What kinds of plugins should I be looking at for Cubasis? Having cut my teeth on Cakewalk, I am working through Cubasis, which is a step up for me, as is the general concept of VST. Given my goal to improve the realism of sequences, what would you recommend for plug-ins, where should I get them, are there any freeware or shareware items of interest, etc?

    3. If all of this is in an FAQ somewhere, where is it?

    I gotta say, I bought GPO on a lark just because I wanted some nicer sounds when I proof my Finale work, but I have become so fascinated with it that I want to be able to wring every drop of expressivity out of it given my non-existent keyboard skills and the fact that I have a day job far removed from music.

    All advice greatly appreciated!!
    Jim

  2. #2

    Re: Where Do I Go from Here?

    You didn\'t mention specifically cc1, which is THE key to expressive and realistic performances with GPO. If you haven\'t already tripped to this, the manual should take care of it.

    As far as mixing goes, EQ and reverb are probably the only two tools/plugins needed to produce a quality orchestral sound from GPO. Some would argue that compression can be useful, particularly for other musical genres.

    The Ambience reverb that comes with GPO is not state of the art, but imminently capable and clean, especially for a freebie - it sounds better than many named plugs you can spend a lot more money on.

    You probably know this, mixing and mastering are arts that in and of themselves can consume a lifetime of study and learning.

    Trond

  3. #3

    Re: Where Do I Go from Here?

    Originally posted by dnortana:
    You didn\'t mention specifically cc1, which is THE key to expressive and realistic performances with GPO. If you haven\'t already tripped to this, the manual should take care of it.

    Thanx for the reply, Trond!
    I am indeed on top of the CC1 thing--Once I discovered the magic of CC1 for GPO, the first thing I did in Finale was to remap parts of its MIDI expressions from CC7 to CC1 to interface properly with GPO.


    As far as mixing goes, EQ and reverb are probably the only two tools/plugins needed to produce a quality orchestral sound from GPO.

    Right now I have only the Ambience that came with GPO. You have confirmed my suspicion that it is basic.
    A lot of the difference I hear between what I do and what the quality guys do is \"spatial\" in nature--they seem to be able to create an environment in which individual lines can breathe, standing out or receding as the music dictates. It seems to be more than just pan and reverb. My guess is that I may have to draw a lot of controller messages!

    The Ambience reverb that comes with GPO is not state of the art, but imminently capable and clean, especially for a freebie - it sounds better than many named plugs you can spend a lot more money on.

    Sounds as if I\'m gonna have to move away from the presets and start fiddling with individual parameters on Ambience, especially since I work almost entirely with brass. For me, the piece to aspire to is the Copland Fanfare snippet that Houston Haynes put out.


    You probably know this, mixing and mastering are arts that in and of themselves can consume a lifetime of study and learning.

    Yes, I\'ve been recorded enough to know what kind of hoops a track has to jump through in order to make it sound on a CD like it sounded on stage, so I\'d imagine that raw MIDI data and the WAVs that result from them need post-production as well.

    That brings up another issue: how much processing is done on the MIDI data before sending it to GPO, and how much processing is done on the WAV file that results from the GPO performance.

    Back to work now!!

    Jim

    Trond
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">

  4. #4

    Re: Where Do I Go from Here?

    I am not sure if this might help with GPO but you might want to have a look at:
    www.ntonyx.com
    they have a style-enhancer program that takes care of the midi-stuff arranging thing... don\'T know how good it is with orchestration though...
    Take care
    Harry

  5. #5

    Re: Where Do I Go from Here?

    Originally posted by snorlax:
    GPO Experts...I come with questions!...

    1. What are some more things I can do manually to MIDI files to enhance GPO playback? I\'m already randomizing or humanizing velocities, note lengths, etc. and am using the VAR 1 and VAR 2 parameters in GPO (most of my work is for brass groups of varying sizes). I am doing crescendos, etc. in Finale using the MIDI tool, etc...Please give me some advice as to what else I could be doing manually to my MIDI files to prepare them to get the most out of GPO.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Prof,

    I would like to step in here though expert I\'m not. I\'ve recently begun reading about making recordings and I\'m feeling a little dumb about how much I don\'t know. But, what the heck, here\'s some things I\'ve been thinking about...

    When humanizing don\'t forget the super-humans! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] The folks who excel as soloists. Like a famous interpretter of major piano concertos. What do they do that is so special?

    I heard secondhand from a piano student of a famous teacher, that he wanted \"compressed rhythms\" from his student one day. It\'s what Finale is doing in their \"Human Playback\" parameter \"Adjust dotted 8th+16th/Triplet\".

    I figure its this: You take a time unit, say, a half note. Then play the first quarter note slower by x amount, and then play the second quarter note faster by x amount. If the tempo is fast enough you don\'t hear a tempo flucuation, you hear the second half of the time unit compressed.

    In Finale you can define compressed rhythm expressions for an eighth note, quarter note, half note, or whatever you wish. The compression is relative so you can use the expression in slow time or fast time.

    You can hear an example of some subtle use of compressed rhythms in an arrangement I did on my web site \"Petersburg Sleigh Ride\" for some double reeds.

    http://www.mydocsonline.com/pub/aburford/PetersburgSleighRide_Eilenberg.MP3

    I think my use of compressed rhythms is non-obtrusive, and gives the feeling that things have got some get-up-and-go pep.

    Another feature of that little \"experiement\", most of the chords are just intonation. Doesn\'t that give the harmony a \"soft\" feeling? I have not yet tried out just intonation on a harp piece. [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]

  6. #6
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    Re: Where Do I Go from Here?

    Basically realise that humans can\'t do anything perfectly (except mess things up!)

    So timings, volumes, attacks, vibratos, etc are varying all the time. Start your chord notes at different times for example.

    I suggest you ditch notation and go with piano scroll. Much more flexible and powerful and easier to tweak.

    Frank

  7. #7

    Re: Where Do I Go from Here?

    \"My guess is that I may have to draw a lot of controller messages!\"

    A spot-on understatement. The best midi mockup I\'ve heard with GPO was dense with cc1 data - on each and every note of each and every instrument. Hard to do well without a mod-wheel to crank, or a breath controller to blow. But, if you know what to draw, a mouse will do it, too.

    Even tempo got a measure by measure treatment of controller data.

    You mentioned \'space\' in your response above. Yes, that seems to be a huge factor. One school of thought says you can do pretty well with a first rate reverb - convolution (Altiverb, Space Designer, SIR, Acoustic Mirror ...) , or algorithm based(Lexicon, TCElectronics, ...). Another school of thought says you must record the samples themselves with space, to have any hope of decent results. The third school - the purists - turn up their noses at the first two. There are probably more schools ...

    Anyway, to get to my point - if you want to try convolution reverb, SIR is freeware, and you can get legitimate, good and free IR\'s to run through it.
    http://www.knufinke.de/sir/index_en.html

    One last thought (for now :-) - I did hear some say that using post-mix EQ and some compression was helpful in taking a mix and getting a \'better sound\'. Whatever that means.

    Given your questions, Prof. Jim, I get an inkling that you may have taken a first step on what may prove to be a very long - and very rewarding - musical adventure :-)

    Trond

  8. #8

    Re: Where Do I Go from Here?

    Mainly windows users: download the following:

    (1) Free convolution reverb (vst - windows):

    http://www.knufinke.de/sir/index_en.html

    (2) Free Impulses for the above convolution reverb:

    http://www.noisevault.com/index.php?page=3&sid=f2a0dbe4645f74c9073c64cd41e18 b60

    (3) Free Classic reverb, EQ, limiter, compressor (also flanger, chorus) (vst-windows):

    http://www.kjaerhusaudio.com/products.php

    (4) Free reverb, EQ, other things (vst-windows):

    http://www.voxengo.com/freevst/

    (5) Midi Finger Conductor Performance Tool (use one finger to play anything!):

    http://lotal.narod.ru/


    (6) KeyKit (midi tools, midi language, among other things; for may platforms):

    http://www.nosuch.com/keykit/index.html


    Comments:

    (1) The convolution reverbs sound great with good impulses. SIR is free, it does add some latency to playback and is rather CPU-heavy (not a problem for the final render though).

    (2) Currently, the impulses that I use are: Real Space Impulses: 350Seat and 1800Seat (often in parallel), Lexicon PCM90 Impulses: Rooms (large_instr_chamber) and Halls (stage+hall).

    (3) Classic Reverb has no latency and is a more cpu-friendly than SIR, good for playing in parts or for large scores. I also add a small amount of Classic Reverb, in addition to the main reverb, to string section tracks to give them more depth and width. The Ambience reverb is probably equivalent. I find most mock-ups using sample libraries too bright and I add a little EQ.

    (4) Some alternatives to the above.

    (5) Anyone can perform even the most complicated music using just one finger and the Midi Finger Conductor (MFC). Oksi Moron was kind enough to find this link for us. Here is what Oksi Moron wrote about it:

    \"I happily resort to a \"cheat\" in the form of a little freeware package called Midi Finger Conductor. You can\'t use it while improvising, but if the notes in the part have already been composed, you can use it with great effect. You can load the pitches of the part in MFC and trigger them on an as-needed basis with your wind controller (or with any other controller, for that matter). MFC passes through the timing, durations, velocity, and even cc events that you generate with your controller. With MFC in the midi chain, it wouldn\'t matter if all but two of the keys on my WX5 were broken; I could still play the part, with all the expression the WX5 is capable of. \"

    (6) Download KeyKit last. I think many will find it useful in the near future.

    Good Luck,
    YBaCuO

  9. #9

    Re: Where Do I Go from Here?

    Friends:

    THANK YOU for all the responses! You have all given me much food for thought as well as practical and immediate help!

    YBaCuO, the list of freeware is a glodmine that will benefit many users of GPO!!

    Even though classes have started not too long ago and I am busy with gigs/performances, I am so captivated with GPO that it\'s going to become the music education I never had!! I will start digging into this stuff this week...who cares if I work or practice?

    Again...Adam, Trond, YBaCuO, and everybody else...THANKS!

    Jim Williams, optimist*
    *euphonium player with a pager

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