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Topic: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

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  1. #1

    Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    Greetings everybody and Happy Easter

    Like Mark, I would like to thank you all for listening and giving advice, it is highly appreciated. This forum is remarkable in the sense that it never hurts to get criticism, since it is always constructive and mixed with some positive comments.
    And I have listened and learned (I hope) from all of you, in particular from Jos of course but also from Raymond, Mark, Ted and all of you. Not to forget Fabrizio (where is he?), a remarkable composer and talented musician.
    I hope you can hear your impact in this tune. Jos told me to vary instrumental technique, i.e. not constantly playing sustained. Raymond told me to let the wind players breath by alternating instruments and to introduce pauses. I have practiced those things in this tune and it has been such a great joy, to find the music develop and to explore the powerful software of Finale and GPO. And for sure, which makes me so excited, I have only scratched on the surface.
    Enough talking, here is the result. It is a variation based on two famous themes due to Brahms and Schubert.

    https://soundcloud.com/user-892939153/interpretations

  2. #2

    Re: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    Hello Kjell,

    This is indeed a very friendly and constructive forum.
    I can hear your development concerning different aspects of composing.

    I enjoyed hearing this piece, especially when it started to gather momentum at 4:28
    and the beautiful ending.

    Well done!


    ~ Yudit ~

  3. #3

    Re: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by sunbird View Post
    Hello Kjell,

    This is indeed a very friendly and constructive forum.
    I can hear your development concerning different aspects of composing.

    I enjoyed hearing this piece, especially when it started to gather momentum at 4:28
    and the beautiful ending.

    Well done!


    ~ Yudit ~
    Thank you Yudit for your nice reply. Good to hear you like the ending, I was a bit worried it would be a bit too bombastic.
    Kjell

  4. #4
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    I enjoyed your themes Kjell!

    I hear a sence of resignation but also hope in this music.

    Technically, to me it sounded quite solid. The ending didn’t become bombastic to my ear. Maybe your referring to where the strings become forceful and the piano has less presence. I think this is where a real orchestra recording has the largest sonic advantage over working with virtual instruments. But that’s sort of like comparing apples to oranges.

    It got the job done for me.




    Phil

  5. #5

    Re: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by fastlane View Post
    I enjoyed your themes Kjell!

    I hear a sence of resignation but also hope in this music.

    Technically, to me it sounded quite solid. The ending didn’t become bombastic to my ear. Maybe your referring to where the strings become forceful and the piano has less presence. I think this is where a real orchestra recording has the largest sonic advantage over working with virtual instruments. But that’s sort of like comparing apples to oranges.

    It got the job done for me.




    Phil
    Thank you Phil for your positive feedback. In the ending the bass instrument are just supporting playing sustained chords, double bass and bassoon, but maybe not so problematic as I anticipated.

    Kjell

  6. #6

    Re: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    Hi Kjell,

    Thanks for the compliment, but I consider it quite normal that forum members help each other. In other forums that is often a painful point: expecting praise but never leaving any word to others' work...

    As to your piece here: many congratulations. It is really a wonderful composition in many ways. It has a nice build-up towards the full orchestral section and on that path the solos get their meaningful parts to complete the composition. Technically I notice a lot of improvement in playing techniques and variation. The GPO library has the advantage that all the samples have a start (attack sample) and a tail (release sample). That makes it easier to use them in every position for all playing techniques. (E.g. a sustain can play almost every passage, even the fastest ones, where in other libraries that would be a huge problem.) But variation in techniques can make the difference between a good and an excellent performance (detailed). The first part of your piece has some unbalances. The piano is ways too strong for the other solo instruments. That has partly to do with the lack of depth in the virtual placement of the orchestra. You said that you've made your performance in Finale with GPO. A notation program seldom has the means to realise a good performance (one of the best for that purpose is Overture). To have a live spacial seating you need some natural audition means such as convolution (reflections from the instruments within the space), reverb (sonic tail originating in that space and fading out in a certain amount of time) and a divided sound pattern in dry and wet. I'm sure you're aware of all this, but applying them properly is another matter. If you don't have an application to realise all this, you can limit yourself to just working with dry/wet balance to create a sort of spacial impression. Simply put it is like this: the more wet, the further; the more dry, the closer to the listener. Adding more wet signal is dangerous, it can end up in a muddy sonic situation, where you miss all the details and subtleties of the composition. So it is more interesting to reduce the dry signal to move some instruments to the back. However, don't exaggerate. Play with the fader or knob until you find the ideal situation for each section/instrument. In your present piece, the solos should be in the front, the piano a little mote backwards and then the string ensemble (which sounds good here, in the right place). It's not a great effort to correct these things. Of course don't forget the left-right balance, but that isn't a problem here. An advice: don't use the built-in reverb of GPO, it's only instrument-bound and doesn't contribute to the spacial feel of the whole ensemble. Simply put it out.
    Another interesting program is 'Audacity'. It's free and very effective to finalise the master channel of your composition. Once finished, you can add a little sweetening overal reverb (tail only) to create a certain room atmosphere.

    Since it is a fine piece, it deserves a decent approach to let it shine even more. And yes, we're all composers and mostly not sound engineers. But working with virtual instruments has two sides: it's a very helpful means to compose and create an orchestral sound, but it's also a means to present the result of our efforts to the outside world without the cost of a real orchestra and recording! It's entirely up to us how far we are prepared to go that path...

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful piece!
    Jos

  7. #7

    Re: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Hamburg View Post
    Hi Kjell,

    Thanks for the compliment, but I consider it quite normal that forum members help each other. In other forums that is often a painful point: expecting praise but never leaving any word to others' work...

    As to your piece here: many congratulations. It is really a wonderful composition in many ways. It has a nice build-up towards the full orchestral section and on that path the solos get their meaningful parts to complete the composition. Technically I notice a lot of improvement in playing techniques and variation. The GPO library has the advantage that all the samples have a start (attack sample) and a tail (release sample). That makes it easier to use them in every position for all playing techniques. (E.g. a sustain can play almost every passage, even the fastest ones, where in other libraries that would be a huge problem.) But variation in techniques can make the difference between a good and an excellent performance (detailed). The first part of your piece has some unbalances. The piano is ways too strong for the other solo instruments. That has partly to do with the lack of depth in the virtual placement of the orchestra. You said that you've made your performance in Finale with GPO. A notation program seldom has the means to realise a good performance (one of the best for that purpose is Overture). To have a live spacial seating you need some natural audition means such as convolution (reflections from the instruments within the space), reverb (sonic tail originating in that space and fading out in a certain amount of time) and a divided sound pattern in dry and wet. I'm sure you're aware of all this, but applying them properly is another matter. If you don't have an application to realise all this, you can limit yourself to just working with dry/wet balance to create a sort of spacial impression. Simply put it is like this: the more wet, the further; the more dry, the closer to the listener. Adding more wet signal is dangerous, it can end up in a muddy sonic situation, where you miss all the details and subtleties of the composition. So it is more interesting to reduce the dry signal to move some instruments to the back. However, don't exaggerate. Play with the fader or knob until you find the ideal situation for each section/instrument. In your present piece, the solos should be in the front, the piano a little mote backwards and then the string ensemble (which sounds good here, in the right place). It's not a great effort to correct these things. Of course don't forget the left-right balance, but that isn't a problem here. An advice: don't use the built-in reverb of GPO, it's only instrument-bound and doesn't contribute to the spacial feel of the whole ensemble. Simply put it out.
    Another interesting program is 'Audacity'. It's free and very effective to finalise the master channel of your composition. Once finished, you can add a little sweetening overal reverb (tail only) to create a certain room atmosphere.

    Since it is a fine piece, it deserves a decent approach to let it shine even more. And yes, we're all composers and mostly not sound engineers. But working with virtual instruments has two sides: it's a very helpful means to compose and create an orchestral sound, but it's also a means to present the result of our efforts to the outside world without the cost of a real orchestra and recording! It's entirely up to us how far we are prepared to go that path...

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful piece!
    Jos
    Thank you Jos, my good friend, for your very long and generous letter. I really appreciate your advice, as always, and look forward to apply your suggestions. I agree that digital music surely should be optimized within its potential but there is a practical work limit of course. But I have no hurry, it is just very fun to play around with the music and to listen to the result. It is also great to take part in others contemporary music and to discuss, that is part of the development.
    I sometimes feel that so called real music is not so real anymore. The instruments are high tech and the recording, mixing and mastering is a true computer process. So the difference might not be so large as we sometimes tend to think, at least not for recorded music.
    Anyway, I am grateful and look forward to hear your next piece.

    Regards,
    Kjell

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    Ellendale, ND
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    Re: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    Really quite amazing. Not at all what I expected. You do have a way of filling the room with an excellent combination of tonalities that make the heart want to sing. Just what I needed on another dreary, snowy day in North Dakota.

  9. #9

    Re: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Davis View Post
    Really quite amazing. Not at all what I expected. You do have a way of filling the room with an excellent combination of tonalities that make the heart want to sing. Just what I needed on another dreary, snowy day in North Dakota.
    Thank you Tom for your truly inspiring comment.
    Here in middle Sweden the snowy season is unfortunately over now and spring is on the way, need to rely on the spring for musical inspiration now.
    Greetings,
    Kjell

  10. #10

    Re: Variation based on two famous themes - piano, solo instruments and orchestra

    Everything has been said already. No more comments on the technical side. Just my compliments for this piece.

    Raymond

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