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Topic: 2 Contradansen

  1. #21

    Re: 2 Contradansen


    ... we ended up talking about "library X vs library Y"!

    Ok, it makes sense.

    I do not think you should anymore worry too much about using non-Garritan sounds. I had the same issue years ago, I did not like that people would come here showing off with more 'professional' libraries or come here to PROMOTE other libraries, it really made no sense to me. But nowadays Garritan is pretty much forgotten, development has stopped and the libraries seem to have been left to their own destiny. It is only natural that everyone began to look elsewhere.

    VSL. I agree with you, my favourite VSL string libraries are 'chamber' and 'solo'. I think this is due to what I already mentioned in a previous message: VSL sounds really shine when intimate, this must be due to the recording technique in a dry, anechoic environment. You end up with a signal that is SO detailed that you can never 'lose' that detail, the sound is very interesting but never really 'organic' when used in an ensemble, especially a large one.
    I never used these libraries so I do not really know.... but I think you might easily get some more attack and crispness also with the chamber strings (especially if used together with solos). The point in my opinion is not dimension vs chamber, but the fact that you obtained a nicer rendering of a typical baroque bowing in the second version, the one with Dimension strings.
    Independently from the fact that these are dances, baroque music in general has a very heavy rhythmic presence and string players do use a particular bowing. I mentioned before a sort of "staccato" quality but that was not correct, I was simply talking in 'samples' slang'. That bowing is a detache with sharp attack to enhance the rhythmic character and with very loose bow, that you keep jumping on the strings.
    Take a look at this, my 'hero', particularly in the 'danza' at 1:18:


    This is not staccato, not spiccato, not detache, not portato.... it's baroque and is linked to technique and to the particular nature of the baroque bow.

    Who knows why there's never been an attemp to sample baroque strings. This would have been nice. I really really like their sound.

    The version using IR from MIR is a bit more 'airy', yes, but overall the two versions are both effective, there is no need in -my opinion- to worry too much, it is not that one is neatly better than the other. It merely depends on tastes.

    Have a nice Sunday.


  2. #22

    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Hi Fab,

    Finally yes, we are talking about libraries. I've always avoided that issue, because it appears to me that we're talking about 'battles' with unequal weapons. But of course, sooner or later this discussion had to turn up.

    I fully agree with your views and remarks. And it is a pity that Vienna never produced a library with baroque strings. (Especially now that they are publishing the historic winds.) Maybe in the future, but now all attention goes to the Synchron edition, which in my opinion and experience is just a trick to raise the financial income of the company. I (so far) don't see it as an enrichment, but as a limitation to acoustics and spacial placement.

    The video you linked shows a true master at work and illustrates a number of complicated bowing techniques with an incredible interpretative creativity. Just wonderful.

    To come closer to the baroque bowing, I mainly use complex combinations of articulations through slot XF and velocity XF, although in baroque and classical music, I rarely use velocity XF. I prefer working with note velocities, they give you the opportunity to accentuate every single note in its context. I'm aware that some people prefer for that purpose other articulations (e.g. to play a strong attack they would want to use a short sfz patch instead of a stronger note attack and that works well, except that the release always has a vibrato). It is of course a matter of taste and personal choices, after lots and lots of experimenting. That's why I recorded 3 different versions. I preferably do that with shorter pieces. (Guy Bacos once wrote that it's no point to repeat sonic mistakes for 15 minutes, it's more practical and useful to learn of short pieces...)
    Finally I came to the conclusion that the first performance (with chamber strings and solos, without MIR) is by far the most natural and best one. MIR is colouring too much, the dim strings are too direct and more fit for precise and highly detailed CD recordings or to reinforce other string libraries.

    I'm glad we could share our experiences here, although this is now far 'off topic'...

    Best regards,
    Jos Wylin

    http://www.joswyl.be compositions and sampling practices

  3. #23

    Re: 2 Contradansen

    We are not off topic, Jos.
    We are not talking about soccer or gastronomy, as long as we talk about music we are very much in topic. Conversations 'evolve', you start somewhere and you can end up far away, ideas can spread all over the place. This is just the outcome of a healthy confrontation of ideas and experiences.

    I always think that "it is not the instrument, it's the musician behind it". I really like VSL chamber and solo strings, as already mentioned, but Dimension strings is absolutely not bad. I' ve listened to an amazing rendering of Vivaldi's Spring made with Dimension on VSL demo page... while Guy Bacos (who is an amazing musician, by the way) did not manage to get the Brandeburg no3 (movement no. 3) right with the solo strings. I really think it is all marketing, these firms are just trying to sell products using every subtle mean, they release the same thing over and over and, for reasons I can not explain, people continue to buy the same thing over and over. It has not become a "battle" between competitors, there are users that just buy everything. They have 19 professional string libraries but they' ll also buy Synchron or whatever else.
    We live in free countries and everyone should be allowed to spend their money as they wish. On the other hand, people like me should also be allowed to think that this approach is a bit ..."creepy". There are much better ways to use time and money. I've spent a lot of money on strings(violin strings are not always that cheap...), for example. Any kind of them: metal core, synthetic core, wound gut, plain gut.. but that was because I was stupid: I realized that the only thing I really need is to spend time on the violin to actually learn how to play it. Strings can help, but the 90% of the sound will still come from the fingers.
    I do agree with you: it takes patience and relentless experimentation, better done on small pieces, yes, to get that particular sound just right and to find the best technique that works FOR YOU.
    We know your tastes in music. It makes sense for you to just grab chamber & solo strings and stubbornly work to get out of them the sound you are after.
    After all, you already know how to produce a nice sound. You are already there, do not "over practise".


  4. #24

    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Thanks Fab for the practice advice. I know what you mean.

    Over some 6 years, I bought the SE instruments (all of them) to start with. Later on the orchestral full strings, the Dimension strings I, the Chamber strings I and II, the Solo Strings I and II (+ a number of winds and percussion according to my orchestral scores). That money was well spent, because I needed these instruments. But all the rest would be waisted money. You're right in not buying every new item from Vienna: it's expensive and hardly adds any improvement or different approach.
    And indeed, to make good music with samples you need in the first place insight in the music, in the instrumental playing techniques and in the right( i.e. best possible) choice of articulations. The acoustic environment plays an important role as well, mainly to let the music sound in a natural way, according to the style, orchestral strength, feel of the music (intimate or epic...). That requires a lot of practice and listening to good recordings, analysing them and trying to come as close as possible. And next to that, being aware of the difference between a live performance and a studio CD recording, which is huge actually.

    As to your comment on the 3 different recordings, on the VSL-forum, they tend to choose the third (Dim Strings + MIR). De coloribus et gustibus non disputandum... I (inspired by Raymond, my Dutch friend) look at it as the difference between a CD and a live performance. Both of them have their charmes, but I would nevertheless prefer the first one (and Raymond does as well). But they both are effective as to sonic qualities.

    Now time to pass over to some tedious and boring work: preparing 8 orchestral scores (in Finale) for live performance (in February next year). I work with Notion and that program is not particularly fit for good engraving.

    Jos Wylin

    http://www.joswyl.be compositions and sampling practices

  5. #25

    Re: 2 Contradansen

    "De gustibus.....", right, very very correct.

    I agree with both of you. Live recordings give you to opportunity to properly evaluate the technical skills of the performers... but in terms of sheer sound, studio recordings are way, way better. "Time" is your friend in a studio, and every single detail is well judged and put into the right context. Plus, it is a controlled environment. There is no match.

    Good job on your orchestral scores. I am sure you enjoy to do that.
    ... how come your Dutch friend did not try to make you switch to the "dark side" (Overture)?

    Thanks to you for the nice conversation and for sharing your experience, thoughts and... music with us.


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