• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19

Topic: Writing for samples

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Writing for samples

    I've heard a lot of people complain about writing music for the "limitation" of samples. I myself have complained that I have to change the way I compose if I'm using samples.

    Every advance in music technology from the clavinet to the piano-forte to metal strings to valve brass has changed the way composers write music.

    I wanted to put up a question for debate as I'm now considering writing more music for samples. I use to think that making the samples sound real was the end all. The question is do you think that's a fair benchmark, i.e making samples sound like the real thing, or do you think that samples have a potential that's being missed out on because so many composers resent having to change their writing to accomodate the new technology? Would we be better off treating this as a seperate medium and exploiting it for what it can do?

    Maybe this has been debated before, but I'd like people's feed back.

    Cheers,

    Jose

  2. #2

    Re: Writing for samples

    ooh, i like a debate. As you said already, composers have always written for the instruments they are playing. In the old days, I wrote to my M1. The M1 shaped my compositions.

    I guess the answer to your question is there is room to find artistic merit in any approach. Look at how Soul Coughing uses samples. That is true art, and has nothing to do with recreating anything. A question that comes to mind is, have sound effects and sound design become the latest compositional tool that you have to master in order to get work? I think so, even more than samples. Samples are great, but those who can evoke a unique atmosphere have the edge. It's the musical language of the current age.

    /end ramble

  3. #3

    Re: Writing for samples

    Interesting question. It is one that turns up at different times, since the days of synths, heh.
    I'd say it really depends on your intentions. If samples are used either purely for mocking up something that is intended for real instruments, or if they are being used as stand-ins for situations where real instruments are desired but cannot be had, then indeed 'writing for the samples' can be quite limiting - whatever the sample cannot reproduce realistically that the real instrument can do is a limitation and will curb your creativity.

    On the other hand, if there is no intention for the music to ever be played by live forces then the story does change. You had might as well do things 'unrealistically', or write purely to the strengths of the samples - since the samples are the only 'performers' there will ever be. Pull out your Epic Horns, and start bashing with both hands, big ten note chords - a horn section of eighty. An unlikely scenario in real life, but if you have a musical idea that will sound good played that way you had might as well do it if you aren't looking for it to be performed. And if you do look to get such a thing performed, be sure to leave some flowers at Berlioz' grave some day.

    Things have come a long way. Back with some of my old synths, the instruments didn't blend - write a doubled part for trumpet and oboe and it would sound awful, unusable. With the best sample libraries of today, the instrumental timbres really do blend the way real instruments do - it seems almost amazing.

  4. #4

    Re: Writing for samples

    It depends.

    If you are composing to create notation that will be played by live players, don't limit yourself. Use the samples as a tool to quality check your work, but keep the focus on the capabilities of humans and their mechinical contraptions.

    If the end performance is done with your samples, then write for the samples. Just think of the sample player as the end instrument.

    -JF

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    www.wisemanproject.com
    Posts
    398

    Re: Writing for samples

    >Would we be better off treating this as a seperate medium and exploiting it for what it can do?

    I think it will happen when samples are considered not as "replacements of real things," or there have to be very good ARTISTIC advantages to samples.
    Kentaro Sato (Ken-P)
    Composer/Conductor/Orchestrator
    www.wisemanproject.com

  6. #6

    Re: Writing for samples

    Really good replies. Thanks.

    Usually when I start one of these topics is because I have a half baked thought that I can't seem to figure out. These comments help make my thoughts more clear. In this new clarity I've found the real question I was trying to ask.

    When I was studying in a well known conservatory in New York I and everybody else practiced our a s ses off to be acurrate to a fault. To be the perfect orchestral player. Technical perfection with feeling is what I use to tell myself when embarking on a new piece to perform. Now, I find myself adjusting sample play back to be less perfect so that it sounds like "real" players. So, now I'm thinking just go for it. Make the performance machine like in it's accuracy. Then add feeling with modwheel for nuance.

    What do you guys think of this?

    I should try it and post some demos and get your feedback.

    Keep the debate up.

    Cheers,

    Jose
    P.S. Berlioz comment....rotfl

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    www.wisemanproject.com
    Posts
    398

    Re: Writing for samples

    I think that you are using "perfect" as "accurate (in pitch and rhythm)."
    To be accurate is not necessarily to be musical, may be it is one of the way to be musical.
    Kentaro Sato (Ken-P)
    Composer/Conductor/Orchestrator
    www.wisemanproject.com

  8. #8

    Re: Writing for samples

    i think whatever tools we use will shape the way the composition ends up.

    if you write just using pencil and paper and your mind (obviously the most flexible), then you will end up writing certain things.

    if you use a piano to assist your writing on paper i might turn out differently.

    some avant garde composers have scrapped traditional notation because it was too limiting to their expression of the music they wanted to create. they developed different ways of notating the music that shaped how the composition ended up.

    or a system such as serialism yields a certain and different result.

    modernization of traditional instruments have always changed what composers may write. that was technology at the time. i see modern technology (computers, software, samples) as no different.

    of course, samples change how you write. but, i don't see that as a reason to treat it as a seperate medium.

    sure, instead of seeing samples as not being able to do all that real instruments can do, why not see what samples can do that real instruments can not. as long as you have the knowledge of what real players are capable of and what they are not, why not use a sample to sustain a note a crazy amount of time. play something out of an instrument's range. if you need or hear that effect as appropriate.

    just as someone could write a really good or really bad piece of serial music, someone could write music for samples that's really really good, or really bad.

    ultimately, i see the blending of all techiques and tools to the best of their potential as the best situation. i'm most excited when i get an opportunity to combine real instrument & samples. tonal and atonal. new and old. that's the most exciting work IMO.

    of course that's just my opinion and anyone is welcome to disagree!

    -matt mariano

  9. #9

    Re: Writing for samples

    Quote Originally Posted by josejherring
    Now, I find myself adjusting sample play back to be less perfect so that it sounds like "real" players. So, now I'm thinking just go for it. Make the performance machine like in it's accuracy. Then add feeling with modwheel for nuance.
    While I'm a HUGE fan of the amazing sample libs out there now, i feel like the bigger issue is that the samples themselves are too perfect. i understand that the developers would dissappoint and upset a lot of folks if the tuning and recordings weren as perfect as possible. I myself have felt that way.

    i would love to see ALTERNATE programs/samples that are imperfect. we could then pick and choose and combine and decide to use these less than perfect alternate performances to create our compositions. using them where and in what amount we feel is appropriate. for example a lot of exotic instrument libs have versions of the instruments that are tuned and untuned. using them both in appropriate ways makes for a much more interesting performance.

    i feel more comfortable creating pretty accurate performances with less than perfect samples rather than trying to create an imperfect performance with perfect samples. i'd really like to have a choice tho.

    feeling comes from more than just timing and expression. it's also tone, vibrato, tuning and the infinite combinations therof. the more control and choices, the better. that's why i'm not put off by all of these huge sample libs having so many articulations. i welcome it. sure i may normally use 30% of those articulations but if i need or want something different, it's there and avaliable to me.

    sample libs are moving forward in incredible leaps and bounds. it's only a matter of time 'till we have more and more choices and control over more and more aspects.

  10. #10

    Re: Writing for samples

    Hi, my name is Alex Cremers and I write for the sample ... and yes, I think it's a huge battle. Especially with orchestral samples I feel chained. I want to throw off the chains and concentrate more on piano . I long for freedom. I know that, with enough determination, I will succeed. Thank you.

    ------------
    Alex Cremers

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •