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Topic: Midi orchestrations that move you?

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  1. #1

    Midi orchestrations that move you?

    Having listened to literally hundreds of sample library demos and midi mockups, I'm consistently impressed with what good composers are able to accomplish with today's technology and tools. However, it is rare that one of these orchestrations moves me in an emotional way -- as a real 'song'. A few that come quickly to mind are 'Illness and Recovery' by Maarten Spruijt (for the VSL Chamber Strings) and Kaveh Cohen's 'The Journey Home' (for Bela D's Giovanni). These compositions strike me as transcending their medium (being merely 'sample based') to stand on their own merit both as productions and as performances. Both strike me as being truly original.

    It seems odd to me that given the fantastic toolsets at our disposal -- the great variety of libraries and platforms to run them on -- and the high caliber of people in the field, there are seemingly so few truly original pieces like this. Am I simply not looking in the right places? Perhaps they are right under my nose in the background of the TV shows and movies that I watch, or perhaps my standards are too high.

    Curious if anyone else has a few favorite pieces they would be willing to share from our realm that inspire you as music, and not just as vehicles for technology.

  2. #2

    Re: Midi orchestrations that move you?

    Dreaming in Chinese by ToddK.

  3. #3

    Re: Midi orchestrations that move you?

    Interesting perspective.

    A few random thoughts:

    - It is possible that the "purpose profile" of MIDI/sample-based music is different, and this affects the likelihood of emotional response. E.g., a higher percentage being produced for commercials, games, quick mock-ups or conceptual work... or, naturally, demonstrating what a sample library sounds like (to drive sales).

    Let's assume that resulting emotion is the product of a listener's response to the 1) composition and 2) performance characteristics. In both cases, when the purpose is commercials/games/etc., the economics might not enable the composer/performer to maximise his/her work for emotional response.

    - It is interesting that I tend to agree with this premise for MIDI/sample orchestrations, but have found MIDI/sample piano works quite compelling. Perhaps we can still hear (consciously or subconsciously) small discontinuities in MIDI orchestrations but piano does not suffer as much.

    Bruce R made an interesting comment about the Miroslav samples on the Philharmonik thread: how Miroslav directed the players to play as if they were in the middle of a specific piece (with those emotions). That is probably why the Miroslav library works very convincingly for some styles, but less well for others.

    Perhaps someday someone will create a MIDI/sample orchestration that Audiophiles use as a reference recording (to justify the €30,000 speakers!).

    Thanks for the excuse to procrastinate,
    Jeff

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Midi orchestrations that move you?

    Thomas Bergerson did a piece about a year-two ago, which I thought might well have been the most beautiful thing I had ever heard done with samples. The quality of his writing was spectacular. I can't remember the name of it, although I think the word "angels" might have been in the title.

  5. #5

    Re: Midi orchestrations that move you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    Thomas Bergerson did a piece about a year-two ago, which I thought might well have been the most beautiful thing I had ever heard done with samples. The quality of his writing was spectacular. I can't remember the name of it, although I think the word "angels" might have been in the title.
    "Rise with the Angels" for VSL.

    Just about everything Thomas did for libraries blows my mind. Listen to "Celebration" he did with EWQLSO... I mean, man! Quick, give the man a baton and the LSO!

    Cheers,
    jan

  6. #6

    Re: Midi orchestrations that move you?

    If I remember correctly, Rise with the Angels was done using a SB Live reverb! That was a lesson in and of itself. At the end of the day, if the music is possessed of the right kind of magic, it can transend samples and notes and become more than the sum of it's parts. It has my vote as my favorite sample work I've heard.

    To mention another I enjoyed (I'm not sure where to hear it these days), Colin O'Mally's "Flow" using VSL and QLSO had some wonderful moments, and really captured a feel that I love. I only wish it didn't fade out at around 3mins, there was plenty of material to develope, and if he ever finished that piece I hope I get to hear sometime.

  7. #7

    Re: Midi orchestrations that move you?

    Thanks for your replies, and the references to other great works. I've noticed a common theme found in each of the songs that really catches my attention -- they tend to draw their emotion not from bombastic levels of passion or vibrato -- just the opposite. They tend to rely more on austerity and mystery to frame a mood (with "Illness and Recovery" being a perfect example.) I suppose this makes sense, considering that despite the power of our current formats there are still some limitations on expressiveness.

    I suppose it is also possible that - at least so far -- few sample libraries have captured in the samples themselves real peaks of energy (the fff often just sound louder, and not neccessarily more passionate.) This is perhaps what makes something like Stormdrum so effective -- it buzzes with energy and a very human vibe...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Robert Kooijman's Avatar
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    Re: Midi orchestrations that move you?

    [QUOTE=Existence]
    I've noticed a common theme found in each of the songs that really catches my attention -- they tend to draw their emotion not from bombastic levels of passion or vibrato -- just the opposite. They tend to rely more on austerity and mystery to frame a mood (with "Illness and Recovery" being a perfect example.) I suppose this makes sense, considering that despite the power of our current formats there are still some limitations on expressiveness./QUOTE]

    An interesting observation. This thread made me listen to Thomas' Rise With The Angels: what a magnificent piece of music! It's all there: emotion, style, passion, mystery, subtlety and flavour. Key ingredients for anything that can really move me, be it a Midi orchestration or a beautiful woman No tattoos please!

  9. #9

    Re: Midi orchestrations that move you?

    I think a lot of it is subjective (ie. many people find Britney Spear's music emotional and inspirational, but I don't), some of it has to do with out clientele and what we post on line. Most of my clients want something done fast which fits the bill (and unfortunately most of the time which sounds exactly like the temp track). Some time ago I was asked to compose a piece for a client which was supposed to have some emotional content but use samples. I did a piece which the client loved but I don't think it's even remotely in the same category of what I would call emotional with a capital E (if you really want to hear it, go here):
    http://www.musicbykays.com/Music/SiemensEverest.mp3

    I really don't think that it's a limitation of the sample libraries but rather a issue of personal taste, and the composer writing in a category which generally tends to go against what the clients ask for. Case in point, Rise with Angels (which has a permanent spot on my iPod) is a brilliant piece of music which was probably written for the sake of writing good music and not necessarily for a specific project.
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  10. #10

    Re: Midi orchestrations that move you?

    Quote Originally Posted by midphase
    I really don't think that it's a limitation of the sample libraries but rather a issue of personal taste, and the composer writing in a category which generally tends to go against what the clients ask for. Case in point, Rise with Angels (which has a permanent spot on my iPod) is a brilliant piece of music which was probably written for the sake of writing good music and not necessarily for a specific project.
    This is a good point. It would seem that guitarists, for example, play guitar to create and express themselves first, and then maybe make a living doing studio work or going on the road. How many people here use sample libraries and midi orchestration as a medium solely to express themselves - as an instrument as such? Seems that many here are 'composers' first who utilize the available tools, and are thusly somewhat at the mercy of the paying client's needs. All the respect to those composers (anyone who can make a living doing this gets my respect) but real creativity in the medium might suffer a bit as a result.

    BTW -- Really enjoyed the composition -- nice tension/release -- especially with the horn swells into the drum beat...

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