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Topic: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

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  1. #1

    Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    Here's an interesting epilogue to the thread I posted a few weeks ago about how "real" something needs to sound.

    In the 4th verse of my recording Ring Around the Moon there is a mandolin part.

    Someone here on forum suggested that I should have used a real mandolin player because the chorused mandolin synth part just didn't sound like a real mandolin.

    Well, one of the finest mandolin players in the country, who took lessons from mandolin master Jethro Burns and who was one of Jethro's occasional jamming partners, listened to my song...

    He liked the mandolin part a lot, and was literally speechless with surprise when I told him it was a synthesizer, and not a real mandolin. And maybe a bit embarassed that he didn't "hear" the difference!

    That just blew me away.

    Here's the song. It's in the 4th verse... http://www.GlennGalen.com/RingAroundTheMoon.html



    --- Glenn

  2. #2

    Re: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    ...on the other hand...

    I think sometimes, the more familiar you become with an instrument, the less able you are to tell whether it is real. I've had to play hundreds, possibly thousands of 'pianos,' a few of which have been Steinway and Boesendorfer Grands, but the majority of which have been tinny uprights, electric pianos, beat-up old Schimmels. I think I've 'stetched my belief' to include things so far from a 'real' piano sound, on so many occasions, that I would barely bat an eyelid at a decent set of samples.

    Not that I want to detract from this story though. Kudos for us samplists.

  3. #3

    Re: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    If you don't even think in terms of that this could be a loop or computer playing you may very well overlook that possibility. I've got pretty good ears and I usually consider the possibility of a computer playing what is heard, but I'm wrong more times than I'd like to admit.

    I once watched a drummer play on stage, thinking he was playing very well. I had no doubt in my mind that it was actually him playing. Afterwards I learned that the drumtrack was a computer playing the track and the guy was just playing on dead pads for visuals. He did however play every note and hit correctly. So, combined with being visually fooled, yeah .. you can fool people - even the greats at times.

    I just don't like to think about music listening as some trivia. If it sounds nice, then it does. And that's it, bottom line. Discussions about however this is a sampled accordeon or if it's John's turtle playing it .. nah, not for me.
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Re: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    Nice tune Glenn, and you have a very nice singing voice (maybe you're talking voice is crap....I don't know! ).......slightly reminiscent of Burl Ives......although it's a long time since I heard him. I'm not so sure about the realism of the mandolin......although I loved the guitars.....real or not!

    Frank

  5. #5

    Re: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardy Heern
    Nice tune Glenn, and you have a very nice singing voice (maybe you're talking voice is crap....I don't know! ).......slightly reminiscent of Burl Ives......although it's a long time since I heard him. I'm not so sure about the realism of the mandolin......although I loved the guitars.....real or not!

    Frank
    Thank you for the compliment. Such things mean a lot. Honestly. Because singing is not my "main gift", and I have to really work at it and keep my vocal muscles in shape in order to even be in the running as a professional singer.


    --- Glenn

  6. #6

    Re: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu
    I think sometimes, the more familiar you become with an instrument, the less able you are to tell whether it is real.

    ...

    I think I've 'stetched my belief' to include things so far from a 'real' piano sound, on so many occasions, that I would barely bat an eyelid at a decent set of samples.
    I've seen this phenomenon before, but I actually wanna attribute it in the opposite direction. In other words, when you actually play the instrument and have a full knowledge of the repertoire and experience on several instrument brands/types/etc., your mind is more open....but when your experience with it is almost entirely through samples, you have a narrower and more stereotypical knowledge of it. I actually remember someone telling me they never use muted strings because it sounds "too synthy" .

    Another factor is our knowledge of the sample libraries themselves: something will sound unrealistic to us if we hear a relatively dry recording with a heavily exposed library that we're already used to. Again the ear works through stereotypes and assumptions, rather than purely objective observations. For example, I usually get a good friend of mine to record trumpet parts for me, but for this one film cue I just used the VSL trumpet (for the first time). After showing the cue to a mutual friend of ours, he said "nice cue, Eric's trumpet playing really makes all the difference!" He still didn't believe it after I told him it was MIDI, and thought that maybe I'd sent him the wrong file or something .

    In other words, I think it's all politics. Also, I've never used the ninja smiley before, but have wanted to do so for quite some time, so without any further ado, .
    Wilbert Roget, II
    Composer
    Rogetmusic.com

  7. #7

    Re: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    Glenn-

    Beautiful song, beautifully performed, and great look by the way (avatar/icon).

    Truthfully, though, I didn't hear the sound I would expect from a mandolin.
    All the best-

    Carl

  8. #8

    Re: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    Yeah, I suspect "catching" the samples is more a factor of whether the listener is looking for that possibility than anything else.

    Jeffn1
    For original progressive electronic rock influenced by J.S. Bach and (old) Rush, check out: www.soundclick.com/jeffreynaness.

  9. #9

    Re: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    Quote Originally Posted by carlmsmith
    Glenn-

    Beautiful song, beautifully performed, and great look by the way (avatar/icon).

    Truthfully, though, I didn't hear the sound I would expect from a mandolin.
    All the best-

    Carl
    Thanks, Carl!

    --- Glenn

  10. #10

    Re: Is it real or a Kurzweil? I fooled a master...

    Glenn,
    I really enjoyed the song....Nice composition....The guitars sounded good...When the part where the mandolin played, and the guitar played, they sounded very much the same ..The mandolin phrasing sounded good, but the actual sound of the mandolin is what I would surely question ....If the mandolin track were hidden a little bit more in the mix, you would still hear the phrasing , and may be more realistic sounding ..Still a great song though ...
    Sincerely, Jim

    PS.....I play mandolin not nearly as good as the folks you mentioned !!

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