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Topic: To be an orchestra

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  1. #1

    To be an orchestra

    I've been hanging around Northern Sounds for a few days (sounds creepy!), looking at what various eminent people have to say about buying an Orchestral sampling library. I've also talked to people I know and respect, and have basically got myself informed.
    I'm wiser in that I know if a client wants a hollywood type score East West will impress them, and for realistic strings you need to layer some solo parts (perhaps from another library) etc etc,....but it's left me wondering what the hell I'm doing.
    I have no background or training in orchestration or arrangement. I've achieved so far by working within certain parameters, yet those needn't be limited, - I've found ways to create music with depth and emotion but have only ever wondered at how I might get an orchestra to perform the same feat.
    To learn how to do so would be massively time consuming, and then there are the midi hoops you have to jump through (like the time spent figuring why those strings don't work, only to discover velocity layer 80 didn't convert properly) and it's just one big turn off, and worse a creative cul-de-sac.

    I also do wonder at the predilection of orchestral arrangement as dictated by fasion. Orchestral may be "in" so to speak, but should it mean we make bad music except for those of us who know how?

  2. #2

    Re: To be an orchestra

    I think a client could be just as impress by Sonic Implants, maby more?, i was just listening to the demos and i was very impress myself. i think that EW beeing ''the'' hollywood sound is a myth, i don't know where that comes from, a publicity stunt maby? And kurk hunter's stuff sound very Hollywood to me too, at a fraction of the price.

    As for your question, i didn't really anderstand Sorry!

  3. #3

    Re: To be an orchestra

    I believe the question is, do untrained composers make bad music in the ears of the trained?

  4. #4

    Re: To be an orchestra

    If your client wants a "Hollywood" (whatever that means) type score, then it doesn't matter what samples you use. Firstly it is all about the writing, secondly if you are a good programmer then you can get a big sound with any samples, and thirdly when you mention orchestra, you must decide whether or not you mean orchestra or MIDI orchestra.
    The last of these is much more important that many people believe it to be. I have attended many sessions where the composer produced a reasonable sounding demo, only to find that it didn't work with an orchestra at all. If you intend to stay within the MIDI domain, then the "if it sounds good, it is good" mantra is fine. If you want to use a "real" orchestra, there is no substitution for study, either by taking lessons or by analysing scores to see how the beast really works. Once you know the "rules" you will be able to break them and know that it is going to sound good.

    D

  5. #5

    Re: To be an orchestra

    As for your question, i didn't really anderstand Sorry!

    I believe the question is, do untrained composers make bad music in the ears of the trained?
    Yes, sorry, it wasn't clear to myself, reading back on it this morning!
    Your understanding of my ramble Alex would be correct if we are talking of composers turned orchestral arrangers, not composers per se. I don't think training creates the composer either, although it will assist in most cases.

    My introduction to orchestral music was through my parents James Last records (not even the cool 60's stuff), and so I''m dreading what I might do if I attempt a full orchestral score! It's not just how one might impact on my art, and others experience of it, but my guess is that I would have to be absolutely committed. It's the old analogy of why does a dog lick his/her genitals? - the option to use orchestral libraries because one can isn't a very bright (or original) idea. I just need to turn on the tv to confirm this.

    It's also worth questioning how this approach works on an holistic level. Working with musicians from a simple score, perhaps just a melody and counter-melody and trying ideas out in a session is something to enjoy. I have recorded a cellist and violinist on their own or double or quadruple tracking them to create a section (they are with Birmingham symphony orchestra, so by spurning that Chamber Orchestra cd I've lost nothing) and an oboe player recently, just because it's so rewarding to get in a good space and work.
    It's also beautifully simple, - hire a matched stereo pair of mics,, like DPA or Earthworks (true omni's so you needn't worry about proximity, just get them in there) and a great quality stereo pre-amp and press record!

    I will no doubt buy an Orchestral CD and am very grateful to hip people who inhabit this forum for the wealth of information I've found here.

  6. #6

    Re: To be an orchestra

    I also don't quite follow what you're trying to say.... it's not easy composing for live orchestras or sampled orchestras, they each have their own sets of difficulties, some of which intersect. Are you wondering about relative difficulties between those two? Or are you a non-orchestral composer, making a more general point about why should you have to force yourself to write for orchestras in the first place?

    If it's the latter, I'd say you don't need to force yourself into it so much as just gain a degree of familiarity with orchestral colors. A lot of people who found their way into orchestral music through a back door of sorts end up at the top of the field - Alan Silvestri and Danny Elfman come to mind, both started as rockers but are now credited with some of the most memorable film soundtracks out there. It can be a major advantage, in that you don't think of orchestras in the same exact way as everyone else out there; if you already have a musical voice, you can reinterpret the orchestra to serve that voice instead of trying to fulfill the same orchestral stereotypes that everyone else is using.
    Wilbert Roget, II
    Composer
    Rogetmusic.com

  7. #7

    Re: To be an orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by Daryl
    If your client wants a "Hollywood" (whatever that means) type score, then it doesn't matter what samples you use. Firstly it is all about the writing, secondly if you are a good programmer then you can get a big sound with any samples, and thirdly when you mention orchestra, you must decide whether or not you mean orchestra or MIDI orchestra.
    The last of these is much more important that many people believe it to be. I have attended many sessions where the composer produced a reasonable sounding demo, only to find that it didn't work with an orchestra at all. If you intend to stay within the MIDI domain, then the "if it sounds good, it is good" mantra is fine. If you want to use a "real" orchestra, there is no substitution for study, either by taking lessons or by analysing scores to see how the beast really works. Once you know the "rules" you will be able to break them and know that it is going to sound good.

    D
    But understanding the beast is one thing, getting it to speak with your voice, and make sense (or intended nonsense) is another! (BTW, I used the hollywood cliche only as an example of what clients ask for, - it's not something I'm personally after).
    I also believe that it is "all in the writing". It's how we choose to gild the lilly that decides whether the end result it slush or art.
    I also agree that you need to know the rules before breaking them.

  8. #8

    Re: To be an orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Roget
    I'd say you don't need to force yourself into it so much as just gain a degree of familiarity with orchestral colors. A lot of people who found their way into orchestral music through a back door of sorts end up at the top of the field - Alan Silvestri and Danny Elfman come to mind, both started as rockers but are now credited with some of the most memorable film soundtracks out there. It can be a major advantage, in that you don't think of orchestras in the same exact way as everyone else out there; if you already have a musical voice, you can reinterpret the orchestra to serve that voice instead of trying to fulfill the same orchestral stereotypes that everyone else is using.
    Thanks Will, that's an interesting and encouraging point I hadn't considered. I'm not shut off to the possibility of creating a meaningful score (is this beginning to sound like therapy?). Best to keep an open mind and not get too bogged down in ones own dogma.

  9. #9

    Re: To be an orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Roget
    I also don't quite follow what you're trying to say.... it's not easy composing for live orchestras or sampled orchestras, they each have their own sets of difficulties, some of which intersect. Are you wondering about relative difficulties between those two? Or are you a non-orchestral composer, making a more general point about why should you have to force yourself to write for orchestras in the first place?
    .
    I forgot to say Will, I'm making a more general point, but that's an interesting facet I hadn't considered, and would be interested to know more about, - where the two worlds of midi and live orchestration intersect. Is there any reading material out there about this?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: To be an orchestra

    It's a myth to think that a certain sample library is going to give you a certain orchestral sound. That's 2% of it, and the final 2% at that, after the other 98% comes into play.

    Your orchestrating concepts and skills are going to be a far larger difference.

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