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Topic: Has This Ever Happened To You?

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  1. #1

    Has This Ever Happened To You?

    Occasionally, I get email from strangers, or responses from critics, that basically disapprove of a classically-trained composer working in the new medium of the virtual orchestra. Even when I get positive reviews of my work there are still those who simply don't accept the virtual orchestra as a legitimate artistic medium, a medium from which fine art can and will be produced. I imagine it is similar to when film and photography were new, photography was seen as a threat to painting, and film a threat to live plays.

    So, here is my "form letter" to those who continue to be aggravated that technology is changing the way music is made, as of course it always has.

    Jerry Gerber
    www.jerrygerber.com

    ************************************************** ******
    Hello,

    I am tempted to become defensive and angry when someone who has never met me would be bold enough to call into question what I do. I could interpret the question as a threat, as a challenge to my legitimacy, or my expertise or knowledge.

    But I will do nothing of the sort.

    You seem to have the idea that as a composer who is dedicated to a new musical medium, I would presume to think that one musician could "sound as if" or "sound like" a full symphony orchestra. I have always believed and still believe it true that one musician cannot sound like two or more musicians, and should not attempt such an impossible feat. The psychological, social and spiritual energies that flow between musicians when playing are unique and should be appreciated as such.

    Science and technology have put multi-timbral musical instruments in the hands of individual composers, and composers are responding. When creative musicians don't sense the enormous expressive and artistic potential of such instruments I can only conclude it is because of an excessive love of tradition, prejudice or even laziness. As a composer, It is my duty to make art, to make music as effectively as I can, and therefore I am learning well the value and limitations of these new instruments. I am also rejoycing in their vast artistic and sonic potential as well. If you could for a moment empathize with someone who actually gets profound pleasure working the way I do, perhaps you could understand.

    We can both probably agree that the symphony orchestra has, by long tradition, been the default standard for multi-timbral musical expression. I am nevertheless quite open to discovering through experimentation if deep, expressive and imaginative musical results can be obtained with digital instruments. Ask me in 25 years what my answer is and I will be happy to tell you what I discovered.

    If your motive is to fault me for trying, due to envy or some other emotional/spiritual aberration, nothing I can say will allow you to fully appreciate what I am doing.

    But if you are sincere, and you are simply curious as to how and why a musician would devote their career and time to working nearly exclusively with computers in the studio, all I can say is follow your heart when it comes to the most personal and real music you want to make, as that is what I am doing for myself.

    Best Wishes,

    Jerry Gerber

  2. #2

    Re: Has This Ever Happened To You?

    thank you!!

    i think i will "sample" your letter, and use it in my own "compositions"

    just kidding

  3. #3

    Re: Has This Ever Happened To You?

    Don't worry about them, they will eventualy join the 21th century ,... i call them classicopath btw, they're a tight ~~~ bunch. And have a good lauft every time you open GigaStudio and think about them when you load VSL pro , lucky you!

  4. #4

    Re: Has This Ever Happened To You?

    classicopath- good one ,Geronimo.

  5. #5

    Re: Has This Ever Happened To You?

    Jerry,
    some years ago my orchestral mates and I recorded samples for each other, building small libraries we could use in composition. (I still use it now.)
    We were branded traitors, and heathens, and a lot of other unsavoury stuff.
    We lost work from it too, as the purists spread the word we were deliberately ringing the death knell for live orchestral musicians, and not to 'associate' with us.

    Once the work starting coming from other sources though, as buyers realised what we were capable of, one by one the critics jumped on the bandwagon.
    I like the letter. Seems a very articulate and elegant way of asking people to go forth and mulitply!

    Regards,

    Alex.

  6. #6

    Re: Has This Ever Happened To You?

    ha ha! ;>)

    For articulation's sake I would add the variation "classiopath", a bit easier to sing...

    Jerry

    Quote Originally Posted by geronimo001
    Don't worry about them, they will eventualy join the 21th century ,... i call them classicopath btw, they're a tight ~~~ bunch. And have a good lauft every time you open GigaStudio and think about them when you load VSL pro , lucky you!

  7. #7

    Re: Has This Ever Happened To You?

    "Get bent" works.
    I remain solely responsible for the content of my messages, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless northern sound source, and their agents with respect to any claim based upon transmission of my message(s). Rock on.

  8. #8

    Re: Has This Ever Happened To You?

    Jerry, there's only one, maybe two key issues:

    1) Using samples guarantees you a performance of your works, something the local symphonies won't offer, much less, guarantee.

    2) Income. Did you ever notice how many songs Ravel, Debussy, Faure, Vaughn Williams and Mahler wrote? Finally, you can create low voice/high orchestral voice arrangements that vocalists can buy from you.

    3) Craft - working with samples to create a realistic sound requires study time in scores and relentless listening to know what things sound like as much as what they don't sound like.
    Peter L. Alexander
    www.professionalorchestration.com
    www.alexanderpublishing.com
    Learn it right the first time.

  9. #9

    Re: Has This Ever Happened To You?

    Quote Originally Posted by peter269

    2) Income. Did you ever notice how many songs Ravel, Debussy, Faure, Vaughn Williams and Mahler wrote? Finally, you can create low voice/high orchestral voice arrangements that vocalists can buy from you.
    This is a rather intriguing statement - is there really a 'market' for original lied with sampled orchestral accompaniment?

  10. #10

    Thumbs up Re: Has This Ever Happened To You?

    I've started working in the may be most sensless musical adventure, Early and baroque virtual music and sounds production.

    Early music specialist are so proud of their live performance, accepting even records only as a self promotion and make-money tool, but considering only the concert a real noble event.
    When I tell that I want sampling his sound and make music with it they look at me like a poor insane ignorant stupid. I need to tell that I was a musicologist and a real performer for a long time, to convince about a little of educated intelligence in my work.

    I'll never produce any concert or live event with my project of course. But I'll have the chance of give back life to old nearly unknown scores, without long rare musician recruitement, exausting rehersals, lot of money to pay and boring concert organization.

    I will mould the interpretation as I want, avoiding annoying discussion with soloist that impose his vision, habits, his teacher "ipse dixit" thougts, and so on.

    And if technology keep his trend, I'm certain I will produce in a near future excellent records, competing in quality and historical accuracy with real players recordings, or maybe better, if real performers are playing with sterile set of few articulation, following strange '70s theory about ancient music (frozen sound, no expressions, no vibrato, no rubato ...) less expressive than a MIDI sequence!

    Yes my old professors had not approved my work. It's as wrong as Jurassic Park experiments...a plastic inorganic monster, a cold frankenstein of music, an insult to people spending long time in old instrument practice and interpretation study...NO! I don't believe. I studied a lot, I spend hours in sound refinement and life inflating in digital sequences.

    I think my work is as noble and educated as the work of specialist performers. Only based on different tools, the only tools I have now and I can easily master.

    The future will tell us if we were wrong. I'm confident we aren't.

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