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Topic: Overlays

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  1. #1

    Overlays

    I see in the French Horns that there are three separate overlays- overlay f, overlay f ag, and overlay ff. Could someone explain to me how overlays are used and the meaning of the letters after the word overlay (f, f ag, ff) Perhaps forte, double forte?). Thank you very much.

  2. #2

    Re: Overlays

    Well, the meaning of the terms is obvious: f -> "forte" overlay, ff-> "fortissimo" overlay and f ag -> "forte" aggresive overlay. The idea is that when french horns (and other instruments) change their volume they change also their "colour". For example, a french horn playing piano would sound "sweet" but playing fortissimo its sound would be more "metallic".
    If I'm right, overlays are intended to use in combination with normal samples when you want to achieve those "metallic" sounds. So you'll probably need 2 french horns (normal and overlay) per voice.
    Anyway I'm not an expert at all, but there are many on this forum. I'm sure they can give you a better explanation.

    Greetings

  3. #3

    Re: Overlays

    Well, Coriolano pretty much nailed it. When I'm recording horns I have a regular player and an f ag, and ff overlay for each player. You just have to be careful to avoid phase cancellation. Hopefully GPO-A will have enough overlays to cover all the horn players.

  4. #4

  5. #5

    Re: Overlays

    The only problem with the overlays is that if you use the random intonation function of the horns it will be potentially out of tune with the overlay. Still, they are very useful.

    What I tend to do is to have a seperate solo instrument for each of the four horns, then one additional polyphonic track with the forte overlay. I only use this track for parts where I need a nice brassy sound, for example, a sustained forte chord for full brass. I tend to mix the overlay back to about half the volume of the horns themselves, and match the average cc#1 value throughout the sustains. It tends to work pretty well, and is not too difficult to implement.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  6. #6

    Re: Overlays

    Quote Originally Posted by jmc
    Well, Coriolano pretty much nailed it. When I'm recording horns I have a regular player and an f ag, and ff overlay for each player. You just have to be careful to avoid phase cancellation. Hopefully GPO-A will have enough overlays to cover all the horn players.
    Personally, I'm not a big fan of the overlays and I hope that they are not included in GPOA. I would prefer for the tone to get "brassy" as a result of velocity and/or mod controls, or perhaps even a keyswitch. The overlay idea, while innovative, is kind of clumsy, at least for my workflow. It also makes it difficult to improvise horn lines, which is an important part of my process. In general I don't like to have multiple tracks per instrument--I like my sequencer tracks to match up with my score staves as closely as possible. It seems that sampling in general is moving more towards intelligent performance tools, where you can do more and more in realtime--I get the impression GPOA is going to use some innovative ideas in this regard, and I hope that this will result in something better than overlays.

    I suppose another idea for the overlays is to put them in a separate layer, controllable by CC, kind of like JABB's airflow noises and keyclicks. This would be better than the multiple-track approach, but I would still prefer velocity and/or modwheel control.

    just my 2 cents.

    chris.

  7. #7

    Re: Overlays

    Quote Originally Posted by CallMeZoot
    I suppose another idea for the overlays is to put them in a separate layer, controllable by CC, kind of like JABB's airflow noises and keyclicks.
    This would definitely be my preference as well. I wouldn't like to do away with at least some measure of control for brassiness, though. As a horn player, I can tell you that it is controllable in real life more or less independantly of dynamic level.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  8. #8

    Re: Overlays

    Quote Originally Posted by Skysaw
    As a horn player, I can tell you that it is controllable in real life more or less independantly of dynamic level.
    This sounds interesting. !!

    Is it possible to produce that brassy ( cuivre) sound at mp or mf levels. ??

    regards Joe

  9. #9

    Re: Overlays

    Quote Originally Posted by joaz
    Is it possible to produce that brassy ( cuivre) sound at mp or mf levels. ??
    This is where the "more or less" part comes in.

    I think if I tried, I could get a somewhat brassy sound almost down to mp, certainly at mf. At forte and above, it is much more natural and easy to do, of course. There is also the technique of playing "bells high," as is heard in the finale of Mahler's 1st symphony. The players turn slightly to the left, lift the bells off of their knees and into the air. The sound produced is definitely more brassy in this case, since the normal position causes most of the high frequency content to disappear into the players' clothing and the back of the stage.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  10. #10

    Re: Overlays

    [quote=Skysaw]This is where the "more or less" part comes in.

    I think if I tried, I could get a somewhat brassy sound almost down to mp, certainly at mf.

    There is also the technique of playing "bells high," as is heard in the finale of Mahler's 1st symphony. quote]

    Thanks for the info Jamie. Quite fascinating. I can only imagine that this is down to some kind of embouchure thing. What do you do different to produce the "cuivre" effect from the normal sound. ??


    I remember the first time I saw this "bells in the air routine." (yep...it was Mahler). It has a wonderfully gutsy almost barbaric sound. Thrilling. !!

    regards Joe

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