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Topic: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

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  1. #1
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    O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    David Battino of O'Reilly Digital Media has done an excellent podcast episode called "Express Yourself" and features the Stradivari Violin and Gofriller Cello as examples of expressive instruments.

    David writes: "Expression is the soul of music. In this episode of Digital Media Insider, we listen to the techniques players use to coax emotion out of electronic instruments and software."

    In his podcast, Battino covers various controllers and how they can be used to get expression from your digital instrument. A particular focus in on wind controllers. He also show examples of how swells, pitch bends and phrasing can be used to achieve expression.

    Listen to the Podcast here (DMI 02-12-2007: 14 minutes 0 seconds):

    MP3: http://downloads.oreilly.com/digital...s-yourself.mp3


    If you use iTunes, you can subscribe through this URL: www.itunes.com/podcast?id=207870198

    The link to the O'Reilly Digital Media report: http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/2007/02/12/digital-media-insider-podcast-7-express-yourself.html

    In his podcast, Battino shows the expressiveness of the upcoming Gofriller Cello in this podcast (at about 6:30) which Giorgio playing his original improvisation. And there also is a demo of Fabio playing the Stradivari violin. The podcast also demonstrates the Synful Orchestra and the Karma KARMA algorithmic keyboard. He also touches on artificial intelligence in music. And regarding the theme music for the podcast, David writes: "The piano is from the Garritan Personal Orchestra, which I discovered when we interviewed Gary Garritan"

    There is so much going on with expression in music and we are just seeing the tip on the iceberg.

    Hope you enjoy this excellent and informative podcast.

    Gary Garritan

  2. #2

    Re: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    Very interesting podcast! Your products stole the show. It was exciting to hear how expressive digital music is getting! It's a great time to be a composer. I am so jealous of the composers that will be born in 50 years though.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  3. #3

    Re: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    Very nice. I loved the the EVI and VL70m as well - had each of them once upon a time. The Gorfiller really shined through, that's for sure. One thing I would have liked was for him to refer to "virtual instruments" instead of synthesizers. I know it's a fine line, but I think it's time that phrase was added to the general lexicon. Overall it was a well-done piece. Brava!
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  4. #4
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    Re: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    Quote Originally Posted by Houston Haynes
    Very nice. I loved the the EVI and VL70m as well - had each of them once upon a time. The Gorfiller really shined through, that's for sure. One thing I would have liked was for him to refer to "virtual instruments" instead of synthesizers. I know it's a fine line, but I think it's time that phrase was added to the general lexicon. Overall it was a well-done piece. Brava!
    And why prefer "virtual instruments"? (although 'synthesizer' elements are coming into these instruments). I often wonder why this term (made popular by 'virtual reality' in the 90's) is being used because today's instruments seem more than virtual, they are becoming more real.

    In developing real-sounding, real-time playable instruments, the term "virtual" may become more and more of a misnomer. Virtual often describes what is not "real" but mimic their real equivalents.

    These newfangled instruments are becoming more real and legitimate instruments in and of themselves. Technology is becoming a tool of performance and even new forms of instruments are emerging. The 'virtual' term may no longer apply or be in vogue in the future. I wonder if the term "software instruments", "digital instruments" or another term is more appropriate. Apple, as an example, uses the term "software instruments" which seem more descriptive.

    As we are deciding what to label our instruments and new sampler, what do others think about the terminology and do you think there is an even better descriptor?


    Gary Garritan.

  5. #5

    Lightbulb Re: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    And why prefer "virtual instruments"? (although 'synthesizer' elements are coming into these instruments).
    I think it's a term that's come of age and has developed its own connotation *within* this industry - and it explains two unique aspects: 1) they are virtual - i.e. not produced by a dedicated piece of electronics or acoustic resonating body, and 2) they produce a timbre that is much more evocative of the instrument they are emulating than any of the preceding "synthesizer" technologies. Even the fact that these instruments *demand* more expressive input indicates that they are more evocative than anything that was around when sawtooths and square waves roamed freely on the Earth.

    There was a time when every synthesizer was called a "Moog" regardless of the manufacturer. I think that now is as good a time as any that the general public adjust to a more finessed lexicon.

    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

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    Re: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    Quote Originally Posted by Houston Haynes
    I think it's a term that's come of age and has developed its own connotation *within* this industry - and it explains two unique aspects: 1) they are virtual - i.e. not produced by a dedicated piece of electronics or acoustic resonating body, and 2) they produce a timbre that is much more evocative of the instrument they are emulating than any of the preceding "synthesizer" technologies. Even the fact that these instruments *demand* more expressive input indicates that they are more evocative than anything that was around when sawtooths and square waves roamed freely on the Earth.

    There was a time when every synthesizer was called a "Moog" regardless of the manufacturer. I think that now is as good a time as any that the general public adjust to a more finessed lexicon.

    As these new instruments evolve, they may no longer be virutal. The next revolution will be in the controller or musical interface and some advances in that department are coming. For example, when you can play a sampled harp using a harp controller, that sounds, looks and functions like a harp, is the instument virtual? Or is it a real instrument?



    When we start seeing new types of wind controllers sounding like wind instruments and percussion controllers like percussion instruments, etc., each with expanded capabilities, perhaps we moving towards an evolution of the form of the real instruments.

    Gary Garritan

  7. #7

    Re: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    For my money - the controller is irrelevant for the academic assignment of whether or not the instrument is deemed virtual. If the sound is not generated by a resonating body, then it can only be virtual - cool looking and great-sounding as it is...

    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

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    Re: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    Quote Originally Posted by Houston Haynes
    For my money - the controller is irrelevant for the academic assignment of whether or not the instrument is deemed virtual. If the sound is not generated by a resonating body, then it can only be virtual - cool looking and great-sounding as it is...

    Not necessarily. Then a Moog would be a virtual instrument since sound is not generated by a resonating body. Same with some organs, theremins, and the digital bagpipes. Maybe a new term is needed - or also just call them musical instruments. GG

  9. #9

    Re: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    Ultimately, it all has to come through a device that vibrates air at some point, so none of it can really be "virtual" until we can hook directly into the brains auditory system.

  10. #10

    Lightbulb Re: O'Reilly Digital Media Podcast about Expression features Strad/Gofriller

    If you check my postulate above, you'll note that I tried to constrain the definition to sounds not produced by a dedicated piece of electronics or acoustic resonating body. Of course, that would then open the floor to all of the Moog emulations out there (as an interesting side note - they are generally classified with the term "virtual analog"). That's why I added the second component that it must in some way be more evocative of the instrument they are emulating than any of the preceding "synthesizer" technologies.

    OK - that's ones a bit too generic... do we limit it to "acoustic" instruments? Then that could eliminate things like Rhodes and Wurli instruments - maybe pipe organs too. I think it's very difficult to get a good electric piano or bass sound *really* right (Scarbee being a good example) - and while it's difficult to draw a line in the sand to say *there* is where the instrument stops being a sample library and takes on the characteristics of a virtual instrument - you can definitely tell when it falls short. Likewise, with a pipe organ being so dependent on the acoustics of the space that it's in, surely having a world class impulse to put the audience "in the room" qualifies as "evocative" - even if the level of technology required to render the core sound is relatively rudimentary.

    Do we eliminate certain types of synthesis from being considered "worthy" of representing an instrument as "virtual"? That's a sticky wicket, since so many technolgies *can* evoke a particular sound - but it's dependent on the level of detail in sound generation and control.

    As you have so aptly stated, there's the issue of *how* the virtual instrument is controlled by the performer such that it responds in a way that's recognized by the audience as being "true to the original". I doubt that anyone would consider a collection of sample loops to be a "virtual instrument" but perhaps a sample library could be faithful enough to all of the articulations and dynamics of a particular sound that it would qualify (such as the aforementioned Scarbee libraries). But then there's another slippery slope - do we dare to disqualify sampled ensembles, and only consider solo instruments?

    Then there's the other side of the coin - plenty of new technologies that *can* create a truly stunning recreation of an acoustic timbre, but then fail miserably in its control. There's Yamaha's Vocaloid technology and even Arturia's saxophone model in their BRASS plugin that are perfect examples of this.

    Of course, not much of the academic discussion matters for the purposes of introducing the term to the public in a podcast. It's somewhat like arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The idea is to introduce the *idea* that there is a classification of electronically generated sound that resides above the commonly held notion of what "synthesizer" means. If that podcast was broadcast on the radio, and a classical music lover was changing channels and happened to catch the Gorfiller demo half-way through - they'd probably never suspect that it's not real. However, the same station-surfer stumbling across "Switched on Bach" and they'd have no illusions as to what they were listening to as "synthesized" - even if they immediately recognized the specific work.

    The idea is to introduce the public to the concept that there is a new level of realism attainable within electronic music - and regardless of the nebulous definition, I believe that it deserves to be presented as a new general classification, and let history and technological advances help to define its boundaries. That's how people eventually understood the finessed difference between a "Moog" versus a generalized concept of "synthesizer" back in the 70s.

    This has been a fun mental exercise - thanks for continuing to entertain these ideas - and congrats again on your inclusion in the podcast. The Gorfiller is truly stunning.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

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