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Topic: The "Unreal" Symphonic Sound

  1. #1

    The \"Unreal\" Symphonic Sound

    In Nick\'s thread about comparisons between string libraries, I made a comment about my perception of the sound of a live SF Symphony performance.
    My comment was more of a confession about my own need for \"Xtreme\" sound (an admittedly \"unreal\" sound), than it was a criticism of Davies hall acoustics, the sound of the SF string ensembles, the players or their instruments.
    I\'ve noticed an emphasis on realistic sound in many of the threads on this and other forums dealing with samples. And, while I _do_ like the sound of a live orchestra very much ... kindof.... why can\'t we have progress in timbre as well as in composition.
    The electric guitar and synthesizers have expanded the palatte of sound available to musicians of all stripes. The comparative subtlety of an orchestra is certainly a beautiful thing, but probably in 1000 years, we will have brought to life a totally new way of making music and hearing music.
    All symphonic string libraries don\'t necessarily have to be absolutely accurate. I\'m not trying to say that KH is more or less accurate than GOS... it just happens to fit the bill more, for me. It comes closer to ripping my head off, sonically, and I\'ll admit to my addiction to that type of sound. There\'ll be a lot of \"unrealistic\" material in the gigaperformances I create with KH plus samples from totally unrelated sound sources, and I\'ll add them to synth sounds. The strings will add their own dimension.
    Oh god, I\'m not trying to sound as megalomaniacal as this post now seems. I just like BIG BIG sound, \"real\" or not.

  2. #2

    Re: The \"Unreal\" Symphonic Sound

    Hi, Gabriel:

    Thanks for starting this topic and responding to my questions. I, too, wonder what has happened with the \"evolution\" of the orchestra. Certainly, TV and film composers have done much to broaden the orchestral palette. And no doubt a great many new and unusual instruments have popped up in the last century, and not entirely in the pop/rock music culture. Still, concert halls rarely feature works that explore new timbral combinations (perhaps the adage \"Nothing becomes so old so fast as a new sound\" is true--do you recall how in vogue water-filled crystal goblets were during the early \'80s shortly after Schwantner\'s \"Aftertones of Infinity\" won the Pulitzer in 1979? Where are they now?). One recent exception might be Steven Mackey\'s \"Tuck and Roll\" (for electric guitar and orchestra), which you may have heard in Davies Hall, since MTT is a champion of Mackey\'s music.

    Having said all that, I love the sound of \"traditional\" (canonic?) orchestral instruments, particularly strings. Always have and always will!


  3. #3

    Re: The \"Unreal\" Symphonic Sound

    I never heard those particular crystal goblets, but remember an actual scene of crystal goblets being played in the only Fellini film I didn\'t love... \"Ship of Fools\".
    Maybe we musicians will ultimately (if there is such a thing) become much like the musicians (or were they called entertainers or something of that sort) who played on spaceships during interstellar journeys in a sci-fi book called Babel 17. He has an instrument (can\'t remember the name of it) with which he does more than play music. He can create \"real\" experiences for people. Someone watching this entertainer in the bar.... was it a bar, a lounge, some kind of a nightclub?... might actually be able to interact with a beautiful stranger who is suddenly made to appear through the entertainers prowess on his instrument. The beautiful stranger seems to have a life of her own, and seems to be absolutely real. Or a more menacing scene might be conjured up... a tiger maybe, or a blindingly bright and searingly hot circle of light might appear, which could actually kill the hapless member of the \"audience\".
    Now THAT\'S an orchestra!!!!

  4. #4

    Re: The \"Unreal\" Symphonic Sound

    The answer is really simple. There\'s no instrument in the orchestra that\'s capable of moving a lot of air in the low end. Double basses get low, but don\'t have bottom like an amplified bass guitar or a synth. Adding a pipe organ could give you that (and more) within a realistic ensemble. I know that\'s what Mahler did at the end of #2. If you want big bottom (like Spinal Tap) you\'ll have to layer in Synth sounds or EQ the heck out of it. Just my whacky opinion.


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