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Topic: Tutorial question

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  1. #1

    Tutorial question

    I'm writing a tutorial on how to create timpani rolls through notation and sequencer editing. I'm adding a section on how to use the timpani KS patch with the "playable roll" switch, but this is basically for KP1 and KP2 users. Since I'm not able to upgrade to GPO 4 yet, does it still have a timpani KS with a switch for playable rolls?

    Steve Johnson

  2. #2

    Re: Tutorial question

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Johnson View Post
    does it still have a timpani KS with a switch for playable rolls?

    Steve Johnson
    No, but the keyswitch that GPO4 does have allows the "note off" to create the opposite hand sample.
    Dan

  3. #3

    Re: Tutorial question

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    No, but the keyswitch that GPO4 does have allows the "note off" to create the opposite hand sample.
    Dan
    Hi, Dan!

    Thanks much for your answer. This makes notation a lot easier since you'd only have to write out timp rolls at their actual pitches, and just send the keyswitch note on the same staff a bit before the roll starts.

    This was most helpful, and I'll definitely include the info in my tutorial. Thanks again!

    Steve

  4. #4

    Re: Tutorial question

    Hi Steve, welcome to Northern Sounds!!!
    here is a little video tutorial of how the key-switches in GPO4 work.
    Of course the way I show in the video is not the best way to use GPO's timpani for rolls in a sequencer.

    You have your hands full if you are trying to make a believable "musical" timpani roll in notation software. The best way is to use two hands and play them in real time on a keyboard. When you use the lazy man's way of the "D" key-switch, this does not allow for radical differences in velocities between notes, especially when you consider that the opposite hand sample (note off) shares the same exact velocity as the "note on", a great recipe for the dreaded machine gun affect.

    MAC

    WINDOWS

  5. #5

    Re: Tutorial question

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    Hi Steve, welcome to Northern Sounds!!!
    here is a little video tutorial of how the key-switches in GPO4 work.
    Of course the way I show in the video is not the best way to use GPO's timpani for rolls in a sequencer.

    You have your hands full if you are trying to make a believable "musical" timpani roll in notation software. The best way is to use two hands and play them in real time on a keyboard. When you use the lazy man's way of the "D" key-switch, this does not allow for radical differences in velocities between notes, especially when you consider that the opposite hand sample (note off) shares the same exact velocity as the "note on", a great recipe for the dreaded machine gun affect.

    MAC

    WINDOWS
    Hi, Dan!

    I know exactly what you mean about the "machine gun" effect, and it's the wall I'd been hitting every time I tried notating timpani rolls for playback. I thought the only solution would be to play out rolls in real time as you (and others) have suggested. Unfortunately, my keyboard skills are rudimentary at best, so getting good and consistent results is a major problem for me. In fact, I was trying this last weekend, recording timp rolls as MIDI tracks in Cubasis. (I have a symphony-in-progress I shelved a number of years ago, due mainly to a lack of access to a good sound library I could afford. GPO really turned this around for me, and I'm working on a KP2 realization of what I've written so far, with an eye toward finishing at least the first movement.)

    Because my symphony uses timpani a good deal, I figured that I would have to record the timp's MIDI track in real time at the tempos and pitches for every roll my score has so far. I did a few tests to see if there was even a chance I could pull it off. However, in the process I made a big discovery that stopped me in my tracks and led right to the methods I'll be describing in my tutorial. If you don't mind, I'd like to give you some details, because I think you might find it interesting.

    I was recording take after take of a timp roll at 40 bpm without much luck. I finally got one that sounded good except for a few spots, and with a realistic roll speed (at least to my ears). I decided to look at the MIDI note events in List edit to see if I could spot what made the good parts good, and the not-so-good parts a problem. What I discovered was that in the good parts, the note durations were in the 7-12 tick range, those durations were in a generally random pattern, and (this is really important) there were spaces between the notes that were also in the 7-12 tick range. In the problem spots, the notes were either a lot shorter, a lot longer, or the spaces between notes were way too short. So, I went back and edited the note durations and start times in the problem spots according to what I found, and all of a sudden I had a wonderful and consistent-sounding timp roll.

    From my discovery, I now know that the "machine gun" effect with notated rolls is caused by the lack of small variations in note durations and start times. The method I've developed out of all this is to notate timp rolls in Finale, then edit their note durations and start times in Cubasis. Although I developed the technique for my own use, I'm so excited by the great results I'm getting that I thought it might be worth sharing through a tutorial. I'd like to think I'm not the only keyboard-challenged person out there who could use an alternative to real-time performance for creating good timp rolls, so I hope there are some fellow musicians out there who will benefit from all the work I've done here.

    Since the "machine gun" problem is not (at least primarily) due to a lack of radical differences in velocities between notes, I think using the timpani KS could be a real time-saver by cutting the notation and sequencer-editing time in half. I'll be testing this today with the "manual randomizing" of note durations and start times to verify that the rolls will still sound good. If they do (which I think they will), I'll add a section to my tutorial just for GPO users. The only trade-off I can think of with the KS patch is that you wouldn't be able to scale key velocities as smoothly for crescendo/descrescendo as you would if each roll note is a separate MIDI note event. Whether or not the difference would be noticeable is one of the things I'll be testing for.

    Anyway, I apologize for the length of this post, but the whole timp roll issue brought me to a pretty major breakthrough (at least for me, anyway), so I've been eager to share my findings in case anyone else out there might find them interesting or useful. As to my tutorial, I should have it done and online at my website either today or tomorrow, and I'll post an announcement on the Tips and Tutorials forum as soon as it's up. I'd be very interested to get your feedback, so I hope you'll be able to look through it once it's online. (By the way, the tutorial page will have sound samples of timp rolls I've created using my notation and sequencer-editing techniques.)

    Thanks!

    Steve Johnson

  6. #6

    Re: Tutorial question

    Hi Steve,
    It is nice of you to make a tutorial on using GPO's timpani, I think someone here made one a long time ago, but it can't hurt to have another one.

    There are a number of things that cause machine gun affect with GPO's timpani, two critical things are velocities, and the timing of the note onset.

    Note duration will make no difference in the sound since the sound of each sample is dictated only by the velocity at which the note was struck. So, making notes shorter or longer will not get rid of the machine gun affect especially if the notes are quantized.

    If you think about the difference between what we get with the GPO timpani, and a real timpanist, it is the variation of sounds for each and every hit, I know I'm preaching to the choir here Varying the velocity and the notes' onset will yield the best results. Of course playing left and right hand samples that are in separate octaves is the real key opposed to notation, which places tons of repeated notes all in a row perfectly spaced and not timed for the appropriate speed of the roll either.
    Dan

  7. #7

    Re: Tutorial question

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    Hi Steve,
    It is nice of you to make a tutorial on using GPO's timpani, I think someone here made one a long time ago, but it can't hurt to have another one.

    There are a number of things that cause machine gun affect with GPO's timpani, two critical things are velocities, and the timing of the note onset.

    Note duration will make no difference in the sound since the sound of each sample is dictated only by the velocity at which the note was struck. So, making notes shorter or longer will not get rid of the machine gun affect especially if the notes are quantized.

    If you think about the difference between what we get with the GPO timpani, and a real timpanist, it is the variation of sounds for each and every hit, I know I'm preaching to the choir here Varying the velocity and the notes' onset will yield the best results. Of course playing left and right hand samples that are in separate octaves is the real key opposed to notation, which places tons of repeated notes all in a row perfectly spaced and not timed for the appropriate speed of the roll either.
    Dan
    Hi, Dan!

    Wow, I'm really glad we're having this conversation! You're absolutely right about note durations, and I guess I got hung up on that because when I was first playing around with the timpani KS patch in the GPO Studio (the first version of GPO I purchased) it took me awhile to realize that note-off triggered the second strike of the "playable" roll. Note spacing there is important, because we don't want the second strike sounding too soon before -- or on top of -- the next note.

    You saved me from making a fool of myself by puttting out a grand piece of over-engineering, so I'll be making some important revisions to what I have so far. However, I did want to address a couple of your comments.

    First, about the importance of note onset (aka start times), this is where the sequencer editing side of my timpani roll method comes in. In my application of the technique I developed, I do notation purely for the purpose of creating MIDI note events that I can finely manipulate in the List edit of Cubasis. By doing what I call a "manual randomizing" of note start times, the machine gun effect largely disappears. I won't go into detail here, but my tutorial will explain the method more precisely. Just as an aside, my timpani roll method will appear fairly complicated with a lot of work involved, but I'm finding it surprisingly easy the more I use it.

    Second, my tutorial does cover the use of alternating left-strike and right strike samples for more realistic-sounding timpani rolls. This can be done through notation (also covered in my tutorial), but once again the purpose of notation is fulfilled when the score file is saved as a MIDI file, imported into a sequencer and edited from there.

    Getting back to the KS issue, I did think about the possibility that the same-strike of the KP1 and KP2 "playable roll" patch might not sound as good as the left-strike, right-strike method. Actually I'm glad that's the way GPO 4 handles it now. (Just wish I could upgrade, but my present computer can't handle it, although I'll be buying a new computer in about 6 months). However, I'd like to give the users of my tutorial different options, so unless the result is just horrible, I'll include a section on how to use my timpani roll techniques with the GPO timp patch.

    You've been most helpful, so I really appreciate the feedback!

    Steve

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