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Topic: "Pastoral Splendor: Celebrating Rural America," Grade 3 Concert Band

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  1. #1

    "Pastoral Splendor: Celebrating Rural America," Grade 3 Concert Band

    https://www.box.com/s/7a9947c5d5e65ba01410

    Here is "Pastoral Splendor: Celebrating Rural America," a Grade 3 theme and variations for concert band.


    I've been using Finale for some 10 years. I dabbled with COMB a few years ago and then stopped. Last month I upgraded to COMB2/Aria, and this piece is one of my first efforts.


    The instrumentation is all COMB2 except cymbals (Softsynth) and French horn (Finale default bank Plr1). If anyone knows how to get a good clashed cymbal sound, I'd like to know how (not a single cymbal crashed with a stick or mallet--I'm looking for an orchestral or concert band clashed sound, two cymbals clashed). I'd also love to find a good suspended cymbal roll.

    The instrumentation is flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet 1, clarinet 2, bass clarinet, alto saxophone 1, alto saxophone 2, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet 1, trumpet 2, horn, trombone 1, trombone 2, euphonium, tuba, bells, xylophone, snare drum, bass drum, crash (clashed) cymbals, suspended cymbal, and triangle.

    I used Garritan Ambience for this piece.


    I would love to hear constructive feedback on this piece--both about the music and about its presentation.

    Thanks for listening and commenting.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  2. #2

    Re: "Pastoral Splendor: Celebrating Rural America," Grade 3 Concert Band

    Hello, Arthur - I'm glad you finally took the plunge and posted some work for us to hear. Perfect time to do it, during this highly successful Listening Room Summer Festival-- Since you're a very new member, you may not be aware that traffic hasn't been as steady on this Forum in quite some time. It's a Garritan Renaissance!--and you're a part of it.

    "Pastoral Splendor" may be aimed at mid-level Grade 3 school bands, but the composition itself is of enough sophistication and complexity to lend itself to Grade 6, don't you think?

    I enjoyed the balancing act your piece accomplishes between traditional and modern. The 8th note pulse throughout, with melody lines featuring some unexpected acrobatics, leaping up and down, gave it some flavor of minimalism that I also enjoyed.

    Previously, Jim "Snorlax" and I discussed the issue of combating the "organ effect" which for various reasons can be more pronounced using COMB than in the other Garritan Libraries. Here's that thread at the Band Support and Technical page for those who'd like to take a look and maybe add a reply:

    "Offsetting start times"

    I believe you went through a period of not using your COMB Library because of frustration over this issue. Jim passed on some things that can be done with using VAR1 and 2, offsetting times etc - things that can easily be done when working on projects in DAW software such as Sonar. And he points out that Human Playback in Finale is the tool to use in that program, since it's adding random factors to playback to make the results less strict and robotic. He also points out that there's a direct analogy between the structure of an organ's pipes and the way wind instruments are constructed, so there's a natural organ-like quality that happens even in live band performances.

    I'd say that in your present recording, there is the issue of instruments sounding off too precisely together, so that whatever measures you took to get an organic sound could be employed even more broadly.

    I enjoyed the piece - I hope more people take a listen. Thank you!

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: "Pastoral Splendor: Celebrating Rural America," Grade 3 Concert Band

    Randy: Thank you for your thoughtful and very helpful comments.

    I saw Jim's "organ effect" comments and they are also very helpful. I'm not currently using a DAW, but I can see that I'm headed (or wildly careening) in that direction.

    I hope Jim likes the euphonium solo in the piece!

    I varied the start/stop time in Finale using the midi tool. I know this might be a bit cumbersome, but I will try your suggestion and vary the settings more.

    I'd love to hear this thing played by humans!

    Thanks again.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  4. #4

    Re: "Pastoral Splendor: Celebrating Rural America," Grade 3 Concert Band

    Hello Arthur! I'm really happy to see more concert band stuff on the listening room! This certainly brings me back to my rural concert-band days

    I've never been great at judging difficulty of music (at least by the grade 1-6 scale), but from what I hear, this sounds in that ballpark. As far as rendering questions, Randy will have much better advise than I will, but I can give you some tips with the percussion you are looking for!

    If your signature is up to date, then you are still using Finale 2011? If that is the case, then you should have access to some of the GPO sounds in addition to the COMB instruments you have. I have found that the Small Gong, when used with tremelo marks, actually creates a good suspended cymbal effect. I've actually used that exclusively and have forgotten if GPO comes with a built-in sample for that or not. (In Finale 2011, that would be Basic Orchestral Percussion, defaulted to the line that would be 'B' in treble clef, which is shared with tam-tam and another gong, I believe)

    For Crash Cymbals, I would also still recommend GPO, but Finale makes it a bit tricky. What I typically do, is the following:

    Still select Basic Orchestral Percussion. Once you have your score setup however you like, right-click the staff name, and click Edit Staff attributes. (I've seen you've used Finale for quite a while, so I assume you know how to do this, but just in case). Then where it says Notation Style, click select, and pick the percussion map that is called "Percussion" (not Orchestral Percussion). The note-names are mostly wrong, but the samples you probably want are there. Assuming the staff is a Treble clef, again, the crashes are where high E would be. A choked crash is listed as Splash Cymbal, and a normal vibrating crash is listed as Crash Cymbal 2. (these names could be edited, but I don't believe there is a way to save them for other files)

    Hope that helps, and thanks for posting!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  5. #5

    Re: "Pastoral Splendor: Celebrating Rural America," Grade 3 Concert Band

    Hi Michael. Great advice and tips! Thanks.

    I copied and saved your suggestions and will try them out in Finale.

    Small gong--interesting. I can't wait to try that!

    I was wondering which percussion maps went with which sounds, so I'll choose basic orchestral percussion and "percussion," as you suggest.

    Thanks again.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

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