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Anyone make orchestral music?

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  • Anyone make orchestral music?

    I need some advice. I would like to know more about making orchestral music with romplers. Though it definately takes a while, I should first know the very basics:

    1. Composition of an orchestra: I already know the set-up by looking it up, but my sounds on my workstation should match. I'm not saying it should be very realistic though. I want to use some old romplers beside my Yamaha MO8.
    2. How to play each part. Strings and brass play very different than piano. I should develop the right technique to make these instruments sound good. Some basic knowledge like which kind of chords to use, etc.

    And that's it so far. Does anyone know a good source for this kind of information?

    Everything else I will gradually learn by listening and listening and listening more. The style I'm going for is the e.g. the soundtrack of Super Mario Galaxy and this nice demo.

  • #2
    I need some advice. I would like to know more about making orchestral music with romplers. Though it definately takes a while, I should first know the very basics:

    1. Composition of an orchestra: I already know the set-up by looking it up, but my sounds on my workstation should match. I'm not saying it should be very realistic though. I want to use some old romplers beside my Yamaha MO8.
    2. How to play each part. Strings and brass play very different than piano. I should develop the right technique to make these instruments sound good. Some basic knowledge like which kind of chords to use, etc.

    And that's it so far. Does anyone know a good source for this kind of information?

    Everything else I will gradually learn by listening and listening and listening more. The style I'm going for is the e.g. the soundtrack of Super Mario Galaxy and this nice demo.


    Do not try to be too exact... making music is more like art than science. Composing orchestral song does not necessary mean you have to use brass and string sounds. The best advice I can give you, just make and play music as you like the best! That's my own approach to making music.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;I'm totally opposed to all these expensive bull**************** computers (sequencers). They can do whatever you want but not in the time you want. People have lost the essence of time. One said to me: 'With this new computer I can create something in one or two minutes'. This is an eternity. I can do that in a split second. But the split second doesn't come into account because the previous computer could do it in 10 minutes - so for them, 10 minutes to two minutes is really great progress!&quot; - <b>Vangelis</b></div>

    Comment


    • #3
      Great thread, Stabby.

      I won't be of great help here, but remember one thing: orchestral music is very dynamic. One thing you'll absolutely need is the use of volume envelopes on your DAW [crescendos & diminuendos]. Velocity is very important too [hitting the keys harder in "dramatic" passages, etc]. Tempo fluctuations is another beast to fight with when the theme of your music requires it. Just like the dynamic aspect, it will embellish the musical expressivness tremendously [again, it all depends on the theme of your music].

      One last thing [but very important, in my opinion]:

      I have listened to a lot of orchestral music composed on synthesizers [mostly by non-pros] and have noticed a very common "mistake" and widely overlooked detail about the use of wind instruments specifically. The flute for example: I would hear a passage that lasts much longer than the human breath allows. It makes the music sound very artificial when the song is meant to be orchestral/classical. Just listen to any orchestral piece that has wind instruments. A musician must eventually catch his/her breath before blowing again into their instrument.

      I want to use some old romplers beside my Yamaha MO8.


      In my opinion, Roland synths have the best-sounding orchestral sounds you'll find.

      Everything else I will gradually learn by listening and listening and listening more.


      That's actually the best advice one can give. But you gave it to yourself, so I'm just repeating it Use good headphones to decypher things.
      __________________

      I agree with AnalogGuy's reply to a certain extent. Even if this is about orchestral music, don't restrict yourself too much to what's standard and conventional. Follow your creative instinct and inspiration.
      __________________

      I once strated a somewhat related thread and you should print this chart and hang it in front of your synth. I wish you the best in your new endeavour

      <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>Shoemakers wear the worst shoes</i>.<br />
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      • #4
        Nice diagram.

        I would also add that perhaps some reading on composing would help. Knowledge is power.

        Me

        Comment


        • #5
          Mediterranean, thank you! That is very helpful. The orchestra doesn't necessary have to sound realistic though! I love those old rompler sounds. Something is very charming about them.


          I would also add that perhaps some reading on composing would help. Knowledge is power.


          Any recommendations? I'd like something very basic. I don't want to go very deep into the matter just yet (time and energy constraints).

          Comment


          • workstation M.I
            workstation M.I commented
            Editing a comment

            Stabby wrote:
            Mediterranean, thank you! That is very helpful. The orchestra doesn't necessary have to sound realistic though! I love those old rompler sounds. Something is very charming about them.
            I would also add that perhaps some reading on composing would help. Knowledge is power.
            Any recommendations? I'd like something very basic. I don't want to go very deep into the matter just yet (time and energy constraints).

            Hans Zimmer scored "Driving Miss Daisy" all by his lonesome, with romplers and samplers! In 1989!

            Most movie-goers couldn't tell the difference! ( Either that or they just didn't care..either way works for me!)

             


        • #6
          ....
          Any recommendations? I'd like something very basic. I don't want to go very deep into the matter just yet (time and energy constraints).



          This is the standard textbook:

          http://www.amazon.com/Orchestration-Walter-Piston/dp/0393097404

          but if, as you say, you don't want to delve deeply yet, a search will probably turn up some internet stuff.
          If you do decide later you want to learn more, you don't have to buy the textbook. A local library will almost certainly have a copy of it.

          Comment


          • #7


            Any recommendations? .


            http://www.mti.dmu.ac.uk/~ahugill/manual/ranges.html

            http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/personnel/Belkin/bk.o/O-3.html

            This site: http://imslp.org/ has thousands of scores. See what others do. Start with the earlier guys like Beethoven, the scores aren't as complex.

            2. How to play each part. Strings and brass play very different than piano. I should develop the right technique to make these instruments sound good. Some basic knowledge like which kind of chords to use, etc.


            Orchestral instruments are linear. Many are monophonic. Treat them all that way for starters. Think in terms of lines, not chords.

            Everything is in a group. Once you know the group and the string wind alternative, it's easier.

            Strings:

            Violin 1
            Violin 2
            Viola
            Cello Bass

            Violin 1 is usually a melody instrument. Violin 2 harmonizes. Viola occupies the middle ground. Cello and bass are bottom feeders. Strings aren't bunched together like notes in a piano chord. They can be octaves apart. Second violin often doubles 1st an octave lower, especially if the 1sts are playing something high. They need support for intonation purposes.

            Flutes
            Oboes
            Clarinets
            Bassoons
            Horns.

            They are similiar to strings in that flute and oboe usually play lead, clarinet is middle and often doubles viola parts. The bassoon is the cello of the woodwinds. Horns are switch hitters between being brass and woodwinds. In the orchestra they are considered part of the woodwinds usually.

            Strings play most if not all of the time. Winds are more sporadic, as they need to breathe and rest. The winds supply the colors of the orchestra.

            Brass:

            trumpets
            trombones
            tuba

            They play the least. They are used most effectively for power. They can easily drown out the strings.

            Timpani is a very important part. There are usually 3 kettles, so you only can use 3 notes. Use them sparingly.

            Harpists are usually pianists too. A harp part is similiar to a piano but often higher. Percussion uses lets of bells and things like bass drum. Snare is not that common. The best bet is to stick with tubular bells, xylophone, marimba, crash cymbals at climaxes (insert climax joke here).
            <div class="signaturecontainer">TAAKADO= The Artist Also Known As Dutch Ovenz</div>

            Comment


            • #8
              Thank you so much! That clarifies a lot.

              Just a few things I don't get:

              Violin 1 is usually a melody instrument. Violin 2 harmonizes. Viola occupies the middle ground. Cello and bass are bottom feeders.


              If I get this right, violin is soprano, viola alto and cello is tenor and bass off course is bass?

              Also, I'm not sure what harmonizing means. What should I do with a string ensemble patch? Can I play violin 1 and 2 on the same patch?

              Finally, I have a brass patch on my synth called BoneSection. What instrument does this section consist of?

              Comment


              • workstation M.I
                workstation M.I commented
                Editing a comment

                Stabby wrote:
                Thank you so much! That clarifies a lot.

                Just a few things I don't get:

                Violin 1 is usually a melody instrument. Violin 2 harmonizes. Viola occupies the middle ground. Cello and bass are bottom feeders.


                If I get this right, violin is soprano, viola alto and cello is tenor and bass off course is bass?

                Also, I'm not sure what harmonizing means. What should I do with a string ensemble patch? Can I play violin 1 and 2 on the same patch?

                Finally, I have a brass patch on my synth called BoneSection. What instrument does this section consist of?

                I look upon the string ensemble patch as "one stop shopping" for the entire string section, initially. This particular practice saves time and tracks.

                The left hand covers Basses and Cellos while the right hand covers Violins one and two and Violas. Use solo voices as needed on their own track so you can control the panning apart from the ensemble, even if it's in the SAME section! (Example, violin solo over violin ensemble would hold the same pan postion)

                I give the "left hand" its own track, as I do with the "right hand" so that each section has it's own pan position.

                Normally, the "experts" you write books about orchestration, would have you give EACH string instrument it's own track, for a total of 5 tracks. This is all fine and well, as long as you have the space to cover this.

                However, I also mentioned saving time as well before. Minus the solo track(s) my initial track hit is only TWO -One for the left hand and one for the right.

                Here's an example of something that is fairly "cut down", but still sounds as full as the "high track count method". Oh yeah, the following is strictly panned according to this guide ( which makes more sense to me, OVERALL than most other orchestral diagrams:

                The Diagram:

                https://smartsite.ucdavis.edu/access/content/group/59bdf0b4-ad07-473e-8050-fe67d7119d35/Music10/00Images/Instruments/orchestr.gif

                My Example:

                https://soundcloud.com/skyy38/imperial-motif


            • #9
              Thank you so much! That clarifies a lot.

              Just a few things I don't get:



              If I get this right, violin is soprano, viola alto and cello is tenor and bass off course is bass?




              Viola literally reads the Alto Clef. When cello goes high, they read tenor clef (usually they read bass clef).

              Also, I'm not sure what harmonizing means.


              If violin 1 has melody, violin 2 will play a harmony line. 3rds, octaves, whatever fits.

              What should I do with a string ensemble patch?


              Be careful of it. As I said, strings are linear. Think linear, which means each part gets it's own staff, own part, own freedom. If you see a string orchestra, there will be 5 sections. All 5 will be doing different things. With one synth patch, there is a tendency to write chords. This isnt very effective string writing.

              Finally, I have a brass patch on my synth called BoneSection. What instrument does this section consist of?


              Bone is slang for Trombone.
              <div class="signaturecontainer">TAAKADO= The Artist Also Known As Dutch Ovenz</div>

              Comment


              • workstation M.I
                workstation M.I commented
                Editing a comment

                Be careful of it. As I said, strings are linear. Think linear, which means each part gets it's own staff, own part, own freedom. If you see a string orchestra, there will be 5 sections. All 5 will be doing different things. With one synth patch, there is a tendency to write chords. This isnt very effective string writing.

                Beg to differ. Each section has it's own staff location, but that is where it ends. Bass and Cellos are covering the low octave end lines (and the occasional harmony), while Violins 1 and 2 and Violas WILL be doing "different things" because of the harmonic structure.

                And just because each section gets it's own STAFF doesn't mean that ALL of them are playing the SAME NOTES! (Unless otherwise written) Chords ARE formed by the Violins and Violas, as they are by the brass. All of the above is clearly evident in the STAR WARS soundtrack-John Williams even gets the French Horns to sound off on a basic triad!


            • #10
              Thanks. I'm ready to start experimenting

              By the way, is the picture of the string ranges in this topic correct?The cello, double bass and violin are presented as having a much bigger range than the link you posted.

              Comment


              • workstation M.I
                workstation M.I commented
                Editing a comment

                Stabby wrote:
                Thanks. I'm ready to start experimenting

                By the way, is the picture of the string ranges in this topic correct?The cello, double bass and violin are presented as having a much bigger range than the link you posted.

                The utter MAGIC of using the string ensemble patch, is that you really don't have to worry about "ranges" of separate instruments! The "left hand" and the "right hand" have already taken care of this little problem!

                And, even if you DO go "out of range", you just might come up with yet another "instrument"!


            • #11
              Possibly i'm not the best person to ask as i only do 'switched on' arrangements of orchestral stuff, but what i will say has helped is watching a few performances of the work on youtube to get a feel for the piece and how it should be performed. Translating that to mainly pure synthesis is something else, but usually it helps, even if your sounds are nothing like the actual instrument, to try and keep them somehow of a kind, if that makes sense.
              <div class="signaturecontainer"><div class="bbcode_container">
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              • #12
                Thanks. I'm ready to start experimenting

                By the way, is the picture of the string ranges in this topic correct?The cello, double bass and violin are presented as having a much bigger range than the link you posted.


                Strings have a finite low range but an infinite high range. That said, keep the lower strings in a reasonable range. Violin 1 can go high.

                Solo strings and orchestral strings are different. In orchestral writing, you don't want to go into the super-high ranges.
                <div class="signaturecontainer">TAAKADO= The Artist Also Known As Dutch Ovenz</div>

                Comment


                • #13
                  Here is a great video to watch. It shows each section doing what they do best:

                  ">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">
                  <div class="signaturecontainer">TAAKADO= The Artist Also Known As Dutch Ovenz</div>

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    Go to Garritan.com and go to the "education" tab and select online orchestration course. Excellent resource.
                    <div class="signaturecontainer">Nord Piano<br />
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                    • workstation M.I
                      workstation M.I commented
                      Editing a comment

                      purveyor2 wrote:
                      Go to Garritan.com and go to the "education" tab and select online orchestration course. Excellent resource.

                      Ditto!


                  • #15
                    I've made a couple of vids on the subject.

                    ">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">


                    The above video stresses the use of controllers (breath), which can be expressive.

                    I don't have the kind of string knowledge that Cygnus has, but I will tell you that no single program is going to cover it. I did this 40 second demo about 3 years back:

                    STRINGS



                    I"m not saying you have to do it this way, but as an example, my typical string set up is:

                    Large string section - slow attack.
                    Pizzicato section
                    Tremolo section (one panned left, one panned right)
                    Spiccato section (one panned left, one panned right)
                    Cello (left)
                    Viola (center-left)
                    Violin (right)



                    Look at an orchestral map (below) and you will see how strings are divided- Basses, Cellos, Violas, 2nd Violins, 1st Violins. You can position them going from left to right, or vice versa. Remember that some low sounds need to come from the right, to help balance the spectrum.




                    Since ROMplers use section instruments - Tremolo, Pizzicato, full section are all made up of the basses, cellos, violas, violins playing together. A simple trick you can use is taking a Tremolo program and panning it by note number - low notes are panned left and high notes panned right - giving you a left right and middle from a single program. However, you might try the opposite setting on a horn section.

                    Personally, I double up certain sections - one program on the left and another of the same program on the right. This allows me to do a series of notes on the left, which are answered by different notes on the right - kind of like a school pep assembly with two sides taking turns chanting. You can do this with strings, choruses, Brass, percussion, etc.

                    Speaking of percussion, this can bring a lot of realism to your orchestral piece. Timpanis are obvious, but concert basses, sticks, blocks, cymbals, gongs, Marktrees, Latin drums and many other sound can really help, especially if you use a lot of them. Proper reverb helps, too.

                    Some good percussie examples are the scores for TERMINATOR 1 or 2 or Bear McCreary's sound set for THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. For the TV series score, they got as many metal percussive sounds as they could. Once they established that huge "Bum bum b bum" sound, they needed only minimal sounds on top of that, like a string quartet, guitar and electric violin. Yet, the sound was "big", all because of the percussion.


                    For a big section sound, I used to layer several ROMplers on top of each other. Since they were different brands - Yamaha, Roland, Korg, etc., they sounded kind of cool and didn't get too muddy, like when you combine similar sounds from the same source library. Did this 5 years ago. I wouldn't say this is realistic, but there was something "big" about it that I liked:

                    LAB CHASE



                    This Main Title song is a more current example, though a lot of synth tones are mixed with the samples.


                    ">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">
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