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View Full Version : WIP: Symphonic Dream I


Mills2k
06-02-2005, 09:26 PM
So, after a creative drought with my Nosferatu score, I decided, "Hey, I've only written half of a piece for orchestra before! Why don't I try to write some orchestra stuff?"

...

hah.

Well, here's the work in progress result, tentatively part of a series that I plan to expand on called Symphonic Dreams... this movement is currently untitled.

Symphonic Dream I (http://web.mit.edu/mrmiller/www/Dream%201.mp3)

Feedback is much appreciated, more of the musical variety than of the realism variety :D . I'm struggling to write the music right now more than to get it to sound beautiful. That will come when I'm done!

drew
06-02-2005, 10:47 PM
Beautiful! Two minutes of silence - a John Cage sort of thing. Just kidding - the file is blank, empty, null, nil...

Mills2k
06-02-2005, 11:44 PM
Yeah; sorry about that :D . Slight brain fart on my part. Forgot to set the output source to surround in Cubase... fixed now though!

Mills2k
06-03-2005, 10:45 PM
Ugh... my friend just pointed out a distinct resemblence to Danny Elfman's Simpsons theme in the trombones at the end. Could people weigh in on this? Is it too close for comfort? And if it's not, is it then too similar to add a marimba doubling in a coming repetition? Oh man, I love Elfman's music, but I don't want to steal his themes...

drew
06-04-2005, 07:20 AM
Feedback is much appreciated, more of the musical variety than of the realism variety :D . I'm struggling to write the music right now more than to get it to sound beautiful. That will come when I'm done!

Not trying to be too harsh here, but it is tough to give feedback about just the music when it doesn't sound very musical. You've got the notes, now add some 'music' - expression/modulation/velocity/dynamics to shape phrases and give it some life. Just sounds way too midi and that makes it difficult to try to understand and appreciate what you are trying to do musically.

Mills2k
06-04-2005, 09:33 AM
No, no, that's good. In fact, that's the sort of criticism I'm hoping for :D (though I of course don't like to hear it ;) ) I'll try to get around to that some time, but as I said, my primary focus is actually writing the music, and then getting it to sound good once I'm done with that. Because I'm writing in Finale then sending the midi over to cubase, there's no way to just update the MIDI file already imported, so I have to basically do everything again, particularly if I changed any part of a section that I've already done... Anyone have any suggestions for a update-as-you-work method of doing this?

ToddK
06-04-2005, 09:56 AM
I would say overall, it doesnt make sense to post audio of a piece
that you havent tweaked for playback.

No wonder everything sounds like it does. All the attacks and volumes are
identical and never move.

Tweaking the midi for realistic playback is half of what makes it a piece of music.

You dont need any tips or wordarounds in Finale. You just need to wait until
you finish the piece before you ask for comments.:) There's nothing
to comment on yet.

TK

drew
06-04-2005, 07:55 PM
No, no, that's good. In fact, that's the sort of criticism I'm hoping for :D (though I of course don't like to hear it ;) ) I'll try to get around to that some time, but as I said, my primary focus is actually writing the music, and then getting it to sound good once I'm done with that. Because I'm writing in Finale then sending the midi over to cubase, there's no way to just update the MIDI file already imported, so I have to basically do everything again, particularly if I changed any part of a section that I've already done... Anyone have any suggestions for a update-as-you-work method of doing this?

I don't know how others do it, but I just draw the notes in Cubase in the piano roll - that way I can do all the automation( velocity/expression etc) at the same time. It's a bit time consuming - I probably spend more than half my time tweaking things - but that's how I work. Sometimes, I'll record parts in real time through the keyboard, and then go back and tweak. The problem I've found with score editors is that everything is too exact when converted to midi. You need to bump notes ahead or behind the beat by a 64th or 32nd, or overlap notes to give it realism and that makes for some really ugly looking scores. It's just not the same as writing for real players - it is much more difficult because now you are the players and the conductor and the recording engineer and mastering engineer. It was a lot easier, though more expensive, back in the old days BC ( before computers). Yep, I'm that old!

Mills2k
06-05-2005, 06:31 PM
Hrm... yeah, when I'm editing stuff in cubase, I'm definitely using the piano roll. That, and their score editor is just awful. One of the things I have a problem with is the tempo track. It's a great concept, but the problem is, if you change the MIDI file, the tempo track often stays the same. I haven't figured out a way to drag the MIDI tracks along WITH the tempo tracks. If you know how to do this, please tell me. It would be SO extremely useful!

In terms of Finale... I just have a much easier time working with actual sheet music than with the piano roll. It's a different notation, and at this stage, I'm just much more at ease with the notation I've known for so long.

Fortunately, Finale does deal with some of the tail end stuff now. If you put a slur over a bunch of notes, the MIDI render will overlap the ends. And even though it renders the crescendos and stuff to the volume controller, I can copy it into the expression or modulation controller easily. Unfortunately, there's no way to get it to jitter the start times, so I'll have to do that by hand. Again, tips like these are so useful... keep 'em coming ;) .

So, in the long run, would you suggest that once I finish my score, instead of outputting to MIDI, I actually reinput it all by hand, just to get some of that human error in there? Don't use gridsnap, and hope I make a couple of mistakes? hehehe. Sounds like a lot of effort, but could potentially be worth it...

drew
06-05-2005, 10:48 PM
I guess you just have to go with what is most comfortable for you. To me, it seems like a lot of work to use a score editor, export to midi, import to cubase and then have to mess with it a lot to make it sound real, when you can just stay in cubase and get it all done at once. I think if you spent some time working with and learning the key editor, it won't seem so bad. It is a learning curve, no doubt, but I think you'll find it worth the effort.

neoTypic
06-06-2005, 12:35 AM
Quick question: are you using EWQLSO for playback while editing in Finale? I can't get it to work right without it glitching - stuttered sound, dropout, etc. It isn't a buffer error, it's the way Finale is handling MIDI Thru and it's driving me nuts. I've actually gotten the Sibelius demo (and I really don't like it too much, I miss scroll view and really don't want to learn a new program :p) because it will work with EWQLSO for playback.

I too hate the piano roll and just like notating as I'm going. :p

Mills2k
06-06-2005, 09:54 AM
I have got it working, though certainly problematically. Part of it is I'm using it through Cubase and then FX Teleport to my desktop (I compose on my laptop). I use MIDI-OX to create virtual MIDI ports on my computer, and set that as the output in Finale. In Cubase, I set a track to use that as the input, and then I set the output to FX Teleport. If you're running it all on one computer, you don't actually need to have Cubase open... just use the standalone. This way, you can just route the MIDI through that, save some precious RAM.

Unfortunately though, neither of my computers is beefy enough to run much of Platinum at one time. Accursed 24-bits of memory hogging ;) . So I compose orchestral stuff in Finale using just the SoundFont they use in 2004/2005, which, mind you, is still a large step up from General MIDI. However, if I'm composing piano music, I'll route the MIDI to the Bosendorfer library on my laptop (I've got 512 RAM, and if I kill a lot of processes, I can load up Finale and the Wet 4 layer patch at the same time. If I want the nicer 16 layer patches, I FX Teleport through Cubase.

drew: Part of the problem then, is how do you go from your piano roll into a score? I'm writing my music with the hope of getting real musicians to some day perform it. I'm using SO to show off its potential, not as a final exposition of the piece.

And then my tempo track question still stands -- if you want to put something before the stuff you've written, which has tempo changes, can you move what you've written along with the tempo track?

drew
06-06-2005, 10:47 AM
drew: Part of the problem then, is how do you go from your piano roll into a score? I'm writing my music with the hope of getting real musicians to some day perform it. I'm using SO to show off its potential, not as a final exposition of the piece.

And then my tempo track question still stands -- if you want to put something before the stuff you've written, which has tempo changes, can you move what you've written along with the tempo track?

Well, I'm not an expert here, but it is really easy to move things around in cubase and the tempo track is no different. Select what you want moved, position your cursor and hit ctrl+L. Cubase has a decent score editor, nothing like finale or sibelius, but it can produce a score of your midi tracks and you can compose with it also. Nice thing is you stay in one environment and your score and piano roll are always in sync.

Mills2k
06-06-2005, 11:09 AM
Doesn't minorly shifting things mess with the way the score displays, though, depending on your quantization settings?

Also, although CTRL+L nicely shifted all the MIDI tracks (thanks - I've now got a new tool in my toolbox :D ), the tempo track did not move with the rest of it. I fact, Cubase wouldn't even let me drag the tempo track to line up with the new start position. How bothersome!