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Are we "performers?"
Last post Sat, May 12 2018 by jsg, 64 replies.
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Posted on Sun, Apr 29 2018 01:31
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1012

Dave: When you post your work on the 'Orchestration - Composition - Instruments' category in this forum, whether specifically or by inference you are soliciting comments and opinions. I have noticed there are quite a few half-wits here (not you), that do the above only in order to get enthusiastic responses from fellow forum members, and bellyache the moment someone expresses dislike (let alone hate) towards their work. Id est, unacceptably childish behaviour... That is the main reason I usually refrain from commenting on people's pieces on the forum, unless I have something positive to say. 

[General comment: Just to be clear, and for what it's worth of course, I don't listen to everything here so if I haven't commented on your work it doesn't necessarily mean I disliked it]

Now about me not commenting on the actual thread you opened about the trio: So what?!?!?! I wasn't planning to contribute anything further on this discussion (even on this thread), but William e-mailed me that he had written something here(!) about my earlier post, I read it and proceeded to respond here.

My mentioning your piece was merely a side-note in the whole diatribe (I tend to ramble as you may have noticed). I never intended to post in your thread, for the reason that I felt it was not worth the posting. Why, you ask? Because I felt it was an unfair comparison between the VSL and your live performers, since your electronic simulation of the work was really unconvincing! Yes, due to inferior programming! Why are you offended?.. Do you believe yourself to be a great programmer of samples? Have you listened to Jay Bacal's work? Guy Bacos'? Alexandre Temple's? Mike Verta's? William Kersten's? And a host of others... Sampled performances are fraught with unrealistic aspects (especially solo strings - and exposed solo strings at that) that we have to mask in simulations. In fact, that is where the whole art of programming lies. Why is it offensive to be told that you have a long way to go in that department? I said 'inferior' programming (compared to the above gentlemen), not 'bad'/'puerile' programming. "Disparaging"? Well that's what it sounded like to my not so inexperienced ears. "It's easy to criticize other persons' work, isn't it?" I suppose it is. As easy as it was for those that gave favourable comments, and I am certain you would not have asked me this question had I also responded positively. You don't think that would also have been easy for me? You're right, I have chosen not to post tracks here, mainly because I am self-conscious about my programming (not my composition!), but it's a free forum. You go ahead and post to your heart's content, I promise you I will never henceforth refer to your efforts on any thread. We will continue having philosophical discussions instead.

Lastly, you don't want to be in "my company"/league? Don't worry; you aren't.

Anand: Thank you very much for jumping in before I had a chance. It is never my intention to offend or hurt anybody unless they are obnoxious (and Dave isn't), but that's just how I felt about the programming effort and the whole thread. If Dave is that great as a programmer, I'm sure VSL-management are already contracting him as an in-house composer/simulator (like Guy).

Bill: I said the sampled performance sounded fake. Obvously the samples are very real, and greatly recorded (the '80s samples also were real).

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Sun, Apr 29 2018 01:55
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 378

Originally Posted by: Errikos Go to Quoted Post

Dave: When you post your work on the 'Orchestration - Composition - Instruments' category in this forum, whether specifically or by inference you are soliciting comments and opinions. I have noticed there are quite a few half-wits here (not you), that do the above only in order to get enthusiastic responses from fellow forum members, and bellyache the moment someone expresses dislike (let alone hate) towards their work. Id est, unacceptably childish behaviour... That is the main reason I usually refrain from commenting on people's pieces on the forum, unless I have something positive to say. 

[General comment: Just to be clear, and for what it's worth of course, I don't listen to everything here so if I haven't commented on your work it doesn't necessarily mean I disliked it]

Now about me not commenting on the actual thread you opened about the trio: So what?!?!?! I wasn't planning to contribute anything further on this discussion (even on this thread), but William e-mailed me that he had written something here(!) about my earlier post, I read it and proceeded to respond here.

My mentioning your piece was merely a side-note in the whole diatribe (I tend to ramble as you may have noticed). I never intended to post in your thread, for the reason that I felt it was not worth the posting. Why, you ask? Because I felt it was an unfair comparison between the VSL and your live performers, since your electronic simulation of the work was really unconvincing! Yes, due to inferior programming! Why are you offended?.. Do you believe yourself to be a great programmer of samples? Have you listened to Jay Bacal's work? Guy Bacos'? Alexandre Temple's? Mike Verta's? William Kersten's? And a host of others... Sampled performances are fraught with unrealistic aspects (especially solo strings - and exposed solo strings at that) that we have to mask in simulations. In fact, that is where the whole art of programming lies. Why is it offensive to be told that you have a long way to go in that department? I said 'inferior' programming (compared to the above gentlemen), not 'bad'/'puerile' programming. "Disparaging"? Well that's what it sounded like to my not so inexperienced ears. You don't want to be in "my company"/league? Don't worry; you aren't.

Anand: Thank you very much for jumping in before I had a chance. It is never my intention to offend or hurt anybody unless they are obnoxious (and Dave isn't), but that's just how I felt about the programming effort and the whole thread. If Dave is that great as a programmer, I'm sure VSL-management are already contracting him as an in-house composer/simulator (like Guy).

Bill: I said the sampled performance sounded fake. Obvously the samples are very real, and greatly recorded (the '80s samples also were real).

I got a notification of this response, and "HOLY SMOKES", you are delusional, Errikos.  You need help.  Serious help.  I'm not in your league?!  This is the kind of arrogance that pretty much lets me know exactly how insecure, how irrelevant, and how completely inconsequential your artistic endeavours are.  Seriously, who talks like this in real life?  You hide behind a keyboard and spout your diatribe, claiming your supreme musical reverence.  Do you approach people face to face and suggest that they're not in your league?  You need a dose of humility, and I'm almost certain that with those social skills, you are one very lonely man in real life...and if people smile to your face, Errikos, I'm certain they're calling you an "A__" behind your back.  Wow.  Just wow.  

As to my programming skills, I am aware that they are not at the level of Guy Bacos, etc. but I am equally confident that the piece in question was programmed to a level of quality that elicited quite a few compliments from others precisely FOR the midi rendition.  Further, suggesting that VSL would contact me is ridiculous.  Why should they?  I don't produce the style of music which would connect with the majority of those interested in samples, nor do I write music that purposely exploits all of the articulations/instrument combinations, etc. that would suggest "demo."  

Anyway, I'm done here.  I will not indulge a single further response to any of your attempted retorts.  You've shown your God awful arrogance with that ridiculous comment, and I prefer to surround myself with "earthly beings" that are positive, inspiring, and supportive.  Good luck to you, God Among Men.

Dave

p.s.  I'll help pay for the procedure to remove the stick.  As high up as it is, we'll need a very skilled surgeon.

www.dearvillainmusic.com - music for live performance by David Carovillano

www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Sun, Apr 29 2018 03:57
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1012

How do we actually get notifications for post-responses? I only get an e-mail when I have a PM waiting...

I came back here to "improve" on my 'from-the-hip' post, but too late... In any case:

As far as the "in my league" comment: Apart from not seeing the humour in the riposte, you're the one that declared twice you don't want to be in my (lowly) programming-company. When I tell you that you are not, you actually complain?! How exactly did you diagnose the 'stick' and the arrogance when I was the first to admit that I am not a good programmer (certainly not in your company...). It is a very sophisticated skill, and only a few in the world possess it to a level high enough to at least atempt to compare their outputs with those of live performers. Where did you actually detect a hint of arrogance on my part?

Maybe it is you that needs help getting off that giant Trojan horse, where you are unable to accept that there could be somebody in the universe not dazzled by your programming skills. You keep repeating, with breathtaking insecurity I might add, that there are so many others here and elsewhere that have congratulated you on your mix. And?? Are you trying to change my mind with that statement? Do you think there would be plenty that -even when "hiding behind a keyboard"- would tell you they weren't too impressed? My comments were not meant as an affront Dave. I have already repeated that I said I felt your programming to be inferior (not bad or awful) as to not be good enough for a comparison with live players, and you got offended by that... You'll just have to live with my believing your mix to be sub-par. And you will, for a) I'm sure that you don't care what I have to say, and b) it seems that my solitary opinion is drowned in an ocean of unqualified praise. So why don't you take the initiative and contact the VSL, they actually have a huge library of classically oriented demos, they don't just cater to Hans-clones.

You are right in one thing, my social skills do create problems for me, I have a loose tongue and I abhor political correctness. You are wrong in that other thing, that you prefer to surround yourself with "earthly beings" that are positive, inspiring, and supportive. Surrounding yourself with such people in your life -family and social circles- is a must (I try to as well). Proffering your music and demand that people mandatorily respond to it with cotton balls is ill-considered. If you are confident about the MIDI quality of your work, so be it. I am equally as confident about it. I don't understand your hysteria about this. I certainly didn't call you names like you implied people call me, and never called you arrogant for your insistence that you are a fair programmer. Is it impossible for you to compute that somebody might think you are not (and be wrong)? Or is it that he says it publicly that bothers you (subsequent to you having offered your work for public comment)?

To refer to the original topic, if we are performers as well, then (as with instrumental performers) we are not all at the same level of artistry.

I'll be thankful for any financial assistance you may afford me regarding the removal of the stick ailing me -it is a procedure that I won't deny I sometimes am in need of (as many artists have been before me)- perhaps we can both book with the same physician?

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Sat, May 12 2018 02:01
by jsg
Joined on Thu, Jan 19 2006, San Francisco, CA USA, Posts 261

Originally Posted by: Acclarion Go to Quoted Post

Hi all,

I've been thinking about the question, "are we as composers/sample users also performers?"  This was born out of a couple of things:  first, everytime I go to register a new piece with my PRO, I'm forced to list the instrumentation of the work and then the performer(s).  It always feels weird listing "Vienna Symphonic Library" or "David Carovillano" as the performer, even though I often play parts in, rather than simply edit midi data.  Second, also tying in to this was an article I read that tried to argue that percussionists are not musicians but rather technicians, because many aspects of musicianship are not required to "bang on a drum in time" (as a distilation of the main argument).

This had me thinking that when we create our performances using samples, are we essentially acting as technicians and not performers?  Here are my arguments for and against the thought of also being a performer in addition to the composer:

We're performers because: 

-we interpret our music and carefully consider many/all of the same things a live performer would (articulation choices, dynamics, phrasing, tempo, etc.)

-we may phsyically be able to play parts in due to advanced keyboard skills

We're not performers because:

-even if we play parts in, we're almost always going to edit data after, and a performer would have no such benefit in a live performance situation

-much of performance training/skill is the ability to not only perform the material, but to do so under the stress of live performance with an audience, and further, to connect with the audience in ways that go beyond the simple mechanics of playing notes

As a further aside, one might also suggest that to the outside world, if you were to present a mockup of your music and the audience loved it, they would more likely credit the "computer" for the performance, more than your skills in realizing the work through samples...I hear almost daily from people outside our realm, when they hear a piece of mine, "wow, computers are really close to making humans obsolete!"  They never consider the skill/learning process/time that goes in to making a mockup.  

So, while this is really not the most pressing issue, I'm curious as to how others view the work they do.  When you use samples are you simply a technician adjusting cc curves, tweaking knobs, etc. or are you also the performer of your own work?

Dave

 

-

Excellent topic and good questions Dave!    I consider myself primarily a studio musician, a recording artist.  I  play piano and improvise well and sometimes improvise for the public either solo or with a clarinetist.   But MIDI recordings are not "performances" in the sense of there's no live audience, no risking making a mistake or losing the beat and no group-transcendence, i.e the psychospiritual and psychosocial energies of sentient musicians listening and reacting to one another in real time.  Yet there are "MIDI performance standards" that call attention to the fact that many MIDI recordings sound like dead crap and others are highly musical and a pleasure to listen to.   And everything in between. 

II think you addressed the issue of performance nicely when you talked about how we computer-based composers are as concerned about dynamics, phrasing, attack and release times, tempo, beauty-of-tone and expression as any highly trained performer.  The techniques are entirely different, performing a phrase on the violin is based on body, arm, hand and finger movements, (and mind of course!) the techniques we use to get a computer and software to really "sing" requires programming, lots of programming of tempos, velocities  envelopes, note length and notes relative to the beat just for starters. and this doesn't include the more traditional skills of composition, orchestration and texture and the decisions made on those levels.  

Playing a part into MIDI makes it more like a performance in terms of physical spontaneity and real-time expression, though I have heard highly musical results through sequencing (rather than playing) if the same quality of attention is given to envelopes, strong-and-weak beats and dynamics (not merely velocity and CC11 but sectional dynamics, structural dynamics and the macro-dynamics of post-rendering wave volume envelopes). 

Here's an example of modern virtual orchestration using a 12-tone matrix to generate melodic material and musical intuition to govern harmonic choices, an attempt to reconcile dodecaphonic chromaticism with the harmonies that mean something to me.

symph10mvt2

Jerry

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