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Posted on Thu, Mar 22 2012 12:41
by davpla
Joined on Tue, May 25 2010, Posts 5

I am just learning to use VSL. I have the Vienna Special Edition and Logic Express 9 on my iMac. VSL is a very rich and powerful tool and I am having some difficulty finding my way in. I should add that I am new to using MIDI sequencers, too. I have been doing some finger exercises like entering Bartok violin duets and orchestral excerpts.

One excerpt that I have been working on is the EH solo from Tristan and Isolde. It's a tremendously expressive melody with diverse articulations. I am sure my rendition sounds very crude. I would dearly appreciate any feedback about it. Also, I think it could serve as a good basis for a kind of beginners tutorial.

Here are the sound file and Logic project.


Thanks in advance!

Posted on Fri, Mar 23 2012 14:50
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1726

Hello David

Vary as often as possible - of course in a natural way of the certain instrument(s) - the...

  • articulations
  • the dynamic (X-velocity, dynamic articulations)
  • the tempo over all

Further: Use expressive instruments, produce "sweet" arrangements.

If you do these variations with each instrument of the orchestra - so that you also can play each instrument as a soloist - you will get a good performance over all.

Doing these instructions means: clicking the mouse 1'000'000 times, changing/improving curves 1000times, using days...;-)

As an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMAkPT9ggtg&feature=related

(Choir, Strings,..)


www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
Posted on Sat, Mar 24 2012 03:43
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5512

 This is a huge question and so interesting to try and answer.

In trying to formulate exactly what one does when starting to record an expressive melody,  I would say it is first of all starting with the most expressive articulation, which is usually a combination of legato and sustain.  You can record all the notes with just one legato articulation.   It won't sound very expressive, but will allow you to get all the basic notes down.  Then, you put in keyswitches in order to refine the expression based on what the melody or line is.  These keyswitches select your additional articulations. If you switch to sustain, either by varying the legato touch or keyswitching, you get a fresh attack.  Or portato/detache or staccato.  You can keep adding more keyswitched articulations to get it better as you go. 

Then, when you have that in, you can refine the loudness in either velocity, or crossfaded velocity, which will be a huge increase in expressive quality.  The VSL samples are very consistent in velocity, so if you draw in a line in your sequencer for velocity, it will be very close in quality throughout all the notes.  Or another way is to use crossfade - once you have the basic notes in, go through the sequence a second time and overdub in crossfaded velocities, or you can draw them in with a tool.   

Once you have these timbral loudnesses in, you can then refine it further by adding expression (CC11) which is the note-by-note volume changes that are added to whatever velocity-switched timbral changes you already have.  These are very important to create expression, because in live orchestral playing you hear a lot of crescendo and diminuendo even within single levels such as forte or piano.  Some sections will have to use the dynamic samples, because you won't be able to get a realistic sound from just crossfade, expression or velocity changes.  These can also be extremely important in making a line sing realistically.  One "trick" is to use dynamic samples when you don't actually have a cresc or dim.  Examples are to have a violin solo expanding on sustain notes, then fading down, as in the pfp samples.  Another example is using diminuendo samples on chords in brass.  Notes will often start loud and fade slightly even though the fades are not notated.  This also gives a very realistic quality.  One of the worst things you can do is have all your notes totally the same level.  Then it sounds like an electric organ.  But this applies in a small way too, like at the end of notes which in live playing usually will tail off and almost never just keep on buzzing at the same level.

Those are just a few thoughts...

Posted on Sat, Mar 24 2012 22:47
by davpla
Joined on Tue, May 25 2010, Posts 5
Thanks for your thoughts. I think that one problem that I had was that the samples in the Special Edition don't give very much expressive possibilities. I have downloaded the full EH library and will try again with that.
Posted on Sun, Mar 25 2012 20:10
by davpla
Joined on Tue, May 25 2010, Posts 5
Thank you very much, Beat. I found the tutorials on your website very helpful.
Posted on Mon, Apr 16 2012 14:00
by wwzeitler
Joined on Sat, Jun 06 2009, Los Angeles, Posts 47
In the case of using 'legato' with, ferinstance, English Horn--are you thoughtful about where a real player would slur? Would breathe? Are you reflecting those considerations in which notes are overlapped/legato-ed and which have tiny gaps between them? And how big are those gaps?

Also, taking full advantage of both volume/expression and velocity-crossfade goes a long way towards making wind/brass/string lines expressive. Ferinstance, how would a real player release a long note at the end of a given phrase--with a quick release, or a slow one? (You can manipulate that using the 'release' parameter, but I find it faster and more transparent to just draw the expression/volume automation I want for the release.)

Expressive REAL players deal with all of these parameters--to get expressive results you will too.

Finally, VSL--like any sophisticated tool--takes time and practice to master. With time you will get better and better results with less and less effort.
Composer :: Glass Armonica :: Piano
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