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Debussy's Nocturnes mvt 1 Mockup

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
Here is my mockup of the first movement of Nocturnes, composed by Claude Debussy.


Amidst heated discussion about Spitfire Studio Woodwinds, I decided to pick up the core version, and run it through its paces, along with Emotional Violin, which I picked up recently on sale. (The english horn, please note, is from Berlin Woodwinds Legacy since SStW doesn't include one. And it happens to be the most prominently featured woodwind in the piece.)

In my opinion, SStW did a decent job, though there were a few times that I wished I could have gotten a more expressive line out of them, and they are a bit on the thin side. But overall, things just worked as they should and I think it is very capable library at a reasonable price.

Emotional Violin is an instrument I need to spend more time with, but I think it did a decent job as well. There are some bowing transitions I wish could have been smoother, but overall I'm loving this instrument.

Cinematic Studio Strings does a lot of the heavy lifting. Here, it helped with the expressiveness. But I'd also point out that I had a lot of trouble getting the quiet repetitive ostinatos around 1:28 and 3:02, as there's a weird mechanical pumping feeling to it that I just couldn't program around. I'd be interested in people's suggestions on how to handle a part like that.

As always, I'm all ears for comments and criticisms. Thanks for listening.
The next movement of Nocturnes is in the works. :emoji_sunglasses:

Libraries used:
Cinematic Studio Strings & Brass
Spitfire Studio Woodwinds Core
Berlin Woodwinds Legacy (english horn)
Emotional Violin & Cello
Chocolate Audio Glissando Harp
Rhapsody Orchestral Percussion
 
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OP
Land of Missing Parts

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
I am always in favor of more classical demos being posted, for any libraries.
I'm only doing it so I can steal from them. :P

I do wonder if the divisi jumps out to anyone's ears, though, since there's up to 14 separate string parts in there. Ideally I guess you'd use Afflatus or Spitfire Chamber Strings, but I just decided to use CSS on all parts. I would be curious to be able to hear the difference though.
 

miket

Senior Member
I'm only doing it so I can steal from them. :P

I do wonder if the divisi jumps out to anyone's ears, though, since there's up to 14 separate string parts in there. Ideally I guess you'd use Afflatus or Spitfire Chamber Strings, but I just decided to use CSS on all parts. I would be curious to be able to hear the difference though.
I'm a stickler when it comes to performing divisi parts with sampled strings. I know the common wisdom is that most people won't notice and it's not worth fretting about, but I notice it and I fret.

The biggest giveaway tends to be spatial rather than tonal, for me. Having four different parts coming from the same point in the stereo field is what sticks out to me the most. There's something very "boxy" about it, for lack of a better word.

That's what I hear in this example. CSS has the right number of players to masquerade effectively with both full unison lines and more delicate divisions, from a tonal perspective. It's the sense of spread and dimension that one hears in real life that's missing.

Great, now I want LASS again.
 
OP
Land of Missing Parts

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
The biggest giveaway tends to be spatial rather than tonal, for me. Having four different parts coming from the same point in the stereo field is what sticks out to me the most. There's something very "boxy" about it, for lack of a better word.
This is such an excellent point! I had never thought of it that way until now, and you're right. Something new to think about for future mock ups.
 

ism

Senior Member
Lovely mock up.

I do think that I feel the absence of the close mics though. It comes out in the ... I don't know spatialization or some such. I don't really miss the close mic in the studio strings. But I would never use SSW without lots of close mic, so perhaps the woodwinds are different somehow.
 

0cme

New Member
Great stuff! I've encountered the 'pumping' problem too, and found that turning the passage into a patchwork of different velocities/articulations (while staying within the same vi, and the same mod/expression levels) got enough samples to have subtly different 'shapes' to break up the pumping effect. That was with Hollywood strings though.
 

goalie composer

Active Member
Here is my mock up of the first movement of Nocturnes, composed by Claude Debussy.


Amidst heated discussion about Spitfire Studio Woodwinds, I decided to pick up the core version, and run it through its paces, along with Emotional Violin, which I picked up recently. (The english horn, please note, is from Berlin Woodwinds Legacy since SStW doesn't include one. And it happens to be the most prominently featured woodwind in the piece.)

In my opinion, SStW did a decent job, though there were a few times that I wished I could have gotten a more expressive line out of them, and they are a bit on the thin side. But overall, things just worked as they should and I think they are a very capable library at a reasonable price.

Emotional Violin is an instrument I need to spend more time with, but I think it did a decent job as well. There are some bowing transitions I wish could have been smoother, but overall I'm loving this instrument.

Cinematic Studio Strings does a lot of the heavy lifting, and is still my favorite sample library that I've ever used. Here, it helped a lot with the expressiveness. But I'd also point out that I had a lot of trouble getting the quiet repetitive ostinatos around 1:28 and 3:02, as there's a weird mechanical pumping feeling to it that I just couldn't program around. I'd be interested in people's suggestions on how to handle a part like that.

As always, I'm all ears for comments and criticisms. Thanks for listening.
The next movement of Nocturnes is in the works. :emoji_sunglasses:

Libraries used:
Cinematic Studio Strings & Brass
Spitfire Studio Woodwinds Core
Berlin Woodwinds Legacy (english horn)
Emotional Violin & Cello
Chocolate Audio Glissando Harp
Rhapsody Orchestral Percussion
Really enjoyed it. Did you use the same approach to verb / placement as with your JNH mockup (EAReverb)?
 
OP
Land of Missing Parts

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
Really enjoyed it. Did you use the same approach to verb / placement as with your JNH mockup (EAReverb)?
Thanks Goalie Composer. (Debussy really missed an opportunity by not adding vuvuzelas to this piece. :P)

Joking aside, this time around CSS is straight out of the box, no processing. Everything else went through EARverb 2
Screen Shot 2019-06-01 at 11.15.33 AM.png

For the solo strings, I added tails with Seventh Heaven. I don't think my placement of the Emotional Violin/Cello worked very well (around 5:01), for what it's worth, but the Intimate Violin, which is a second violin instrument included in Emotional Violin, is closer to what I wanted (3:57). Probably the extreme mic placement wasn't a good move on my part.

I'll admit that I don't have the sensitive ear for spacialization that others on this forum do, so I just set it quickly, moved on and forgot about it. I should also mention that the mixing phase of this was relatively brief, as the orchestration just kind of mixes itself here. Volume discrepancies were handled almost entirely in performance, and I only touched the volume faders when I perceived that there was a limitation of the sampled instrument that couldn't be overcome with performance. No compressors, except on the master bus.

I do think it's interesting that people point out that CSS has such a dark tone, but when I compare to live strings recordings I find myself wishing it was even darker.

Great stuff! I've encountered the 'pumping' problem too, and found that turning the passage into a patchwork of different velocities/articulations (while staying within the same vi, and the same mod/expression levels) got enough samples to have subtly different 'shapes' to break up the pumping effect. That was with Hollywood strings though.
I think the pumping sound in this case is a slow bowing that ends prematurely and goes into legato, at least as best as I could tell. I imagine it's tough for CSS to do both really soft dynamics, but still moderate pacing, and the extreme repetition. It seems like the kind of thing Spitfire will eventually make or has already made an Evo instrument to handle. Philip Glass Composer Toolkit.

I do think that I feel the absence of the close mics though. It comes out in the ... I don't know spatialization or some such.
I can hear what you're talking about in the beginning of the piece. For what it's worth, I actually pushed the winds back much further in the room than the default tree mics in SStW, for those judging what the library offers. In my mind's ear, they were just sitting in front of the strings so I pushed 'em back.
 
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miket

Senior Member
I've been thinking about what I said regarding divisi strings and getting a sense of "spread." I'm going to try panning the Studio Orchestra a bit wider than it naturally is with the Core Tree 1; just nudging everything a few degrees more to the left or right respective of its original position.

I partly just want to see if this alleviates some of the boxy sound of Tree 1, maybe getting slightly closer to the Outriggers, at least in width. It'll still have much more room tone than the Outriggers. But if it does work out, I think it would also be a viable way to add a little more realism to divisi writing by discreetly panning each division to a slightly different spot.

It seems like it might just introduce more problems to mess with the panning of already positioned recordings, but we'll see.
 

Nite Sun

Member
Incredible work!

For moments like 1:28 and 3:02 I would try layering portato articulations from different libraries (Berlin Strings has great portato choices), perhaps with a quiet non-vib CSS legato layer with CC1 & 11 swells to imitate the portato.

Some of the Albion V Tundra feathered articulations might work here too
 
OP
Land of Missing Parts

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
Incredible work!

For moments like 1:28 and 3:02 I would try layering portato articulations from different libraries (Berlin Strings has great portato choices), perhaps with a quiet non-vib CSS legato layer with CC1 & 11 swells to imitate the portato.

Some of the Albion V Tundra feathered articulations might work here too
That's a great tip, thanks! I was actually about to ask how you did something comparable in your Ravel piece at 3:18.
 
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