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Melodies above C3 ?

nuyo

Active Member
I was always unhappy with my mixes. For the last week I tried to only play bass parts under C3 (C5 for FL Users) and everything else above C5. My mixes sound much cleaner. I'm also analysing the music played on the radio and I would say that they aren't doing anything below C3 aswell. Could this be a guidline for Clean sounding arrangements ?
 

Al Maurice

Active Member
Hi @nuyo -- it's usually best to layer up your arrangements. C3 (around middle C) happens to fall within the chordal area. Below that try to keep the voices more open, as doing otherwise tends to make your mixes sound very muddy and lack clarity. If you investigate the overtone series, you'll find many instruments first have all the partials widely spaced around the fundamental, then you'll get the fifths and the 3rds. After that come all the other tones closely spaced together.

Once the lines going up into the higher registers, then the sound tends to become more strigent and weaker in the woodwinds and brass. At which point you'll need to start doubling in octaves, that's why it helps to keep the lines distributed. Anything in the natural registers can be easily blended in unisons, and that sounds satisfying and rich.
 

d.healey

Senior Member
I think that depends on the music you're writing and the instruments you're using. If you want a tuba to play a melody you're unlikely to write it above middle C.
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nuyo

nuyo

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I think that depends on the music you're writing and the instruments you're using. If you want a tuba to play a melody you're unlikely to write it above middle C.
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Of course but you wouldn't have a tuba play the melody in a full arrangement. I'm talking about a normal arrangement not a solo passage for a specific instrument. In the mountain king you only have low played melodies at the beginning. Once there are more instruments used, the melody plays much higher.
 

kmaster

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I was always unhappy with my mixes. For the last week I tried to only play bass parts under C3 (C5 for FL Users) and everything else above C5. My mixes sound much cleaner. I'm also analysing the music played on the radio and I would say that they aren't doing anything below C3 aswell. Could this be a guidline for Clean sounding arrangements ?
are you talking about your mixes or your orchestrations here, then?
 

EgM

Game music!
Well, there's no definite recipe for melodies range. You can listen to many different songs and have melodies played throughout the register. Getting a cleaner mix is simply getting the rest of the orchestra or band leave some room for the melody and counterpoint instruments.
 
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nuyo

nuyo

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Well, there's no definite recipe for melodies range. You can listen to many different songs and have melodies played throughout the register. Getting a cleaner mix is simply getting the rest of the orchestra or band leave some room for the melody and counterpoint instruments.
That's what people say, but when I write a full brass chord with bass synths, choir and the main melody is played by the High strings in the last 2 Octaves, I still end up with a very muddy arrangement. I get much better results when leave evrythibg between C0 to C3 for the bass and chords + melody are played over C3.
 

youngpokie

Senior Member
when I write a full brass chord with bass synths, choir and the main melody is played by the High strings in the last 2 Octaves, I still end up with a very muddy arrangement
Do you really need a giant sustain pad using (a) brass AND (b) synths AND (c) choir? Cause it sounds like you're forcing a ginormous tutti chord instead of a more balanced background or countermelodies...
 
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nuyo

nuyo

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No I don't thats what I meant by using C3 to split Bass and Chords. Sounds clean and you only need 1 or 2 brass voices and or strings + choir.
 

kmaster

Sleepy Member
Both

. A good orchestration means less mixing. It goes hand in hand for me.
well sure, but they're still distinct topics. 'C3' is not a mixing concept, for example.

But from the rest of the conversations it looks like you're more interested in orchestration/arranging (for recording!) than mixing (those recordings). In that case, I would highly recommend Henry Mancini's Scores and Sounds:


Sure, he doesn't talk about massive hybrid percussion or dark subby synths, but it's still one of the single-best resources for orchestrating/arranging for the record.
 

mopsiflopsi

Active Member
In my limited experience (and folks, feel free to correct me if I'm saying nonsense), it also depends on what articulations and dynamics you're using. If your bass line and chordal texture blast out a constant ffff, it's not gonna help with giving the melody a chance to get the listener's attention. Playing those parts at softer dynamics can clear things up. Articulation-wise, short brass stabs or pizz plucks on the double bass tend to contribute less muddiness compared to long sustains (sometimes I find even staccato is too much). So yeah, it depends on a lot of factors. For starters, though, you can't go wrong with learning more about harmonic overtones. It's not a terribly complicated concept either.
 

pinki

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It's an interesting way of thinking about the problem. Normally mixes are thought of in terms of frequency and bandwidth but C3 to C5 etc is another way of describing a mix I guess. I'm not sure if it's any better at solving the problem though.
 
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nuyo

nuyo

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It's an interesting way of thinking about the problem. Normally mixes are thought of in terms of frequency and bandwidth but C3 to C5 etc is another way of describing a mix I guess. I'm not sure if it's any better at solving the problem though.
A note is a frequency. Playing C0 and E0 at the same time will make the track muddy. Same goes for having 2 Bass instruments playing differet things at the same time. If it is orchestrated well you don't need to mix a lot. At least this is how I'm looking at it right now.
 

kmaster

Sleepy Member
A note is a frequency. Playing C0 and E0 at the same time will make the track muddy. Same goes for having 2 Bass instruments playing differet things at the same time. If it is orchestrated well you don't need to mix a lot. At least this is how I'm looking at it right now.
that's the thing: a note, unless you are playing a pure sine wave from a synthesizer with 0% distortion in any part of the signal chain, is not 'a' frequency. It is a collection of frequencies all jumbled up together at different relative volumes and ADSR envelopes, based upon its source and its dynamic level (among other things). That's why, for example, a bass clarinet will mesh into a cello without having a distinct presence of its own, whereas a horn makes a 50-50 mixture with that same cello.

Don't overthink it! :)
 

pinki

Senior Member
It's an interesting approach no doubt. For me I keep the two processes separated but there are no rules!
 

Al Maurice

Active Member
It depends on what angle you take -- I suppose.

Are we talking about traditional orchestral/jazz like arrangements for acoustic instruments here or just plain issues with scoring with samples or synths, because the two are not quite the same?
 
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nuyo

nuyo

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It depends on what angle you take -- I suppose.

Are we talking about traditional orchestral/jazz like arrangements for acoustic instruments here or just plain issues with scoring with samples or synths, because the two are not quite the same?
The second one. All Electronic Genres like Cinematic, Trailer Music, EDM, Hip Hop, Trap etc...
 
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