Scoring to picture while keeping a human feel?

Discussion in 'Composition, Orchestration & Technique' started by cato, May 24, 2019.

  1. cato

    cato New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm interested in how people approach scoring to picture to get a human feel and flow to their music. I use Logic and tend to record to a metronome, but then quantise my MIDI notes 'imperfectly (using the humanize function) to try and keep things a bit less rigid.

    The reason I do that is so it's easier for any session players I record to replace my MIDI parts to just follow the music with a metronome, although I know a click track is useful in these situations.

    I much prefer to write without a metronome as it feels more human, but I'm wondering if there are any techniques that I haven't thought of for scoring to picture in this way that would help keep the human feel of a score? Something like a way to record to metronome, and then using a controller knob to make the tempo ebb and flow that way?

    Thanks for any ideas,

    Cato
     
  2. OP
    OP
    cato

    cato New Member

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    Does everyone just use a metronome then?
     
  3. clisma

    clisma Active Member

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    Hi Cato,

    Sometimes when there is very little to hit on screen and the scene requires emotional flow, I actually record without a Metronome. Once the performance is exactly how I like it, I will adjust the Logic grid to my performance using bitmapping. Then, if required, I flush out the rest of the arrangement.

    Other times I record to the Metronome and then draw in all sorts of tempo changes to give the music more ebb and flow. Both these approaches have worked for me with life performers in the past.
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    cato

    cato New Member

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    Thanks @clisma - when you draw in the tempo changes, do you just do that with your mouse? Or is there a more 'performative' way to do it like via a MIDI controller / dial? I like the idea of being able to 'play in' my tempo map as I expect the result would feel more natural...
     
  5. clisma

    clisma Active Member

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  6. GtrString

    GtrString Active Member

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    Why so concerned with the session players job? Your job as a composer is to create exactly how it should sound, and theirs is to reproduce that to the best of their abilities. All live music has ebb and flow in the tempo, so that should only sound natural to them. If its locked perfectly to a grid, you know its a demo.
     
  7. Christof

    Christof Senior Member

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    Not true, most recording sessions are done do a metronome.
     
  8. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    Correct. That doesn't mean that the tempo never changes (not that Christof was implying that), but certainly, given the amount of pre- and post-recording that goes on in movies, there's always a click these days. John Williams is a rare exception.

    I compose with a scene up on the video screen, but not with a metronome going, and I don't try to follow to-the-frame hits while writing. With Digital Performer (my DAW) it's quite easy, after the fact, to slide bars around to fit the music that you played in. That allows both to retain the click and still put the music into bars so that the players and conductor can follow it.

    After I compose I will tidy up a bit to make sure things hit where they belong. Not infrequently that takes many times longer than the actual writing.
     
  9. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    I've never had the opportunity to do a live session, how does this work? Do all of the players wear in-ears with a click? Just the conductor? I'm actually surprised, I thought the live music would have more "breathing room" for dynamics, etc.
     
  10. GtrString

    GtrString Active Member

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    Yes yes, but what I meant was that while playing to a metronome, there can still be tempo variations in the various instruments. We just sync those to reference points in the tempo track. So tempo variations wouldnt be unnatural, even when playing to a metronome. It all sounds musical when some of the notes sync with a metronome, but all of them doesnt have to. Just follow a lead guitar throughout a song, its filled with tempo changes, even when in sync to a tempo track.
     
  11. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    These days, yes -- typically all the players have a click. The conductor's job is mostly one of communication about style points.

    There are some settings in which only the conductor has a click; I will be faced with one of those this autumn, coincidentally, but in Los Angeles and London (and, actually, everywhere else with which I'm familiar) the players each have clicks.

    Most of the players shun the studio-provided headphones and bring their own devices. I never ask but I assume it's partly a hygiene thing and partly familiarity and control (the players' headphones usually have individually adjustable volume).
     
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  12. Saxer

    Saxer Senior Member

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    I had both cases. Conductor click only works fine if it's not needed to be too close on the grid. Easier to play and get to the flow. For action cues or difficult parts with drop ins or section doubling and overdubs on pre-programmed backings the click for each player is a must. They wear one sided headphones with one ear open.
     
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  13. DerGeist

    DerGeist Active Member

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    Hope this isn't too much of a hijack...but is there such a thing as a click VST? I hate the click in my DAW and find it very hard to follow. I could make my own but would love something simple that gives me multiple sound options and the ability to crank the click to 11.
     
  14. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    Do you run Cubase 9 or better? It has a lot of options for click sounds.
     
  15. Parsifal666

    Parsifal666 I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.

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    And just think of the great Golden age scores, employing liberal amounts of rubato...Alfred Newman, both conductor and composer (9 Oscars!!).
     
  16. DerGeist

    DerGeist Active Member

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    Liberal rubato is my entire aesthetic :)
     
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  17. DerGeist

    DerGeist Active Member

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    I'm on Live 10. It gives me three options all of which are OK but could be better. I would also love them to be louder.
     
  18. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    Not to hijack either but this is such a huge problem now. Many composers can go into their 30s, 40s or older before ever getting live players. A number of times I've done arrangements for composers whose work is fine -- they are working! -- but really have no idea how to write for a live orchestra.

    This is partly because v.i.s have become so much better.
     
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  19. Parsifal666

    Parsifal666 I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.

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    Live sessions can make you see libraries for what they really are: mostly good for getting ideas across. Sample libraries can also be very inspiring if they have a good enough sound and/or bring something novel to the table.
     
  20. Parsifal666

    Parsifal666 I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.

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    I learned a long time ago that nothing beats having live performers playing your music, even better if they like your music to begin with.
     

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