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String quartet mock up with Sibelius remotely controlling Presonus Studio One

almound

Member
Here's the URL to the playlist for a string quartet that I recorded via Sibelius as a scoring editor for Presonus Studio One (its the actual playback). (Three movements are available, and a fourth is coming.) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbJ3UqfveVHWcsJDsx8CyBdxygDa_sDqT

Carnavale with Clown (6'09")
Variations and Theme (5'02")
Lentessa (4'04")
Allegro assai (coming soon)

I offer it for feedback, although you should know that I haven't implemented the mixing and mastering tweaks yet. The sound reflects simply the compositional technique of assigning (custom) dynamics and appropriate string articulations. BTW, take the score in the video with a grain of salt. Find the clean score at http://imslp.org/wiki/String_Quartet_No.1_(Johnston,_Everett_Almound)
 
It's pretty difficult to comment on the particulars of your string quartet when it sounds so jerky. I guess you have just imported a midi file form Sibelius into Studio One but haven't taken advantage of adding some legato or humanizing elements. Over all I think it will be a good piece but it needs a lot of massaging. Also I'm not even sure if your using Sibelius properly. I've heard raw Sibelius renderings that leave something to be desired but nothing like this.
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
Hi Almound, I only listened to the first "Carnavale with Clown" track. The mix/sound on the YouTube video is not good, I think it could be made to sound better in terms of legatos and such - currently it sounds very midi. I do very much like the actual composition; it has a very nice 4 part string sound to me. But I'm not a bit fan of the long pauses and drawn out notes, because it seems to ruin the energy and timing of the piece. Maybe that is the "clown" aspect of it, but it doesn't work for me because it breaks it up too much.
 
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almound

almound

Member
It's pretty difficult to comment on the particulars of your string quartet when it sounds so jerky. I guess you have just imported a midi file form Sibelius into Studio One but haven't taken advantage of adding some legato or humanizing elements. Over all I think it will be a good piece but it needs a lot of massaging. Also I'm not even sure if your using Sibelius properly. I've heard raw Sibelius renderings that leave something to be desired but nothing like this.
I'm glad that the posting elicited a response anyway. BTW, one thing I am absolutely confident of is that I am NOT "using Sibelius properly."
 
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almound

almound

Member
Hi Almound, I only listened to the first "Carnavale with Clown" track. The mix/sound on the YouTube video is not good, I think it could be made to sound better in terms of legatos and such - currently it sounds very midi. I do very much like the actual composition; it has a very nice 4 part string sound to me. But I'm not a bit fan of the long pauses and drawn out notes, because it seems to ruin the energy and timing of the piece. Maybe that is the "clown" aspect of it, but it doesn't work for me because it breaks it up too much.
Ah well, that's the lot of us all. Your music on SoundCloud sounds like MIDI to me, quite artificial. Go figure. (A tribute to live musicians?) I use MIDI as a composing tool; its primary purpose is to give me an idea of where it is that I want to take the piece. Many find what I am doing now to be more listenable than what I had achieved heretofore. I post my compositions in order to share what I am doing to improve the situation we all find ourselves in with electronic music creation. Therefore, I prefer to criticize the electronic music industry for their shoddy products rather than the sound that composers are able to achieve with them.

Anyway, thanks for talking about the "actual composition," aside from its particular representation. The "long pauses and drawn out notes" to which you refer are part and parcel of the tradition within which I work, just as you yourself also work within a tradition (which may not be very old, but it is well-defined.) What you refer to as "long pauses and drawn out notes" are simply the artifacts of a tradition that values contrast above monotony, ordered chaos above featureless eternity. The ramifications of this tradition extend into the other arts and also into literature, especially philosophy (in particular, Goethe, Schopenhauer and Rousseau).

The fact that what we call music today has abandoned the "long pauses and drawn out notes" has long-range implications that you might want to consider, as you are a participant.
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
Ah well, that's the lot of us all. Your music on SoundCloud sounds like MIDI to me, quite artificial. Go figure. (A tribute to live musicians?)
...
The fact that what we call music today has abandoned the "long pauses and drawn out notes" has long-range implications that you might want to consider, as you are a participant.
Cheers Almound, your post made me grin. I liked your response.

Yes, I won't pretend that anything I can produce sounds live. Plus there are many people who are much better at using midi instruments and their production that I am, I am just a beginner. I think a small string section is particularly hard to make sound like it is even close to the real thing.

I understand what you are saying about the drawn out notes. They do indeed add contrast, and I know enough about music (although I wouldn't say I know a lot) to know that these kind of sections are used commonly in some styles of music. It is a personal taste thing... in my opinion I think the change is too sudden and adds too much of a contrast. I would have liked the preceding section to continue on longer I guess - it seems too short to me, and stops suddenly. Maybe it would be different though when played live.
 
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almound

almound

Member
... in my opinion I think the change is too sudden and adds too much of a contrast. I would have liked the preceding section to continue on longer I guess - it seems too short to me, and stops suddenly. Maybe it would be different though when played live.
Well then ... that means you will just have to listen to it again. :grin: (Its not a bug; its a feature!) My aim to is to make up for such deficits with fresh meat ... errrr, melodies. Seriously, though, it is hard to express anything in the ridiculously short time that I want the piece to last, but live players have time constraints and don't want anything longer than 20 minutes typically. With the soon to be released 4th movement, I'm already over. But that is the problem. How to get live players interested. Although they are adept at reading a score, there is a lot of inertia not to read anything except certain scores.
 
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almound

almound

Member
Hi Almound, I only listened to the first "Carnavale with Clown" track. The mix/sound on the YouTube video is not good, I think it could be made to sound better in terms of legatos and such - currently it sounds very midi. I do very much like the actual composition; it has a very nice 4 part string sound to me. But I'm not a bit fan of the long pauses and drawn out notes, because it seems to ruin the energy and timing of the piece. Maybe that is the "clown" aspect of it, but it doesn't work for me because it breaks it up too much.

"I haven't implemented the mixing and mastering tweaks yet. The sound reflects simply the compositional technique of assigning (custom) dynamics and appropriate string articulations." Ahhh, for the time! For the time!

I'm sure you are right, that it could be made to sound better. Listenability is very important to me, I assure you. But my goal is not to produce the perfect MIDI mock up, but to write classically-based music. As fine as producers think their sample libraries are, they don't fit the bill for my needs. The sound that I need is not Epic, nor is it for film. It is concert music, and that doesn't even register for them as a viable product. So I have to make due with what I'm given. And what I'm given doesn't cover the type of music I want to write ... a common complaint, as you know.

Noteperformer for Sibelius does well with Renaissance and Baroque music, precisely because those genre do not have the extreme dynamic range and articulation changes required of music written during the classical through the Romantic eras. It is appropriate for C.P.E. Bach and early Haydn, but forget about trying to deal with writing music that evokes the era of Beethoven or the era of Brahms. I would use Noteperformer if I could, but it doesn't work for me so I have had to think out of the box. What you have heard is what I have come up with so far.
 
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