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Old January 26th, 2012, 03:56 PM   #16
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

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I have been using Royalty free sound tracks for most of my productions, but these are now starting to sound like "elevator" muzak, hence my interest.

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Nice video. And I like the choice of music. It's safe a serene, which is probably exactly the right choice.

The good news with doing your own music is that you can choose the mood. The bad news is that you have to choose the mood. ;) Also, people have strong opinions about music. It's hard to please everybody. The worst part is that you will have an idea about the style and mood but you might have trouble delivering it.

I once had inspiration for a fast tempo violin quartet that would have an 18th Century vibe. When I implemented it with samples, it sounded like hillbilly chicken music. That's not the way the melody sounded in my head when it came to me in the shower! I'm still wondering how much of this was due to the composition and how much was due to the triggering of stiff samples.

The difficulty in both composing and performing music to hit a specific mood can be humbling. Top composers are fired regularly when the compositions don't quite match the director's intent, so nobody is immune. But when you get it right for the scene, you'll know that you can't achieve that with canned sounds. Over time, you can develop themes that are iconic and that you will remember for the rest of your life. :)

Quote:
I enjoyed looking at your award winning short movie, brings a nice twist to Tea for Two, a nice idea - did I hear undertones of "Hernados Hideaway" (Pyjama Game Musical)
Thanks! I'm not familiar with Pyjama Game Musical, so any relation is a coincidence. Then again, our actor who played "Rachel Schwarz" (a required character that year) was going to NYU at the time, majoring in musical theater. She wrote lyrics that probably had rhythms from all over Broadway. :)

Best of luck getting your auth code and keyboard. It sounds like that's all you need to get going.
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Old January 27th, 2012, 12:46 AM   #17
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

Jon,

I was thinking of buying this keyboard

QX61 61-Key Advanced MIDI Keyboard Controller

Seems to have all the features I need, it's not available just yet, I can wait for it.

I have been sent the activation key for Garritan, am having a nice tinker with it, the instruments sound fair to good. The one thing I can't work out is where do I see my composition notes - musical or Midi style. Or do I need another software application to see these. Am I wrong in thinking that Garritan is the interface for selecting an instrument, but your recording has to fed to another application. I also have Presonus Studio One, which came with my external soundcard.

Regarding Hernandos Hideaway and the Pyjama Game, it is from an old Broadway musical which was also made into a film, great fun but lightweight. Henandos Hideway was the best song, your video at 1.27 reminded me of it. Here is a link to the song

The Pajama Game - Hernando's Hideaway - YouTube
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Old January 27th, 2012, 12:54 PM   #18
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

That keyboard should be fine. It's unweighted, so it will play like an organ or a synth, rather than like a piano. That's a personal preference thing. Rather than wait, see if you can find a cheap used keyboard with a mod-wheel and velocity control to tide you over. Should cost about $50. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why you would wait for this particular keyboard. I didn't see any new, must-have features. I rate keyboard features in this order:

MUST HAVE
* MIDI or USB output
* Velocity Sensitivity
* Mod Wheel
* Pitch Wheel
* 61 or more keys
* Sustain pedal

IMPORTANT FEATURES
* Weighting (as preferred)
* 88 keys, especially for piano players. Some libs have key switches at the extreme low register. Not having to change ranges is convenient.

COOL FEATURES
* Additional inputs for linear controllers, like a linear pedal or wind controller
* Other knobs and switches for additional control (not necessarily while playing)
* Built in sounds. Sometimes it's nice to just play without having to load sounds in the PC.

NOT IMPORTANT
* Aftertouch. I have it. It's too hard to control well. Nice marketing feature.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 02:04 AM   #19
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

Thanks Jon,

I will look around for a keyboard that is available. I have just upgraded my Studio One Artist to Studio One 2 Producer. Just waiting for the complete download to finish taken 12 hours so far and I still have over 5gb of data to download, I am on a low speed Broadband connection with AOL, should be 24mps but I am barely getting 200kps - would love to go cable but this would mean digging up our path and boxes in the hall etc.I have seen what a mess they have made of my neighbours drive.

Studio One 2 looks very impressive and I should be able to use Garritan as a plug in. Keep fingers crossed.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 08:30 AM   #20
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

I lost the plot a little - on the software you were going to use for the sequencing. A few years ago, we created a new qualification here in the UK for 16-18 year olds (A Level Music Technology). A awful lot of schools and colleges did traditional music and used scoring packages for their work. Sibelius was (and still is) the most common. A simply excellent notation tool - and the stuff you can print is industry standard. However, many decided to use it for sequencing. When we first started the qualification, to keep the music people happy, the students had to do one pop/jazz song and one classical piece. Sibelius was universally terrible. It's got better over the years, but just isn't designed to put subtle timing and controller data into the music. It always sounded robotic, even with the cleverest programmers. Many of the pop style sequencers were brilliant at modern music, being loop based, but I have to say that Cubase and Logic were the two that could do classical orchestral samples and synths justice. Practically every parameter can be tweaked in real time, and then edited. Some work I used to listen to that had big sample libraries behind them could really have been real musicians - however, this level of realism on was evident on a very small percentage of work. The endless fiddling and tweaking to create the right envelope on the right sound took real dedication, skill and time. Using umpteen different sample banks to get the right noise for just 1 note!

On my system here, I sigh a little when people give me music to recreate that has brass and woodwind expressive instruments. Big band is my pet hate, where you sit and audition sample after sample to get just that one warbling, brassy farty sound. Trumpet falls are another pet hate. They never quite seem to fit, so you end up speeding them up and slowing them down. This takes so much time, rarely can I add it to the bill! You spent a day on HOW MANY NOTES!!!
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Old January 28th, 2012, 09:56 AM   #21
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

Not sure which plot you lost Paul?

I have no intention of making the London Symphony Orchestra or the New Your Philharmonic orchestras redundant. It's just cheaper to score music on a computer than hire the orchestra, besides that, they wouldn't all fit in my living room.

Sibelius and Finale etc. are great for putting the dots on a sheet, but I don't want that either, I just want a few seconds or minutes of background music - jingles, elevator muzak etc.

I was only kidding when I said I wanted to compose a Symphony, although I might do that next week, once I find the On/Off button. :-)

Have a nice day in Lowestoff, I met my first girlfriend there, Mary Smith, she had a great set of teeth - do you know her?
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Old January 28th, 2012, 06:30 PM   #22
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

Paul is right. You want a sequencer, rather than a notation program. Sibelius and Finale have added features that improve their ability to trigger MIDI notes, but it's just not the same as playing things in and editing real curves.

At NAMM, MOTU said good-bye to Apple. Their Digital Performer product is PC-only going forward. That leaves Logic and Cubase on the Mac and Sonar, Cubase and Digital Performer on the PC. Try out the demos and choose the one that feels the most comfortable. For me, it's Sonar, but I first used Cakewalk at version 2, so I'm well acclimated.

ACID also does MIDI, and I love their interface. If you use Vegas, it falls to hand. Unfortunately, ACID's MIDI implementation was buggy and was missing key features a couple years ago. If they bring it up to speed, it could be quite nice.

The bottom line is that you want a sequencer that can host GPO and other instruments as VSTi plugins. You can run GPO standalone to noodle around, but for composing, host it in the sequencer. And make sure to configure your sequencer to use the ASIO interface on the soundcard.
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Old January 29th, 2012, 05:45 AM   #23
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

I agree that I don't need a notation program, it was never my intention to get one. I just wanted a decent application such as those you mention. I have purchased the new release of Presonus Studio One 2 Producer which has all the features I could ever need (and understand what on earth they mean) and it also has a Vienna Strings VSTi (by curtsey of Kontakt Native instruments it also host's Garritan amongst others.

I can see the need for a decent keyboard now. I think am on the right path
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Old January 29th, 2012, 09:07 PM   #24
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
At NAMM, MOTU said good-bye to Apple. Their Digital Performer product is PC-only going forward....
According to MOTU's press release, as well as their web site, Digital Performer stays on Mac. The announcement was actually about introduction of a cross-platform version of DP 8, which will from now on be available for BOTH Mac OS X, as well as Windows.

So, for Mac: Logic, DP, Cubase, Ableton Live, Reason... (in addition to the free GarageBand)
for Windows: Sonar, DP, Cubase, Reason...
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Old January 29th, 2012, 09:12 PM   #25
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

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I agree that I don't need a notation program, it was never my intention to get one. I just wanted a decent application such as those you mention.
For what it's worth, I used to be a big fan of Cubase. As a sequencer, it was incredibly intuitive and simple to use, but powerful and flexible to allow human performance. Ten years ago, I actually used its notation features to produce an orchestral arrangement for a musical, manage the engraving and music layout, and print it all (score and some 16 parts) for the orchestra. I hadn't touched it since, but can only imagine that the whole package got better, more intuitive, and with richer features set.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 05:47 PM   #26
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

Vincent,

As a violinist, you don't really need this, you can just record yourself, but it might be handy when you don't want to set up mics in a studio space. It's brand new and just $99, so it won't break the bank. It will give a taste of the difference between GPO and the top, modern libs.

Quantum Leap Solo Violin
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Old January 31st, 2012, 02:21 AM   #27
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

Thank you for the link Jon, it's about the best violin playing sample I have heard, but still falls far short of an actual violinist playing. The one failing all the samples have is that the vibrato is too constant. Listen to any decent violinist and the vibrato will vary from note to note. Sometimes a note my start dead but a gradual introduction of vibrato brings it to life and gives expression to the music.

But thank you for sharing this link, I may just spend my $99 on it, but only if I break another string on my violin.:)
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Old January 31st, 2012, 02:39 AM   #28
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

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For more information check out Welcome to the VI Control Forum! Musicians helping Musicians!. That forum specializes in electronic samples for composers.

Warning: sample libraries can be like lenses. You never have enough, always want to upgrade, and they are expensive. At least lenses hold their value. Sample libs become obsolete, and often the licenses don't let you sell them.

Best wishes on entering the world of sampled music performance!
Jon, you have opened up Aladin's cave for me. I wasn't aware that there would be so much out there. Just a word of warning, beware my wife and bank manager are on the war path for you.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 03:01 AM   #29
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

So true about vibrato being too consistent. It's even worse of voice samples. We hear violins on occasion (maybe even regularly), but we hear voices from before we are born.

A few years ago my wife bought me a cheap violin. I can play notes. (But nobody wants to hear me play those notes.) That said, it's been invaluable for me when composing for strings. I can work out the fingering and bowing to help ensure that what I write is playable. I even rented a double bass for a few months that I used on the score for a short film (all plucked - it was for a jazz vibe.) Life is more flexible without frets!

BTW, when you find Aladdin's lamp and wish for three sample libraries, you know you've gone around the bend!
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Old February 1st, 2012, 04:51 PM   #30
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Re: Using public domain compositions in a film

Here's *much* better demo of the QL Violin. Earlier in this thread I mentioned "idiomatic writing" or writing in a style that suits a particular instrument. This composer did that beautifully here. The piece is clearly for a solo string instrument. The same composition wouldn't make sense on flute, trumpet, piano, or kazoo. :)

Suite for Violin by askmusic on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

It's still not quite as fluid as a real player, however, because it avoids back to back long sustains, the consistent vibrato isn't much of a problem here.

One sub-thread at VI-Control was about hiring real string players. One guy says he'd never demo a midi violin for a filmmaker. Another replied, "What do you do? Play it on piano with a voiceover saying 'violin goes here'?" He noted that it would cost $200 to get a professional violinist to walk in the door, while the lib costs half that.

A third person had the best answer. He had recently mocked up the solo strings using a (different) lib and it turned out very good. The project had the budget for a small, live string section, so he recorded the soloist as well. In the end, both the lib and live versions had their advantages and disadvantages. He ended up going with the live recording, but it was a coin toss. The bottom line is that he was able to write, hear, and refine the piece *before* he delivered the notation to the musician. So, in the end, the answer is that "lib vs. live" is a false choice. With a budget (or a pro player), the answer can be "both". :)
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