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Moseph

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Everything posted by Moseph

  1. I think what you're hearing may be the melody jumping to and/or away from chord extensions, which makes them stand out more than if they were approached/left by step. The harmony for the section from 1:29 to 1:43 is: Eb M7(9, or arguably an anticipation of the next chord), Bb M7(9), D mi, A mi7/C(b13) [or C add13(11)] with the extended melody notes listed in parentheses. In particular, the F to C to F jump happens twice (1:31 and 1:39) and doesn't completely sit within the unextended harmony either time. EDIT: Not sure how familiar you are with theory regarding chord extensions and their notation, so if you have questions, certainly ask.
  2. This mix works better, definitely. Frequency balance between the flute and guitar is improved, and I think the changes to the tempo increase at the end are good. The left-panned guitar at 1:50 still sounds a bit too lower-mid-range heavy to me. Hearing the bass now in the 1:50-2:20 seciton, it occurs to me that there's now not as much contrast between it and the following section's addition of bass in the strings, which ultimately might not be a good thing if you want 2:20 to feel like an arrival. Your initial call to leave it out might be the better option. I think the important thing to do in this section is to get the frequency balance cleaned up, particularly in the guitar, to get the mix closer to the feel of everything before it.
  3. Really good arranging. I love the back and forth between flute + guitar and orchestra. Mixwise, the guitars in the first half of the track sound a little too present and bassy for my taste. They feel like they're in a different acoustic space from the flute and orchestra and are trying to cover everything else up. The mix doesn't feel like it fully gels until the soundscape fills out at 2:26 -- I think this is largely because that's the first place a strong bass voice enters. 1:50 to 2:26 feels to me like it needs a bass guitar added to it to round things out. The tempo increase at the end feels mechanical to me, like it's a ramp that was drawn in rather than an aspect of the performance. I think it might work better if the increase occurred over a shorter timespan (probably starting no earlier than 3:55).
  4. I kept waiting for it to get weird and trippy and incoherent, and then it ended. It sounds like good, solid jazz to me -- no more, no less.
  5. I'd suggest F# Dorian (F# G# A B C# D# E). Change G# to G-natural if you want some color.
  6. I would kill for a portable MP3 player with built-in compression and leveling options. It would make listening to classical music in noisy environments such as buses and airplanes so much more pleasant.
  7. I say option 1 as well. If you don't want to call the list "favorite plug-ins/libraries," "plug-in/library proficiency" might work.
  8. Kind of a long shot here, but ... Have you uninstalled the Battery 4 demo before trying to install the full version? There's a remote chance that the full installer isn't prompting for a library location because it sees and decides to use the demo's library. You should be able to check whether this is the case from within Battery by going to Edit > Preferences and checking the library filepath in the Library tab.
  9. Do the installers from the .iso and the 13 MB download both do exactly the same thing? Does the My Products, Serials & Downloads section give a different download, or is it the same?
  10. You should have a Native Instruments program called Service Center that gets installed along with Battery and handles program updates. Run Service Center, and it should allow you to activate/download the soundbank.
  11. I think the melody up until 0:50 doesn't play nicely with the accompaniment. You have a quiet dulcimer sort of instrument playing melody over top of loud brass stabs, and the brass tends to cover the melody up. The orchestration is much clearer after 0:50 because first the brass drops out, then later the melody itself is played by the brass. In the section before 0:50, I'd suggest either toning the brass down substantially or playing the melody on a trumpet instead of the dulcimer-like instrument.
  12. For optimal results with any string library, you're going to be better off working with MIDI directly in FL Studio rather than triggering sounds from Sibelius. The FL Studio piano roll view gives you a fine-grain control that you don't get in Sibelius, and you'll need this degree of control to get the most out of a library. I'm not sure how Sibelius deals with MIDI CC events, but you'll need to be comfortable with editing them to use a string library well and it will almost certainly be easier in FL Studio. At very least, I'd recommend exporting MIDI from Sibelius and then importing in FL Studio, or better yet, actually performing things from the score into FL Studio with a MIDI keyboard. If you're okay with having meh playback while you work in Sibelius, I'd suggest not bothering with samples at all in Sibelius and saving that until after the composing is finished and you're working with the notes in FL Studio. You might try experimenting with layering Session Strings Pro over the Kontakt factory strings. (This will likely be easier in FL Studio than in Sibelius.) The idea here is to use Session Strings to get better attacks and more articulation variety and flesh out the timbre by mixing in the larger ensemble found in the Kontakt factory strings. You may even get good results layering the Kontakt strings over themselves, which would let you layer articulations with stronger attacks on top of the standard sustains, which have weak attacks. Edit: An additional reason to use FL for samples rather than Sibelius is that sample use can sometimes be counterintuitive when compared with score notation. For example, you sometimes want to use short articulations (staccato, spiccato, etc.) to get very short legato notes that would be notated with slurs. In FL, you would choose the articulation(s) based on what sounded good and that would be that, whereas in Sibelius, you'd either have to notate things in a way that didn't make visual sense in order to get the short articulations or you'd have to reprogram the articulation assignments, which would mess up playback in other parts of the score. Judging from the YouTube example with the Sibelius score, this is part of the problem you're having with legatos -- Sibelius has chosen a sustain with a weak attack for your slurred notes, when instead you want an articulation with a stronger attack.
  13. My gut reaction is that if you don't yet have the experience to know when you've outgrown a library, then the thing causing you problems is probably more your lack of experience than the libraries themselves. Action Strings is pretty specialized in application, but you should be able to get decent results with Session Strings Pro combined with the Kontakt factory strings library. ("Decent" being relative, of course, since I'm not sure where exactly you're setting your goalposts.) This is not to say that upgrading to something else wouldn't have any benefit -- it likely would -- but don't assume that a more expensive library will necessarily solve your problems. That said, here are some things to ponder in making the decision: Are there particular aspects of the libraries you have now that you like or dislike? When considering a new library, it helps to have a fairly clear idea of what things do and don't work for you and of the weaknesses in your current string palette that you're trying to address. Building on the previous point, do you have a feel for the sort of workflow you prefer? Triggered phrases like Action Strings? Keyswitches like Session Strings and the Kontakt factory strings library? One separate MIDI track per articulation? If you have a strong preference for a particular workflow, it may be a significant factor in deciding what library would be right for you. Out of the articulations available to you, how many do you actually use? Are you currently missing articulations that you need? Are you satisfied with your current legato patch(es)? Do you know much about arranging music for strings? Good writing can go a long way in carrying mediocre samples. What is your budget? Now, now, just because you don't like Hollywood Strings ...
  14. I've never really understood why EastWest bothered with keyswitch patches at all in the Hollywood series. The libraries are clearly designed to be used in a multi-patch configuration, and the keyswitch patches are inflexible/incomplete and seem like an afterthought. Contrast with VSL, which is set up so that it's extremely impractical to do anything besides keyswitching, which is an annoyance for me now that I prefer multi-patches and have set my workflow up to make the Hollywood series easy to use. You just can't win.
  15. I can't find any way to change the default for number of posts displayed per page. Also, just saw that in-progress posts that you're writing get auto-saved. Nice!
  16. A potentially helpful approach that I generally use: Try coming up with some sort of emotional arc for the piece first rather than plotting material similarities. For example: Starts fast, then slows down with a darker timbre, dissolves into solo piano, strings join piano, things get fast again leading to the end. I typically give myself rough clock times and/or measure counts for the duration of each section because this helps me work out the pacing. When working with themes and materials, try sketching out multiple versions of each musical idea -- different harmonizations, different rhythms, different amounts of embellishment in melodies, and so forth -- without being too detailed or trying to determine where in the piece each version will fall (or even if each version will be used at all). When you've sketched two or three or four versions of at least a couple of different brief passages of music, go back to your emotional arc and explore which of the sketches you've come up with seem to work best with various parts of the arc. Once you've made rough assignments of materials to positions within the arc, think about large-scale harmonic movement. Where are the tonally stable areas? What keys? Where does it modulate? How long does it take to modulate? The purpose of this is to figure out where every section of the music is eventually going to end up tonally, because this knowledge generally makes it easier to write interesting and strongly-directed harmonic progressions and also removes some of the but-what-happens-next? anxiety that always comes with writing blind. With the overall harmonic movement planned, start thinking about transitions between the arc's sections and what materials those transitions will be generated from. I find when writing transitions that it's generally very effective to take melodic and/or harmonic fragments from the preceding section and jumble them together a bit. If you do this, it helps to have a harmonic roadmap as discussed above because that roadmap can tell you a lot about, for example, what pitch levels to try transposing these fragments to or what accidentals to throw in. Knowing the measure count in advance can help with pacing, although I often find my transitions end up going longer than I'd initially planned. The boundaries of transitional sections such as these can be blurred a bit if necessary by adjusting how large the repeated fragments are and how much harmonic difference there is with the preceding non-transitional section. It usually feels less transitional, for example, to repeat an entire phrase several times in similar harmonic contexts than to repeat a one-measure fragment several times at different pitch levels. Finally, start working on a full sketch. Expand your mini-sketches so that they occupy their designated time segments and are in their respective correct keys, then stitch them together with fragment-based transitions that follow their own length designations and the overall harmonic framework. If all goes well, you'll end up with something that is well-paced, uses limited materials effectively, has a coherent and interesting large-scale harmonic foundation, and generally feels at any given moment like it's moving forward instead of stagnating.
  17. I second the recommendation to read an orchestration book and would add that orchestral music doesn't necessarily have to be harmonically complicated to work well. Learning is always a good thing, of course, but there are plenty of successful orchestral composers who don't have a strong theory background. In addition to open-ended arrangement projects that involve a lot of new note-writing, you may find it useful to do some straight-up orchestrating where you pick a piece of piano music (fully fleshed-out with all the notes written rather than with chord symbols) and then assign all of the notes to various instruments without writing any new notes or really changing anything beyond transposing to a given instrument's range. This would let you focus on the instruments themselves without having to deal with the arranging process at the same time, and it should help you get a better feel for how the instruments function within an ensemble -- especially if you do it in conjunction with reading an orchestration book. Additionally, it might also be helpful to begin your actual arrangements as piano sketches so you can work out most of the note details before complicating things with all the nuances of instrument assignments. The quickest, dirtiest piece of advice I can give on writing interesting harmonies is to write boring harmonies and then move the notes chromatically to fill in space between the boring harmonies. Then shift the beginnings/ends of some of the notes forward or backward to create new dissonances against the other notes (suspensions and anticipations, in technical terms). You'll get some interesting sounds, and starting with a framework of sensible but boring harmonies will ensure that the chromatic bits generally sound like they're going somewhere rather than just being arbitrarily strung together.
  18. See this thread, particularly djpretzel's post.
  19. Gold editions only, if I'm reading the info correctly. $30/mo. is the 40%-off intro rate; full rate is $50/mo. ($600/yr.).
  20. I had an M-Audio keyboard some years ago that had terrible build-quality (a Radium 49), but my impression from what I've heard people say is that their more recent stuff is a lot better.
  21. The Harry Fox Agency would be the first place to check.
  22. As timaeus said, technically, yes. As far as OC ReMix is concerned, the generally positive response from game publishers (Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix soundtrack, Capcom-approved/licensed commercial release of a Mega Man anniversary album) and the fact that Square Enix's legal team said "Please don't use audio samples from our games" rather than "Don't use our music at all" suggests that the copyright-holders tend to be okay with what we're doing here. EDIT: Also, for what it's worth, I believe the licences for Valve games explicitly grant permission to use the art assets in non-commercial fan works.
  23. Haha, I actually transcribed this, too, and posted the transcription in the community thread about the Mamoru Samuragochi ghost writer scandal. I love that someone else besides just me is interested enough in the track to actually do something with it. I really, really want to see a posted ReMix for it!
  24. For a USB MIDI connection, it would depend entirely on whether the drivers support XP. If you already have an interface with MIDI in/out that's XP-compatible, though, you could always run a MIDI cable from the keyboard through the interface rather than using USB (assuming the keyboard in question has MIDI in/out in addition to USB).
  25. Sounds like the kick is mono, has some pretty heavy distortion on it, and is sidechained so as to duck the rest of the mix when it hits.
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