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Undertale - La Valse d'Papyrus


NyxTheShield
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Is this a WIP? Are you planing on collaborating with a piano player? The piano sounds very midi - aside from just not sounding like a real piano, there's no humanization or dynamics until the very end, and every note held out until the next beat.  It really lacks any style until the end, because it sounds like a computer is playing this, not a pianist.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Haven't really heard much, if anything, from Undertale before. Cool, fun source to play with. Sounds like some old NES FF stuff. Sorry it took so long to get to this. Glad to see you using the new eval prefix. :D

Slimy's right. Unfortunately for a piano-only remix, this is too mechanical. I like the arrangement, but the performance (or illusion thereof) is too robotic. Too mechanical sequencing. The piano sound itself might be ok, might be a problem as well. It's difficult to tell how responsive it is to velocity changes when I don't hear if there are any velocity changes in there at all. Regardless, this sounds sequenced, not performed. That's a problem.

It's also difficult to tell if the right-hand writing would work or not, if the velocities were different. It feels a bit simplistic at times. With different dynamics, that can sound great. Right now, it feels a little too simple. There are long sections where the dynamics are the same throughout. While you vary dynamics between sections, within a section the dynamics are pretty flat. That adds to the mechanical feel of it.

Varying timing, velocity, and note lengths is a human thing to do. A human performer won't be able to hit everything exactly right. The problem with humanization is that the quirks of the human performer aren't easily recreated by a computer. For this to pass, it needs a lot of humanization work, or a collab with someone who can play it.

It's difficult to comment on the source usage and that stuff without being more familiar with the source, but I hear several melodies from source in here. The different genre makes the comparison more difficult, but the adaptation works well. It's a nice arrangement. Unless there are some obvious source usage-related problems, I don't expect that's a problem.

Someone more familiar with Undertale's soundtrack, and with how piano should be written, could chime in on those things, since I think that'd be useful information to you. As far as I can tell, the only thing that'd get this rejected is the humanization issue, both the performance (or illusion thereof), and the overall dynamics which need a bit more motion to it. If it sounds performed, played, human, real, then I think it's good to go. Until then, I don't see this passing.

Nice choice of source, nice adaptation. Still needs work, though.

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Rozo and Slimy are right; the piano chords are noticeably stiff; I can tell that every note in each chord has zero timing offset with respect to the others and/or are quantized to the left edge of each grid subdivision (i.e. it's too robotic). I had made an audio example a while ago that illustrates the general difference between completely stiff rhythm and humanized rhythm but I can't find it. If I get the time tonight I can make a new example though, by quantizing something that's humanized. :P

I like the transformation to a slow waltz. I played piano for about 8 years, so one thing I'd say is that on the left hand, on each [single-note]-[chord]-[chord] 3/4 pattern (or 6/4, depending on how you group the measures), the single note, generally played by your left pinkie, should be strongest, and the two chords, generally played by your left hand's middle finger+index finger+thumb, should be weaker. Those two chords should also not be exactly the same intensity. So, if we suppose velocities on a scale from 1 to 10, I would do something like [8]-[4]-[5] or [8]-[5]-[4] for the [single-note]-[chord]-[chord] velocity magnitudes.

For the right hand, suppose the main, waltz-y parts of this (i.e. not the quieter outtro) are in 6/4 and we consider 6/4 measures, counting the beats as 1 2 3 || 2 2 3. Under those circumstances, for the right hand, I would emphasize the 1 of measure 1 and the 2 of measure 2 and have the velocities of the other notes in the pair of measures be lower.

That's how I would prefer to play it naturally.

EDIT:

Example (Humanized) ~ Humanized rhythm and velocities

Example (Robotic Rhythm) ~ No effort to humanize rhythm (except on grace notes, triplets, and other irregular/non-4/4 tuplets)

Example (Robotic Velocities) ~ No effort to humanize velocities

Example (Robotic Rhythm AND Velocities) ~ Literally no effort to humanize (except on grace notes, triplets, and other irregular/non-4/4 tuplets)

You may notice that generally, humanized rhythm can be more subtle, but it's still significant, especially on chords. I would say that the humanization on your remix is roughly between the third and fourth examples, though closer to the fourth than the third.

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Thanks everyone on the feedback! I was fairly sure I humanized my tracks like I always do (I actually do it like you told me to a looooooooooooot of time ago @timaeus222 hahahaha) but I checked my project again and at first glance it wasn't like that, most of the right hand notes are humanized in velocity but no rhytmn and the left hand barely has velocity changes (Cept for the last ending chords which are humanized like I always do), I think I might have reverted to an old version without noticing and overwrote it while working :c I will fix it ASAP and post an update c:

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2 hours ago, NyxTheShield said:

Thanks everyone on the feedback! I was fairly sure I humanized my tracks like I always do (I actually do it like you told me to a looooooooooooot of time ago @timaeus222 hahahaha) but I checked my project again and at first glance it wasn't like that, most of the right hand notes are humanized in velocity but no rhytmn and the left hand barely has velocity changes (Cept for the last ending chords which are humanized like I always do), I think I might have reverted to an old version without noticing and overwrote it while working :c I will fix it ASAP and post an update c:

I think should also try getting some free piano samples. The sound itself sounds like a midi piano to me, regardless of humanization.

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Better, but yeah, still sounds like "MIDI". The faster phrases are a bit too perfect in terms of the evenness of the velocity magnitudes.

Is it possible to adjust your sample library's velocity response? It might help to smooth out the hardness of the tone overall by making the slope more exponential than logarithmic.

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I will mess with my library to see if that option is available. In the meanwhile I changed half of the song, I still need to mess with the offset of the chords but I changed most of the note velocities (With indeed were played at the same level, specially the high notes):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/93823550/Papyrus_3.mp3

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The velocity response is essentially a way to control how low/high velocities access the samples in the sample library. Generally, low velocities access low-intensity samples, and high velocities access high-intensity samples. Changing the velocity response can change it so that, for example, lower velocities access lower-intensity samples than before (exponential curve).

EDIT: Yes, consider overlapping notes as well for the durations of each note. The way you wrote the right hand, the pianist plays staccato almost the whole time.

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2 comments after seeing the project in your DAW:

  • The notes of the right hand all seem to have the same duration, whereas a human player might alternate between staccato and legato, and generally put style into it. For example, if I were playing this on a piano, I might play the first few seconds of the right hand rhythm like this: staccato, legato, legato, legato - staccato, staccato, legato, legato
  • Your note velocities, despite being humanized, and all generally in the same place on your controller area. Why? You have an entire controller area to work with! Give it dynamics! Have the song start off soft, build it up to a forte, make it soft again, etc.
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2 minutes ago, timaeus222 said:

The velocity response is essentially a way to control how low/high velocities access the samples in the sample library. Generally, low velocities access low-intensity samples, and high velocities access high-intensity samples. Changing the velocity response can change it so that, for example, lower velocities access lower-intensity samples than before (exponential curve).

Yeah I see it now, I had a Linear Response so the changes weren't so accentuated, I changed it to a Convex 50% curve (Should be an exponential response) and now the velocity changes are clearly notorius. Thanks for the tip!

1 minute ago, Slimy said:

2 comments after seeing the project in your DAW:

  • The notes of the right hand all seem to have the same duration, whereas a human player might alternate between staccato and legato, and generally put style into it. (we can't help ourselves!) For example, if I were playing this on a piano, I might play the first few seconds of the right hand rhythm like this: staccato, legato, legato, legato - staccato, staccato, legato, legato
  • Your note velocities, despite being humanized, and all generally in the same place on your controller area. Why? You have an entire controller area to work with! Give it dynamics! Have the song start off soft, build it up to a forte, make it soft again, etc.

Will do! In the latest mp3 I posted you can see that thanks what Timaeus suggested those lower notes with "low velocity" now sounds much softer than before c:

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After hearing the update - the style of the right hand doesn't match the left hand at all. It's plucky and staccato, while the left hand is smooth and legato.

Ok, so, the left hand generally follows a bass note, chord, chord pattern. But the 2 chords sound the same velocity as the bass note played, which sounds extremely midi. A pianist would compensate for playing 3 notes versus one by playing it softer. In the picture you posted, I can see that there actually is a difference in velocity, but the difference isn't enough to hear.

5 minutes ago, NyxTheShield said:

Will do! In the latest mp3 I posted you can see that thanks what Timaeus suggested those lower notes with "low velocity" now sounds much softer than before c:

Could use much more. You're only using ~20% of your controller area.

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26 minutes ago, Slimy said:

After hearing the update - the style of the right hand doesn't match the left hand at all. It's plucky and staccato, while the left hand is smooth and legato.

Ok, so, the left hand generally follows a bass note, chord, chord pattern. But the 2 chords sound the same velocity as the bass note played, which sounds extremely midi. A pianist would compensate for playing 3 notes versus one by playing it softer. In the picture you posted, I can see that there actually is a difference in velocity, but the difference isn't enough to hear.

Could use much more. You're only using ~20% of your controller area.

 

Hmm I will check, but I think you guys are misjudging the movement of the left hand, I am not doing SIngle Note- Chord - Chord, In fact i am doing a Single Note- Chord - Single HIGH Note (You can see that in the daw screenshot)

 

EDIT: Updated almost the entire score, opinions? https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/93823550/Papyrus_5.mp3

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51 minutes ago, NyxTheShield said:

Hmm I will check, but I think you guys are misjudging the movement of the left hand, I am not doing SIngle Note- Chord - Chord, In fact i am doing a Single Note- Chord - Single HIGH Note (You can see that in the daw screenshot)

Either way, the hand placement would be the same; you would just leave your middle and index fingers in place and move your thumb for the high note. Hence, the intensity pattern is similar.

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