Flam1ng Dem0n

Recreate Instrument technique using samples?

7 posts in this topic

So I am having a hard time figure out how to recreate a common music technique heard in many fantasy songs. The best example I can give is the start of "Towards the Gate" from FF9.

Towards the Gate

Right at the start a bunch of woodwinds (and maybe some strings, I can't fully tell) play to where they swell (though I don't think that's the right word) towards higher tones. Giving a positive and joyful mood, but at the same time a sense of wonder.

This same technique is heard in other songs as well from other things such as movies, and other games.

Does anyone know how (if it is possible) to create this with samples? Meaning not live/recorded instruments? Having a hard time breaking it down and recreating it in Sonar with the samples I have on hand.

Thanks!

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Also in the same song once the strings start, they have this sort of swell to them. It's on each third note in the beginning of the time.

I am pretty sure swell isn't the right word here, but I don't know what the proper terms are.

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Just my 2 cents here, but the "swell" you speak of in the strings is a minor 2nd trill (fast alternating notes a semitone apart), and in terms of notes, what I'm hearing is an ascending scale in a minor key (seems like E relative minor, meaning you start on E and end on E, but use notes in G major, having only F#).

Among the textures, what I perceive is a harp glissando on the left, a flute (or perhaps piccolo) playing the scale legato in the middle, and probably some violas playing legato on the right (ending on a perfect fifth below the flute)

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That's called a "run". It is a fast scalar "run" as the name implies.

Many modern sample libraries contain either run simulators for strings and winds or pre-recorded runs. 

You can create your own run simulation by playing a fast scale with a mix of staccato notes and half-trill samples. Be sure the the timing is fairly messy as no one can play that precisely. Ultimately though, a pre-recorded run will sound most realistic.

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You two offered WAY more knowledge then I anticipated. Thanks a bunch!

21 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

Just my 2 cents here, but the "swell" you speak of in the strings is a minor 2nd trill (fast alternating notes a semitone apart), and in terms of notes, what I'm hearing is an ascending scale in a minor key (seems like E relative minor, meaning you start on E and end on E, but use notes in G major, having only F#).

Among the textures, what I perceive is a harp glissando on the left, a flute (or perhaps piccolo) playing the scale legato in the middle, and probably some violas playing legato on the right (ending on a perfect fifth below the flute)

Jesus, you must have a good set of ears. I couldn't pick out all that as well as you did. Though I am not musically trained, so that probably plays a part in it. Thanks for the awesome break down of it!

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They're just more experienced in the field of knowing what that stuff is, having done it themselves.

Additionally, that may be a solution where trying to recreate it in MIDI (or, to say it simpler, in your music program) is just plain unlikely to achieve the results you'd like. For needs like that, many people and companies have recorded humans performing them for the reason that programs and humans have different strengths and weaknesses for instrument performance. Even expensive MIDI orchestration books recommend finding a recorded phrase sample for some of those things as opposed to wang-banging the software and note grids to try to replicate it. Sometimes it can be done, but other times it really is just not worth the effort.

In this particular song, oddly enough, Uematsu is NOT using the Sound Canvas that he uses for at least 90% of the rest of the soundtrack. I wager he used a real orchestra or at least premiere (at the time) orchestral phrase sample CDs that recorded real orchestras.

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I strongly recommend that you watch Alex Ball's new guide on using a virtual orchestra.

 

It's a bit long, clocking in at 50 minutes, but trust me: There isn't a more clear, comprehensive video on the internet regarding this subject.

As he discusses at one point, the orchestral flourishes that are difficult or impossible with multisamples are essential to composing music like this; reminiscent of the Romantic Era and "The Golden Age" of film scoring. He even recommends libraries specifically dedicated to this task.

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