Por que o realismo é avaliado em excesso (no Mundo das Bibliotecas de exemplo)

When it comes to choosing an orchestral sample library, you don't necessarily need to focus on how 'real' it sounds. Jay Asher, master composer and Logic guru explains why.  

Tudo através da internet, a ênfase na avaliação de novas bibliotecas é quão real é o som? Minha resposta é para aconselhar os usuários a se concentrar em fazer isso soar bom, não é real (e não, eles não são sempre os mesmos).

Aprendi essa lição de volta no início dos anos 90, quando eu estava marcando o TV série Zorro (alerta descarada promoção: agora disponível em DVD). Eu tinha uma orquestra pequena, cerca de 24 peças, que eu estava aumentando com as amostras do III emulador e alguns sintetizadores, especialmente o Memorymoog (ver Pic. 1).

O Memorymoog era simplesmente um sintetizador maravilhoso som com um som quente redonda que há exemplos do dia poderia igualar, descobri que dobrando meus violoncelos reais com ele eu tenho um som que eu amava. Será que isso soa mais como uma seção violoncelo real depois de adicioná-lo? Não, isso não aconteceu. Parecia violoncelo-ish. Mas ele me deu o wallop emocional que eu teria utilizado uma seção maior para violoncelo e até hoje as pessoas ainda me dizer o quão bom ele soa.

MemoryMoog


Quanto a bibliotecas de samples, a busca do real é ilusório. Obviamente, você não quer que eles imediatamente soar tão falso que ele chama atenção para esse facto, mas muito poucas bibliotecas modernas fazer. O Cordas EastWests Hollywood soar mais real do que Audiobros Los Angeles, Cordas de pontuação VSLs Appassionata Strings ou Kirk Hunters Concert Cordas II, por exemplo? Na minha opinião, não, não nas mãos de usuários igualmente qualificados. Mas eles certamente soar diferente.

E isso só faz sentido. Afinal, se você ouvir a mesma peça concertos gravado pela Filarmônica de Berlim, a Filarmônica de Nova York, ou as Orquestras de Boston ou Chicago Symphony, todos eles vão parecer um pouco diferente. Mesmo orquestra o mesmo pode soar diferente com condutores diferentes em diferentes períodos de tempo.

Se você pensar sobre a gravação de uma seção de violino para alcançar real, eu acho que você pode entender por que isso não pode ser feito de um modo completamente satisfatório. Aqui está você, tentando provar um monte de jogadores muito grandes que trazem uma vida inteira de experiência e conhecimento do seu instrumento: O instrumento em si, que pode ter um tom muito diferente, as técnicas do uso jogadores que mesmo com a mesma articulação não pode ser 100% idênticos porque são seres humanos, e da arte e as emoções do jogador.

Tão qualificados como os desenvolvedores de bibliotecas de hoje são amostra, não há simplesmente nenhuma maneira para eles de capturar tudo isso. O que eles podem fazer é capturar um som muito pessoal que diferentes usuários terão uma resposta positiva ou negativa. Não há certo ou errado aqui, nós gostamos do que gostamos. Eles também podem ter um fluxo de trabalho que os usuários mais diferentes vai gostar ou não gostar, demandas diferentes de CPU, etc No final de hoje no entanto, a maioria dos usuários vão gravitar para as bibliotecas cujo som que mais gosta. Eles podem dizer que gosto dele porque ele soa mais real para eles, mas isso certamente não é empiricamente verdadeira e é altamente subjetivo. O que eles realmente estão dizendo é que soa melhor para eles.

Pessoalmente, eu adoro o som das cordas do EWS de Hollywood para distração. (No interesse da divulgação cheia, eu trabalho a tempo parcial para EastWest como seu Coordenador Online, mas vou pedir-lhe para me levar a minha palavra de que isso não afeta o que eu escrever a seguir.)

EastWest's Hollywood Strings


Quando eu ouvi pela primeira vez, o que imediatamente me agarrou não era como real "soou, mas como o tom era exuberante e quão boa é a sala que foi gravado em soou. Eu, principalmente, ser contratado para compor uma música bonita e ficou imediatamente claro que, com esta biblioteca, eu seria capaz de fazer isso mais fácil e eficaz para os meus clientes. Agora, as mesmas propriedades que tiram-me a ele podem ser os mesmos que chamam a outro usuário potencial longe dele e para outro, e isso é ótimo. Não são um monte de opções maravilhosas e eu usar bibliotecas corda várias vezes separadamente e, por vezes misturadas, dependendo da minha percepção do que a música que eu estou compondo necessidades. Mas busca a estética do real nunca é contabilizado para mim. Eles ALL verdadeiro som se eu usá-los bem e tudo vai soar obviamente falso ou "synthy" se eu não fazer. Com bibliotecas de samples como com jogadores reais, você precisa escrever para os jogadores.

Parafraseando uma linha de Jerry Maguire, facilitar a ajuda. Fazê-los soar bem.



Jay is a Los Angeles-based composer, songwriter, arranger and orchestrator, conductor, keyboardist, as well as vocalist. As a composer, he is best known for scoring the New World Television series Zorro. Among the films and TV movies he has arranged, orchestrated and/or conducted are Paramount Pictures' Blame It On Rio Read More

Discussion

Thomas Goss
From the perspective of a professional concert music composer, the process of making a sound set sound good means embracing its limitations. Unfortunately, this limits the type of music one can effectively compose. A strong, beautiful idea that would be a worthy challenge for live musicians may not sound all that great on even the best of sound sets. What a shame it would be if those kinds of ideas were being abandoned in the face of technological perfection.

I think we have to accept that the search for ever-more-realistic sound sets is ultimately motivated by a need for greater expressive freedom - especially for the more developed composer who has their own internal orchestra that requires a real-time audio realization. But of course, no real orchestra will ever perform your work how you imagine it - and neither will a DAW with the most sophisticated of sound sets.

The real risk is that young composers will start composing "to the sound" - that is, treating sound sets as instruments in and of themselves, rather than merely as tools. We may be raising a generation of musicians that have little interest in the realities of dynamic balance, technical limitations, and a host of other practical concerns that every professional orchestrator must face. So I respectfully disagree with Jay that we should be making an effort to make the sounds set sound good, rather than continuing the pressure for greater realism - at least, if our goal is create a convincing and satisfying orchestral sound.
Jay Asher
You make fair points but where we disagree is that I know from experience that if you understand what real orchestral players can and cannot do and write within that, a real orchestra will indeed "perform your work how you imagine it " and perhaps even better, but not "a DAW with the most sophisticated of sound sets."

It is by definition simply not possible to recreate the sound, intellect, heart, and musicianship of 80 guys who have devoted their lives to music with one guy at a computer. So it is folly to think of it that way IMHO.

Thomas Goss
Actually, Jay, I'm a concert music composer with over 20 hours of orchestral works and arrangements performed by professional orchestras. My YouTube channel, Orchestration Online, is a resource for developing composers, and I'm the current macProVideo Sibelius trainer. And I'm about to create a 17-hour orchestration training series here on mPV.

My experience tells me that my imagination must be educated by practical knowledge of the limitations of real musicians, and enhanced by the unique possibilities within each player and team of players. So with all respect, I've heard vastly different interpretations of the same works by different pro orchestras, and indeed by the same orchestra on different days.

Perhaps I'm not making it clear. I'm in no way stating that a computer could ever truly replicate an orchestral performance (in fact, I spend almost no time whatsoever myself in such attempts, as I compose largely for real ensembles who need no such previews, and I simply don't have time). The real thrust of my counterpoint to your original statement is that there is a danger in composing to the sound, in that developing composers may become accustomed to the limitations, and start to abandon the realities. In a sense, I'm agreeing with you past the limits of your article.

So I am absent of the "folly" of which you speak. Rather, I see the unfulfillable search for perfection being driven by sound developers who are trying with all their might to make it real. They'll never get there, but I think the attempt keeps the whole point of sound sets more honest.
Jay Asher
Well, then you know well that you must write to the players as well i.e. you can not write the same things if you are commissioned by a orchestra at a small university that you can for the Boston Symphony.

I am not against the developers trying to make them sound more real.I AM against the idea the I should not i.e. write a fast passage for a trombone patch between Bb and B natural a 9th below middle C because areal trombone must go from 1st to 7th position creating a slide and against the idea that if I think doubling it with i.e. the new Solid State Symphony adds warmth but makes its sound less real that I should not do so because it makes it less real.

So we may just have to agree to disagree.

Thomas Goss
Fair enough, though the F trigger on most newer trombones will take care of that with no problem.

Sounds to me like we agree more than we disagree, actually...
Jay Asher
Indeed.
Al Johnston
First, I would like to say I am a subscriber to macProVideo. I subscribe primarily in order learn from all of Thomas Goss' tutorials, and especially his orchestration courses. But certainly I take advantage of other content, as well. I have great respect for him and his approach to teaching. Many thanks. (And I should mention that I remember the "Zorro" series way back yonder, and that is probably because of its exciting music, Mr. Asher.)

The topic raised in this article and the answers given by both the author and Mr. Goss have preoccupied me for many years. By and large, I think the discussion here is well-considered and I agree with the conclusions I read. Yet I think the issue has additional dimensions that remain unaddressed. Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to me that the discussion so far has revolved around the needs and practices of music professionals (or budding music professionals). Or at least around those with more funds and time ... and more importantly, that have more resources other than software manuals and a knowledge base ... than I have at my disposal.

You see, unlike Mr. Goss and the author, I am not now nor have I been a professional musician - nor at this late stage do I intend to be. What's more, I don't have access to friends/colleagues that play instruments, or to tutors well-acquainted with best practices in the world of electronic music creation, nor do I feel comfortable approaching students at a nearby college. Rather, I am a writer and prefer to use Sibelius (a notation program) to write my pieces, rather than a sequencer. I am mainly interested to write chamber music and concert pieces for smaller ensembles intended for live performance, though due to the audio-visual nature of modern life wish to have a relatively realistic mock-up as well.

With the Internet, there is need for immediacy previously unknown. Recordings, not scores, are the standard media. I can't pay the dozens of musicians to play my scores, much less the recording studio it would take. Orchestras cannot afford to take on even famous "unknown" composers. If I ever hope to hear what I write, much less for people to hear what I write, then I must have a viable recording.

As most are aware though, because I am interested to write in a more traditional style I am put at disadvantage as far as playback is concerned. In general, today's programs and utilities ... even entire sample sets ... are designed and marketed to cater to music styles other than that which I am interested in. For instance, to my knowledge despite an explosion of string orchestra sample sets in recent years, including at least 6 chamber music string ensembles, there is still not one recorded on instruments using gut strings. Likewise, I cannot find a trombone sample at any price which gives me true glissando patches, much less the arcane ones I need for my trombone concerto. (Please, please tell me if I am wrong.)

So, I fall between the cracks, but there are many like me of assorted and varying degrees of talent eager to take advantage of the new technology. What to do? As any book on MIDI orchestration will attest, the first step to achieve a believable mock up is write music according to the well-established rules that ensure successful live performance. Happily also, there are many musicians on the Internet who make practical advice available to composers who present them with parts to play. And also due to the work of wonderful people on-line, scores timed to the music of the great classics depicted are available on Youtube to study. (https://www.youtube.com/user/12clar3412clar34)

But there has been no one to show me - even for money - best practices for doing convincing MIDI mock up of my music. I'm sure you understand how involved the process is; it goes far beyond whatever documentation is written down, anywhere. Youtube videos, on-line courses, and even college courses fail in this regard. In fact, like driving, it may not be possible to learn how to produce a realistic MIDI mock up (at least, of chamber music) without some private instruction by a professional. Yet there is a dearth of such paid instruction. And for notation program playback, there is none. The issue of realism ... or at least of listenability ... is moot if the industry does not make available some practical instruction for learning how best to go about achieving it.

Kontakt's manual provides a single page that tantalizingly describes the barest outline of what is required to configure a notation program for listenable MIDI mock up. The overview mentions multis, instrument banks, and MIDI CC numbers even before discussing what these mysteries are ... and then never returns to the topic again. What's worse, the Sibelius manual contains less content about the subject than that. Producers of sample libraries are well-known to be uninterested to educate their consumer. My only relief in this regard has been Peter Alexander's Visual Orchestration tutorials (Alexander Publishing), which I have paid for gladly. The in-depth discussion on assorted sample library characteristics and on reverb and recording technique for MIDI mock up is unique and extraordinary, well worth the price. However, they are not enough.

In my opinion, the danger is not so much that young composers will begin to write to the sampled instrument but to the limitations on creativity imposed by the electronic music industry itself. Not all music is "epic." Nor is it necessarily orchestral. Nor is it necessarily for profit. I derive a great deal of satisfaction from practicing my art, regardless of what others think about it. I have total artistic control. As Schoenberg is quoted to have said, “there are still a great many pieces to be written in C Major.” Those who follow what I write at my Google+ community ("Sheetmusic playback of Original Music") know that I prefer to mine paths already blazed before by others. There are so many who forge ahead, but my concern is to develop the landscape already revealed. Unfortunately, as an amateur I find I am being hemmed in rather than liberated, despite the thousands I have spent on the electronic music industry's tools, because there is a lack of concern to educate users in best practices. (Are the companies even aware that there are such?)

As my expectations diminished that sequencer programs would incorporate better notation capabilities, I have worked long and hard over the past 15 years to develop better techniques to achieve listenable MIDI mock up for notation programs. I have posted some 5 hours of free in-depth tutorials in this regard. I do not claim that the result is the ultimate in "realism." However, playback achieved using these methods go far beyond playback of any scores composed without them (whether measured in terms of sound produced, sensitivity to notated indications, or "believability").

But again, I am not a professional. It is the professional that should be making this information available to anyone using their product(s), not some user. I am not privy to inside information, nor to a team of experts. The going is slow. But it is non-existent elsewhere. I have waited for years wanting to avoid re-inventing the wheel, but I began to realize that the wheel had never been invented, nor was it about to be. All sound sample libraries released in recent years are geared to map onto a MIDI keyboard, with the intention of using a sequencer for MIDI mock up. Whatever capabilities for playback built into notation programs are not designed to compete. But I cannot accept that I must double the effort just to write and then to hear my music.
D Young
Well, I have struggled over the years with promises of realism with this fx box or that sound sample and mostly found that I could not emulate the sound that I wanted to hear. I came to the realization that if you're doing pop music then achieving the sound is simple, given that the exact sounds that are used in this genre are available to anyone and are generally performed via the same tools most have. If you're doing other genres then things get more challenging.
Our ears are certainly intimate with the sounds we have heard all of our lives. When they are imitated it is much like hearing a computer generated voice on an answering system.....something not quite right. I think that if you want a true rendition of your music you need to use that which is envisioned to be the ultimate performance medium. Now given that the orchestra is not at everyone's disposal, that will most certainly pose a significant limitation if that's your medium. Having said that, as has been alluded to, it is workable to use a blend of both samples and real players. If you want to really make it happen you need to finance for it. I will tell you that in my experience it was worth it. No one can take anything away from you when you have the power of pros backing your sound. If you can throw a few musicians into the mix, along with some samples, it can bring a useful product into fruition. To go the whole route with live players is sublime.
The samples are really quite amazing these days but it also depends on what kind of music you are doing. If you're doing action scenes with crash/boom, unrelated chord changes every two beats and lots of piccolo and string runs, most can be fooled into thinking it's a real orchestra regardless of how boring that kind of over done orchestrating is now. Note that the latter is a reference to having to write to the scratch track to the point that there seems to be little creativity left to the composer who would like to try something different to achieve the effect.
I have also noted that many of the regarded sample libraries often hide the very instrument you want to hear behind a barrage of other instruments to create "realism". It's like the Zebra effect when lions are hunting... for the listener. If you listen very carefully you can hear the unreality of the sound but given that the track is going to be used in a multi-media environment with dialogue, spec effects and visuals.....who's going to notice? This brings about the point of intended use.
If one's music is for pure listening then the acoustics have to be exceptional as there are no distractions here and the sound quality is of prime importance. For this I have some close associates who I call when I really need to deliver on an emotionally impactful performance. For those that haven't engaged players, I suggest you call your musicians guild and contact people in your local pro orchestra and see if you can strike up an agreement. It doesn't have to be wallet stripping and will provide you with a lovely experience that you will most certainly enjoy. They don't care if they are recording in your living room. I can't stress this enough. If you want to produce pro you have to hang with pros. What they will give your ears in a one hr. session will blow you away or at least inform you. They can also be of great help in providing perspectives. If it cost you as much a $100 bucks for the hr. it's well worth it. I've had players come in for $50 and in these times many are happy to do it. Even a single part will make a big difference. I'm a French Horn player among other things and nothing can compete with my sound except another player.....even just long tones can't be beat. When I mix in other horn samples it becomes epic though I have also done the same multi-tracking my own playing. There is just a life and a tone there that defies sampling.
When you put out a really great sample sound and then hear the real thing beside it.....there is no choice....real does it. Bring in even one player to help out on a lead part and you'll be smiling. You'll also have a new friend....and if they love your music you'll get something else on another level....and you can't buy that.

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