Notes from the Shore

Work, marriage, kids and music

Production Update

I know I’ve been spotty at posting of late. Mostly my time spent on music is so short and scattered that I cannot complete anything of note. That being said, here is where the various pieces fall right now:

My Jesus, I Love Thee: After wondering how to get a decent cello for the track, I took the suggestion of a friend and hired a virtual cellist. That is, I found someone who owns and uses the Garritan Gofriller Cello (discontinued) and hired him to record the track for me. It sounds pretty good. I’d make some more refinements, but he’s already spent more time on it than $50 warrants. some of the sections are downright spooky they sound so much like a live cello player.

So, why haven’t I rendered and posted the piece, yet? Well, I’m having a little trouble with the rendering. I’m using the JABB Steinway for the piano part, and it sounds just wonderful. I may upgrade to the Garritan Steinway before the CD is done, but we’ll see.

The problem is that I’m getting dropped notes when I render the piano. Now, I will grant that when I was doing this, I was also trying out a free USB audio interface that I eventually discarded. I haven’t gone back and tried it again since getting the new interface (an M-Audio Fast Track) so I’m not freaking out about it, yet. Once I’ve got the rendering thing fixed, I want to go back and tweak the velocities of the piano part to just where I want them. It will come out soon, I hope.

This Is My Father’s World: I came across this hymn one night whilst paging through an old Methodist hymnal that someone gave me. The great thing about this hymnal is that it is three-ring bound, so I can pull pages to my heart’s content and put them back when I want. I was looking for inspiration for this upcoming project.

When I came across Father’s World, I could hear the hammered dulcimer and recorder in my head. I knew right away that this was on the project. I’ve been working on it slowly but steadily since completing Be Thou My Vision. It’s turning into hammered dulcimer, recorder, flute, solo violin, string section, piano and some percussion. The form is complete, and I am currently arranging the strings. Slow work. The strings (including the solo violin) will be programmed into Finale and brought as audio files into Sonar. The dulcimer similarly is being brought in as MIDI and then rendered in Sonar. Everything else is being played live into Sonar (as MIDI, of course).

One of the reasons the recording has gone so slow is that I’ve given up on the sf2 format. I just can’t make it work outside of my sound card, and I don’t want to be shackled to that. So, I’m exploring the sfz format. I am blown away by how powerful it is – you can make it do almost anything that the big samplers can do. Keyswitching, complete control over all continuous controllers, legato playing (haven’t made that one work, yet), release samples. The only thing I haven’t found yet is round robin samples, where a different sample plays each time you strike the same key to avoid the “machine gun” effect of repeatedly playing the same sample. But, I think that’s doable as well, I just have to figure it out.

When I do get everything together, I’ll post about it. Until then, here’s a thread from KVR Audio where several helpful people have been, well, helpful.

I’m moving forward on several of the interludes, including the prelude. Not much interesting there – I’ll post about them when I do the more adventurous ones. I’ve got some neat ideas that will be really cool if I can make them reality.

Well, I’m out of time and taking up far too much space. I haven’t even gotten to my recording session last Saturday morning with two talented sisters. I’ll get into that soon. Until then, Later…

3 thoughts on “Production Update

  1. How exactly is the virtual cello recorded?

    When I was a child growing up in Canada I belonged to a church girls group called “Explorers” and our anthem was This Is My Father’s World. Beautiful melody and I can still remember a lot of the lyrics let’s see.. This is my Father’s World and to my wondering eyes, the rock and trees and honey bees…. no This is my Father’s World… well I’ve still got all the melody in my head, if I can’t recall the words. Must Google the lyrics, maybe I’ll record a quiet acoustic version of that on a CD, maybe as a ghost track. Such a soaring and haunting melody.

    Anyway, you don’t know me from Adam or Eve but I found your blog though a songwriting search.

    In the rustling grass, I hear him pass!!


  2. Thanks for looking, Jannie. The software used to record the Cello is a piece by Garritan called the Gofiller Cello. The links are kind of hard to see, but check out the second paragraph and there is a link to the product page.

    Essentially, it’s a sampled cello, but with a ton of real-time and MIDI controls over the sound. Also the waveforms have been tweaked so that they line up really well – this allows velocity crossfading between the samples that is very smooth. I can’t wait for it’s replacement (Garritan Advanced Strings) to be released sometime later this year.

    Again, thanks for looking, and check back from time to time for updates.


  3. It’s pretty amazing what computers can do, for sure. I’ve used Band-In-A-Box but to my knowledge it”s all from a synth card, no real samples. I might look into the program you mention.

    Happy Writing.

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