Notes from the Shore

Work, marriage, kids and music

Trumpets In!

I found some spare time tonight and finished tracking the trumpets in Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded.

I’ve been having some issues lately with my WX5. It’s not sending “note off” messages on two notes, now – A and C above middle C (not all octaves, which is strange, and leads me to suspect an internal software issue).

Fortunately, since the instruments are monophonic, the next note stops the previous one from playing, so I don’t get “hung” notes that keep sounding for the rest of the song…

When I started tracking the song, I printed all the parts from Finale, where I wrote it. After I printed them I realized that Finale defaults to the transposed pitch of each instrument. Rather than reprinting the Trumpets and Horns in concert pitch, I decided to track them transposed, and insert the MIDI Transpose FX to bring them back to concert pitch.

TransposeUnfortunately, this had the annoying side effect of only transposing the notes when recording and upon playback. When manipulating the notes in the piano roll window (which I need to do a lot) the notes played back as written. This made it difficult to slide a note up or down to the correct pitch by ear.

A plea to the Cakewalk Forum got me pointed in the right direction. It was recommended I ditch the Transpose FX as a permanent fixture on my track and use the Key Offset instead. It’s buried down at the bottom of the track, so was hidden since I had 8 tracks, each with a narrow strip so they would all fit.

Key OffsetThis worked great until I started getting another glitch – this one I think being caused by the WX5. Namely, the line I was recording would not stay on pitch.

Since the trumpet is a Bb instrument, the correct transposition to bring it back to concert pitch is -2 semitones. Sometimes, though, I would need to set it to -3, and sometimes to -2. Sometimes it would change each time I recorded a section.

Tonight, no matter what I had the transposition set to, I couldn’t get the WX5 to play in the right key. The existing MIDI data would play back correctly, but all the new stuff as I was playing in would be a 1/2 step either up or down, and I just couldn’t do it. Maybe if I was a better player I could play through it – but not tonight.

So, I bit the bullet and printed out the transposing parts at concert pitch. All this to save a few sheets of paper.

But, the trumpets are in, edited, and I previewed them in a nice large hall/cathedral ambiance.


1 thought on “Trumpets In!

  1. Rob,
    This is just a tad complicated for me to understand, but I appreciate your willingness to hang in there until you have the end product you desire. Kudos to you.

    Mom D

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