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Ski at NAMM 2011. Be There! Or be... Perpendicular!


ski

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Hey Guys 'n' Gals,

 

In case anyone's interested, I'll be at NAMM on Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sunday, both as a punter and a participant... Here's the participant part:

 

THURS, FRI, SAT

I'll be giving a 20 minute (maybe longer) presentation at the KORG sound room at 5:00 PM on each of those days. I'll be talking about my experiences as a programmer and design consultant for their latest new offering.

 

SAT

At 2:00 PM I'm giving a talk, entitled "Adding Realism to Sampled Instruments" at the NAMM H.O.T. Zone. I'll be focusing on getting the most expression possible out of "lesser" sample libraries, with a focus on Logic's EXS-24.

 

SUN

At 12:30 PM I'll be participating in a panel discussion, also a part of the NAMM H.O.T. Zone, entitled "Alternate Realities for Today's Music Composers", hosted by Amin Bhatia. Should be a great discussion!

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Hey All (perpendicular and not),

 

I'd love to do a video, but... it's really time-consuming to edit and stuff. Maybe one day I'll do a proper tutorial on the subject. For now I guess you'll have to catch me live :mrgreen:

 

Looking forward to seeing some of you there.

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Well, as my friend Ski knows, if I were on that panel discussion, my rap would go something like:

 

Real, schmeal, none of it sounds "real" when you put it up against the real thing. So worry less about how "real" it sounds and more about how good it sounds. And no, the two are not necessarily synonymous.

 

Here is an example of something I did recently that the client and several of my composer friends really liked. If you do not, that is fine.

http://vimeo.com/18589044

 

Not once while working on this did I ask myself how real it sounded. Granted, because I have experience with the real deal however it is integrated into my aesthetic sense.

 

Caveat: if you are actually hired to do a mockup with the directive "make it sound as real as possible" as Ski sometimes is, that is different, but few of us are and when we are, we should always stress to the client that ultimately it still cannot sound just like the real thing.

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So worry less about how "real" it sounds and more about how good it sounds. And no, the two are not necessarily synonymous.

 

Agree 100%!!!!

 

Digital photographers often times try to make digital look like silver based photography. Impossible. They are two completely different mediums. It's like painting with water colors and trying make it look like oil on canvas. I can't be done. Embrace each medium for the qualities and advantages that they have to offer and in the end the work will be much stronger.

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It's like painting with water colors and trying make it look like oil on canvas. I can't be done.

 

Actually, it can be done. Your analogy is a bit extreme with respect to what my talk is about and the techniques I practice on a regular basis when doing mockups. I'm not even talking about water color vs. oil on canvas in a musical sense. Rather, I'm talking about taking a musical instrument sound and absolutely maintaining the context and the medium. Your analogy suggests that you can't, for example, sonically manipulate an ocarina to sound like a mandolin. In that case you'd be right. But that's not what I'm suggesting can be done. However, you can take a sampled flute, say, and imbue it with various kinds of nuances (using techniques which are at everyone's disposal) that can make a huge difference in believability. And that's what my talk is all about.

 

You should attend! And if you're going to do like a courtroom sketch of me while we perform, please, charcoal only, no pastels. Thanks! :mrgreen:

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Digital photographers often times try to make digital look like silver based photography.

 

They do? Silly sentimentalism. Although, when using RAW and applying the right, moderate kind of preprocessing, the results can be as warm and lively as the old (nasty chemical) ways. The "digital look" in some photo's is more often than not the result of too much postprocessing - especially sharpening and denoising.

(I've been a pro photographer back in the silver days - spent many hours under the babypoo-colored light...)

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Your analogy is a bit extreme with respect to what my talk is about and the techniques I practice on a regular basis when doing mockups.

 

What you quoted from my post was an intentional "extreme" analogy to my much more subtle example of:

 

Digital photographers often times try to make digital look like silver based photography. Impossible.

 

I can make the photography comparison with absolute certainty because I have been a photographer for over 30 years and only worked with film (negatives and transparencies) until the digital "revolution" came about and then I've used digital in a completely different way for it's own qualities. I can see quite clearly the difference between a digital print and a silver print. The characteristics between the two go unnoticed by the average viewer but I can see it instantly.

 

My comments were not meant to degrade the importance of the knowledge that you are willing to share with the rest of us, they were a reaction to Jays comments which I agree with. Not just the part I quoted but everything he said including:

 

Caveat: if you are actually hired to do a mockup with the directive "make it sound as real as possible" as Ski sometimes is, that is different, but few of us are and when we are, we should always stress to the client that ultimately it still cannot sound just like the real thing.

 

So I hope that you will consider that as I did say "Agree 100%!!!!"

 

You should attend! And if you're going to do like a courtroom sketch of me while we perform, please, charcoal only, no pastels.

 

If I were to attend, I would make a photograph of you (even if it is digital) as it would be much closer to "real" than my drawings would be. But, alas, I cannot attend. I've been to NamM. I'm still having flashbacks and I don't like to talk about it much.

 

With that, I want to say, good luck Ski. I'm sure all who have the opportunity to attend your talk will benefit greatly from it. And I mean that with all sincerity.

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Well, as my friend Ski knows, if I were on that panel discussion, my rap would go something like:

 

Real, schmeal, none of it sounds "real" when you put it up against the real thing. So worry less about how "real" it sounds and more about how good it sounds. And no, the two are not necessarily synonymous.

 

Then again, neither are reality and realism. The panel is called Adding Realism to Sampled Instruments. :wink:

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Well, as my friend Ski knows, if I were on that panel discussion, my rap would go something like:

 

Real, schmeal, none of it sounds "real" when you put it up against the real thing. So worry less about how "real" it sounds and more about how good it sounds. And no, the two are not necessarily synonymous.

 

Then again, neither are reality and realism. The panel is called Adding Realism to Sampled Instruments. :wink:

 

Good point and understood. I know Ski "gets it" also but there are just so many young composers obsessed with making sampled instruments sound more "real" that they are spending too much time with this and not spending enough time improving their compositional skills and orchestration knowledge.

 

The panel discussion SHOULD be IMHO, "Adding Humanity and Musicality to Sampled Instruments." :wink: :

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Indeed, my original title was along the lines of what you suggested, Jay. And that's exactly what my talk was about -- imparting emotion into a performance using sampled instruments. Alas and alack, the organizer of the show wanted to shorten the title to be more 'buzzworthy' and the rest is history.
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I dropped in on Ski's presentation and thought it was very good. And probably 90% was really about using MIDI for tonal and dynamic variations on a static sample, something that could be readily applied to any production to create better emotional content.

 

I kind of feel there is room for two (or more) parallel thought processes to coexist peacefully - realism and making the best music possible. And I can't argue with learning the orchestra and orchestration.....

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I dropped in on Ski's presentation and thought it was very good. And probably 90% was really about using MIDI for tonal and dynamic variations on a static sample, something that could be readily applied to any production to create better emotional content.

 

I kind of feel there is room for two (or more) parallel thought processes to coexist peacefully - realism and making the best music possible. And I can't argue with learning the orchestra and orchestration.....

 

Yes but you also have to know when to forget what the real instruments do. There are things you can do with samples that you simply cannot do with real instruments and there are things that real players do that just do not sound good with your samples. So you have to be guided by knowledge of what the real guys do but not be ruled by it IMHO.

 

Anyway, sorry I missed Ski's demo but I am sure he was brilliant as always. He is both a very talented and knowledgeable musician and a good human being, and we cannot have enough of those in L.A.

 

OTOH, he is very short and we all know what Randy Newman wrote about that. :twisted:

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I dropped in on Ski's presentation and thought it was very good.

 

Thanks!

 

And probably 90% was really about using MIDI for tonal and dynamic variations on a static sample, something that could be readily applied to any production to create better emotional content.

 

Yup.

 

I kind of feel there is room for two (or more) parallel thought processes to coexist peacefully - realism and making the best music possible.

 

I'd say that anything that works to make samples sound like it's played by actual instrumentalists is fair game. It's all fakery, so any and all techniques and "cheats" are valid. If it means using violins to play a viola part (in the range, of course) because the part speaks better using a particular violin sound, then so be it. But if eventually the piece is to be played by real musicians (where the mockup was just being done as a compositional demo for the client) it then becomes important to know whether or not real violas would project as you mocked them up with violins. Which leads nicely into...

 

And I can't argue with learning the orchestra and orchestration.....

 

Indeedy!

 

So yeah, it's all fair game. My goal was to provide people with some tools they could use to enhance emotion and realism, and based on the feedback I got I made some lightbulbs go off. Cool!

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Yes but you also have to know when to forget what the real instruments do. There are things you can do with samples that you simply cannot do with real instruments and there are things that real players do that just do not sound good with your samples. So you have to be guided by knowledge of what the real guys do but not be ruled by it IMHO.

 

I totally agree. I just think there is no absolute right or wrong, other than the client's opinion (at least until the check has cleared the bank).

 

I think it's always good to know the rules/idioms, and know when you're breaking them and why. I've spent a lot of years as a jazz guitarist, playing free jazz for a little while (and yes, it does refer both to style and what you get paid) and came to discover the best outside/free players had a very strong sense of inside playing - they know what to avoid (and could play beautifully inside if they so chose). Same with styles of writing. Know what makes something bluesy for example, so you can avoid sounding that way if need be.

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So yeah, it's all fair game. My goal was to provide people with some tools they could use to enhance emotion and realism, and based on the feedback I got I made some lightbulbs go off. Cool!

 

That's the best part - positive feedback from an audience - glad it went well!

 

Andy

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