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Strings Adagio

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Mattia Chiappa, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. Hello people! Every time I write something for strings only I end up feeling very unsatisfied with the mockup. I've performed those lines so many times I had to eventually move on and make peace with it. Am I overthinking this or can you please tell me what makes it so dull? Is it my string writing that needs work?

    Here's the piece, I've attached the score as well for you to reference.


    Attached Files:

  2. I thought the writing was lovely. I can hear that the VI rendering might not be living up to the potential of the piece. Sadly, I'm not particularly strong with string mockup skills to provide much advice, but wanted to say I enjoyed listening to this multiple times despite your rendering concerns.
    Mattia Chiappa likes this.
  3. The track is nice. I like it a lot. And I don´t find your rendering bad at all. It can have a little things where I would encourage you to try that out. And Man, don´t smash your head over sampled strings too much. I know I do as well and still, I just say the following: I have the same shit problems. One major thing for realism in strings:

    1. Use apart from the dynamic timbre crossfade modulation in additon some volume controller to surpass limitations of dynamics and in order to fake real descrescendos on strings to niente. This is maybe a minor thing but its often overseen and can contribute to realism
    2. Perform each line individually, and I mean that..try to perform them not the same, but slight differences in curve dynamics and characteristics.
    3. Use solo instruments to add a bit of detail to your main line, maybe even to the underpinning harmony, but bury them in the sound, make them not too loud, they just should just add subtle things like detail and a bit of additional color to the sound.
    4. Work with tempo curves..use ritardandos, speed things up..for half bar. Do the following: Listen to live adagios and recreate tempo maps to see what happens under the hood.
    5. Some cosmetic stuff: Strings can be a little softened when you use subtractive eq on the range between 2-3 khz. Often it works well on Violins and Violas. Also look for the very high frequency spectrum: Sample libraries often have too much often a pronounced white noise high end which sounds like shit, live strings don´t build up that kind white noise at the spectrum from 17khz-20 or something, there is a highend, but its imo often with sampled strings over saturated.
    6. Try to use not only standard patches, but maybe con sordino or sul tasto patches because they sound in that enviroment sometimes better then the normal recorded longs.
    7. Use libraries which have either controlled vibrato or a natural nice built in performance, just flat dead sustains wont´work here.
    8. Try also to add little microscopic varations in dynamics with the modwheel timbre dynamics, even a sustained note at the same level is not always like perfectly sustaining at the same volume..it has a little kind waver..which is very subtle.
    Paul T McGraw and Mattia Chiappa like this.
  4. Thank you so much Alex for this! I feel like I should print this answer and keep it as a check list :), lots of useful stuff in here.

    I initially wanted more of a rubato feel. I usually do that, I play a reference track on piano without the click and do the tempo map later according to what I played. In this case though I wrote the piece in Sibelius and then recorded it so I had no track to reference and I just couldn't bother to draw tempo curves. I find it a lot harder to do it reversely but of course it makes an enormous difference in the end.

    I am definitely guilty of using always the same standard patches. I never even considered using different articulations if it's not the one I meant for the players but I'll definitely try.

    I often find vibrato more difficult than it should be to handle, especially in piano passages. Too much gets intrusive and too little just kills the whole vibe. I re-listened to piece now after a couple of days off it and yeah, these strings could use a touch more vibrato. Plus I always thought these Spitfire strings on the less vibrato side tend to sound a little out of tune. The main problem with all this is that you have to be very careful at tweaking curves too much or the blends are suddenly all off and the whole passage has to be re-performed. This extra simple stuff are such a pain to do virtually, it just takes forever and the end result in my opinion is always meh.
  5. @Mattia Chiappa, I enjoyed your work greatly. Thank you for including the score. I thought the performance was good. I would exaggerate the rubato even more. I have a problem with being too conservative in the use of rubato in my own pieces. In this piece, you could use much more rubato, especially at the end. The piece gives the impression of ending too suddenly. That can easily be fixed with a moderate ritardando in the last few measures and an exaggerated rubato on the last suspension. Nice work!
    Mattia Chiappa likes this.
  6. Thank you Paul, I'm glad you enjoyed the piece! I agree with you about the rubato. I can't quite remember why but I at the time I recorded the piece to a set metronome. Looking back, it was a terrible idea.

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