Scenario 5

How you can refine music.

The material

This scenario shows how a mockup can be further refined with little effort.

The music example is an excerpt from a jazz duo for double bass (plucked) and piano. For reasons of clarity, this scenario focuses only on the bass. 

The music used was linked to a sound library via the appropriate soundset. Room simulation plugins were also used.

How is the example executed here?
Notation software: Sibelius Ultimate 
SYNCHRON-ized Plucked Instruments, Upright Bass (by VSL)
Vienna MIR PRO 3D Mixing & Reverberation Software
Graphical MIDI Tools (plugin* for creating CC automation curves, etc.)

)* Note: Depending on your choice of notation program, graphical post-processing options may already be included in the program (e.g. Dorico) 

Upright ​Bass without further editing

Musical elaboration 

With the help of the appropriate sound set for the double bass, the notation software already triggers a quite passable interpretation of the almost empty musical text without any further intervention. 
As no technique and expression texts have been written yet, the bass part is played completely in the "normal" setting: "sustain" - "no vibrato" - "stopped". The duration of the note depends on the notated note length, long notes will not receive additional vibrato, the end of the note will be reached with a "stop", i.e. a damping. 
However, the sound library that is used also contains other articulations that can be activated in the Technique text. Depending on your taste, these can now be used without too much effort. The texts also serve as an interpretation aid for the musicians when playing live.

 more ...

Selection of articulations included in the soundset:

Long notes/Sustain
(Non) Vibrato
Snap (Bartók-Pizzicato)
Arco sustain

Keyswitches for articulations that are not included in the soundset (e.g. Damp, Noises: Slides up/down, Finger Stop, Body Notes) can be activated in Sibelius by specifying the corresponding MIDI key number (e.g. C0 corresponds to ~N24,64) (see Scenario 3 or the Sibelius Reference "MIDI Messages").

Notation Central by NYC Music Services has developed a plugin for Sibelius users that simplifies the tedious process described above. With Graphical MIDI Tools (GMT) you can graphically change the start position or duration of a note, draw automation curves for MIDI controllers, or create keyswitches for further articulations with hidden "phantom notes", just like in a DAW. Dorico or Overture by Sonic Scores already have these features built in.

In this scenario, a number of good-sounding variants will be demonstrated. However, there are no limits to personal taste. The following plan is chosen for a better overview:

The modification:

Coloured representation of the changes of Step 1 and 2.

click  to enlarge.

With these refinements, the music sounds more colourful than before. ​The time required for this was very little. If you want to take more time, you can achieve even more differentiated results.

If necessary, the score can be made clearer by using hidden text. Practice shows that instrumentalists do not find the technique texts disturbing, but rather an aid to interpretation.

In addition to steps 1 and 2, two MIDI controllers (CC 11: Expression and CC 8: Timbre Adjust) have been automated for audio export using the Graphical MIDI Tool (GMT) described above, as if working with a DAW. Other switches not included in the soundset are triggered by "phantom notes". Again, depending on the time available, the sound can be further refined.

The following images show the automation curves in the GMT plugin:

click to enlarge


The creation of meaningful mock-ups is possible with this procedure without spending much time.  However, this assumes that you have some practical experience of working with the software and plugins and do not need to consult the manual for every step. For future projects, it is advisable to save setups or screenshots of important configurations.

The advantage of this way of working is that the arranger or composer can always see the designed music in the score. Meanwhile, in the background, keyswitches that respond to Technique or Expression texts trigger the desired articulation changes. Automation curves can further refine the sound.

continue scenario #6