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  • "Air on a G string"

    Your comments are welcomed, thanks! (upgraded version [8-|] )

    [I][B]"Air on a G string"[/B] by J.S. Bach[/I]

    [I]Mix: Dan Kury[/I]

  •  That's Lovely Guy. The only minor thing was that some of the diminuendos at ends of phrases sounded like the volume being turned down rather than natural diminuendos,

    And the title should be Air on a G String or Air on the G String. Air for G String immediately made me think of something quite different

  • I know what you mean, but believe me there is a LOT of natural velocity dynamics in this version. But to do that extra dynamic touch you have to resort to vol change for the final touch at the end sometimes, and also to smoothen out end of phrases. Otherwise you'd need a much wider range of velocity dynamics, from ppppp to fff. :)

  • Hmmmm...!

    Title would be:


    (exerpt of Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D minor, J.S.Bach)


  •  This sounds just about perfect!  Excellent work as always, Guy.  The dynamics have an extreme subtlety at the beginnings and ends of phrases that is very musical and expressive.  I stopped hearing the samples and just began to listen to the beautiful counterpoint of Bach.  

  • Thanks William, using a great variety of patches made this work I think, a bit similar to the video-demos. It has been licensed for a TV drama episode, so +1 for VSL.

    As far the title, I'm comfortable with: "That tune by Bach, you know?"

  • You know, I'm a major fan of sample libraries. I love them; they can do millions of things incredibly well, and there's not much more fun in the world than working with an "orchestra" at your disposal at all times.

    Unfortunately the point at which I just can't enjoy samples is when I hear Bach. It just doesn't sound right.

    No offense, Guy - you did an excellent job of programming. But it's simply all wrong. Someone posted a mock-up (not nearly as good as this) a few months ago of the Bach cello suites, and my reaction was the same.

    These are pieces I've been hearing all my life, and I just can't help focusing on what's not there rather than what is. However, you licensed the performance, so who cares what I think. :) And it's nothing to do with your work, it has to do with the limitations of the medium you're working in.

  • Nick, I respect your opinion, but saying it's all wrong is quite vague. Can you be more specific? 

  • That's funny, as these are pieces I also have heard and played in orchestra all my life.  And I think that Bach is maybe the single best composer for doing synthesizer or sample-related performances.  Ever since Carlos did the Switched on Bach and startled everyone in the world.  

    But the Beat Kaufman performances, the other ones on the VSL site and this new one by Guy are proof that Bach is maybe the best source of ideas for sampling performance.  Bach himself was alway adapting his music for new media.   And one of his greatest compositions, Art of the Fugue, was not even scored for anything.  It is pure, unadulterated musical thought by the greatest composer of all time.  And this profound thought continues to live even now, with his work being so powerful that innovative instrumentation or performance can reveal its beauty in new ways.

  • Oh yeah, Switched On Bach was great. So are lots of adaptations of Bach, including the...I forget the group, but it was the Minuet in G in 4/4 and done with Motown instrumentation in the 60s or possibly early 70s.<br><br>

    The difference is that they're not orchestral mock-ups, they're adaptations.<br><br>

    Guy, I don't know that I'm a purist. I think what's missing is simply, well, the live ensemble. Maybe it's that the balances are different (more melody than that quasi-ground bass), the strings speak as one voice rather than individual players...there's just something intangible missing. It's more spiritual than anything else - and I don't mean that as a criticism of your performance at all.<br><br>

    I apologize for sounding insulting, because that's not at all my intention. You're clearly a very talented musician, and certainly more accomplished than I am. It's not you at all, it's simply that for me this is where the medium has reached its limit.

    And I couldn't possibly win an argument with William about this, because everything he says is absolutely true. This is just my opinion.

  • Ok Nick, I understand where you're coming from and respect that. I guess that's part of what makes music so fascinating, everybody relates differently to different music genres and composers. 

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    @Nick Batzdorf said:

    [...] Unfortunately the point at which I just can't enjoy samples is when I hear Bach. It just doesn't sound right. [...]
    Hmmm ... I don't believe it's about Bach and/or samples, otherwise [URL=]this[/URL] piece wouldn't work to an extent where it is indistinguishable from a real recording. -> [URL][/URL]

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • As I said I know where Nick is coming from and respect that. But here's what was my goal:

    To achieve expression within the boundaries of the sample lib. available today. When I tried listening to various versions of this piece with real instruments, most of the recordings I didn't like and some I hate it the sound, and the totally "pure" recordings with the instruments of the origin, that, I have a hard time listening to. I'm wondering if Nick didn't have that knowledge of this piece being samples before listening to it, if he would of reacted the same way. Just wondering :)  But just as Jay Bacal said, in his own words, and I agree, samples is not ready to challenge real players and probably never will. But since that wasn't the intention I don't focus on that, just trying to make it sound expressive, enjoyable and good enough to sound like real strings but in a sort of personal rendition, and as William pointed out, Bach's music could be played numerous ways, just look at Glen Gould, you either love or hate his style. Anyway, I could go on like this,  but I just wanted to say that one can enjoy as much a fillet mignon one day as good hot dog at a baseball game the next. 

  • Nick, listen again. Smoother mix. Just for you! [C]

  • Well Guy, I admit to liking it better the second time. :) I think what still bothers me is that the string sections - especially the violins - are too perfect [edit: because they're sampled as a section, not because of your programming]. But you may be right that I'd like it better if I didn't know it was samples.<br><br>

    Dietz - yeah, that organ performance is amazing. I remember being totally floored by it the first time I heard it. However, organ is different from strings - there's only one musician rather than 14 or however many you have in the section,

  •  Very nice Guy. Thank you.

    Jim F.

  • Guy, if you go to iTunes and put in "Bach Air on a G String," all but a couple of the first eight versions or so are what I have in my head when I think of this piece. It's really a totally different thing. I think you could make the case that yours is just different, and I wouldn't argue, because it's not like you don't know what you're doing - your version isn't at all arbitrary. But it's not the same thing at all.<br><br>

    Now, it's possible my ears would accept the samples if you were using small string sections, and also if the continuo parts were more prominent relative to the melodies.

  • I think that Nick Batzdorf is reacting not against  some profound, impossible-to-overcome existential difference between live playing and samples but rather that sample performances are too perfect.  Too perfect in timing,  intonation, constantly monitored flawless balances between instruments, etc.

    This is the easiest thing in the world to correct, but no one does it because until now such a thing has never happened.  Too much perfection in a musical performance is basically the last thing any musician ever worried about.  Until now.  I want to work on this, but have not seriously tried it yet.  I would like to hear Jay and Guy do something.  For example on Jay's string quartet work, if he had done some vertical and horizontal alterations of tuning, as well as more radical mistiming, I can guarantee you next to nobody would every know that it was not live.

    This complaint that Nick Batzdorf and Paul Robbins have made - that because the strings are sampled as a group they always sound like blocks of sound and not individual players - is incorrect in the case of VSL because of two reasons. 

    1) If you are hearing a recording, THEY ARE BLOCKS OF SOUND.  They are no longer individual players, but have merged into a mass.  It only becomes apparent that it is samples of massed players when you repeatedly do the exact same transition, or combination of notes. 

    2) with the various kinds of deliberately mistimed layers that are possible with combinations of the string ensembles and solo instruments available in VSL (and very much a part of its philosophy of representing the orchestra) it is possible to create complex, shifting and non-mechanical-sounding performances that have the same sense of individuality as a recorded live ensemble. 

    To prove this, I can attest to the fact that I have found it IMPOSSIBLE to duplicate some of the performances I have done with VSL.  (Even when I needed to!) Certain combinations of levels, balances, timings, timbres, harmonies, contrapuntal aspects, as well as all the elements controllable within the mixing environment create an individuality that is as hard to duplicate as a live orchestral performance.

    It is stated over and over again by people here that they would much rather use a live orchestra than samples.

    I submit that they have not had their music played by live orchestras.  Because if they had, their illusions about everything sounding like John Williams conducting the London Symphony would vanish in an instant.  You cannot communicate with real live people, and have them all sitting and ready to brilliantly present your every musical idea perfectly (even assuming you were in the one-in-a-million position of having a great world-class orchestra at your beck and call) the way you can control samples.  With the sampled orchestra, the composer is at last freed to realize his imagination without submitting it to the ability (or lack thereof) of another person.  This is so significant it cannot be overstated.  It frees a composer to exist within the world of his musical imagination in a way that has never happened before in all of musical history.

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    @William said:

    I think that Nick Batzdorf is reacting not against  some profound, impossible-to-overcome existential difference between live playing and samples but rather that sample performances are too perfect.  Too perfect in timing,  intonation, constantly monitored flawless balances between instruments, etc.

    It's interesting William you bring this matter up more detailed, because that is what my next version is all about, at least a compromise. I hope to be able to post it later today. 

  • The samples themselves are what I was talking about, although what you're saying is also relevant. What I meant specifically is that every player in the string section is in tune, and they all start and stop together. It's a different sound from a live string section.