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  • Brass Quintet in F minor

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    This is an original Brass Quintet that I just completed. It is in three movements, I. Sonata, II Scherzo, and III. Fugue. The instrumentation is as follows:

    VSL Bb Trumpet
    VSL Cornet
    VSL Triple Horn
    VSL Tenor Trombone
    VSL Bass Tuba

    I used the Mozartsaal with MIR Pro. I also added a small amount of Miracle (Chamber Group enhance). I own just about every sample brass library on the market, and I would not have wanted to attempt this with anything other than VSL.

    Here is a link to the track:
    Brass Quintet in F minor

    And here is the score:
    PDF of score


  • That sounds like a great piece for brass!

    The only critical thing I noticed was notes sounding too closely attacked that were not actual legato.  This made me think why, and it was because a player is either doing legato, or notes with separate attacks.  So it is not normal to have totally close notes that are not actually legato.  One example is notes marked with both a dot and a long "dash" marking.  They are as long as possible but not slurred and separately tongued and unusual, not how you would normally play a line.  This piece had some notes that didn't sound legato but were like that---   

    However - that is my overreaction probably having been a brass player in quintets as well as a MIDI programmer, so maybe a bit extreme.  

    Also, has nothing to do with the composition which is great!  I think a lot of players would really like to do this!  Very cool how you have the score also.  I think everyone should be REQUIRED to present a score along with their MIDI performance!!!  (No, never mind, I don't think that will go over...)


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    @William said:

    That sounds like a great piece for brass!

    The only critical thing I noticed was notes sounding too closely attacked that were not actual legato.  This made me think why, and it was because a player is either doing legato, or notes with separate attacks.  So it is not normal to have totally close notes that are not actually legato.  One example is notes marked with both a dot and a long "dash" marking.  They are as long as possible but not slurred and separately tongued and unusual, not how you would normally play a line.  This piece had some notes that didn't sound legato but were like that---   

    However - that is my overreaction probably having been a brass player in quintets as well as a MIDI programmer, so maybe a bit extreme.  

    Also, has nothing to do with the composition which is great!  I think a lot of players would really like to do this!  Very cool how you have the score also.  I think everyone should be REQUIRED to present a score along with their MIDI performance!!!  (No, never mind, I don't think that will go over...)

    Thank you William! Thanks for listening, and especially thanks for responding. 

    I liked your last paragraph. It gave me a chucle. I plan to post the score and parts on both JW Pepper and also on IMSLP (free), so I really hope someday to get a performance. I used to play trombone, but gave it up as I got older. I am 65 now. I still own a trombone, euphonium and cornet, but rarely get them out of the cases anymore.

    As a professional horn player, I would really like your advice on the issue you raised. As I do a midi-performance I can get so caught up in making sure the nores are correct, the articulation, the dynamics, the expression, the room sound, etc. that I am sure that I could make improvements that I am not noticing for some reason or another. I tried to leave sufficient space between notes to be realistic, but obviously did not always succeed. Can you please give me any specific spots you think would particularly benefit from more note seperation? I will gladly follow your advice and edit the performance.


  • Paul,

    Like all of your stuff that I have heard, this is a fine composition, the work of a talented, well-schooled musician. I really like your virtual perfomance, too. I read William's comment with interest also, and listened a couple of more times to see if I could hear the effect he was describing. At first I wasn't sure but then I tried something that made it more clear to me. I would like to share that with you, if I may:

    Being a brass player myself, I opened up the score and followed along, imagining I was playing the lick that I saw passing before me. During the slurred and longer-note passages the virtual hornist was singing exactly what I would play (minus the clams), but when the figure had some articulated moving stuff, it didn't quite sound like what I would do if I was trying to musically re-create the figure I was looking at. This is probably a natural consequence of using notation to create the sequence: you have an instrument cruising along with a legato articulation patch, Cubase sees a quarter note on the and of one in the 2nd bar of your fugue theme and obligingly fills every nanosecond of time until the and of two with a softly-attacked tone...and then, without the slightest break begins the next note, also with a soft attack. Can't blame Cubase...that's what the the black dots are telling it to do. But if I were playing the lick, I'd put a wee bit more of an attack on the syncopation and a wee bit of daylight before the next attack, while still thinking to keep the phrase full and connected. The notation has nothing that tells me to do that but that's what I'd do. With that beautiful veiled and indirectly-heard sound, I think the horn is especially vulnerable to sounding like everything is slurred. It doesn't help that every movie and Sinatra album for 60 years had Vince DeRosa singing out a glorioius legato solo or two. But Dennis Brain showed us that you need to put a little more tut on the start of notes in legit solo and chamber stuff for clarity. It also gives it some contrast when you go legato and really mean it.

    Paul, thanks for indulging me, I hope this is of value. As I said, I'm a real fan of your music. I think that, more than anyone else here, you are living the musical life that I aspire to. I'd love to talk with you offline sometime about your equipment, software, etc. and the way you create your beautiful pieces. Best wishes to you.

    Tom 


  • Hi Tom,

    Your comments truly made my day. That is such a common expression, but it I mean it very literally. In fact, you made my week, or perhaps even my month. You see, I was feeling rather depressed. Someone who I admire, not someone who posts on this forum, agreed to give me his critique on some of my music. He was extremely negative, even insulting. That negative reaction truly "knocked the wind out of me" and left me doubting myself. Your very positive and encouraging comments, along with the comments of some other folks, like William Kersten, have truly helped me to bounce back and refocus on moving forward. Thank you!

    I really appreciate the advice on improving the articulation realism. Obviously, I cannot ever achieve the exact same sound as a live horn player (and thank God we still need real musicians) I am determined to learn all that I can and make my midi-performance the best it can be. So I have printed your advice and will try my best to incorporate it into the edits I am making. 

    My computer is an i7 with 48gb of ram. I used the full VSL libraries of each instrument and MIR Pro for the spatialization. The venue is the Mozartsaal. I sent you a PM with my personal email.

    Paul 


  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on