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gsmonks Offline OP
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Here's a toy I intend to get for working on vocal and choral music. Check out the demos:

http://www.vocaloid.com/en/sample.html

Here is one of the programmes you can buy in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTXO7KGHtjI&feature=player_embedded

<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/DTXO7KGHtjI?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/DTXO7KGHtjI?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>

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Originally Posted by gsmonks
Here's a toy I intend to get for working on vocal and choral music. Check out the demos:

http://www.vocaloid.com/en/sample.html

Here is one of the programmes you can buy in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTXO7KGHtjI&feature=player_embedded

<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/DTXO7KGHtjI?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/DTXO7KGHtjI?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>


Yes, the vocaloid is quite amazing.

I use EWQL Symphonic Choirs when I need background vocals. WordBuilder software allows you to type in the words you want the choir to sing.

I must say, both packages sing in perfect pitch. laugh


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
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gsmonks Offline OP
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D'you have a link for the EWQL Symphonic Choirs?

How would you assemble music containing this programme and another?

Say, for example, that I was using a music notation/sequencing/digital recording/audio recording programme and wanted to add the programme you mentioned, plus something like Vocaloid?

I can see multitracking them, but how do you sync them?

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gsmonks Offline OP
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I just got the vocaloid and MMD programmes!

Now to figure out how they work . . .

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Originally Posted by gsmonks
I just got the vocaloid and MMD programmes!

Now to figure out how they work . . .


Let us know how it works out for you gsmonks. Sounded really good on the vid.

Yeah, the figuring out part can be frustrating at times.


Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!
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Here are various versions of MMD. they're freeware:

http://www.geocities.jp/higuchuu4/index_e.htm

Now you can play with Miku, too!

I've been reading about the grassroots approach to Miku Vocaloid songs and animation. The industry in this way is very much generated by Miku's own fans. How interesting is that?! The programmes are for sale, but they're also freeware. And the industry is built upon responding to what the fans do. A fan does something that catches on, the industry is there to disseminate and improve upon the idea.

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Incidently, I don't know who that bass player is on The World Is Mine, but he can play in my band any old time!

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I know this is off-topic, but here's Miku's bass-player on his own. You've got to watch it until the end- it's amazing and hilarious at the same time. As I said, he can play in my band any time!:

http://www.dannychoo.com/post/en/22627/Hatsune+Miku.html

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One area of classical music that can always stand a bit of exploration is the mechanics of rhythm.

I'm not talking about learning about rhythm in terms of instrumentation and rudiments- as music students this much is already within our purview.

What I am talking about is understanding what rhythm is, what it does, and how it works.

We do this as a matter of course when it comes to music history, Harmony and Counterpoint, but rhythm has long been the poor cousin of the elements that go into making Western music.

Some notable examples of near-misses and failures are Darius Milhaud, Dave Brubeck and Gordon Sumner (aka Sting). Darius Milhaud encouraged Dave Brubeck, one of his students, to travel the world and seek out new life and new civilisations; to boldly go where no man has gone before . . . oops, sorry, that was the opening Star Trek monologue. But you get the idea. Gordon Sumner and many others did much the same thing in their search for "new" sounds.

All of the aforementioned are examples of both near-misses and failures: near-misses because in encountering useable elements they inadventently identified areas of Western music that were lacking, and failures because while they inadvertently identified these lacking areas, they borrowed without understanding and comprehension.

In other words, it is one thing to be able to identify a novel and useful thing and make use of it for a time, but it is entirely something else to understand why it is novel and useful. Moreover, the lack of such understanding means that we are forever at the mercy of the next lucky find, to be stumbled upon blindly and purely by accident.

In terms of rhythm, this is because no one as yet has bothered to figure out rhythm's how's, why's and wherefore's. Most of us are able to intuit such things as how rhythm makes us feel, but understanding why those feelings arise is key to understanding how to really take control. And a key area where Darius Milhaud, Dave Brubeck and Gordon Sumner failed is one I'd like to mention now- how to cause rhythm to develop, rather than simply make use of a particular rhythm pattern because of its temporal novelty until it has worn out its celcome.

To start off with, and to conclude this segment, I am going to explain the difference between "straight" rhythm (aka regular) and "swing" (aka rubato).

Straight rhythm and swing have two different types of "feel", but what are those differences, and what is that "feel" exactly?

Here are the differences: straight rhythm causes you to feel as though you were stationary, watching something move. Swing tempo (swing jazz or a Viennese waltz) causes you to feel as though you were moving, whilst your surroundings remained stationary.

In terms of perception, these two aspects of rhythm are polar opposites.

More anon . . .

Last edited by gsmonks; 11/23/10 01:03 AM. Reason: the case of the missing apostrophe
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There is a world of meaning in the term "feel the beat". Until the 1960's it used to be said/believed that only rubato and series' of 3's could make a listener/dancer experience the sensation of movement.

Rubato, or "dragging the beat", can cause a sympathetic/physical response, where the listener/dancer responds by experiencing the change in tempo as a physical "pull". The lilt of waltz tempo and a subito rubato followed by a tempo are two such examples.

Swing jazz consists of an ongoing sequence of rapid triplets which as a body produce the same effect. Certain jazz purists often claim that a jazz triplet is not a triplet, and lies somewhere between a doublet and a triplet, but this claim is patent balogna. Jazz triplets can and in certain rare instances are played in this fashion, but anyone who has listened to thousands of hours of Swing can tell you otherwise.

The Swing triplet is important in this topic because of its ability to produce a physical response in the dancer/listener. Why? Because it raises the question, "How is it able to achieve this effect?"

The answer is to be found in two later forms of popular music, namely fast-paced Heavy Metal and Punk Rock. These forms likewise evoke physical sensation from the listener/dancer, and in two very different ways.

The two aspects unique to these forms are often referred to as "head-banging" and "pogo". "Head-banging" is a response to the beat, where the head "bangs" forward on the beat, while the belly and/or hips are drawn forward on the off-beats, so that the upper and lower parts of the body rock back and forth. Punk Rock guitar is all downstroke in a sort of "one-beat", and the physical response in this case is to bounce downward and rebound upward off the dance floor- hence the term "pogo".

While this type of overt physicality is far less apparent in classical music, it is there, nonetheless. The very thing that makes Beethoven's 5th Symphony such an exciting piece of music is the physical response it generates because of it's beautifully crafted rhythmic pulse and drive. The opening of the 4th movement contains elements identical to the phenomenon of "head-banging", and is as physically satisfying as it is musically satisfying.

And now, we are entering a little-known world, that of the percussive element in music.

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The percussive element in music is the working title of a book I've been working on for many years- a book I may never get around to finishing, for reasons I'm not going to get into here. But I am going to share some of the things I've been working on.

What the percussive element in music means is that there is a percussive aspect to the performance characteristics and utility of all instruments. In turn, we as composers should be paying more attention to this aspect of writing music.

As the percussive element isn't clearly notated, as a general rule, writing music from a percussive standpoint presents a number of unique challenges. Yes, the use of accents makes thing more apparent on paper, but it doesn't address the interrelationship between parts, balance of sections and groupings, and the dual impetus of rhythm plus harmonic progression.

At this point I should make it clear that percussive writing is nothing new- that it has been with us a very long time. But a lucid awareness of the percussive aspect has been hit or miss, and relegated to being understood only in terms of being a strong rhythmic impetus. As such, it has always fallen somewhat short of its true potential.

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When it comes to the percussive element in music, it is wise to remember the similarities and the differences between the percussive element, percussion and its notation, and the rules of counterpoint. Percussion and its notation are a given, as are the rules of counterpoint, but the percussive element is and remains a grey area. Awareness of it is always there, but on the periphery. Composers use it, but unknowingly. It has always been present as a matter of instinct, but not of conscious intent.

The instrument which best illustrates the percussive element is the piano, because it is a percussion instrument with a linear voice. As such, its technique entails a ready-made vocabulary of both linear and percussive elements. Its polyphonic capabilities allow both the counterpoint of fugue and the principles of rhythmic interplay between multiple percussive elements (best illustrated in certain modern complex Latin-jazz arrangements).

The piano is but one instrument, however, and the possibilities latent in the sectional groupings and cross-arranged combinations of the modern orchestra are truly astonishing.

Minimalist composers are certainly aware of the latent potential of the percussive element, but like everyone else are not yet fully aware of the percussive element for what it is. It is and remains a potential on the periphery of awareness.

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Strangely enough, though it has the appearance of labyrinthian complexity, orchestral counterpoint and the art of fugue is far simpler a matter to address in terms of originality than traditional Western Harmony. After all, Western Harmony is but the outward expression of principles whose origins arose from counterpoint- even from plain chant, its monophonic predecessor.

Coming up with a new and different polyphony is not that difficult. What is difficult is coming up with a polyphony whose sound isn't purely derivative.

A good parallel example is constructing sentences such as this without ever using "the". Or constructing scripts which avoid using "e". Read over both previous sentences and it has to be pointed out that anything is unusual. This is what I mean by derivative. Despite their construction, the sentences just sound like regular sentences. And so it is with altering the rules of counterpoint. Any meaningful change would have to fundamentally alter the outward expression of the music.

This is where experimentation comes in, most of which is doomed to end in failure. Even so, each failure is a lesson learned, which in its turn may lead to success. This is not to say that success is guaranteed, by way of overcoming failure, but that a useful working knowledge is acquired that can not be gained in any other way.

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