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Topic: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo  (Read 2205 times) previous topic - next topic

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
I know you guys are probably tired of my questions but when I search for answers I don't usually find what I'm looking for and then I wonder If I am looking at the most recent information.

I found this discussion
https://forum.noteworthycomposer.com/?topic=6972.msg47794#msg47794

My  midi files are not usually very good because I can't seem to control the subtle nuances that I can produce on an acoustic instrument. Now that I am sending the files to conductors along with my scores for their consideration than I really need to step up that part of things.

I also have trouble with piano notes decaying too quickly in the left-hand. For example I had a two  measure cord in the left-hand and by the time the second measure came around the sound had completely disappeared.

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #1
NWC produced MIDI files will always be somewhat rough when compared to a "real" instrument.

Partly this will be a result of the MIDI synth on the computer used to play back the MIDI file, partly this will be the limited ability to add such nuance using NWC, and partly it will be the quality of the sound source the synth is using.

Probably better to distribute an .mp3 created on your own MIDI synth so you can absolutely control the result.  Export the NWC produced MIDI to some other sequencer that allows greater control, tweak as required then export to .mp3. *

Software sequencers are available all over the web, some are free, some will cost you heaps.  It is another step in the creation process and only you can decide if the effort is worthwhile.  It may be that simply improving/replacing the MIDI synth you are currently using and improving your knowledge of playback manipulation within NWC (I.E. playing around with it) will be sufficient to create .mp3s that are suitable to your purpose.

If you are using the MS GS Wavetable synth that comes with Windows then your first step is to get a better synth...

Perhaps look into VST or DX (m$ preferred tech)

If you want to consider VST, there are a couple of guide on the Scripto that can help here.  I wrote one, but the one by Rich Nagel is much better.  Perhaps a read of both is worthwhile.
https://nwc-scriptorium.org/helpful.html#Vst

* I create .mp3s by playing back using NWC whilst recording the output with "Audacity" then exporting from Audacity to .mp3.
https://www.audacityteam.org/download/
There are many useful plugins for Audacity you should get too.  IIRC you need a plugin for the .mp3 export.
https://www.audacityteam.org/download/plug-ins/
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #2
Just realised I missed a couple of points:
<snip>
I also have trouble with piano notes decaying too quickly in the left-hand. For example I had a two  measure cord in the left-hand and by the time the second measure came around the sound had completely disappeared.
Firstly, getting cresc/decresc to work properly in NWC for SUSTAINED notes needs to be done using either volume or expression controllers (MPC's)  Actual functionality will depend on your MIDI synth.

The too quick decay on things like piano will be directly attributable to your wavetable (either built-in or soundfont).

If it's a built-in wavetable you're pretty much stuck with it.  If it's a separate soundfont there are tools that allow you to fiddle with 'em.  E.G. Soundblaster used to distribute such a tool with their soundfont enabled soundcards.  I think it was called Vienna...
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #3
I also have trouble with piano notes decaying too quickly in the left-hand. For example I had a two  measure cord in the left-hand and by the time the second measure came around the sound had completely disappeared.
The sustain pedal is your friend for that.
Registered user since 1996

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #4
Of course I would use that in real life but inserting the pedal down symbol had
No effect  on the midi  playback.

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #5
Of course I would use that in real life but inserting the pedal down symbol had
No effect  on the midi  playback.
It should - it's a standard MIDI instruction...  Perhaps there's an issue with your synth.

How long a note are we talking about here?  Perhaps you can test with a crotchet and the pedal..
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #6
Of course I would use that in real life but inserting the pedal down symbol had
No effect  on the midi  playback.
Really? Then, to quote Lawrie, "your first step is to get a better synth..."  :D

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #7
I'm talking about two tied semibreves. By the time the second semi breve appears there is no more sound. In real life the piano is still decaying nicely.

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #8
I'm talking about two tied semibreves. By the time the second semi breve appears there is no more sound. In real life the piano is still decaying nicely.
This depends on the soundfont.
And is quite a different matter from "the pedal down symbol had No effect  on the midi  playback".

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #9
I should try it on my old computer because I don't recall noticing this before.
  • Last Edit: 2018-05-20 12:13 pm by SEBC

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #10
Another trick I've used in the past to get this type of piano playing is to insert a "legato" performance style in your piano staff. It can have a similar effect to inserting separate pedal down/up for each note.
  • Last Edit: 2018-05-20 12:25 pm by Mike Shawaluk

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #11
Another trick I've used in the past to get this type of piano playing is to insert a "legato" play style in your piano staff. It can have a similar effect to inserting separate pedal down/up for each note.

I tried that as well and still didn't get the notes to sustain in that two bar section.

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #12
Another trick I've used in the past to get this type of piano playing is to insert a "legato" performance style in your piano staff. It can have a similar effect to inserting separate pedal down/up for each note.
Even better: tenuto.
But in this case I expected what SEBC just wrote.

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #13
I'm talking about two tied semibreves. By the time the second semi breve appears there is no more sound. In real life the piano is still decaying nicely.
This simply confirms my feeling that the decay rate in your synth's wavetable record for the piano is set too fast (for your preference).

If you are using a soundfont capable synth you might try alternative soundfonts OR see if you can get an editor as I previously suggested and alter the piano's decay rate in a copy of the one you're using.

FWIW I think most soundfonts decay too fast for Piano.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #14
My  midi files are not usually very good because I can't seem to control the subtle nuances  ...
@SEBC : Out of interest - what is your "sound creation tool chain": Which "synthesizer" (soundfonts, virtual instruments, ...) do you use, and do you use any "container" (like a VSTi container, or Kontakt)? I'm interested because my long (or medium?) term goal is to create nuanced (MP3) results from NWC scores - that's why I developed the Envelope user objects, for example; and I hope that I can create some additional plugins for better sound rendering.

H.M.

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #15
I'm not sure where to look for that info on this new computer. It's whatever the default is on the Lenovo ultra book.

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #16
It's whatever the default is on the Lenovo ultra book.
In this case I have no doubt.
To quote Lawrie again: "If you are using the MS GS Wavetable synth that comes with Windows then your first step is to get a better synth..."

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #17
I have an old version of VST instruments that I used with Cubase two computers ago. It kept knocking out the playback on NWC. So I stopped using Cubase. It wasn't any good at scores anyway. See, even back then I didn't know what I was doing.

I could try and install the VST on this computer if it would  be worthwhile.

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #18
I have an old version of VST instruments that I used with Cubase two computers ago. It kept knocking out the playback on NWC. So I stopped using Cubase. It wasn't any good at scores anyway. See, even back then I didn't know what I was doing.

I could try and install the VST on this computer if it would  be worthwhile.
I refer you to my earlier message as a starting point:
https://forum.noteworthycomposer.com/?topic=9751.msg69717#msg69717
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #19
I suggest using SyFonOne, which doesn't require any complicated setup, although you'll need a virtual MIDI driver (I use LoopBe) and a sound font (FluidR3 works well). Another approach - although this doesn't work on the fly - is to export as MIDI and then use an online service such as SolMiRe to convert it to an MP3, using the sound font of your choice from their list.

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #20
Even better: tenuto.
But in this case I expected what SEBC just wrote.



I'm not sure I hear a difference between using legato and tenuto. What should I be hearing?

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #21
You're right.
For example, 1/4 tenuto is 192 MIDI tics while 1/4 legato is... 192 MIDI tics!  :D

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #22
Thanks for checking that. You just saved me a lot of work from changing over all the legato markings in my scores!  :))

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #23
I suggest using SyFonOne, which doesn't require any complicated setup, although you'll need a virtual MIDI driver (I use LoopBe) and a sound font (FluidR3 works well). Another approach - although this doesn't work on the fly - is to export as MIDI and then use an online service such as SolMiRe to convert it to an MP3, using the sound font of your choice from their list.


I have been using the SolMiRe website this year to do conversions, and the sound is much better than my own computer, but I would like to get things set up on my computer so I don't have to outsource it. Thus, I am revisiting this topic again.

I found this sound font that I would like to try out. I have been using the "music box" setting to imitate handbells, but am hoping this would be better for preparing a sample mp3.

https://www.fmjsoft.com/instruments.html#handbells

I'm just not sure the best way to get set up for this. I did find some other free sound fonts.

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #24
I just wanted to announce that 2 years after the fact, thanks to the patient guidance of Richard Woodroffe, I am finally set up with Virtual Midi Synth, and am currently testing out new soundfonts, and learning about patches, banks, etc. I have also installed an mp3 converter and so I can do renderings "in house". The difference is sound quality is amazing! Feel free to say "I told you so." :)

* I create .mp3s by playing back using NWC whilst recording the output with "Audacity" then exporting from Audacity to .mp3.
https://www.audacityteam.org/download/
There are many useful plugins for Audacity you should get too.  IIRC you need a plugin for the .mp3 export.
https://www.audacityteam.org/download/plug-ins/

Lawrie, I also have Audacity, and the mp3 plug in. Could you explain in more detail how you use it to make mp3s from NWC? Also, I am looking for more help with Audacity. I have some specific questions about editing live recordings. Do you know the best place to do that?

Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #25
<snip>
The difference is sound quality is amazing! Feel free to say "I told you so." :)
Umm, "I told you so"?  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D
 
Quote
Lawrie, I also have Audacity, and the mp3 plug in. Could you explain in more detail how you use it to make mp3s from NWC? Also, I am looking for more help with Audacity. I have some specific questions about editing live recordings. Do you know the best place to do that?
I'm an EXTREMELY basic user of Audacity - there are way better people than me to ask.  As for how I use it for mp3s it's really quite simple:
  • Start Audacity and NWC, load the song to be recorded into NWC
  • On the Audacity screen make sure the recording device is set appropriately - this is system dependant, but on my current notebook I can choose either "Speakers/Headphone" or "Stereo Mix" - both will work
  • In Audacity click the record button
  • <Alt+Tab> to NWC and click play - this first time is for testing and parameter setting
  • <Alt+Tab> back to NWC Audacity and watch the recording - make sure it's doing what you expect and check the level - avoid letting it "clip" but keep the level as high as you can below that level.
  • Once you're happy click Stop and playback the recording and listen to the results you achieved - if it's OK then go to the next step, if not delete the recording just made (click the "x" at the top left of the track window) and repeat from 3 above
  • Now the test is good delete the last recording and start the recording process again:
  • In the Audacity window click record
  • <Alt+Tab> to NWC and click play
  • <Alt+Tab> back to Audacity and watch the recording
  • When the playback finishes click stop
  • You may wish to slightly trim any silences at the start and the end - don't remove them completely as some dead space is useful
  • SAVE the recording
  • There are plugins for Audacity that you may want to use for further manipulation - this is up to you to explore
  • Save as required - perhaps consider versions if you're experimenting with effects etc.
  • Export your mp3 |File|Export|Export as mp3|
  • Follow the prompts
  • Exit Audacity
  • At this point I would delete any saved Audacity versions you no longer wish to keep - I never usually keep any of mine once exported to mp3

Hope this helps.

<Edits> in italics
  • Last Edit: 2020-07-25 02:52 pm by Lawrie Pardy
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

  • SEBC
  • NWC2 User
Re: Learning to crescendo and decrescendo
Reply #26
Thanks for such a detailed response, Lawrie. It is so much appreciated.