Saturday, September 09, 2006

Patch 2: Trumpet & French Horn

Here it is, in all of it's trumpety glory:

02: Trumpet & French Horn (mp3, 2MB)

Here's the patch:

(Click for a full-size PDF.)

I decided that this sound called for a more studied approach than my last one. An actual composition, written in Finale, sent to the ARP via MIDI. I would kill several birds with one stone:
- learn how to get MIDI signals out of my computer;
- avoid the latency problem on the mbox (because I can record each line separately);
- take on a compositional challenge I've not done recently (4 part harmony)

The composition took me longer than I expected. It'd been a while since I did any four-part composition or arranging, and even with the radness of having Finale play the parts together for me as I composed, it still took a long time. I'm happy with the results, though; it's got a steady rhythmic feel that makes it come off as alomst baroque, but the harmonic structure is more dense & modern (perhaps a little jazz influenced). The modal center of the piece keeps shifting, so it's not really in any one key. If you're interested, here's the score: PDF | Finale

The tones don't exactly sound like trumpets or french horns, but you can (kind of) see the resemblance (sort of). I opted for a sound somewhere in the middle of the two instruments.

Getting the composition to play on the ARP required a USB-Midi interface; I went to Shred Center and picked up a Midisport Uno. Another $40 dropped, but for a good cause.

Recording the parts back into my computer was a bit of a trick, as Finale wouldn't play back midi while Protools was running (probably jealous). So I extracted the parts in Finale and exported them individually to MIDI, then imported those into Protools, which can play back MIDI and record audio simultaneously.

The first pass sounded a little bit too synth like, so I dampened the envelope to sound a bit duller and re-recorded the parts at a slower tempo (which was easy after having imported those MIDI files into Protools). I had originally planned to manually add expressions to the tracks as I recorded them, but I didn't; I may do that for a future composition, but this time I decided to just let the parts stand.

A little stereo separation and d-verb on the results to make it nicer to listen to, and it's a wrap. I may post some more compositions along this line, or I may just move on to my next challenge: Patch 3, "Trucker Bass". Seriously.