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#485139 - 08/09/18 05:47 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Adding motion and dynamics to your string tracks.
DeaconBlues09 Online   content
Journeyman

Registered: 03/21/17
Posts: 316
Loc: Merkaz, Israel
So I wrote this as a response to a query posted in Band in a Box and now posting this here pursuant to VideoTrack's suggestion.

Basically, the OP in that post was finding that the MIDI string tracks were playing simple triads with an occasional inversion thrown in, and wanted to achieve a more dynamic and varied sound.

This was my response:

You actually have a number of options for getting movement in your string sections.

1) Use MIDI supertracks or RTs for your string sections. The "regular" MIDI styles are based on a C7 algorithm (as PG music refers to it). These are rather static mappings that simply transpose to the chords you are using. On the other hand, RTs and MIDI Supertracks are input/played by musicians, and therefore have a much wider range.

2) [Music theory alert] If you want more precise inversions, why not use slash chords? Basically, if you have a triad, which is based on the 1, 3, and 5, why not place the three or five in the bass and restate the chord-which will essentially add in an octave note-or use the chord that results from stating the third degree as the root and the fifth as the 3rd etc. Then you can shuffle/alternate between the three varioutions within the same measure, and BiaB will likely throw in some leading and/or transitional notes throughout,

3) Make sure the strings patch is placed on the melody track and utilize the "Humanize" function, which has a wealth of fantastic options.

4) Make sure the strings patch is placed on the melody track (as above) and use the harmony function. Also has a wealth of fantastic options, some of which are specifically geared toward strings, IIRC.

5) Use extensions! The more "info" you feed into BiaB the more it blossoms. I've found that generally when you use an extension--even if it's the added note of simple 7th/Maj7 chord--BiaB will generate something much more complex than what is essentially a held chord with the 1, 3, 5, and 7. Sit down with your guitar or piano or whatever your instrument of choice is, and see what might be added in over any given triad, generate and play, and watch the magic happen.

Hope this helps!


P.S. I was thinking of maybe making a demonstration video to post on YouTube if there's enough interest in the topic. If this is something a number of you folks would be interested in, let me know in the comments below, and I'll see if I can carve out some time over the weekend to record and upload a video.

All the best,

Deacon


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#490962 - 09/14/18 01:42 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Adding motion and dynamics to your string tracks. [Re: DeaconBlues09]
Tobias Offline
Expert

Registered: 03/26/04
Posts: 1598
Loc: Way too close to Palm Springs,...
Definitely Interested. I've been sticking with midi strings and editing like crazy in Piano Roll. While I will probably still use midi strings over Real Strings it certainly sounds worth a try to with either to first get BIAB to do some/most/all of the creative work for me. I don't really play keys/synth/string myself so making these creative edits don't come easy for me. Plus the time spent is often exhausting although fun. I would totally be willing to accept what musician would offer and most likely accept what BIAB gave me if a little more creative in the right sections of a song.
BTW, when you refer to "string dynamics" I assume I would apply the same techniques to pads, synths, organ and more at times.
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#490980 - 09/14/18 03:30 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Adding motion and dynamics to your string tracks. [Re: DeaconBlues09]
Tangmo Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 210
Great info.
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#495814 - 10/13/18 11:56 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Adding motion and dynamics to your string tracks. [Re: DeaconBlues09]
drutgat Online   content
Enthusiast

Registered: 10/07/18
Posts: 62
Originally Posted By: DeaconBlues09

P.S. I was thinking of maybe making a demonstration video to post on YouTube if there's enough interest in the topic. If this is something a number of you folks would be interested in, let me know in the comments below, and I'll see if I can carve out some time over the weekend to record and upload a video.

All the best,

Deacon


Having seen your other video, Deacon, I would very much hope that you would make a video on this topic.

Thanks.

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#495815 - Yesterday at 12:01 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Adding motion and dynamics to your string tracks. [Re: drutgat]
DeaconBlues09 Online   content
Journeyman

Registered: 03/21/17
Posts: 316
Loc: Merkaz, Israel
Originally Posted By: drutgat
Originally Posted By: DeaconBlues09

P.S. I was thinking of maybe making a demonstration video to post on YouTube if there's enough interest in the topic. If this is something a number of you folks would be interested in, let me know in the comments below, and I'll see if I can carve out some time over the weekend to record and upload a video.

All the best,

Deacon


Having seen your other video, Deacon, I would very much hope that you would make a video on this topic.

Thanks.


Glad you find them helpful, I'll try and see if I can carve out some time over the week to post something :-)
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#495945 - Yesterday at 11:33 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Adding motion and dynamics to your string tracks. [Re: Tobias]
DeaconBlues09 Online   content
Journeyman

Registered: 03/21/17
Posts: 316
Loc: Merkaz, Israel
Originally Posted By: Tobias
Definitely Interested. I've been sticking with midi strings and editing like crazy in Piano Roll. While I will probably still use midi strings over Real Strings it certainly sounds worth a try to with either to first get BIAB to do some/most/all of the creative work for me. I don't really play keys/synth/string myself so making these creative edits don't come easy for me. Plus the time spent is often exhausting although fun. I would totally be willing to accept what musician would offer and most likely accept what BIAB gave me if a little more creative in the right sections of a song.
BTW, when you refer to "string dynamics" I assume I would apply the same techniques to pads, synths, organ and more at times.


Hey Tobias,

Sorry I missed this somehow. You could definitely apply these techniques to pads, synths, organs, and more.

That said, I would not use the same techniques for, say, strings as I would for pads due to the difference in sonic and contextual functions of the respective instruments.

For instance, real life string sections will have the lower register instruments playing less notes in step-wise motion while higher register instruments will be playing arpeggios. For organs, I would be more inclined to add a rotary effect and automate the oscillations such that the rate accelerates and decelerates to taste. With pads I would tweak the ADSR envelope and apply an LFO or two to the filter tp get that swelling and morphing effect.

I will definitely try and make a video or two touching on these subjects in the coming weeks. :-)
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