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#189373 - 01/10/13 05:45 AM [Off-Topic] Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ?
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Joe V Offline
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Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? Sometimes the tracks generated by BB/RB sound a little 'mechanic' - not that they're not the best on the market, and of course PG is always working on things that make their generated tracks sound more realistic (latest being RealTracks, of course).

But in reading David's post about getting realistic horn sounds (and I love the doctor'ed up sound he got with all that tweaking), I couldn't help but think could some of the things he had to do manually be built into the BB/RB program ? or are they musical decisions that should not be built in - or could the additions be 'automated' into an Excel-like macro that could be more easily applied, say David wanted to do something very similar again (or, give me the capability to more easily do so : )

Finally - wondering if there's a comprehensive list of "Top things to do to 'humanize' your BB/RB compositions". I know I've seen the topic come and go in various posts.

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#189374 - 01/10/13 08:36 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Joe V]
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Kevin Woolley Offline
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I doubt whether you'll get more realistic than real tracks since the name denotes exactly what they are. They are real instruments played by real humans - do you want to now humanise a human?

I agree the older midi tracks sometimes needed to use some humanisation but since real drums and real tracks there is no longer a need.

The newer midi supertracks are played by humans so humanisation not needed there either plus the resolution was upped to 192ppqn.


Kevin

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#189375 - 01/10/13 08:59 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Kevin Woolley]
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Notes Norton Offline
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First of all, humanization is simply randomization. A little bit? Yes. A lot? No. Does it make it sound human? Not much.

Many of the older MIDI styles are step-entered and/or quantized. Even after the advent of "live drums" many styles continued to use the quantized drum grid.

I've always preferred to play my music live into a sequencer and then import the snippets of MIDI into the style-maker, so they are not quantized, and sound live because they were played live. And ever since the 'live drums' were introduced, I've done the same with the drums.

That's why my styles don't need "humanizing"

Back to humanizing.

What a real band does is not randomizing. Sure, everybody can't hit every note at the exact same time, and that's why a little bit of humanizing does help. But it won't do the job you are asking.

When a band plays, certain beats and/or sub beats are actually played a little bit before or after the place where they are notated. The second pair of the eighth notes might be rushed or dragged a bit, the 2nd and/or 4th beat of each measure might also be either rushed or dragged a bit.

This is commonly called the groove.

I was first introduced to this when I was in school band. The band director played a number of different recordings of Strauss waltzes and told us to notice how the second beat of each measure was rushed. It came before the beat and that gave the dancers a little lift or push. He also called our attention to the fact that different conductors rushed this in different amounts and the proceeded to have us rush the 2nd beat of each measure in the waltz we are learning.

So you can go through each measure and shift notes -- this is a lot of work, and in the very early days of sequencing with my Atari that's exactly what I did.

But there is a better way -- IF you have a sequencer with a groove or change filter, you can easily manipulate the beats.

For example, in Master Tracks Pro you can go to the change menu, select slide data, and then use the dialog box to slide the data 4 clicks to the left, but that would just move all the beats to the left, so click the "Use Change Filter" box and then select the second beat of each measure.

Here is the Change Filter in MT Pro


Other sequencers that have change or groove filters allow similar manipulations. I've been asking for something like this in Power Tracks per years, perhaps some day my wish will be granted. Many of my older wishes have already been granted.

Different styles of music use different grooves, and two songs of the same genre can have a different groove. What we pop/jazz/country/R&B musicians generally do not do is play everything quantized. There are of course exceptions, Techno is one, and there are a few others. These types of music are supposed to sound stiff and putting a groove into them will make them weaker.

So the solution is to (1) use my "live entered" MIDI styles (2) export to a sequencer with a groove filter or (3) export to a sequencer and manipulate the data measure at a time.

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#189376 - 01/10/13 09:42 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Joe V]
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John-Luke Offline
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Joe V,
You'right and your concerns comes back on a regular basis on the BIAB forum. That's why I have been asking for years now - and other users did the same - to get some humanizing tools, as random velocity changes, MIDI expansions/compressions, random notes start times changes , all these features being selectable upon a channel basis. that means you can apply random velocities changes on bass and piano, and not on the strings for example. We all know that is not the ultimate solution, but it is more convincing than nothing.
I was hoping to get some humanizing tool in the 2013 version, but nothing is going out.
Note that you can slide the MIDI tracks when playing the songs, but it works only when you play the song, not when you render it in audio format. That has been asked to PG people.
Without humanizing and other tweaks, pure MIDI BIAB tracks will produce limited quality songs. That is a shade for a high level product like Band In A Box !
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#189377 - 01/10/13 05:03 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: John-Luke]
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Notes Norton Offline
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Quote:

<...>
Without humanizing and other tweaks, pure MIDI BIAB tracks will produce limited quality songs. That is a shade for a high level product like Band In A Box !




I have to respectfully disagree here. Improperly entered pure MIDI BiaB tracks will produce limited quality songs, but styles that were created by a real player playing live into a sequencer and then imported into the StyleMaker will have the same human groove as the player originally intended.

There is a difference between MIDI done right and MIDI done not-so-right.

Notes
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#189378 - 01/10/13 05:36 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Notes Norton]
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PeterGannon Offline
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>>> Many of the older MIDI styles are step-entered and/or quantized.
>>> There is a difference between MIDI done right and MIDI done not-so-right.

Not sure whose "older MIDI styles" you are referring to, and what "not-so-right" you are referring to, but if it is our styles, then, no, they weren't step entered.

I don't know of anyone who step-enters instrument parts. The exception is drums, which can either by step entered or live drums entered (we do both). From our experience, most drum styles sound better step entered (ie live recording from keyboard sounds worse, unless quantized). Other parts (bass, pianos, guitar, strings etc.) are always played in live.
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#189379 - 01/10/13 06:09 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: PeterGannon]
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PeterGannon Offline
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>>> Without humanizing and other tweaks, pure MIDI BIAB tracks will produce limited quality songs. That is a shade for a high level product like Band In A Box !


Our parts are already recorded live by musicians. Taking them, and "tweaking velocities" unfortunately (in our experience) just makes them sound worse, not more musical. We tried this, and the results just sounded bad, so we didn't pursue adding this into BiaB.

You should use your ears in this, not a written description though. (please listen to links below)

To my ears, when both MIDI and RealTracks are available, for many instruments (stringed instruments, horns) the RealTracks sound best.

For MIDI, I like our new MIDI SuperTracks over the older MIDI styles, and there is a good reason for that:

The newer MIDI SuperTracks that we do are done an entirely new way, not based on patterns. These have typically 40X (yes, 40 times) the amount of material than a typical "older style" instrument has. This is why the MIDI SuperTracks sound more human (because endless repitition kills the human feel, and isn't cured by velocity tweaks.)



For example, listen to the piano part here http://nn.pgmusic.com/pgfiles/audio/realtracksdemos/2088band.m4a

or here http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/allstyledemos/_HKYTJON.m4a

This is MIDI (from a MIDI SuperTracks). Now, this sounds great to me, great playing, nice piano sound (a Hi-Q instrument that we provide, so this is exactly how it will sound for you in BiaB 2013), and it doesn't need to be made more "human" by random (or groove based) velocity/timing tweaks.


BTW, there are lots more MIDI SUperTracks demos that you can listen to here http://www.pgmusic.com/addons.supertracks.php
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#189380 - 01/10/13 08:50 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Joe V]
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Ryszard Offline
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Quote:

Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? Sometimes the tracks generated by BB/RB sound a little 'mechanic' . . . Finally - wondering if there's a comprehensive list of "Top things to do to 'humanize' your BB/RB compositions". I know I've seen the topic come and go in various posts.




Joe, the only answer I have for you is "extensive tweaking." I am thinking in particular of a choral voice I used in one composition ("Jarreologie"--see link below to hear). When it came out of BIAB it was rhythmically choppy and harmonically disjointed. No criticism intended; it is just the nature of BIAB's MIDI characteristics. I imported the project into Propellerhead Reason, then spent hours in the MIDI editor smoothing out the harmonies, extending notes where appropriate, and making changes in the attack to sound more human, as well as doubling it at the end to simulate male and female voices. I have a lot of experience with large choirs and my standards are pretty exacting. Most people probably can't tell without comparing to the original just how much work went into it, but to me it was worth it. Not something I'd want to do on every project, though.

HTH,

R.
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#189381 - 01/10/13 09:35 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Ryszard]
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Mac Offline
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Joe, I do not use any automatic "humanize" functions, which are generally for use only with MIDI files, the free ones that were done with Step Entry or played in poorly, but my experience has shown that if a particular track or entire file doesn't sound good to begin with to me, all the tweaking in the world is unlikely to help it.

And, as I've answered before in the past about the automated humanize function, I'd rather play in my own tracks where I am the human being involved, eh?

Random changing of things such as velocity and note start times isn't necessarily a human function. Not for humans who have spent their time training, studying and practicing the performance on their given instrument. In my opinion, performance is anything but random. When done properly.

Today's computing power is a wondrous thing and can be used to do a lot, but there comes a point where the old GIGO bromide must be taken seriously.


--Mac
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#189382 - 01/11/13 10:37 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Mac]
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John-Luke Offline
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I don't want to polemize, for more investigation, here some factual examples of styles :
1 - Ricky+.sty : Piano/ patterns are all with notes lenght=30 or 60.
2 - Weeds.sty : Guitar/All macro notes have the same velocity = 55
3 - L_50CHA.sty: Piano/2 bars-patterns : the second bar is the exact copy of the 1st bar
4 - Forgiven.Sty : Drums/ all Hi Conga hits are at velocity=50, all shakers notes are at velocity50/35/40/35, repeated exactly 3 times in the pattern. No drummer is able to play like that, fortunately.
In general, all the notes in the patterns are quantized on the beats, except error from me.
Exigent musicians may not accept that and that's why I can understand Joe V comments.
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#189383 - 01/11/13 01:27 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: PeterGannon]
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Notes Norton Offline
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Quote:

<...>
Not sure whose "older MIDI styles" you are referring to, and what "not-so-right" you are referring to, but if it is our styles, then, no, they weren't step entered. <...>




I don't want to name any names, and I never pointed a finger at anyone -- but there was a competitor of mine that once told me that I wasn't good enough to make step entered styles. Although he is no longer selling his styles, they seem to be freely traded on the Internet. Plus there are plenty of step-entered styles floating around the web in the web pages of people on this board and e-groups.

But I do respectfully disagree with you in the quantized drums area. For disco, techno and similar styles I think they are appropriate, but for many other styles I personally feel if they are entered with a drum controller by someone who plays that controller well, they can be better than quantized drums by falling into the pocket.

In a heated on-line discussion with the former competitor, I explained how one particular song delayed the 2nd and 4th beat of every measure, and on every second measure the 4th beat was delayed even more than the rest. He disagreed. Someone else with the scientific instruments to measure the delay, actually did so and verified my statement.

To me this is the biggest reason why humanizing doesn't do the entire job. It's also the reason why IMHO live entered input, whether they be for your styles, my styles, anybody else's styles or anybody's MIDI file can sound far superior to a step-entered or quantized style - as long as the person doing the playing as adequate skills to do so.

Notes
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#189384 - 01/12/13 02:50 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Notes Norton]
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John-Luke Offline
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Quote:

But I do respectfully disagree with you in the quantized drums area. For disco, techno and similar styles I think they are appropriate, but for many other styles I personally feel if they are entered with a drum controller by someone who plays that controller well, they can be better than quantized drums by falling into the pocket...

I's also the reason why IMHO live entered input, whether they be for your styles, my styles, anybody else's styles or anybody's MIDI file can sound far superior to a step-entered or quantized style - as long as the person doing the playing as adequate skills to do so.





Notes,
To be short and clear, I fully agree with you.
That's what wre are trying to explain in this thread. Quantized music will always sound machine-like in any situation.
We are honest, factual and musicians who know that making good music is exigent.
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#189385 - 01/12/13 05:45 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: John-Luke]
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Joe V Offline
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I just wanted to clarify my use of the word 'humanize', because I think it may also refer to some particular product feature related to timing, and I am using the term more broadly here. By humanize, I meant ANYTHING that allows one to make a MIDI file sound more like it was created by a human band. Now, that could be done 'after' the creation of the MIDI file, or in real time as a particular instrument is recorded. Timing is of course a huge factor. And many of these things can be done with lots of tweaking and fiddling, but of course the goal is to have 'smart' tools that can do that 'humanizing' with less tweaking on the part of the composer.

I've mentioned a couple of things that, for me, distinguish what I hear in human band recordings that is frequently absent to a degree. They include phrasing, articulation, timing, dynamics. I think what often strikes me most as being absent are the unique instrument articulations peculiar to selected instruments (zerozero restated this more clearly when he paraphrased what I said by distinguishing these 2 differences:

Quote:


Firstly there are two entities
a] The 'articulations' that any instrument can achieve
b] the emulations that MIDI istruments can achieve





Regarding these unique articulations (or two entities), I think maybe on this particular point, my question would have been better phrased as, for different instruments, "where do those 2 entities differ most, what tweaks can currently be done to narrow the distance between those 2 entities, and what enhancements might computer music software vendors make to narrow the distance between those 2 entities.

One of Mac's smart suggestions was - if I paraphrase - where you find these 2 entities differing by a lot, do NOT try to include or emulate such aspects of an instrument performance in your MIDI file recording (or guitar synth recording to MIDI file).

PG keeps getting closer and closer to achieving this, and they of course did the very logical thing of evolving from MIDI coding (attributes about the notes) to analog recordings of the instruments themselves. So technically - 'humanizing' the recorded analog files, or generated RealTracks, is a bit of a different discussion, though the goals are the same. I haven't used RealTracks enough to even judge where the may need more 'humanizing', or whether their already as 'humanized' as the can possibly be. All I could imagine is maybe the RT users wanting to alter or enhance the articulations/dynamics/timing to more meet their visions.

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#189386 - 01/12/13 09:45 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Joe V]
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Notes Norton Offline
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OK, in addition to articulations, various ornaments (and I use the term broadly) are available to different instruments that you may want to emulate.

Couple of examples (a few of very many):

Saxophonists often tend to "scoop" up to the first note of a phrase (from flat to on pitch), especially in slow songs. Sax vibrato tends to be more below 'on pitch' than above it because of the nature of the instrument (it's easier), and also, the vibrato tends to start flat and then increase speed and intensity, often followed by a decrease, sometimes even subdividing the beat, (IMO, no LFO can recreate a wind instrument vibrato well). Plus the timbre of the tone changes with the vibrato. Saxes are good at glissandos, grace notes, and dynamic variations in the held note.

Guitar vibrato tends to vary from on pitch to above pitch because that's the easiest way to get vibrato on a guitar, by bending the strings. Of course some guitarists use the whammy bar or hit a note half step below, and bend up to get + and - vibrato. I hear a lot of especially blues and rock guitarists intentionally hitting a note a half or whole step below and bending it up to pitch. Don't forget hammer-ons and pull-offs - which can be recreated either with pitch bend or if you synth has it a legato effect. And where saxes do glissandos, guitars do slides. Then you have harmonics, double-stops, and so many other guitar-like effects done either with the hands or the stomp boxes and/or amps.

Trombonists tend to tongue every note, unless the slide effect is wanted.

I could go on and on.

The ornaments used by any physical instrument are usually dictated by what that instrument is capable of doing. In the words of Charlie Parker, "You don't play the sax, you let the sax play you."

So the idea is to listen carefully to each instrument in order to understand how that particular instrument gets its expressive devices, then see about recreating those expressive devices on your synth patch if you can. Certain synths can do better than others on different instruments.

Also it is as important to avoid an expressive device on an instrument that can't do that if you want to emulate that instrument.

For example, hitting each note and letting it decay like a piano on a sax patch isn't going to sound very sax like. Hitting a note on a piano and then increasing the volume while you add vibrato isn't going to sound very piano like. Not that you cannot do those things if your artistic instincts tell you to do so. All I'm saying is that they won't make for a very good emulation.

There is an art to making a synth patch sound like another instrument, and it isn't just the tone of the instrument. It's recreating the nuances, which IMHO are more important to the emulation than tone.

I've used this example before.

Think about a comedian that does an impression of a famous person like the president of the US or some well-known celebrity. Does the impressionist have an identical voice to the person he/she is doing? Definitely not, no two voices are exactly alike, and sometimes the voice is quite different. Then why do you hear the famous person and not the comedian? Because the comedian has captured the nuances of that famous person's speech patterns.

Recreating these nuances of other instruments does a few good things for you. (1) it opens your ears and gives you both a greater understanding of different instruments and their players but also gives you greater listening pleasure due that understanding (2) improves your synth emulations (3) improves your non-emulative synth playing and (4) makes you a better all-around musician.

There are times when the Real Tracks fit perfectly, and there is nothing left to do by enjoy them -- and there is nothing wrong with that. But the output of BiaB is rather generic - as it should be - and as all auto-accompaniment devices are. To play something that is not already included in the background, the easiest and most economical way is to use MIDI, and to use MIDI effectively, it's a lot more than just choosing a patch and entering notes. It means learning to play MIDI like any other musical instrument. And in a way it's still easier than say learning a guitar. You don't need the build those callouses and learn the notes on the fretboard and how to shape your hand into thousands of chord variations.

So I think by your definition of humanize (which is different from the standard sequencer definition) there is a world of things you can do. Take one instrument at a time. Listen critically to different players in different genres playing that instrument. Then use the continuous controllers in MIDI and your synth to recreate those nuances. A complete list of continuous controllers can be found here:
http://www.nortonmusic.com/midi_cc.html

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#189387 - 01/12/13 11:12 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Joe V]
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Mac Offline
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Ah.

Joe, I think you are confusing some terms here.

Think about this:

MIDI synthesizers, whether hardware or software, depend on Samples made by recording or synthesizing each possible note in pcm digital audio. When sampling an instrument for such, the job is painstaking if done well, and just recording each note can take more than just time. For example, I once was consulted to design and build a programmable electric "finger" for the purpose of "playing" a single piano key at a time, but with exact velocities and pressures. This was one way of obtaining multiple samples for the Velocity Layers that the engineers wanted to obtain from the great sounding grand piano, mic'd well and in a great sounding acoustic environment of the studio. When the amount of layers desirable were more than three (Soft, Medium and Hard) they soon found out that use of a human being to hit each key was problematic. Part of the issue also turned out to be due to the fact that the amount of pressure, or velocity, needed to get the same layer was very different from the lowest key on the piano to the highest, and by building the programmable finger we also learned that the differences needed across the keyboard weren't even a linear progression. I also learned that this whole thin can differ from piano to piano, for example, the famous Steinway "Accelerated Action" pianos required a completely different programming template for our laboratory grade robot finger than was required to sample a Baldwin or another brand and get equality of sound.

Now, that's just the example of a Piano, in which the Attack of the notes are really governed by the Hammers.

In the case of many other instruments, horns, guitars, woodwinds, strings, etc. the ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) of the sample set governs what you hear.

If a horn were sampled with the horn player tonguing each note, then there will be a "Ta" kind of Attack at the beginning of each sample. Great for emulating a Bugle Call, would likely be good for the start of the William Tell Overture, but since there are no samples there for emulating a slurred passage, in which maybe only the first note in the phrase is tongued, the following notes being articulated by valves and lips, attempts to throw the same MIDI sample at it would result in every note sounding as if it was tongued, regardless of what can be done with CCs and such. It thus could not sound realistic.

I will put this into terms for the guitarist now.

A MIDI sample set of a guitar would have the same problems in ADSR, if the samples were made of all picked notes, then there would be an Attack at the beginning of every note fired by the MIDI file.

But we often don't pick every note we play, right. Hammer-ons, Pulloffs.

The MIDI sample with a pickmark at the beginning of every note cannot sound like that because every note will have an Attack that is greatly different from the desired sound.

Over the years there have been various attempts to make things better by using workarounds inside the aging MIDI Standard. Some have touted custom uses of the CC's such as using the Modwheel to allow a keyboard player to access different samples on the fly (with a little practice in playing the keys while working the Wheel) in efforts to emulate string bowings on the fly, or guitar playing with pick attacks, hammerons and pulloffs. Garritan's offerings are one example. BUT -- use of nonstandard stuff for CC's also means that one cannot simply load up any old MIDI file found and get it to playback what the original creator of the file, likely using a GM bank, heard.

Okay, that's just a quick explanation of the Attack problems inherent in firing samples via MIDI.

There is still the "DSR" to be considered, the Decay, Sustain and Release aspects of each sound.

These too, can be different depending upon other issues, the Attack for one. When you pluck your guitar string lightly, the DS and R are sounding differently than when you PLUCK that string with vigor.

How about the different ways that we can pluck those guitar strings?

*Was the pluck done with a plectrum? If so, what kind of plectrum, what particular qualities does the material, thickness, stiffness, flexibiltiy of said plectrum bring to the sound, not only of the Attack, but the entire note? Bear in mind that for a MIDI synth, you could sample the Attack in layers, perhaps the DS&R in layers as well, but again here we get into how much a particular MIDI synth solution costs vs that pesky Law of Diminishing Returns.

*You are into Flamenco guitar, so we are likely not even talking a plectrum in that case. While you might hear and see plectrum in use today in certain Flamenco situations such as soloing, you know darn well that the true Flamenco player uses picking hand and fingernails. The four finger strum sound, when executed well, is Flamenco signature of a sort. Got any MIDI samples of that? How would that be able to be implemented in a MIDI file? Here we get into specialty samples, which are actually available, and the clever MIDIOT might take advantage of such by initiating Patch Changes in order to shift from, say, a bit of PIMA over to the frail and then Patch Change again to get back. Again, such is more expensive to have in the average home recordist's arsenal. (Studios such as Dreamworks, however, can and do afford to do things like sample the London Symphony all kinds of ways, but their samples are proprietary and belong only to them to use. But they can justify the expenditure over time, because they also do not have to hire 80 to 120 orchestral musicians to do every underscore anymore. They do it with MIDI. And most folks and most musicians cannot tell the difference.)

The MIDI Standard as we have it today can only accomplish so much.

However, I would caution anyone who is thinking they could come up with something better, because they would only end up adding many more commands, samples, Continuous Controllers, perhaps a few other things in which a terminology would be required -- but the MIDI Standard we already have confuses most to the point that they lose interest quickly enough due to complexity. So they declare that MIDI sucks, demand real audio loops and more Realtracks to make their home productions, and then its off to the Movie Theater where they are confident that the MIDI they are hearing there is a real live recorded orchestra. Or really great Concert Grand Piano in an equally great hall. Sometimes it is, quite often it isn't.


--Mac
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#189388 - 01/12/13 12:29 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Mac]
Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7751
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Pat Marr Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7751
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Wow!

Great descriptions, guys! How lucky we are to have an environment where experts can share their hard earned knowledge, and we can hear it for free... the only costs being the time it takes to read it and the open-mindedness it takes to accept it and put it into action

thanks

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#189389 - 01/13/13 10:05 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Pat Marr]
Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4912
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Notes Norton Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4912
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
While it is true that many MIDI synthesizers rely on samples, there are plenty of delightful exceptions.

More often than not I play my wind controller through a synth module that uses no samples in it at all, but instead uses physical modeling synthesis. In very simplistic terms it uses computer models of different sources (single reeds, double reeds, cup mouthpieces, bowed strings, picked strings, etc.), follows them with computer models of resonators (guitar bodies, tubes, cones) and then dampers (bells, bridges, etc.).

The result is something that doesn't quite have the tone of the physical instrument that you may be emulating, but it reproduces the nuances of that instrument very well. Depending on the patch, different attacks, throat growl, flutter tongue, hammer-ons/pull offs (in legato mode), lip slurs (brass) and so many more.

How well? Enough to fool players of their own instruments. I'll give a few examples:

  • I also frequent a guitar forum. I posted an example of me playing a guitar solo using my Yamaha WX5 wind controller and VL70-m physical modeling synthesizer. I told the guitarists that it was my playing but I didn't tell them I was playing synth. The thread got hundreds of hits and I got dozens of compliments, including one that said my playing was rather like Jeff Beck (wow! that one floored me). After the thread started to lose its momentum, I admitted that I played it on synth. People were amazed and told me so. Only one person then said that he though there was something a little odd about the whammy bar vibrato but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.
  • I was playing trumpet with my WX/VL in the lounge of a country club. The people in the dining room could hear us but couldn't see us from their tables. A trumpet player actually got out of his seat and walked into the lounge to see who was sitting in on trumpet.
  • A similar thing happened at a private party. The husband, a guitar player was hosting the guests inside the house. We were playing on the back porch and the wife was tending to the guests outside. We were playing a song and I was using a patch called "Carlos" and the guitar playing husband walked outside to see who was sitting in with us. This was before I quit bringing the keyboard to the gig and replaced it with a guitar.


There are other forms of synthesis that don't use samples as well. Each has its strong points and weak points. Even the so out-of-fashion FM synthesis from the DX7 days still is useful, especially with melodic percussion like vibes, marimba, etc., I still use the old Roland LA synthesis in the MT-32 for a few stellar patches found nowhere else, of course analog synths like the Moog, Arp, Oberheim are making a comeback, and there are others.

MIDI isn't old and tired yet, there are still a lot of unused parameters that will allow it to grow. And in the words of Alan Parsons, "Since [1983], MIDI has been embedded in the DNA of virtually every pop music production." And in the words of Craig Anderton, "But to consider MIDI a museum piece that, against all odds has remained relevant over the decades ignores the reality that ... MIDI continues to evolve."

Sure it has it's limitations, what tool doesn't? And sure other tools have joined the party in the past 30 years, but they also have their limitations as well. The ideal is to learn how to use each tool to it's fullest potential, and then choose the best tool for the job you have in front of you.

Insights and incites by Notes
_________________________
Bob "Notes" Norton smile Norton Music
http://www.nortonmusic.com

100% MIDI Super-Styles recorded by live, pro, studio musicians for a live groove
& Fake Disks for MIDI and/or RealTracks

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#189390 - 01/13/13 10:16 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Are there any things you do to "humanize" your generated Tracks ? [Re: Notes Norton]
Registered: 12/21/06
Posts: 463
percy Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/21/06
Posts: 463
Right on, Notes !

I purchased a midi of 'Just a Gigolo' and you would think it was David Lee Roth's band performing-- that;'s how good the brass sounded.

Percy

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PG Music News
#TBT The Band-in-a-Box® 2010 "Plug-in" Mode!

Did you know... the "Plug-in" mode was first launched with the release of Band-in-a-Box® 2010 for Windows!

With the 2010 "Plug-in" mode, Band-in-a-Box® opened as a small always-on-top window, and acted as a plug-in for your favorite DAW/sequencer, so that you could Drag-and-drop MIDI and audio (WAV) tracks from Band-in-a-Box to your favorite sequencer. You could work in your favorite sequencer, type a progression in Band-in-a-Box, and then simply drag the track from Band-in-a-Box to your sequencer’s track at the desired track and bar location.

To learn more about the new features that were launched with Band-in-a-Box® 2010 for Windows, check out Band-in-a-Box® 2010 "Plug-in" mode feature highlighted in our Band-in-a-Box® 2010 New Features Video at 10:50!

The "Plug-in" mode development didn't stop there - With Band-in-a-Box® 2019 we introduced the "Band-in-a-Box® VST DAW Plugin" which now works DIRECTLY INSIDE YOUR DAW (Cakewalk, Reaper, Pro Tools, PreSonus, etc.). Learn more about this feature here.

Video - Band-in-a-Box® 2019 for Mac - No Sound with MIDI?

Have you ever experienced a No Sound issue when you're working with MIDI in Band-in-a-Box® for Mac?

We have an online tutorial that can walk you through some troubleshooting to resolve this, but why not check out our newest YouTube video instead?

Click here to watch...

Of course, you can always reach out to us directly if you're in need of assistance with the program!

#TipTuesday - The Band-in-a-Box® 2020 Feature Browser!

Don't underestimate the power of the Feature Browser added with Band-in-a-Box® 2020! This is a GREAT resource when you "know that you knew a feature" but just can't quite remember how to find it!

Simply click on the [?] at the top of the program (near the Mixer on the right) to launch this feature. From there, simply type in your query, or choose from the long list that appears in the Feature Browser window. If you're typing it in, you'll see that list change to only show the results that could fit your search - once you find what you're looking for, you can read more about it when you choose [Manual], if there's a video for the feature you can choose [Video] to view it, OR - if you don't need to read about the feature and just want to USE it, choose [Do it] and you're all set!

Watch this new feature in action when you jump to the subject in our New Features video:

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Give the Gift of Music with Band-in-a-Box®!

Did you wait too long to purchase flowers, a card, or book a restaurant for Valentine's Day? Or, maybe material gifts just aren't your thing?

Why not whip together a song in Band-in-a-Box? It's as easy as typing in some chords, choosing a style, and pressing play!

Or, take it a step further with the help of the Audio Chord Wizard and our StylePicker Song Titles Browser feature!
How???
-Use the Audio Chord Wizard to analyze their favorite song and provide you with the chord progression
-Take that chord progression and start a new project in Band-in-a-Box (choose "Erase the Audio WAV file in BB" | Enable style)
-Head to the StylePicker window, search for a style for that song using the "Song Titles Browser" Feature (top right)
-Choose from the list provided
-Press Play!

Like what you hear? Save it, and viola!

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Get Out Your Guitar with Band-in-a-Box®!

Today is Get Out Your Guitar Day! To celebrate, "they" recommend gathering up a few friends with guitars to ROCK!

But, what if you're unable to round up your crew? That's where Band-in-a-Box® comes in!

There are more than 1,100 Guitar RealTracks available in Sets 1-352 by over 50 RealTracks Artists! Jam along with any of them when you create your own song using Guitar RealTracks, or play one of the demo songs for any Guitar you choose in the RealTracks picker dialog - simply choose your Guitar and click on the [Song Demo...] button within that window.

OR take it even farther when you head to the Soloist within Band-in-a-Box® and choose "Trade" when generating a Guitar Soloist track - choose between 2, 4, or 8 bars!

Learn more about the Trade option within Band-in-a-Box in Chapter 9 | "The Soloist" of our Online Manual.

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Pressing the [Bar] button or f5 while in the Chords Window of RealBand brings up the Settings for Bar for that song.

What can you do in Bar Settings?
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