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#610820 - 08/15/20 01:13 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Writing Realistic Horn Section Sounds...Possible?
Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 59
Loc: NJ
doxology Offline

Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 59
Loc: NJ
hello again...

Using BiaB 2012 (I know, I know). At present, to compose horn sections for my songs, I play them on a digital keyboard, into SONAR XI using Hollywood Brass as my plug-in...but they never, ever sound completely like a real horn section. Today I heard samples from the Crooner Horn Section (2016); and many of them sound very similar to the types of parts I write (kinda like the way Donald Fagen writes those Sinatra-like parts for Steely Dan music)

My question is...has BiaB (or any music creation software) bridged the gap between MIDI music & real instrumentation? In other it possible to play a horn part on a digital keyboard & the result would be a Real Tracks style version of the those essentially have the Crooner Horn Section play what I have written?

[If not...(& when I upgrade to v2020)...would the best method still consist of generating multiple Crooner Real Tracks & then cut/copy/paste or otherwise manipulate the various audio clips together to match what I have written?]



Edited by doxology (08/15/20 08:47 PM)
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#610835 - 08/15/20 03:41 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Writing Realistic Horn Section Sounds...Possible? [Re: doxology]
Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 20659
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Matt Finley Online   content

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 20659
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
As you already know, RealTracks cannot play the notes you write. They play what was recorded in phrases that match the chord progression and style of BIAB.

To do what you want requires using MIDI and a really good MIDI synthesizer, either hardware or software.

Another approach that I have not tried could be to create a user style that would play generally the sound you want, but it would not be note for note what you wrote.

As a pro horn player, I would like to think that no software will be able to replace my playing and arranging, but that's a different question, and I know I'm on borrowed time as the software continues to improve.
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#610851 - 08/15/20 05:04 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Writing Realistic Horn Section Sounds...Possible? [Re: doxology]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 14549
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 14549
Loc: Hamlin NY
Hi Dox,

Hollywood Brass is an excellent orchestra brass section and should come very close to the sounds you are looking to emulate. That is if you are looking for orchestra brass and not a jazz band brass section.

Here are a few things that may help:
1-always stay within the natural range of the instrument. This will yield the best emulations.
2-never play the sections like a pianist. In other words don't play all of the notes exactly at the same time.
3-if possible, it should be but I don't own that library so I don't know for sure, use the mod wheel or an assignable slider or knob for CC11, expression. This is very important as no horn player plays at a constant volume.
4-play each single instrument. Don't play three trumpets at the same time. Play each one individually and slight change the start/end time, vibrato if being used, and volumes.
5-if possible choose a different instrument for each track. For instance for #4 choose three different trumpets. If that is not possible then slightly change the timbre for each instrument.
6-Try to emulate an instrument's nuances via MIDI CCs and/or key switches. This requires looking at the manual and the MIDI Implementation page if it has one as each piece of software has different ways of doing these things.

I hope this helps and feel free to contact me if you need more help and/or information.

Note I added #2 because in some instances playing a few notes simultaneously can be beneficial IF they are a pad and you have other single horns in the foreground. I didn't want to confuse you be saying don't play all the notes at once and then say play them individually.
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#610857 - 08/15/20 05:35 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Writing Realistic Horn Section Sounds...Possible? [Re: doxology]
Registered: 08/20/11
Posts: 6498
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Jim Fogle Online   happy

Registered: 08/20/11
Posts: 6498
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC USA

I would get a sample library that has instruments that can be grouped together into the combinations you desire.

Good sample libraries have articulations that perform much of the difficult work of adding human expression. As an example, check out the demo songs for +++ First Call Horns +++.

Also, if I may so bold the sound I first think of with crooners is that of a strings section.
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#610864 - 08/15/20 06:27 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Writing Realistic Horn Section Sounds...Possible? [Re: doxology]
Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 6970
Loc: Wauconda, Il.
MusicStudent Offline

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 6970
Loc: Wauconda, Il.
Can't really answer your question. But it got me thinking. I still have a jones for this package which Mario introduced us to a while back. These are the type of horns I like to listen to.

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