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Digital audio production

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Okay, let me hook you up with some information about some of the very basics of soundtrack production and how to achieve a decent sound quality.

One thing that is being misunderstood quite a lot is the proper usage of digital effects. The list of available digital effects is certainly big, but the vast majority of these effects is not responsible for a high-quality result. However, a decent knowledge about effects becomes quite important in order to be able to create compositions of outstanding sound quality. The important part here is to get a feeling for what can be done with effects and what can not be done.

In my previous lesson thread I mentioned the aspect of a creational process. The only important thing about this is, that there are steps that require previous work. A good example is the aspect of mastering, which should be the latest finishing at the very end of your production - quite often you hear, that starting with a decent sound library renders meticulous mastering redundant. As mentioned before, my point is to be aware of the capabilities of digital effects and such.

So as you see, every digital production requires a solid base to start with. Before I will go deeper into digital effects, I would like to look at some of the previous aspects. I guess it would be a good start to take a closer look at the soundfonts you work with. I consider it important to maximize any aspects that are prior to the subsequent ones, but we will talk about digital effects very soon, I suppose. The ones you work with are freebies, you say? Can you hook me up with a link? I can also provide you with some free soundfonts I used to work with.

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Ok, sure........time to find out where I got some of these samples from:cool:

Yup, I think most of the soundfonts I use are below.

Battle for Wesnoth • View topic - Journey's End

most of those soundfonts can be downloaded here: sf2 - Folder Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage if not, then follow the links on the website above.

Most of the remaining ones I use I'll post here:

My Soundfonts.rar - File Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage

Hope this was what you meant

CheeseLord

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Yes, thank you - I will look at them as soon as I am at home again.

Meanwhile there's one more important thing that I want to know about beforehand. What kind of speakers do you currently use? In-depth knowledge about speakers gets very difficile at certain quality demands, but for now I would just like to know about the kind of speakers you are working with.

For quite some time now I have been using the HS80M from Yamaha, but I figured that they are a bad choice for orchestral music and playback of solo instruments like pianos, but on the other side I consider them an excellent(!) choice for electronic music. I switched to a set of reference headphones for my piano compositions until I can afford a decent set of new speakers.

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Hmm, old speakers can be really nice. Is there anything else you know about your speakers like the manufacturer or price range?

I just listened to some of the soundfonts. Most are just like the standard quality that most of the freeware soundfonts provide. I assume that you want to continue to work with freeware soundfonts or something similar, so I will give you a brief explanation about how the quality of such soundfonts is being determined - there are 3 major aspects:

The sample mapping: Usually a soundfont consists of a variety of different notes which are mapped to the keys. Most of the soundfonts you have use a new sample about every third, fourth or fifth note, so that the sample is being pitched only a little, but it still is being pitched and that is one major difference to professional sound libraries. It is still okay to work with them, if they don't contain that many samples, but some of them might cause trouble if they don't meet a decent standard with the velocity layers.

The velocity layers of a soundfont are one of the most important things, although there are instruments that don't really require a lot of different layers. Then again, playing an instrument like a guitar might let you think, that you never could have enough different velocity layers to simulate a human player. These different layers (which are samples recorded seperately and not just changes in the volume) are triggered by the midi setting of the velocity (which is usually adjusted within the matrix editor / piano roll) and since there are so many (actually unlimited) different ways to hit a guitar string, a soundfont might never really be able to convey the feeling of a real passionately played guitar.

The third aspect I consider a major one is the sustain of an instrument. A piano key kept held down usually creates a very long sample when hit at certain velocity. Most of the soundfonts found on the web are not of a gigantic file size, so the sustain of most of the instruments has not been fully recorded - instead, it consists of a looped waveform which allows you to hold the sample for as long as you like. Needless to mention that this brings us far away from a decent simulation.

So as you can see, recording the full sustain of every single note of an instrument with different velocities makes the file size grow enormously big - due to the number of samples -, even more, if you have a decent recording quality. The general sound quality of a soundfont is, of course, another criterion of quality, but most of the ones I heard have more problems with one of the aspects mentioned above, mostly being the very short range of velocity layers.

As you like to use orchestral instruments, there's one more important thing about the way instruments are being played. Imagine a brass or wind section that plays a part with changing dynamics. Not only would you have changes to the volume within a sustained note, but also the attack time might differ from note to note. Unfortunately, without a proper plug-in for your DAW you are unlikely to be able to change such details in a direct way and if your plug-in provides changes to the attack or sustain settings, they usually become static, unless you have software capable of handling such aspects. However, there is one more thing that most DAWs provide by this time and a decent usage of this feature allows you to get rid of a lot of problems - slide notes.

So you see, there are several reasons to buy a good (but also expensive) sound library, but I am certainly not saying, that freeware soundfonts are actually bad - they just need special treatment in order to maximize quality. I guess you like the idea of freeware soundfonts, so I would like to show you something I have done. This is an example of what slide notes can do, since I have used a soundfont of a saxophone (freeware) that suffers from the same problems as mentioned above, but I was able to add quite some passion to this instrument. This caused my saxophone track to contain more slide notes than real notes, but I just consider that necessary now: http://www.mediafire.com/file/njmi3mh0tjd

Mmmh, that was quite a lot to begin with. Did you have any problems with the vocabulary?

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I think I've got it.

So in a nutshell, quality is mainly dependent on three factors:

1. Sample mapping

2. Velocity Layers

3. Sustain

and of course, the general quality

With orchestral instruments, the attack time and volume within the note will usually vary. Unfortunately, it's difficult to do so in a DAW, unless you have a specific plugin that can do so.

However, note slides can nullify several of these shortcomings when used effectively, as shown in 'Flakes of a Singing Sword'

I think my speakers were made by Harman Kardon, and were probably in the cheap-medium price range.

Hmmmm..., I don't know whether you were intending to cover this topic anyway, but how do you use the note slide feature you mentioned?? I've never actually seen/heard of it until now. And vocabulary's great, no problems with that.

P.S. Liked the track :thumbsup:

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Thank you. The bass is not really nice in my track, I'm aware of that, but I guess it's okay for an example.

If there are any terms that you haven't heard yet, don't hesitate to ask.

The implementation of slide notes might differ from software to software, and since I do not know too much about your software, I can't really tell you how to implement them, though I'd suggest to try around in the matrix editor of yours. A common hotkey for a slide note would be 's' and the slide note should look very much like a normal note. It's a common feature, so if you have a current version of your DAW, you might probably find it somewhere. Using the search function within the help menu can also bring up some fast results.

However, slide notes are a good way to automate a parameter, so they are basically an automation. The parameters that can be automated via slide notes include volume, panning, note pitch and maybe a few more depending on your workstation. Common automations can usually alter any parameter shown, but working with slide notes is a more user friendly and mostly a fast way to achieve such results. They are still only a helpful approach, but their application will, of course, not provide any new samples, which is often the required ingredient for purposes of a good simulation of an instrument. Wind and brass sections can greatly profit by a proper usage of slide notes.

General automations allow you to do the same thing, usually in a more detailed way, but also a bit more uncomfortable to use. Automations create a track that stores values of an associated parameter (like volume) and if such a track is being played back, the parameter follows the curve that you have defined within your automation track and then changes its value corresponding to the curve. Such things are used quite often for electronic music productions, but the areas of application for soundtrack production are not that wide-ranging.

Actually you can replace any slide notes with external automations. I guess we can go on with another topic soon, since overall quality of soundtrack production will only slightly depend on the implementation of automations, but do you know how add automations to a parameter?

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Still can't get the slide note....damn. I have a feeling that LMMS doesn't have it - I can't find it it the wiki, or in the tools section. Maybe if you have fruityloops, you could send me a demo with some slidenotes in (I think LMMS has some support of .flp) and I could could see whether it would load the slide notes as well....... that'd probably be the best way to check. But don't bother if automation can replace slide notes.

OK then.....I have no idea how to use automation, it makes yellow bars, but I can never make it effect anything :( and automation to a parameter, don't ask me. I think you'd better teach me that first.

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LMMS does so much look like FL Studio, but I would be a little surprised if it would really recognize .flp-files. Well, here's a project file containing some slide notes slide.flp

Good thing about the similarities between our two workstations are, that most of the stuff might (might) work the same way, so here's about automations:

First choose a parameter which is easily recognizable when altered. Right click on the knob of that parameter and choose the one option that refers to automations from that drop-down menu I assume to appear when right-clicking any knob. In FL Studio the automations are called events, so you might need to look for this term or a similar one. Another way to gain access to automations is a window's menu (usually a button located at the top left corner of a window), which possibly allows you to add an event / automation to the last parameter, that has been tweaked or maybe even let's you choose from a list of all supported parameters.

Once you have found a way to open an automation window, you should find a new and completely blank window that allows you to draw a curve. The X and Y coordinates of that window represent the value of the associated parameter (Y) and the time (X). As mentioned above, you should be able to make any parameter follow any curve you create.

Then you only need to include your automation in your Song-editor. This should look very similar to what you can see here: http://rekkerd.org/img/200905/LMMS.jpg

I hope this was a little helpful.

But please let me stress this one more time: There are instruments that can not be simulated well without using a proper software / plug-in. Automations might open up a few more possibilities, but professional sound libraries provide samples for so many different techniques of hitting, striking, picking strings, keys and whatnot in order to achieve best results. Striking a piano key at a different velocities is not the same as reducing / increasing the volume of a piano sample and that goes for a lot of instruments.

But for now, let us maximize the possibilities of the soundfonts we have.

Able to automate parameters now?

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Very good, I would like to see another - preferably a recent - production of yours so we can detect other weakpoints before we go deeper into digital production - if you don't mind sharing your works, that is.

Did you manage to open a .flp-file?

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Yeah sure, no problem.

This was something I whipped up in a hour when I was bored a few weeks ago, so expect it to be terrible :P

Here: Death of a King.ogg - File Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage

Hope you can play .ogg files

And about the .flp - it didn't really work too well, came up with one note, unless that was all you had on it.

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There is something I realized in your earlier production, too. The sounds you use sound muffled, leaving lots of empty space in the higher frequencies. I assume that you don't have effects attached to your instruments, do you?

I like the composition itself, but the overall sound quality compares to a midi composition, though there should be more to it, since we're working with soundfonts. Besides the problem with the attack of your wind and brass instruments there is still the overall quality of the instrument itself.

I would like to send you some of my GM sound libraries, freeware once again, but the collection of different instruments is quite large for every one of them. Among this big list, there are some instruments that could really use some velocity layers (sadly, none of these instruments come with velocity layers), but also some, where this aspect doesn't matter that much. The overall quality is not too bad, hence the size of these packs.

General Midi.rar

I found slide notes a good way to get rid of that problem with an attack of especially ensemble soundfonts, but there is something else that helps you out here. Some of the big soundfonts provide a set of different banks of the same instrument. These banks can contain similar samples slightly modified - sometimes with an additional reverb, sometimes with a different presence. However, the thing you should look for are banks that contain another sample that is played differently, like a hard and a soft setting. Playing around with these might bring some vividness into your production, though I don't think there are a lot of soundfonts that provide banks like that. Here's an example, sadly not a very good one, since most of the banks are like a bauble - I'll let you know, if I manage to find better ones:

463-Tenor Sax 1.sf2

Furthermore there is the aspect of the velocity layers:

The different velocity layers are triggered by the velocity setting of the midi note. However, not every soundfont will provide different velocity layers (which is quite troublesome since we're trying to simulate real instruments). Usually these layers also allow you to add a lot more vivacity and dynamic to your instruments. Here's an example soundfont, that is quite impressive for a freeware one:

233-poprockbank.sf2

It's the bank containing the drum set. There you can easily take a sample, for example the closed HiHat, and play notes at different velocities - this will make the samples itself change. If you play around with it a little, you will see that it is very easy to create a vivid drum pattern that gets very close to a real drum set quality-wise, if you make it have dynamic settings for velocities, that is.

One more thing - please take a look at these two: Kong Audio Freebies

(Mini Dizi & Mini Erhu)

They are demos of a more professional sound library, though these two instruments are fully available without restrictions. Each of them comes with their own software, still a small software, but it should serve as a decent foretaste of the real thing. Guess the chinese instruments are a bit different from what you might be looking for, but certainly of proper quality they are.

So far, take your time to find some instruments you like. Meanwhile, I might look for another way to implement slide notes for you, maybe a small freeware sequencer or something the like. Do you work with Linux or Windows?

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I've downloaded those soundbanks now......and yeah, they're not bad. Especially the Korg Freebies, my dad's gonna love them :P

I'm actually on the lookout for good soundfonts and VSTs all the time, and I've just found a bundle of VSTs here: DSK Music – Free Virtual instruments (vsti) and SoundFonts (sf2) They seem quite nice and it'd be great if you could have a look at them. They cover most things I'd need. Those other ones I posted - I thought that they were among the best soundfonts I've found so far (and I'm reasonably comfortable with working with them)

And finally, yeah, it'd be great if you knew of another free sequencer for slide notes. I work with Windows XP (pity). I don't think they're many good free DAWs for WIndows - it's mostly Mac and Linux :(

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Hi

sorry, I was quite busy the last days and I was taking care of my other lesson thread.

I managed to take a look at most of the soundfonts you posted - I am still hoping to get the DSK Top Keys, but their server doesn't provide this soundbank at this time. I found the Hispanic Sampled Series pack on the site, too. Although I did not look at each of these soundfonts, the one I tried were quite good. But I must say I didn't really like the DSK sets I got (mostly drums). I was able to test a Vienna library the last day - even though it was not one of their best, the differences are obvious. Especially instruments of the brass section of an orchester are hard to find as freeware with decent quality.

Anyway, thank you for sharing this. Here is one more which I have used in my latest piano projects: Piano soundfonts - Download Steinbow

The host site is also worth a closer look!

Sooner or later I would like to take a closer look at the interior of one of your files. The work that needs to be done within your DAW either belongs to the matrix / piano roll or to the mixer. I consider both aspects very important, although focusing on the matrix work will get you more into simulating real human beings, while focusing on the mixer and its effects will make you more versatile concerning soundtrack production, but also general sound quality. These days, soundtrack production is not limited to anything anymore and you might hear all kinds of different instruments there. Here's a good example of mixing overdriven guitars and electronic drums into an orchestral setting:

Well, depending on your goals where would you like to continue?

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I agree with you.......brass soundfonts are usually too like beep.....baarp.... Piano sounds nice though, although I remember seeing that website a few months ago, I only really focused on looking for orchestral stuff.

I would generally want to continue along soundtracks, specifically like Jeremy Soule soundtracks and Journey's End for the time being, although if I ever become a good composer, I'd like to try my hand at Halo like music. But that won't happen for a long time yet.....

And finally, what do you actually mean by interior of my files. Do you want the actual file my compositions are on, or a screenshot of the file???

Anyway, look forward from hearing from you :)

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Cool, I'd love to hear some of the Halo soundtracks you like. I will look for some of Jeremy Soule's works myself and I already know part of his works. Good choice, if you'd ask me.

In any case, a decent knowledge about digital effects (reverbs, equalizer, ...) is close to inevitable for digital soundtrack production and this will become relativlely technical at certain points, but it pays off well. Since we currently don't share the same DAW, I would like to know, if you know about how to load digital effects. Additionally I would need to know which of the important effects are provided by your DAW and which are missing. Needless to mention, that the quality of such effects differs greatly from software to software, but I can provide some freeware VSTs (the common file type for such plug-ins) for you.

It's up to you whether you would like to cover that relatively big and technical topic now or rather spend some time with any other question you have instead.

By the way, I will have some more time the next few days - the last days were kind a busy...

Cheers

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Right... I sort of know how to activate FX channels and stuff. However, I think my DAW mainly has LADSPA effects. It can do most things like reverk, vibrato etc. (I think at least) However, I'm unsure about that... I would prefer to not go into that technical topic yet though :)

is an example of a Halo track that I like. However, I would prefer to focus on Jeremy Soule like stuff for now. I would particularly like to learn about how incidental composers wield percussive instruments, like Marius's magnificent soundtracks. If you know about Morrowind...It'd be great to know how he managed to make it sound sooo amazingly emotive

BTW, thanks for everything so far!!! :D:D

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Hey, I like to do things like that - you're welcome!

Okay, we're basically talking about what I labeled as the "interior" of a composition: The way instruments are handled, the ways they are articulated and conducted - I guess most of it can be called arrangement.

About Jeremy Soule: I know some of his works from the game Oblivion, which isn't that far away from Morrowind, I presume. However, there is something pretty important about such approaches: On one side you have the technical aspects of his productions, referring to anything that can be analyzed, but on the other hand there is the emotional content. The latter is something that goes beyond what can be taught, as conveying mere feeling within a work is a matter of intention, experience and imagination. However, the technical aspects might shed some light upon the whole process, if you analyze with care.

The work of a real artist should be capable of conveying 'something' - let's assume that this is his intention - with every detail you can possibly find. This means, that the technical aspects which can be analyzed will tell you about the same thing that you 'feel', when listening to his track. This assumption might not seem very special now, but there is something I want to pinpoint by mentioning this: The technical aspects of a work form an important part of the initial intention of the creator. And this correlates to your demand on discovering the rhythmic content of a composition, as well - percussive elements are not just another layer to be added (not assuming that you see them that way), but a proper usage of such also requires some empathy.

Well, let's stop here for now. I was being relatively vague here, although I tried to answer your question relating to Jeremy Soule. Talking more about technical aspects requires us to have some base to discuss on. I hope the above was not too philosophical ;]

If you want to conclude what I have mentioned above, you could say that I was emphasizing the importance of not having two seperated things within one work.

When working with percussive elements, you might want to spend some time to ask yourself whether certain drum elements could be considered random. If so, it is very likely that you are moving away from your original intention.

There is a whole lot to discuss concerning the usage of percussion and different approaches or techniques, but I'd prefer to have some topic as a guideline, when discussing such things - otherwise I can't avoid to sound a little abstract, not referring to one specific thing...

Is there anything on your mind?

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No qualms about philosophy from me :D

I'd like to learn how to use percussive instruments to build both atmosphere and tension subtly, like here:

and also how pieces like this:
use percussion in a more obvious manner.......and that's about everything important at this stage concerning percussion

Right, I'm not sure whether this will help: but I notched up a quick demo of my composition capabilities in percussion at this stage here: http://www.box.net/shared/0ojzp7dl0g

Enjoying the lessons so far!! :cool:

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Yeah, audio!

Percussion is an interesting thing to talk about. A long time I have focused on tracks that have drums as their main instrument, mainly creating overly technical and complex statements instead of emotional music. This has brought me to some broad researches about the arrangement techniques of drum parts and certain other aspects related to percussion in general, but let's keep it simple for now:

I was listening to The City Falls and there are a lot of things you can recognize by splitting the measures up into some sort of a binary structure. If you take a look at the slower part of this piece (0:50), you can recognize some recurrent placement of the snare rolls (I will explain the creation of such snare rolls after this section). Every roll is located at the very end of a full measure and the roll itself is building up until the new measure starts. The first count of the following measure marks the tip of the climax of each roll, the accent. As the track progresses and the overall tension is building up, the snare rolls still follow the same guidelines, although they are being played twice as often. Before this climax fully unfolds, you can notice that timpani and other toms come into play. The structure remains the same and the new instruments form some kind of a substitute which allows to build up the major tension more slowly - the sounds of the toms and timpani come with a less dominant timbre, so that the main structure does not experience this sudden change of rigorously doubling the density of the snare rolls. So far, there were quite a lot of details, but what matters to me is that you recognize this "binary structure" that is oftenly referred to, when arranging percussion (although I wouldn't say that a lot of composers are aware of this binary component). However, you can also recognize a part of this structure at the start of this track. Here's an example: The 6/8 measure follows this structure by a more macroscopic way - four measures form one bigger phrase. Within this phrase two snare rolls occur at the end of measure 1 and measure 3. At the end of measure 2 and 4 you can often hear percussion that defines a contrast to the snare rolls, while the end of measure 4 usually has the most dominant percussive elements (longer build ups with timpani or cymbals).

Let me give you another example of such use of a similar structure: The basics drumming lessons teach about the so-called fill-in. These fill-ins are usually located at the very end of one phrase, while one phrase usually has a length of four, eight or sixteen measures (needless to mention that exceptions are neither uncommon nor unwelcome). This brings us to a structure similar to this:

A A A B

(B being the fill-in)

Fill-ins are not much different from the preceding patterns, but they usually end in a different way, mostly containing something that can be referred to as some sort of a mini-solo. Also you will often notice, that another part of this structure might be altered slightly (the end of (the full phrase divided by two) - the second A), forming a structure like:

A A' A B

The only well-proven guideline that applies to this structure is, that the alteration A' requires to be less intense than B. Usually less intense means that the changes done to A' can be shorter than the ones done to B, making A' sound more like A, while B sounds less like A.

Same rules apply for longer phrases:

A A' A B A A' A C

The relation between C and B is the same as the relation between B and A'. The contrast between these parts needs to be there in order to create this phrase length, otherwise it would simply be a repetition of the structure above.

In case you wonder why this works: Our brain tends to perceive the part A A' as "one bigger part", but actually it is some kind of an altered repetition. This also makes us think, that A A' A B is one big phrase, but technically the changes always go back to a much simpler structure - which would be A A A A - with changes done to the regions that are higher rated by our perception. This makes us think of a phrase such as A A' A B like one continuously changing drum pattern, which it actually is not.

I'm still not sure, if this was the kind of knowledge you were looking for, but here's some video where you can easily notice these structures.

Also note the subtle changes to the hi-hats within the first few measures and think about this kind of magic.

All that fuzz was about avoiding monotone repetitions the easiest way. I am much more a fan of a more "free" way of arranging percussion - one that is still meaningful and thought through, but does not require relying on an actually relatively simple base. The examples above simply show proven standards and the "how" and "why" they work, but there is much more to arranging drums and percussion. I would like to talk more about other techniques and possible ways of using percussive elements, but I would also spend some time with the more "exterior" of this topic, especially with snare rolls and some problems you might encounter, when creating your own:

First of all, every percussion you showed me so far contained quite an amount of reverb. I am pretty sure you also have this effect plug-in somewhere within your mixer and the use of it becomes quite important, when you focus on the soundscape. Without a massive stage-like reverb all your percussive elements will sound rather plain and concise, like if they were all in a small room. The impression of an orchester playing such percussion won't be there without reverb. Here's a link to some facts about reverbs from another post of mine (permlink): http://www.youngcomposers.com/forum/lessons-phantomoftheopera-18959-12.html#post295601

We can cover the reverb and other plug-ins more specifically whenever you want to, but I though it's good, if you decide to try around with it a little.

Furthermore, there is this thing about snare rolls... Technically they are a very fast succesion of single snare drum hits, so it seems rather obvious that a recreation of such wouldn't be much different from repeatedly playing single snare notes. Unfortunately, this isn't that easy. The velocity layers of your snare drum soundfont would need to be so diverse that changes occur as much as possible, but not many soundfonts can claim to provide such a variety. The poprock-soundbank soundfont I sent to you earlier is one of the best free drum sets and it includes two snare drums with 'some' different velocity layers, but a creation of a snare roll of decent quality out of these is meticulous work, as you need to arrange all the notes with care. Two things you need to know:

The velocity properties of each note need to be 'realistic', meaning that a linear increase will result in a pretty robotic roll. Instead, when creating a curve of many different velocity properties, the majority is relatively quiet and only the last one (or the ones with accent) is / are overly loud. Also, they usually do not constantly increase, even if you create a roll with a constant climax - this is what I mean by 'realistic'. But the more troublesome thing will be the succession of the notes itself. The gaps between each of the notes are usually quantisized automatically, which won't allow for any realistic rolls. A de-quantisation - manually done - becomes inevitable, unless you already have a pack of ready-to-use high quality snare rolls. If so, you may forget what I have mentioned here :]

I will finish this post here, although there are still things left to say, but assuming that you already have some stuff to think through, you might as well have some questions...

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Well, this still sounds rather digital than realistic.

I have prepared a little demo of how I would create such a snare roll. I have used the drum set of the poprock-soundbank soundfont. Here's what's up:

xamplesnarerolls.png

The three steps to do the basics:

1) choose a suitable microtime for your roll

2) define a basic shape of your velocity curve

3) manually adjust velocities and de-quantize notes

I also created a short audio sample - first dry, then with reverb: Snare rolls.mp3

As I said, this is the poprock-soundbank, which serves good as a full drum set, but the velocity layers of each of the samples are insufficient when it comes to creating really fine snare rolls.

The third step took quite a lot of time and the final result looked like this:

xamplesnarerolls2.png

Furthermore, I have added a little but constant change to the panning, which would usually only be recognized, when standing relatively close to the snare drum. Since this was the only instrument within this audio demo, the change turned out quite good. Here's a picture of the panning:

xamplesnarerolls3.png

Best thing is to imagine a drummer playing the rolls you want to create. Of course, experience pays off well, but you can also achieve good results with only spending enough time while listening with care.

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Oh yeah....and just to specify, after we've covered this sort of accompaniment, can we move onto Siege of Laurelmor and use of percussion there - I'm still dazzled at its percussive awesomeness!!

Interesting stuff.......amazing looking at the interior of some pieces. I've been messing around with the snare roll a lot, and boy, it really levels up compositions.

EDIT: Only just saw that.....I'll look at it right now

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Sure thing, we can. I will take a close look at this piece tomorrow. The only thing I'd like to know beforehand: Is it more the macroscopic structure or the microscopic one that matters to you? Or maybe you might just want to be a little more specific about the stuff you want me to reveal, since percussion generally comes with a lot of different aspects to look at (dynamics, arranging, tensions, sample quality, humanizing, playing techniques, interpretations of the roll of specific percussive parts, reproduction techniques, etc.).

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