A technical support community for Apple Logic Pro users.

 
logicProBigUser
Topic Author
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:42 am

Soaring strings

Sun May 24, 2020 9:35 am

I am learning to create simple music compositions to accompany vocals.

I need to put some more intensity at some points in the song. How can I do that ?

I looked at increasing the volume of the piano via automation, but it sounds fairly poor.

I think it might be good to create a soaring strings atmosphere. How can I do that ? I feel I need a crescendo, and then the volume of the song stays higher during the high intensity moment, and then go back down. What's the most polished/professional way to do that ?

I realize my question is fairly open, I appreciate any advice.

Thanks!
 
MikeRobinson
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Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: Soaring strings

Sat May 30, 2020 3:39 pm

Welcome to the (great-big but maybe not-so-big) topic called, "orchestration." :D

This is where you think about the actual "setting" for your "solo (sic ...) piano part." And it is also where you realize that, in every single "solo piano" recording that you have ever heard, the piano was never actually "solo."

Start here: begin with some recording, already familiar to you, that "you think" is representative of "what you are thinking about for your song." Now, "listen to it critically analytically."

Although the makers of musical orchestrations try very hard to "dovetail" the pieces seamlessly together, a "string crescendo" might consist of several players playing together, or it might simply consist of a synthetic "pad." But, it probably consists of a melody that is parallel, somehow, to the thing that it accompanies.

Nonetheless, in each of the recordings that you've just selected, these secrets are all laid bare. They can't hide any secrets from you. Listen, listen, listen again ... closely.

"What is, exactly," that "crescendo?" More instruments? Higher frequency? More tempo? A classic "swoop?"

But Also ... "if what you're really looking for right now is a short cut, instead of a college lesson" ... study the Loops. (There are thousands of them, but thoughtfully categorized.) Whether or not you find a loop ... or a "swoop" ... that you can "drop in," you're quite certain to find inspiration ... or perhaps a MIDI-loop that you can actually tweak. If it's at all possible for you to "steal" something instead of "creating" it, go for the (legal) "steal."
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
logicProBigUser
Topic Author
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:42 am

Re: Soaring strings

Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:52 am

Thanks Mike !

That's very helpful. Good food for thoughts, I need to think this through.

I've read that youtube could cause you trouble for uploading a video that uses a loop, as it might get copyright claimed by another video that used the loop. Though there would be no validity to the claim, it causes troubles.

So I am trying to avoid loops for now.

I will look into what you said. One of my takeways is that there are quite a few different ways to do a crescendo.
 
MikeRobinson
Posts: 1006
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: Soaring strings

Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:00 am

Yes, you have noticed that much of the "copyright takedown" logic used by many sites is "algorithmic, and therefore stupid :roll: ..." because apparently they don't hire people to verify the automatic decisions. Therefore, I would suggest that you always create your own "slightly different" backing tracks.

MIDI loops are very handy for this purpose simply because they are "MIDI" instead of audio. They consist not only of MIDI data but an entire ready-made setup. You can therefore change that MIDI data with impunity and still take advantage of the ready-made goodness.
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
logicProBigUser
Topic Author
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:42 am

Re: Soaring strings

Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:05 pm

Amazing tip! Thanks, that opens up all the midi loops for me, massive!
Do you know how much you have to tweak them?
 
Lindajed
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Soaring strings

Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:21 am

Some posts mention that on certain Yes studio recordings, Chris Squire sometimes chose to use a 4-string bass other than The RM 1999. In many of these tracks, the change in sound is hard for me to detect, even after its been pointed out that the bass is not his RM 1999.

Do any of you know of any Squire interviews in which he explains why he uses a different 4-string?


Thanks,
bluewhale
Blog about your pc and viruses on it https://antivirusmonster.com/
 
MikeRobinson
Posts: 1006
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: Soaring strings

Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:04 am

All of the loops and samples that come with Logic are expressly licensed for your use, for inclusion without restriction in any song you produce, but "stupid algorithms" don't always know that. They detect any similarity between a copyrighted song and your stuff, and blindly flag it ... and no human-being ever checks their work.

(The only thing that sample-libraries generally don't allow is for you to use their samples to assemble a competing sample library.)
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
John_D
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:18 pm

Re: Soaring strings

Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:05 pm

Using a Logic loop in your own composition won't get you blocked. Using a sample of a copyrighted song might trigger a problem, like if you sampled a great bass line (e.g. "Superfreak" / "U Can't Touch This"). Also if you include even short snippets of aggressively protected material for educational purposes (Rick Beato, anyone?), you might get trouble even if it's fair use.
I think it would be very hard to draw a copyright strike on your own composition.
You got some great advice above on getting ideas for building that emotional peak. Other techniques include key modulation, bringing in multiple parts that were previously seen independently, sweetening, more expressive playing, and melodic variation.
I'll offer an addition suggestion, which is to listen to movie scores in the context of the movies. What are they doing to pull your heartstrings? It's maybe easier than analyzing other kinds of music, because you can SEE where they are trying to elicit specific feelings, and how they do it.
There are a lot of good books on songwriting and orchestration, and websites too. Go and learn... but keep making music.
iMac i5 3.8 GHz - 64 GB RAM | Catalina 10.15.7 | LPX 10.5.1
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John_D
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:18 pm

Re: Soaring strings

Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:16 pm

MikeRobinson wrote:
This is where you think about the actual "setting" for your "solo (sic ...) piano part." And it is also where you realize that, in every single "solo piano" recording that you have ever heard, the piano was never actually "solo."

Odd assertion. Even leaving out classical music, I can think of many pop songs with solo piano. It's not that uncommon for songs to start that way or have a piano-only coda.
I don't mean to argue, I'm just curious what you're getting at. Maybe pointing out that good production can be subtle, and there are details that you have to really listen to discern?
iMac i5 3.8 GHz - 64 GB RAM | Catalina 10.15.7 | LPX 10.5.1
MacBook Pro i9 2.9 GHz - 32 GB RAM | Catalina 10.15.6 | LPX 10.5.1
Focusrite Solo, 18i8 | Roland A49, A88 | Korg KeyAIR 25 & 37, nanoKEY Studio BT | Akai MPK Mini 2 | Arturia Keylab 61 mkII, KeyStep, Minilab mkII
 
MikeRobinson
Posts: 1006
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: Soaring strings

Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:04 pm

Yes, John, my point is that the additions are often very subtle.

Listen very closely to those parts ... and, okay okay, I agree that "the first eight bars" are often "a bit naked." And maybe the last eight.
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
John_D
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:18 pm

Re: Soaring strings

Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:00 pm

MikeRobinson wrote:
Yes, John, my point is that the additions are often very subtle.

Oh, agreed 100%. And "listen closely" is probably the best possible advice because as you said, all the secrets are right there in the tracks!
I'm very grateful for places like this, though, where generous folks like you give advice on things I might not easily notice with my old ears.
iMac i5 3.8 GHz - 64 GB RAM | Catalina 10.15.7 | LPX 10.5.1
MacBook Pro i9 2.9 GHz - 32 GB RAM | Catalina 10.15.6 | LPX 10.5.1
Focusrite Solo, 18i8 | Roland A49, A88 | Korg KeyAIR 25 & 37, nanoKEY Studio BT | Akai MPK Mini 2 | Arturia Keylab 61 mkII, KeyStep, Minilab mkII