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#1182050 - 04/17/09 06:43 AM Your Personal Experience with Virtual Dynamics
Bogdan Zarkin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Has anyone had a good one ? When an organic human plays an organic piano crescendo he doesn't only quantify, he qualifies and factors in context, genre, style, tempo, personal interpretation, etc. (subconsciously, I guess).

So I'm working away on Final Printmusic (good software, but cheaper cousin of makemusic finale 2009), and I click on their dynamic specs, and they seem reasonable.


Marking / Velocity

ff / 101
f / 88
mf / 75
mp / 62
p / 49
pp / 36


However, I've noticed that going from mp in one section to mf in another, yields a much larger increase in apparent volume than 62 to 75. It's more like 62 to 95.

What's been your experience when getting the program *you* use to play back your piece and it's appropriate dynamic markings ? Close to the real thing ?
Ain't nothing like the real thing ? Somewhere in between ?


I rate my experience a C- ... any suggestions, opinions, stories or insight would be much appreciated.



Edited by Bogdan Zarkin (04/17/09 06:45 AM)
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#1182058 - 04/17/09 07:32 AM Re: Your Personal Experience with Virtual Dynamics [Re: Bogdan Zarkin]
Tar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 296
Loc: Munich, Germany
Getting the computer to do proper dynamics is a messy business. Each virtual instrument is so different from another in timbre and power that these values simply won't be universal across users or even within the same piece. How could a software tell the difference between a trumpeter playing f as in an accompanying passage from a trumpeter playing f as a soloist?

My solution in Finale is to construct my own two-dimensional table for all dynamics as follows:

Series 1: the solo dynamics
ff - 127
f - 112
mf - 96
mp - 64 (note the two-dynamic gap between mp and mf)
p - 48
pp - 32
ppp - 16

Series 2 = series 1 minus 12
Series 3 = series 1 minus 24
Series 4 = series 1 minus 36

adjusting the lower dynamic ranges accordingly so that they don't plunge into negative figures.

This way I can assign dynamics markings semi-independently from the actual volume of the music I desire. Sure, it takes more effort, but I simply don't believe there's a software that intelligently interprets instrumental balance as well as volumes simply from dynamic markings.

Of course, if I really, really want to make a synthetic recording of my piece, I'd skip Finale completely and use something that handles MIDI data more intuitively.


Edited by Tar (04/17/09 07:33 AM)
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Amateur composer and pianist
Known on YouTube as pianoinspiration
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#1182410 - 04/17/09 05:06 PM Re: Your Personal Experience with Virtual Dynamics [Re: Tar]
RogerW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 441
In Sibelius I really don't care about playback dynamics. Sibelius won't play anything like a real musician anyway, so I find it a waste of time to try to make it do so. I assign dynamics according to how I want real players to play it and ignore the playback. Sometimes if I'm really bothered by faulty playback, I might turn of playback for the written dynamics and add hidden dynamics that are closer to the truth. If I want to create a digital performance, I work in cubase.

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#1182744 - 04/18/09 03:47 AM Re: Your Personal Experience with Virtual Dynamics [Re: RogerW]
RowyVH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 26
Loc: The Netherlands
Use Finale to make a nice score, save the file as a midi and use a midi sequencer like Cubase to humanize the soundfile.

You can hear examples of humanized midi on my website, but you'll have to go to the part that's in Dutch.

Go to this page: http://composer.rowy.net/Muziek-notatie.html

Scroll down a bit and you'll find three titles:
Holst - Mars / Satie - Le piccadilly / Bach - Badinerie

Click a title. What you'll hear is a humanized midi I worked on in Cubase. I used the virtual orchestra Edirol HQ-OR Orchestra to make the sound files (MP3).

The pieces are not complete. Mind you, these are professional productions I made for a website that offers classical ringtones to the public.

If you want to make these kind of soundfiles, you will have to know something about orchestration, music theory, and you will need some experience as a sound editor, prefably in music production.

But, as you can hear, it can be done.

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