Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Is there such thing as automatic expression?


James Composer

Recommended Posts

Is there such of thing (hardware or software) as automatic expression?

 

It seems perfectly possible, on the software side it would be a program that goes through a midi file channel and automatically changes the expression throughout the notes to make an instrument sound more real.

 

On the hardware side, it would be a kind of performance thing that just automatically controls the expression in the background while you play 1 note at a time (perform the instrument).

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 31
  • Created
  • Last Reply
on the EMU p2k you can use a random generator as a mod source so that it for example alters the filter cutoff slightly for each note. Useful for high hats in particular.

Gig keys: Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Crumar Mojo 61, Crumar Mojo Pedals

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

expression, expression. Like expression controller. Sure, I could control the expression through the mod wheel the old way, perform with my keyboard, or control the expression by hand (click'n'click); but I'm wondering if there's a tool that goes through a midi file and does this for you.

 

The expression (volume level) from an acoustic instrumentalist HAS basic patterns to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moe is right. Expression is feel. If/when AI gets to the point of being able to emulate it randomly and/or musicians actually use it, Houston, we are in trouble.

 

Humanize, Groove Templates, Quantize, Auto-Tune, etc. are bad enough. ;)

 

With an automatic expression button, you are giving up your 'say' in the music. Good luck and welcome to the forum. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ProfD:

Moe is right. Expression is feel. If/when AI gets to the point of being able to emulate it randomly and/or musicians actually use it, Houston, we are in trouble.

I look forward to the day when AI can write the song and play all the instruments. Then I'll be able to sit back and enjoy a limitless supply of great music. That day, however, appears to be quite far off for now.

 

Originally posted by ProfD:

Humanize, Groove Templates, Quantize, Auto-Tune, etc. are bad enough. ;)

There is nothing wrong with the appropriate use of quantize.

 

IME humanize is useless, "expression" isn't random.

 

Auto-tune needs to be used carefully since it sounds can really sound bad.

 

I'll reject or use tools based on whether they work or not, not some weird "ideal".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by James Composer:

Is there such of thing (hardware or software) as automatic expression?

 

It seems perfectly possible, on the software side it would be a program that goes through a midi file channel and automatically changes the expression throughout the notes to make an instrument sound more real.

 

On the hardware side, it would be a kind of performance thing that just automatically controls the expression in the background while you play 1 note at a time (perform the instrument).

You might want to look at sample libraries that offer various articulations, or (more automatic) is the likes of Yamaha's "Super Articulation" voices on the Tyros 2 (discussed in a couple of recent threads here)... also some equipment offers "arpeggios" or phrase patterns that are appropriate to different instruments. IIRC Korg's Karma technology also has this sort of feature.

 

Also I think Steinberg's Virtual Guitarist might be of interest, never tried it myself though:

 

http://www.steinberg.net/157+M52087573ab0.html

 

 

Whether or not you find the above actually sound "right" from the word "go" or require work and editing to get sounding right is, of course, another matter. (In fact, some of the options will inherently require work, some won't, but to generalize...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by soundscape:

I look forward to the day when AI can write the song and play all the instruments. Then I'll be able to sit back and enjoy a limitless supply of great music. That day, however, appears to be quite far off for now.

Where would that leave muscians?

 

There is nothing wrong with the appropriate use of quantize.

The operative word being 'appropriate'. I'm sure you have heard some drum tracks that sound like nothing a real drummer would play.

 

"expression" isn't random.

 

Listen to a real saxophone or trumpet player. Their whole mood can alter how they play a tune from one performance to the next.

 

I'll reject or use tools based on whether they work or not, not some weird "ideal".

When used properly the tools are extremely beneficial i.e. keeping a studio engineer away from razor blades and splicing tape, drummers from repeating the same 8 bar phrase, fixing bad notes, etc.

 

At a certain point, it seems to have gone a bit too far. Evidenced by repetitive tracks, pitch shifted and perfectly aligned vocals, parts that cannot be reproduced live, etc.

 

The tools are being over-used in the creation of music devoid of emotion and expression.

 

The tools should be an aid, not a crutch or panacea. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ProfD:

Originally posted by soundscape:

I look forward to the day when AI can write the song and play all the instruments. Then I'll be able to sit back and enjoy a limitless supply of great music. That day, however, appears to be quite far off for now.

Where would that leave muscians?

LOL, where does it leave everyone? For 'music AI' to really reach that level it would have to have human-level intelligence... Ray Kurzweil likes to talk about a "singularity" where computers can design themselves and the rate of progress just shoots through the roof.

 

There is nothing wrong with the appropriate use of quantize.

The operative word being 'appropriate'. I'm sure you have heard some drum tracks that sound like nothing a real drummer would play.

All the time, but in 'four-to-the-floor' dance music, etc., the goal isn't to create a track that sounds a damn like a 'real' drummer would play. Quantize is often fine for drums though--they provide the reference for other parts to 'play around.'

 

When used properly the tools are extremely beneficial i.e. keeping a studio engineer away from razor blades and splicing tape, drummers from repeating the same 8 bar phrase, fixing bad notes, etc.
Exactly.

 

At a certain point, it seems to have gone a bit too far. Evidenced by repetitive tracks, pitch shifted and perfectly aligned vocals, parts that cannot be reproduced live, etc.

Aren't they supposed to be "perfectly" aligned? I think we the word "perfection" gets misused. If a part is supposed to anticipate the beat, then aligning it on the beat is not perfection...

 

 

The tools are being over-used in the creation of music devoid of emotion and expression. The tools should be an aid, not a crutch or panacea. :cool:

I've certainly heard vocals ruined by auto-tune... but otherwise? The major problem with today's music is poor songwriting more than anything, I think. Especially in hip-hop styles where no song barely need exist.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by soundscape:

The major problem with today's music is poor songwriting more than anything, I think. Especially in hip-hop styles where no song barely need exist.

Every genre or styles of music has its good and bad.

 

If you are looking for Brill building, Phil Spector, Motown, Carol King, Burt Bacharach type songwriting, hip-hop was not built on that house.

 

However, it does follow song form. If you listen to the lyrics of the better hip-hop practitioners, you might be surprised by the depth of their songwriting.

 

The fact remains that hip-hop music generates billions of dollars and created millionaires who may not have been otherwise.

 

Hip-hop has influenced every other genre too. Rock, Pop and country are using elements of it to add more flavor to what they do.

 

Acid jazz, Jungle, Drum N Bass, Reggaeton, Dancehall, etc., all have thrived as a result of hip-hop.

 

Manufacturers have benefitted too. Akai, E-mu and Ensoniq probably made most of their money on the strength of hip-hop.

 

Who else uses MPCs, S series samplers, SP1200s, and ASR10s?

 

Hip-hop is directly responsible for the drum loops so readily available nowadays. The record scratch has become a permanent fixture in sound libraries.

 

Hip-hop is global. I believe it has a huge presence in your country too. Pardon the thread hi-jack. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The major problem with today's music is poor songwriting more than anything, I think.
I completely agree with ya. I'm a melody maker and music composer, not a sound engineer. There are two sides to music A) Sound B) Music

 

Music dosn't exist in our dimension, it comes into our dimension through sound. You might forget the words to a song from 30 years ago, but you'll NEVER forget the mario melody.

 

I give up, though, on the software. I'm ganna go and start writing it myself. CSound programming language right? I'm pretty fluent with C++, just never programed midi.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by mate_stubb:

Er, I don't know what to say here.

 

The whole point of expression is that it is the essence of a musician. His/her individuality. The whole friggin' point of learning to become a musician in the first place, yes? :rolleyes:

I didn't what I would say when I first saw this thread but Mate has expressed my thoughts as well.

 

For me, one aspect of spending thousands of hours on technique and control, I can more eloquently express subtle dynamic changes, subtle note to note ... expession.

 

You know, at some point we do have to think on our own and not let the latest feature determine what we really meant.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by mate_stubb:

Er, I don't know what to say here.

 

The whole point of expression is that it is the essence of a musician. His/her individuality.

Watch yer back Moe.

 

Some Saturday night in the not-too-distant future, you may find that your essence has been replaced by Howdy Doody with automatic expression. :evil::D

 

 

http://www.doodyville.com/images/doody_bob.gif

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few products to consider:

 

VSL Instruments

 

Marketing blurb: "VIENNA INSTRUMENTS, the most powerful Virtual Instruments on the market, embody intelligent Performance Algorithms into an easy-to-use VST/AU plug-in to orchestrate an inconceivably vast array of samples. For the first time hundreds of inspiring articulations can be combined in one Preset and on a single MIDI track. Our proprietary Performance Detection analyzes intervals, repeated notes, patterns, and even speed in real-time and automatically summons the appropriate articulation or nuance. If you never imagined a Virtual Instrument could read your mind, think again. Never before has composing been so natural, fast, and so much fun."

 

VSL Instruments

 

The entire VSL Cube will set you back about $10,000, but you can piecemeal it as well.

 

Synful Orchestra

 

Very interesting technology. Best results are done semi-realtime (about a second delay as it analyzes your playing).

 

Synful

 

Yamaha VL

 

I've yet to hear a synthesizer that can equal the expressiveness of the VL series from Yamaha. Expression takes priority to realism as it is 100% physically modelled, vs. sample-based products. Breath Controller is a must. You control amplitude and much more.

 

Busch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by RABid:

Anyway, I'm still not grasping the reason for playing without self expression. :confused:

I don't think he means playing *without* expression, just a system that automatically makes the playing of an instrument more idiomatic, such as the Yamaha Super Articulation voices.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can develop your ears for free.

You can develop your chops for free.

You can feel good while doing it.

Your skills will never fail to run when the latest OS comes out.

They will work on your acoustic piano.

They will work on your panpipes while herding sheep.

 

You will be unique. The guy next door can't plop down money and sound like you.

 

What a concept! :idea:

Moe

---

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by mate_stubb:

You can develop your ears for free.

You can develop your chops for free.

"FOR FREE"? Maybe in the monetary sense. This stuff is hard work, it's "weightlifting."

 

 

Originally posted by mate_stubb:

You will be unique. The guy next door can't plop down money and sound like you.

Unique in and of itself a non-value, only good is.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I swear. For a brief moment there I thought Moe was going to break out and sing a Dire Straits tune:

 

Now that aint workin thats the way you do it

You play the guitar on the mtv

That aint workin thats the way you do it

Money for nothin and your chicks for free

Money for nothin and chicks for free

 

:D:P

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by soundscape:

"FOR FREE"? Maybe in the monetary sense. This stuff is hard work, it's "weightlifting."

Since this thread is about buying musicianship, of course I was speaking in the monetary sense.

 

Originally posted by soundscape:

Unique in and of itself a non-value, only good is.

:confused: Not sure what you are getting at here. Becoming a skilled musician will enhance both your ability to be unique AND your ability to be "good", whatever that vague term means. This is a good thing. You also still need talent! ;)

Moe

---

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by mate_stubb:

Originally posted by soundscape:

Unique in and of itself a non-value, only good is.

:confused: Not sure what you are getting at here. Becoming a skilled musician will enhance both your ability to be unique AND your ability to be "good", whatever that vague term means. This is a good thing. You also still need talent! ;)
Well, this is pretty unique, eh?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5Ym5g3DR1M

 

I mean unique on its own doesn't mean a thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ProfD:

There is nothing wrong with the appropriate use of quantize.

The operative word being 'appropriate'. I'm sure you have heard some drum tracks that sound like nothing a real drummer would play.

BTW... dance music is all about "tight"... long before quantize.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWLWKbWUiBg (Earth, Wind & Fire)

 

Of course, no way quantize will achieve that result either...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by James Composer:

On the hardware side, it would be a kind of performance thing that just automatically controls the expression in the background while you play 1 note at a time (perform the instrument).

Actually there is built in expression on synths. It comes in three flavors: LFO, Envelope and Flat-line:

 

With LFO ... whatever you are controlling goes up and then it comes down again. Then it repeats.

 

With Envelope ... it goes up and comes down. Then it stays there.

 

In Flat-line ... it just stays there.

 

I like this the best because it can go with any kind of music. Kinda like vanilla ice cream which goes with everything. Or maybe like a heart monitor after the person died. :thu:;)

 

Jerry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Tusker:

Originally posted by James Composer:

On the hardware side, it would be a kind of performance thing that just automatically controls the expression in the background while you play 1 note at a time (perform the instrument).

Actually there is built in expression on synths. It comes in three flavors: LFO, Envelope and Flat-line:

Right... so remind me again why expression can't be programmed?

 

Indeed, instrument designers and good patch programmers 'engineer' the expression in... so we're using this stuff all the time.

(i.e., the instrument 'reacts' to our playing... isn't that what the original question was all about?)

 

Kinda like vanilla ice cream which goes with everything.
Yum yum.

 

http://www.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/Hamburger.jpg

 

:cry:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by soundscape:

Right... so remind me again why expression can't be programmed?

It can. I love the Nord Modular. Couple some control sequencers with some nice lag generators and the occasional additional envelope, and you can have those little synth lines evolving away like a dozen Rick Wakemans on Red Bull.

 

But the easiest to program? ... That would be the flatline.

 

Jerry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...