Category Archives: Arranging

Exciting times (track notes)

Continuing my liner notes for my July 2018 album “Sampler”

Track 7, Exciting Times, was my first experiment on doing something entirely from loops. Not audio loops, but MIDI loops. The entire track was produced from MIDI loops.

I use to subscribe to a magazine that included a download link or a DVD that had various samples and loops on it. My notes don’t show which issue or magazine name, but it was from a magazine. I took loops that came from what I think was a Trance selection. The majority of the magazine content was audio loops or samples, but from time to time they include midi loops.

Here are the instruments/patches I used for this track. My notes don’t show what changes I made to presets and it would take too long to figure out. Whatever they were, they were not dramatic changes.

Battery 4 (Argon Kit) with ReaEQ highpass at 40HZ and Supercharger GT compressor with a modified drum buss preset. Automation on ReaEQ highpass frequency.

Massive with Thelonius preset (modified). ReaComp sidechained from drum track; ReaEQ with a slight boos around 300hz and a low pass cut at 1.1K. Another ReaComp with sidechain. Supercharger GT with modified Synth Bass preset. NI VC 2A compressor, modified Electric Guitar preset. ReaDelay (modified Dehuminator slower preset). Automation on the Wavetable position and cutoff in Massive as well as the Bypass on the ReaDelay.

Reaktor Razor, Centauri preset (modified); ReaComp sidechained from Drum Buss, 0ms attack; 47ms release, 4:1 ratio, 0 to 481Hz input filter; ReaEQ highpass around 60Hz. Another ReaComp sidechained with 30-225Hz input filter. 3ms attack, 100ms release, 4.1 compression. (The two compressor settings basically end up being sidechained by only the bass drum from the drum sidechain input). Automation on two Macros in Razor. Automation on high pass filter in ReaEQ.

Absynth 5, Arcadia patch (probably modified). ReaComp sidechained similar to above examples.
ReaEQ. Automation on Pan and EQ Low pass frequency

Reaktor Monark, Sakwenzer patch (probably modified). ReaComp with sidechain from Drum track 0-745HZ input filter. 0ms attach, 100 release, 4:1 ratio. ReaEQ, low pass at 8.5Khz and high pass at 100Hz. Automation on lowpass eq filter.

Reaktor Kontour, Twin top patch (modified). ReaComp sidechained similar to above examples. ReaEQ, high pass, automated. Another ReaComp sidechained similar to above. Automation on pan.

Kontakt, string ensemble symphony series, string ensemble patch. ReaComp, sidechained similar to above. ReaEQ High pass around 60Hz, automated.

Kontakt, Rise & Hit, Heavy Fuzz patch. Automation on Volume and Rev-Heavyfuzz.

Kontakt, Exhale by Output, Backwards patch.

Four tracks were sent to a ReaDelay buss that had a 4-tap ping pong delay

Four tracks were sent to a Reverb buss with NI Passive EQ in mid/side mode. Some low mid boost in middle and some low boost on the side.

I printed all the midi to audio and produced the final mix from there.  I used an IK Multimedia Quad Compressor and Quad Image to widen out the sound a bit. I used a few sidechained compressors on some of the audio channels.

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Very Confused (album track notes)

To continue with my notes on the songs on my 11th album, Sampler, we get to the 6th track. That title is called Very Confused. The description of how I did it may be as equally confusing.

As inspiration for and as a way to try different ways of composing, I took an existing piece, the first movement of the Opus 2, No. 1 Beethoven Piano Sonata. I loaded a midi rendition of the piece into my DAW. I used a function that takes all the notes of the file and extracts them to separate MIDI tracks. I forget how many unique pitches there were, but it was a large number. Based on the visual look of each track in a piano roll editor I moved tracks around and combined many with specific percussion instruments in mind.

I ended up with 16 different midi tracks. Using what I thought would sound good in combination with all the other tracks I assigned various percussion instruments to each of the 16 tracks. All the percussion sounds were from the Native Instruments sound library Percussion Symphony Series. Even the mysterious piano sound was from that library.

Processing, as with much of my music was minimal, once the desired sounds were recorded. The Claves had Replika XT (from Native Instruments) on it with a special effect patch highly modified. The Rain Stick track utilized the Movement plugin (from Output.com), 11.8 pitcher from one of the expansion packs. The vibraslap track sounds like a metalic flying object with lots reverb. That was accomplished by sending it through the Dual Crystals effects chain in Absynth. I used a little bit of EQ and compression here and there.

The original Beethoven Sonata movement, with repeats is nearly 20 minutes long, far too long for a track on the album. So I cut and chopped different sections, mainly silence and shortened it to less than 6 minutes. I was surprised by how much silence there was in the original piece when broken into its individual notes.

It is definitely Very Confused. I hope you like it. If you do or have any other comments or questions, please leave them below.

Sheet Music: Collections vs. Singles

I’m taking a break from writing about the individual tracks on my new (July 2018) album. I will return to them.

I sometimes wonder if anyone is reading these blogs of mine, I’d love to know. With practically no comments or interaction from anyone about my blog, I’d love to hear from you in comments or the contact form on my website.

Earlier in 2018 I wrote that I was no longer selling my keyboard music as single titles but would instead be selling collections of my music. After experimenting with that for a few months I’ve decided to go back to selling titles individually. The benefits of  having only collections available were outweighed by administrative and organizational elements that the average buyer of sheet music probably isn’t aware of.  For example, keeping track of which titles are contained in which collection and which filenames are associated with those collections & individual titles.

Whether it be keyboard, bells, instrumental groups or solos, I’ve only ever had one collection sell well. That being my Huge Classical piano collection book. This is probably due to classical music always being more popular than sacred or popular music arrangements and that few of the titles in that collection are available elsewhere from me.

The thought occurs to me that maybe with digital music, people prefer to buy individual titles. Is it because the total price is cheaper? Is it because, unlike with collections, they don’t end up buying titles they don’t want. (That’s my reason for preferring singles to collections. I’ve quit buying Hal Leonard Jazz Piano Solo series books because I end up with too many titles I just don’t care anything about ).

I’d really love to see a discussion of what you like or what other musicians you know like. Are there other reasons why people don’t want to buy collections in digital form as much as singles? Or maybe I’ve got it wrong. Maybe people do like collections better than single sheet music.

New Sheet Music

Christmas Organ Selections II

I have a new sheet music Organ Collection available. This contains selections of Advent and Christmas titles.

Available at: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20753754

Away In A Manger [MUELLER]
God Rest, Ye Merry Gentlemen
He Is Born [IL EST NSTE]
In The Bleak Midwinter [CRANHAM]
Joy To The World [ANTIOCH]
O Little Town Of Bethlehem [ST LOUIS]
The Babe of Bethlehem
The First Nowell
The Snow Lay On The Ground
What Child Is This [GREENSLEEVES]

There are a variety of styles represented. This and volume 1 will provide you with plenty of selections to choose from during the hectic Advent and Christmas season.

In addition to the link above (which takes you to the SheetMusicPlus website, my main distributor), a listing of all my available music can always be found at my website, JamesGilbertMusic.com

All of the typesetting for this collection was done using Sibelius.

May update

Current news

I’m always looking for subjects to write about here or tutorial to do on YouTube. Please use the comments section to give me some ideas.

I’ve not shown a map of where people are buying and performing my sheet music for some time, so here’s the latest (as of Mar 31, 2018)

I’m making some changes to the music catalog. Rather than offer individual keyboard arrangements, I’m only selling collections. I have 8 piano solo collections available. As time permits I will remove organ solos from the catalog and only offer collections. It is easier to manage collections.

I have no plans for anything on YouTube at the present time. This is for two reasons: 1) Nobody who watches my videos on YouTube has bothered to let me know what they want to see and 2) YouTube no longer allows me to monetize my channel and nobody who watches my videos has donated anything to keep it going.

As always, check the sheet music catalog for new titles. At least once a month, sometimes more often there are new titles.

After 15 custom arrangements for a single client I must be doing something right. If you have a beginner/intermediate instrumental group or a church orchestra in need of arrangements, let me know so I can write it for you.

I’m always “playing around” with my various sound libraries and live instruments in my home studio. Look for at least one new album out this summer, if not two.

I continue to teach piano lessons locally and via Skype. So, no matter where you are in the world I can teach you. I can also tutor on composing, arranging, music theory and more. Drop me a note if you are interested.

 

New Additions to the Catalog

New Additions

The sheet music we have available is in a variety of styles for just about every imaginable combination of instruments. Some were written & used in church; some were written for teaching and educational settings; some are just fun to play and some would make great background music in a video.

I’ve added the following Solo Organ titles to the catalog recently (March 2017):

Down At The Crosshttps://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20707177 — A good piece for Lent or Communion

Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Dayshttps://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20707178 — Another excellent piece for use during Lent

The Lily Of The Valley https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20707179 – An upbeat, fun to play setting of this tune.

There Is A Fountain https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20707180 — Another piece well suited for Lent or Communion

To see all the titles I have available (currently around 1,000) visit https://jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php

 

Feb 2018 Sheet-Music additions

More additions to the catalog

Here are the latest additions to our sheet-music catalog. Including sheet-music and individual audio tracks, we approach a total of 1,100 titles available.

Breathe On Me — A setting of the hymn tune NOVA VITA for orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20701580

Come Down, O Love Divine — An arrangement of this hymn tune for solo organ — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20701582

Memoriam — Based on the original piano solo, this piece is for solo orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20701584

Now Thank We All Our God — A setting of NUN DANKET for solo orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20701581

Once In Royal David’s City — This Christmas time piece is part of our Any Size Church Orchestra series. Playable by as little as 1 orchestral instrument and keyboard or a full concert band or full orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20701585

Onward Christian Soldiers — A setting of this very popular hymn. Part of our Any Size Church Orchestra series. — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20701590

Visit our Catalog Page to see all of our titles and recordings.

Sheet Music Plus for Composers/Arrangers

A “Kindle like” publishing platform for musicians

In case you did not know it, SheetMusicPlus.com has been operating a self-publishing platform similar to the way Amazon allows book authors to publish material for their Kindle.

I’ve been using it since Jan 2016 to sell all the titles I have available and have been quite happy with it. (I also should add that SMP is my go to source for printed music since there are no music stores within driving distance of where I live).

The following article explains it much better than I can and includes some videos to help Sibelius users although anyone who can create a PDF file of their music can participate. Their ArrangeMe option, discussed in the article is a great opportunity for arrangers.

http://www.avidblogs.com/sibelius-users-sell-music-today-millions-worldwide-smp-press/

In addition to Sheet Music Plus, ScoreExchange.com out of England also allows you to sell your music for free. They are very geared toward Sibelius users, allowing them to upload Sibelius files directly to them. I also have many of my titles there, but unfortunately, they are not as well known as SMP. JW Pepper music in the USA has a publish option for composers/arrangers that has a startup fee but also makes titles available to customers in printed form and is geared toward the educational market. I’ve not tried them.

Are there any other similar services I didn’t mention?  Any pros/cons anyone would care to discuss? Please comment.

Results of my contest entry

Did they even listen to my entry?

So, a few posts ago I mentioned that Spitfire Audio was having  a contest that I had entered. The one and half minute video was provided by them. Contestants had to write music to fit the video. It didn’t matter what sound libraries we used, it was “the composition that mattered.” Given the winning entry, which isn’t a bad musical competition, I wonder if my entry made it to them?

Nobody has ever called me a bad looser, but in this case, I just don’t get it. Were they more interested in the mixing/mastering than the music matching the video or what? The whole contest was a bit odd. The entry method was emailing the final audio (a large sized file) which could have easily ended up in their spam folder or deleted. It’s never safe to email something so big. We also had to send a link to our music synced to their video. I did that. They never confirmed whether they got my entry nor did I ever see it (or any other entries) posted on their SoundCloud site as the rules said they would. They also did not announce the winner on their website, but instead at the following Facebook page. Not everyone uses facebook. Here’s the winner:

https://www.facebook.com/SpitfireAudio/videos/10155715880575412/

The problems I have are:

The composition is little more than a 1:15 tension builder. It doesn’t resolve the tension. When I’m looking to buy a sound library, this music doesn’t do it for me.

The music doesn’t fit the video. It in no way enhances or supports the visuals we see. (Some comments on their facebook page agree with me here).

It is so repetitive to the point of almost being boring.

When it switches from graphics to the control room, why no change to draw the viewer, who may have turned away while watching on their phone, tablet or PC, to the change?

When we see a large horn section, I have trouble hearing any horns. The only thing in the video are horns yet there are no obvious horns in the music.

The same thing when we see flutes, trumpets and a timpani player feverlishly bangs on the timpani, we don’t hear flutes, trumpets or timpani. Why not? It would be an excellent way to showcase the product and its multiple capabilities instead of hearing essentially the same thing we’ve heard from the beginning.

When the woman is showed at her computer using Albion, why not give us something electronic? Movie soundtracks aren’t all symphonic orchestra are they?

The biggest thing that bothers me is when she plays a C on her keyboard (after seeing that she has a string sound loaded up) we don’t hear a C, not even a note in the C chord, nor are strings featured. What happened to matching the music to enhance the visuals?

Any how, here is my entry. I know it isn’t perfect. The mixing and mastering need some work and it probably would have helped to layer in some more sounds to what is there. I would really like some comments as to why my attempt was not as good as the winner.

New Sheet-Music

New Sheet-Music

I’m trying to compose or arrange more music than I usually do. Since I am a church musician, the obvious music to write is music of a utilitarian nature. That is, write music I can use or that another church musician can use. Click on the link for each title to see sample pages and listen to sample recordings.

Onward Christian Soldiers    For Solo Organ https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20688328
When recently called upon to play for a memorial service as part of a regular church service, this title was requested (on organ). Surprisingly with my hundreds of organ titles I’d purchased over the years and arrangements I’d written, I did not have an arrangement of this for organ. I needed something that could work as a less marching, military sounding piece, so I put this together.

Breathe On Me [NOVA VITA] For solo piano https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20688329
This was a title scheduled to be used one Sunday morning so I decided to write an arrangement to use in that service.

Memoriam For solo piano. https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20688330
For the same mentioned memorial service I needed something during communion. The congregation likes me to play the communion music on piano. For you music theorists or those that are good at analyzing music, see if you can figure out the relationship with “On Eagle’s Wings” that a soloist sang earlier in the program. (Good luck with that).

TO GOD BE THE GLORY Piano hymn accompaniment https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20688331
From time to time our church likes to have a service with only piano and a bit more gospel oriented music. They also like alternate harmonizations or accompaniments during hymns. I adapted this from a similar organ hymn accompaniment also available in my catalog.

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross  for Orchestra https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20688327
I have a few versions of this title for different instruments. As a popular title I decided it would be good to have an orchestra/large ensemble version as those titles have always been popular