It is very important to spend a good amount of time
discussing expressiveness. In the end expressiveness is, in the
majority of cases, what brings life to our music.
the last lesson we've seen that the library and your programming must
be expressive. Only with the combination of both you can make your
computer sound with life in itself. Every library has its strengths and
weaknesses and a wise combination of them makes the secret.
Scoring Tools Masterclass wouldn't be a complete course if we didn't
discuss the importance of variation of articulations. If the combination
of libraries is necessary to achieve certain results the combination of
articulations is important as well.
common way of composing today is to load few patches with certain
articulations and rely on them from the beginning to the end of the
music. This kind of thinking leads to a minimalist composition that in
many cases is the desired result by the composer. However, as said
before, if your libraries have been the main source of inspiration you
are not developing you composition abilities to the fullest. Your
libraries have to respond to the music that you conceive in your mind
and not the other way round.
Now let's do another interesting test.
In the following example there is a phrase for violins I without any articulation notated.
Now, play this melody on the piano for few times and when you are comfortable go to your favorite violin ensemble library. Try to make this phrase sound as good as you can by just playing it with you violin ensemble.
You may also download the midi file here
and import it to your sequencer. If you do, try it on the piano and later on your favorite violin ensemble.
How it sounds on the piano? And on the violins?
In composition there are certain cases where the notes are not as important as the rhythm and articulations are. Sometimes the energy of the element is what matters the most. If you play the phrase on the piano and violins you are going to see that this example is not the case at all. There is a tonal center on C and the notes really matter. However, the rhythm plays a bigger role here.
The eighth notes predominate throughout the entire phrase and they give us a hint of which articulation would be more suitable for the violins.
I didn't told you which articulation you could play this phrase but there's a high chance that, after hearing it on the piano, you chose a short one for the violins. Legato, spiccato and staccato would be the most common ones but once you play legato the repeated C and Eb would be a problem due to the speed of the melody and the slow attack of most legato patches.
I am not with you now but I can predict that if you first test it with legato you probably have changed it to spiccato or staccato afterwards and the result has been better afterwards. Or maybe you have gone directly to the short ones!?
So far so good but do you think the energy has been kept the same throughout the entire phrase?
Play it as many times as you want and feel the movement of the phrase compared to the energy that it gives.
On the third bar 5/4 there's a break in the ostinato which gives a new direction to the energy and later it goes back to the original state until the end.
It is not measurable but I am sure you can feel that the break drops the energy down to almost half. Hear it now on my staccato patch.