How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

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ChamMusic
KVRian
893 posts since 12 Jun, 2006

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:05 am

dellboy wrote:
mediumaevum wrote: I'm not sure I understand this double-stop. Do you mean double bows? I have not one viola (only in the beginning), but 2 violas, one cello and a cello ensemble pizzicato later.
Bach composing for solo violin using double stops.

Chaconne by J.S. Bach.......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZHgLqmwVO0

Double, triple and in a few places the rippling quadruple stops as well!

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jancivil
KVRAF
15785 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:13 pm

ChamMusic wrote:
jancivil wrote:I turned it off around the time it seemed like I was hearing 3 or more *stopped notes
Note: It is actually possible to play 3 notes at once on a violin or viola...TRIPLE STOPPING, but not in soft, slow passages like this one.
Here's something to study; what is done specifically. This is one of the most difficult things in the literature, note well.

All the multiple stops are harmonic, there is no real polyphony happening. Yes, I saw that here there were two violas, even as the topic title regards _a_ viola solo. Also NB: when it's all one legato like this, it's not feeling that real anyway and it's a bit dull. I don't do criticism of composition, but that effect is at any rate not convincing afaic.
Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 2.02.20 PM.png
I don't agree that there is nothing viable or convincing and could easily put a blind test up here to more or less prove it; or that we shouldn't do this or that because... That said, I have never done an acoustic orchestra by itself and frankly am not very interested in it. It's too time-consuming and takes all sorts of machine to pull it off.

I do use orchestral instruments and I don't think there's anything apparent to the listener about it not being real instruments. I don't think viola for instance is that much different than electric bass in this regard.
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mediumaevum
KVRist
139 posts since 14 Feb, 2013

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:03 pm

Maybe one should simply accept that virtual instruments cannot sound real. They can however, sound in similarity with a real instrument. In my opinion, both composer AND listener should accept that it is not the real thing and listen to the piece afterall and live with the limitations, but of course the responsibility of creating a pleasing sound nonetheless is solely that of the composer using virtual instruments.

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spendthrift2
KVRist
105 posts since 10 Feb, 2010

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:37 pm


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jancivil
KVRAF
15785 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:59 pm

mediumaevum wrote:Maybe one should simply accept that virtual instruments cannot sound real. They can however, sound in similarity with a real instrument. In my opinion, both composer AND listener should accept that it is not the real thing and listen to the piece afterall and live with the limitations, but of course the responsibility of creating a pleasing sound nonetheless is solely that of the composer using virtual instruments.
Ok.

Can you please tell me which of these is real and which virtual, giving reasons for the decision (Benjamin Britten's Pan for solo oboe, excerpted):

https://youtu.be/DFBD66iK3HE?t=1s

https://youtu.be/AQ2IfNYGMMM?t=0s

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jancivil
KVRAF
15785 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:03 pm

mediumaevum wrote:Maybe one should simply... In my opinion, both composer AND listener should accept
I post music at venues other than KVR, you know. I don't have to make any excuse for it. I advise you reflect on this statement a bit. And ask yourself, are your limitations at this juncture the same as everyone's?

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=334594

dellboy
KVRian
704 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:07 am

jancivil wrote: Can you please tell me which of these is real and which virtual, giving reasons for the decision (Benjamin Britten's Pan for solo oboe, excerpted):

https://youtu.be/DFBD66iK3HE?t=1s

https://youtu.be/AQ2IfNYGMMM?t=0s
To my ears they both sound virtual.

So if one is real and one is virtual I guess they pulled it off as it has fooled me listening just once. Maybe if I listened multiple times I might spot the difference.

ChamMusic
KVRian
893 posts since 12 Jun, 2006

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:01 am

jancivil wrote:
ChamMusic wrote:
jancivil wrote:I turned it off around the time it seemed like I was hearing 3 or more *stopped notes
Note: It is actually possible to play 3 notes at once on a violin or viola...TRIPLE STOPPING, but not in soft, slow passages like this one.
Here's something to study; what is done specifically. This is one of the most difficult things in the literature, note well.

All the multiple stops are harmonic, there is no real polyphony happening. Yes, I saw that here there were two violas, even as the topic title regards _a_ viola solo. Also NB: when it's all one legato like this, it's not feeling that real anyway and it's a bit dull. I don't do criticism of composition, but that effect is at any rate not convincing afaic.
Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 2.02.20 PM.png
I don't agree that there is nothing viable or convincing and could easily put a blind test up here to more or less prove it; or that we shouldn't do this or that because... That said, I have never done an acoustic orchestra by itself and frankly am not very interested in it. It's too time-consuming and takes all sorts of machine to pull it off.

I do use orchestral instruments and I don't think there's anything apparent to the listener about it not being real instruments. I don't think viola for instance is that much different than electric bass in this regard.
My note above regarding triple stopping wasn't aimed at you, by the way...more at those in the thread who were new to the whole idea of playing two strings at once etc.

ChamMusic
KVRian
893 posts since 12 Jun, 2006

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:32 am

dellboy wrote:
jancivil wrote: Can you please tell me which of these is real and which virtual, giving reasons for the decision (Benjamin Britten's Pan for solo oboe, excerpted):

https://youtu.be/DFBD66iK3HE?t=1s

https://youtu.be/AQ2IfNYGMMM?t=0s
To my ears they both sound virtual.

So if one is real and one is virtual I guess they pulled it off as it has fooled me listening just once. Maybe if I listened multiple times I might spot the difference.
It's always possible that I've been fooled, but I'll stick my neck out on this one and say:

Spot on! They are definitely both virtual...many, many reasons for saying so.

I would actually say that they are both from the same software?

They both sound fantastic, very musical and flowing and quite 'oboey'. they would certainly do the job in most professional circumstances.

I will put my neck on the line even further and guess that they are from the Vienna stable of software...reverb and sample releases sound quite similar to the solo cello that I posted above?

If one of these is 'real' I'll be genuinely surprised!

Not quite so impressed by the oboe player though...sounds like a clarinet at times on those lower notes and the vibrato is regularly overdone!
Last edited by ChamMusic on Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

ChamMusic
KVRian
893 posts since 12 Jun, 2006

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:43 am

mediumaevum wrote:Maybe one should simply accept that virtual instruments cannot sound real.
That is a good starting point for composing with them in my opinion...they can sound acceptably realistic at times, but more importantly, when used well, they can sound extremely musical and full of flow and energy.

It is quite possible to create a reasonably authentic orchestral sound / chamber ensemble sound / even solo instrument timbre. Perfectly acceptable and effective to ALL listeners, but not really as close as we like to think to the 'real' item.

But...that really doesn't matter at all...and as I said before, more and more BIG film scores / media productions are using hybrid orchestras nowadays anyway - combinations of real players + samples that create a brand new orchestral sound.
mediumaevum wrote:They can however, sound in similarity with a real instrument
Agreed..I'd go as far as 'very similar' when programmed with skill.

ChamMusic
KVRian
893 posts since 12 Jun, 2006

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:55 am

jancivil wrote:
ChamMusic wrote:
jancivil wrote:I turned it off around the time it seemed like I was hearing 3 or more *stopped notes
Note: It is actually possible to play 3 notes at once on a violin or viola...TRIPLE STOPPING, but not in soft, slow passages like this one.
Here's something to study; what is done specifically. This is one of the most difficult things in the literature, note well.

All the multiple stops are harmonic, there is no real polyphony happening. Yes, I saw that here there were two violas, even as the topic title regards _a_ viola solo. Also NB: when it's all one legato like this, it's not feeling that real anyway and it's a bit dull. I don't do criticism of composition, but that effect is at any rate not convincing afaic.
Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 2.02.20 PM.png
I don't agree that there is nothing viable or convincing and could easily put a blind test up here to more or less prove it; or that we shouldn't do this or that because... That said, I have never done an acoustic orchestra by itself and frankly am not very interested in it. It's too time-consuming and takes all sorts of machine to pull it off.

I do use orchestral instruments and I don't think there's anything apparent to the listener about it not being real instruments. I don't think viola for instance is that much different than electric bass in this regard.
Have you ever heard the version of this piece (Bach's D Minor Chaconne) with a piano accompaniment arranged by Schummann?

Not necessarily better / worse, but very different to the simple, stark solo violin original:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y79qVZ5Sij0

dellboy
KVRian
704 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:48 am

ChamMusic wrote:
Have you ever heard the version of this piece (Bach's D Minor Chaconne) with a piano accompaniment arranged by Schummann?

Not necessarily better / worse, but very different to the simple, stark solo violin original:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y79qVZ5Sij0
That's a very dry room, it would be nicer with a touch of room reverb. When the Bach Chaconne is played well by someone heifetz I like it simple and unaccompanied. Not sure that Bach should be played with vibrato though.

The Chaconne by Vitali also has some fast double stops.........

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI150cT ... TpqE4&t=75

ChamMusic
KVRian
893 posts since 12 Jun, 2006

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:31 am

Yes it's an awful acoustic...not sure what they were thinking! :0)

As to vibrato on Bach or any other string music from the Baroque and also early Classical era...that's been an area of some serious argument by specialists for a long time!

A lot of modern specialist ensembles play a little too delicately for me...light, tender bow strokes with minimal if any vibrato...

Their argument is that it wasn't used extensively at the time and of course, the more dynamic, heavy bow strokes can sound bloody awful without vibrato! :0)

Others have argued that these specialists are wrong and the historical evidence suggests that vibrato and the more dynamic bowing techniques were much more prevalent that we realize:

'I very much like having the instruments at a distance, for when they are close, particularly the string instruments whose every separate, strong stroke is always a powerful shock, it makes an extremely adverse, and often painful and long-lasting impression on my nerves.’
- Friedrich Reichardt, Kapellmeister, Berlin 1791.

Very controversial amongst these ensembles a couple of years ago:

Students often ask me, 'How should I play Bach?' The answer is easy - you should play with good sound, a lovely rhythm...and vibrato. -violinist Pinchas Zukerman

There is probably a 'middle', more nuanced truth somewhere! :0) This would be my position, I think...some pieces probably used it more than others...ditto composers, patrons, sub-cultures etc.

I think you're right and that particular performance over blows the vibrato to the point that it detracts from the music rather than enhances it.

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jancivil
KVRAF
15785 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:10 am

ChamMusic wrote:
dellboy wrote:
jancivil wrote: Can you please tell me which of these is real and which virtual, giving reasons for the decision (Benjamin Britten's Pan for solo oboe, excerpted):

https://youtu.be/DFBD66iK3HE?t=1s

https://youtu.be/AQ2IfNYGMMM?t=0s
To my ears they both sound virtual.

So if one is real and one is virtual I guess they pulled it off as it has fooled me listening just once. Maybe if I listened multiple times I might spot the difference.
It's always possible that I've been fooled, but I'll stick my neck out on this one and say:

Spot on! They are definitely both virtual...many, many reasons for saying so.

I would actually say that they are both from the same software?
Nope. One of them is real.

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jancivil
KVRAF
15785 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: How realistic can a Virtual Solo Viola sound?

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:19 am

Actually, the sound of them is virtually indistinguishable to me. I'd forgotten which was which already and A/Bing just now did not help me immediately. Then I noticed a significant difference in phrasing early on, which I did actually remember so I'm sure.

Try again. :D
One of them is "first-prize winner of [a famous competition for] Solo Oboists" on some album.
The other is [strike that, I shan't say because it's a giveaway].


I had a very high degree of confidence on the blind test concept. Now I have to say the argument that you can't get it to come across same as real has been refuted, yeah?

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