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Discussion Starter #1
I'm currently doing a community theatre production of Gypsy with me on reeds (alto, clar, picc, flute), a trumpet, a trombone, and a rhythm section of two keyboards, acoustic bass, and drums.

One of the keyboardists has a Mac hooked up to his instrument, and by using software, he is able to sample a full reed section (minus my part). He also is playing the string parts and secondary brass.

The samples sound pretty good. If you closed your eyes, you might swear you heard a real bari sax honking away. And the clarinet is almost as mellow in the lower register as the real thing.

But that's the trouble. The samples are pretty good, but not great. And after a few bars, you'd realize that the bari is fake. Same thing with clarinet.

The strings? Forget about it. They sound like someone playing a giant accordion. And the piccolo sample sounds just like that-- a sample.

My point is that the closer technology gets to mimicking real instruments, the worse they sound. I was excited to play Gypsy because I'd read that it some of the best arrangements in Broadway history. Unfortunately, I'm not enjoying that.
 

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My worst nightmare. As if "musical" theater isn't hokey enough. They might as well just "can" everything. My days of playing shows is done.
 

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The last show I played had a pit of 4 people and there where no "real" instruments at all. The musical director played keys, the percussionist had a set of V drums, and I played EWI along with another EWI player. I had patches for Flute, Picc, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Violin, Bells. There were so many patch changes that I had to buy a foot pedal to do it quick enough. One bar of flute, one bar of Trumpet, back to Flute, etc... It was crazy.

Too bad you can't get doubles pay for each patch :)
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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One thing I've been noticing over the last few years is that keyboard players are becoming more like technicians than musicians.
And subsequently sounding more like technicians than musicians.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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I'm currently doing a community theatre production of Gypsy with me on reeds (alto, clar, picc, flute), a trumpet, a trombone, and a rhythm section of two keyboards, acoustic bass, and drums.

One of the keyboardists has a Mac hooked up to his instrument, and by using software, he is able to sample a full reed section (minus my part). He also is playing the string parts and secondary brass.

The samples sound pretty good. If you closed your eyes, you might swear you heard a real bari sax honking away. And the clarinet is almost as mellow in the lower register as the real thing.

But that's the trouble. The samples are pretty good, but not great. And after a few bars, you'd realize that the bari is fake. Same thing with clarinet.

The strings? Forget about it. They sound like someone playing a giant accordion. And the piccolo sample sounds just like that-- a sample.

My point is that the closer technology gets to mimicking real instruments, the worse they sound. I was excited to play Gypsy because I'd read that it some of the best arrangements in Broadway history. Unfortunately, I'm not enjoying that.

Ya - And who said DJ's wouldn't replace LIVE bands??

Say goodbye to yet another paying gig for the live musician!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I just got back from doing the Friday night show. During intermission, people came up to the pit to talk to the musicians, and guess what--all they wanted to talk about was the keyboard and the computer samples.
 

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I feel so bad for you.
When the people come to the pit after the shows I play in for the Ionia Community Theater they actually want to talk to the musicians.
Most of them have small children that want to see where the music came from and what the instruments look like.
 

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I just got done with my third musical of the year (fourth if you count the one i conducted). There always seems to be a good response from the audience with our live bands....no body is using keyboards with samples here. I wonder sometimes if it's a microcosm.
 

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Well, it all started back in the forties, when people started hiring an electric guitar player instead of a horn section for their Saturday night dances...
 

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I'm currently doing a community theatre production of Gypsy with me on reeds (alto, clar, picc, flute), a trumpet, a trombone, and a rhythm section of two keyboards, acoustic bass, and drums.

One of the keyboardists has a Mac hooked up to his instrument, and by using software, he is able to sample a full reed section (minus my part). He also is playing the string parts and secondary brass.

The samples sound pretty good. If you closed your eyes, you might swear you heard a real bari sax honking away. And the clarinet is almost as mellow in the lower register as the real thing.

But that's the trouble. The samples are pretty good, but not great. And after a few bars, you'd realize that the bari is fake. Same thing with clarinet.

The strings? Forget about it. They sound like someone playing a giant accordion. And the piccolo sample sounds just like that-- a sample.

My point is that the closer technology gets to mimicking real instruments, the worse they sound. I was excited to play Gypsy because I'd read that it some of the best arrangements in Broadway history. Unfortunately, I'm not enjoying that.
What do you mean? If they are true "samples", then they are real instruments playing. You mean synth sounds programed to be played by computer?
Only a matter of time before all of the musicals are enitrely "sampled", with canned backing trax.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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IT is what it is. Embrace the technology. You can play sax and still be familiar with, and use some of the great gear that is available today. Some emulations and samples are really good - when they are used creatively. There are even some creative possibilities that open up to you that are not available using traditional instruments.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
A true sample may be the sound of a real instrument playing, but you will never get the same nuances from a sample that you get from a horn player. I would rather play with four other players than a computer trying to sound like a sax section.

We can embrace this technology, but you can't go out with a sample for a beer after the show.
 

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IT is what it is. Embrace the technology. You can play sax and still be familiar with, and use some of the great gear that is available today. Some emulations and samples are really good - when they are used creatively. There are even some creative possibilities that open up to you that are not available using traditional instruments.
Film is an entirely different aesthetic...and they do film them.

It's not only about cost. There's also an insane desire for the shows to be identical every time. At least, that's what drove me insane when I was doing sound for them--and I was in a venue that prides itself on having a 'full' pit.

Then again, there are some shows where there are 'canned' backing vocals, and 'canned' vocals for when an insane (actually choreographers are ALL insane) choreographer wants someone to do an exhausting dance routine while attempting to sing at the same time.
 

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Nothing cuter than a three year old tap dancer....unless they have an accident....
 

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A true sample may be the sound of a real instrument playing, but you will never get the same nuances from a sample that you get from a horn player. I would rather play with four other players than a computer trying to sound like a sax section.
Okay, as log as you understand there is a diference between a computer trying to sound like a sax section, and an actual sax section sampled and being presented.
 
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