Quintessential Solstice Event

How I Did It

Dear Mr. Williams (Carnegy Ha...
by spinmeister
Recommends (22)
Thu, Aug 26, 2010 @ 8:31 PM

Tools I Used

Steinberg's Cubase 5.5 as the DAW
and Native Instruments Kontakt 4 sampler plugin for the string quintet.

Original Samples

Hand crafted and recorded 5 string parts: 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass using natural string samples from the software sampler.


Landed pretty quickly on the idea of an acoustic string quintet as my accompaniment of choice for snowflake's ditty.

First I created a double bass part for the entire piece as a foundation and to get into the groove of the piano track.

Then I settled on the ambiance - ended up choosing a concert hall convolution reverb for the illusion of a concert hall performance;

For Loveshadow's spoken word bit, I tried to mimic how I imagine a BBC announcer might sound at a microphone in a concert hall. For the backup vocals I did a bit of fattening / stereo spreading of the track before sending it through a bit of a narrower eq setting to let it have it's own space in comparison to the lead vocal track.

For the lead vocal I wanted to keep it quite far in front, so the lyrics could be understood as much as possible (this being a message piece), so I used compression settings to mimic a real closeup mike recording and a bit of eq in an attempt to maximize clarity while minimizing harshness.

Next I composed the remaining 4 string parts, one song section at a time. For each:
- picking who should play "lead" (violin, viola or cello)
- creating the lead part
- and then creating the remaining parts with the objective that they had to complement or just stay out of the way.

Finally some tweaking on mastering - using light to medium limiting compression. Most classical music I know of doesn't use much compression. I actually wish they would use much more, because when driving in a car or with other ambient noises around home, the soft parts of classical music often get drowned out by those other noises. So I used compression to make the soft parts have a chance to get heard.

Other Notes

I wanted to leave snowflake's composition and performances unmodified and just channel my inner George Martin. :-)