Written by The Weekend Vote
Published: February 16, 2014 at 4:02 AM [UTC]
That is, why would it use a midi cello solo, instead of one recorded by an actual cellist? Lara St. John asks this question in a blog she wrote this week entitled Lara Takes On HBO and Game of Thrones in an Open Letter.
In fact, Lara apparently felt so strongly about the problem that she actually paid professional Albanian cellist Rubin Kodheli -- at 1.5 scale -- to record the music in question, to GIVE to Game of Thrones.
In your expert opinion, which version of the "Game of Thrones" music sounds better? Real cello, or fake midi? Let's chime in below, to describe why real strings matter!
Fake cello midi version:
Version with real cello:
So which one gets your vote?
So what's the point of this?
The actual Game of Thrones main theme, which is being used by the TV show and also appears on the soundtrack, is featuring a live cello, unlike this first video in the article.
The linked blog post of Lara Jt. John is also written a little too lurid, especially since it is based on false assumptions. This here is the actual Game of Thrones main theme, and clearly features a live cello: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-TOHc7I1pc
Finally, the "real cello" version Of Lara St John has some serious pitch issues..
What is the point of all this?
And no, pointing out a 10-20 cent consistently sharp pitch is not having developed an ear for dead static auto tune pitch...
Yes, live strings are great and will always sound better. But talking bad and in a very condescending manner about HBO and Ramin Djawadi based on the assumption that they are using a midi solo cello in their main theme is plainly wrong. You can argue about their editing of the cello recording, sure. But it's 100% a live cello, and this article's original Game of Thrones theme is not accurate, and the whole article is therefore pointless.
Midi instruments only work well for string sections, not for solo instruments as you can't fake the individual textures of the transitions between the individual notes. You can definitely tell when it's a midi solo instrument. Once again: In the Game of Thrones main theme, it's definitely a live cello. The phrasing of the notes is not possible like that with a midi cello. You could definitely argue that the frequencies on the cello signal sound somewhat harsh and could be more pleasant.
Here is the legit opening music to the show.
The thing I like best about 'real' music is that it isn't perfect - that there is variability, and dare I say it...mistakes. This adds richness and life.
'Perfect' can often be perfectly dull.
...and yes...everyone's definition of 'perfect' and of what constitutes a 'mistake' will vary...I can only make generalizations.
On two occasions recently I was required to listen seriously to midi versions of two substantial works, one a concerto for double bass with orchestra, and the other a 6-movement suite for strings. The composers of these works were also the respective conductors of the two orchestras that were to give the first performances. The composers had composed at the computer keyboard, so it was an easy matter to produce study CDs of the music in midi format. In view of the structural, harmonic, and contrapuntal complexities of these two works (can't composers compose simple music any more?) it apparently made sense to the composers/conductors for their musicians to get a preliminary idea of what the music sounded like before the rehearsals started.
However, I can't say I enjoyed listening the midi CDs, even though they helped me to understand what was going on, but the live rehearsals and performances in both instances were far more enjoyable. The double bass soloist, in particular, took the concerto to his heart, and I believe it is now part of his repertoire.
By the way, I don't know what this "Game of Thrones" is. Is it a computer game, a TV series, or a movie?
You can find it here. It is called Main Title.
It is most certainly a computer generated cello sound. It is not a real person.
All my best, Lara.
These devices do not threaten real stringed instruments or performers thereof, just as the existence of chess software that can destroy a grand master is not a threat to human chess. Like all such things they have their proper place and can be used to great effect, by us.
Interesting related book: "Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession" by Joe Mansfield. I have a digital piano that I love and an Alesis drum machine (which my violin-studying 11-year-old daughter figured out how to use and then showed me), and I often practice jazz tunes using the iRealPro Android app on my tablet as a bass/drums accompaniment. It's very limited musically (it's essentially non-musical) but I think of it as a less annoying metronome.
PS I have never seen "The Game of Thrones." Such things do not interest me at all.
How is a live cello and a virtual cello the same thing? A live orchestra and a "virtual orchestra"? Are we living in a time when people, even musicians, really are convinced these are the same thing?
I want to know if a cellist actually played the whole thing, or was it made from "real cello virtual samples" and done on a keyboard?
I don't understand where the ambiguity you're seeing is from. Hans Zimmer (posting as Rtec in the linked forum) confirms that a real cellist played the part.
Many virtual instruments sound very, very good indeed. Samplemodeling, orchestral tools, spitfire audio and others are doing brilliant things for composers. All of whom jump at the chance to use real instrumentalists when the possibility is there.
No-one is saying that a virtual cello which uses cello recordings/samples as a starting point would be considered as 'real' by anyone, apart from in the context of 'sounding real' which many virtual instruments do in the right setting. But regardless of their effectiveness, no composer would use the term 'real cello' when they're referencing a virtual one.
"*Updated: Following publication of this story, HBO officials reached out to The World with the following statement. "There has been live cello on all recordings and on the series opening itself. Apparently, Lara found a version online which was not ours and made her argument based on that incorrect version." "
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