How to find samples of "REAL" popular classical musicians for creating soundfonts

• Sep 21, 2016 - 01:28

Everyone. This is really important. I need to find some very awesome instrument samples from Popular, and I mean "VERY POPULAR" and big fan classical musicians we have today that can play some note samples so I can use them for other soundfonts I'm creating.

Example Musicians like "Van Cliburn, Vanessa-Mae, Julia Fischer, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Diderik Suys, Janine Jansen, Daniel Hope," (etc):.

These musicians *would* be perfect to use if I would let them record some note samples for a lot of soundfonts that I am creating.

So far, I have seen a lot of instrument samples recorded by the Philharmonia Orchestra: and from the University of Iowa: which seem to turn out very good. But these samples are not good at all. Because they don't sound like the most famous popular classical musicians we have today. So I need to find a way to get these samples from the most famous classical musicians I picked in the description. Any ideas? Please comment below.



In reply to by Arianna2001

You could ask them of course. You also need a professional studio and engineers - you'd need to pay them too. Maybe you should consider applying for a grant, or using a crowdfunding site. But there is no getting around the fact that famous people usually have lots of demands in their time and typically charge a lot for their services.

Arianna, your enthusiasm is praiseworthy, as is your admiration for some of the notable soloists of the 20th century. But things aren't quite as simple as they seem.

1. Soloists are a different breed of musician. Early in my career in radio, I was privileged to work with such people as Isaac Stern, Bernard Krainis, and Anna Moffo, and had the opportunity to hear them 'up close and personal' as the saying goes, from only a few feet away. I can tell you that there is a big difference in sound between a world-class soloist and a top-ranked orchestral player, and this is as it should be. Soloists--both vocalists and instrumentalists--do not play or sing so that they blend well with other performers on the same part; they play or sing so that they stand out and can be heard above the whole orchestra and chorus. This is not just a matter of volume; it is a matter of technique and interpretation, and their sound also has a good deal to do with the instrument they are using. (Even most top-level orchestral violinists cannot afford a $5-million Stradivarius....) So the message here is, you do not really want to collect sound samples from people who play like that for a good orchestral sound font, because the result would be much too overpowering and aggressive.

2. As Marc pointed out, you could hire them for a recording session if you had enough money, but 'enough money' would likely be defined in terms of 6- or 7-digit numbers. So unless you've got an inside track with a major foundation, that probably isn't realistic.

3. OTOH, you could try to get permission from the record companies to sample existing recordings of these artists for your sound font--stranger things have been known to happen in the music business--but if you did, you would be sampling highly-processed sounds, not raw original tracks. Let's take the Bach <i>Chaconne</i> by Isaac Stern as an example. In addition to being dependent upon the particular room in which it was performed, that recording has been compressed and equalised by the sound engineers, and what you could get as a sample for any particular note would not reflect the 'true' sound of that instrument as played by Stern. You would have to 'deconstruct' the sample to arrive at that sound, and then you would have to re-process the result until it met the needs of your new soundfont. Given all that, it would hardly be just to call it the 'Isaac Stern' violin soundfont....

If you want to work on creating soundfonts for MuseScore, you should definitely get in touch with Church Organist , who can give you some guidance on how best to do this.

In reply to by Recorder485

Recorder485, The only problem is that Isaac Stern passed away a long time ago. So there's no need to ask him to create a Violin SoundFont.

I have to go back in time to record his Violin Samples on a Phonograph with a bunch of tapes recorded. There's a Violin Preset in a Mellotron and Chamberlin that contains recorded tapes from the 50s/60s.

As a few other people have mentioned, while your ambition is commendable, your vision is not really achievable.

You mentioned that you really didn't have a budget. It is exceedingly rare that a musician will play for free, especially a professional player (who will almost certainly charge a fee). My suggestion to you is if you want to record samples yourself, is to look at a university in your area. If there is a university with a somewhat respected music program near you, you should be able to get some decent sounding samples from the music students there. What you mostly need in a sample library is samples that are in tune and have a good tone, which anyone who has auditioned into a respectable music program should be able to provide. You will probably still have to compensate your players, but it will be a significantly lower amount than you will have to compensate a professional player.

I know this seems like a downgrade to what you are proposing, but it is probably the most realistic option you have.

In reply to by lasconic

Nicolas, it's hard to tell how much difference it would make in a soundfont without knowing the recording environment and how much processing the sounds have been subjected to before being sampled. But having shared music stands with top-ranked soloists playing as orchestral corps--special circumstances; master-class/music-camp ensembles--I can state that the raw sound sample from a top soloist would likely be much more 'aggressive' than what we would normally expect to hear in an orchestral sound font. Good orchestral players strive to blend in; soloists do the exact opposite, as they should. What soloists do as a matter of course would be considered almost arrogant in an ensemble player.

In reply to by Recorder485

I probably wouldn't try to built a "violin section" sound out of a bunch of Joshua Bells. And I probably wouldn't use use two of him as the two violins for a string quartet. But I would gladly use a Joshua Bell sound as the soloist in a concerto. So I might welcome the addition of a sound like this, but not as the main violin or section sound - more as a special.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, for me, if I wanted to make some solo cello soundfonts or sections, just like when you wanted a Joshua Bell Violin Sound, I would probably use some sounds from Yo-Yo Ma, who is an AWESOME cellist, Because everyone loved him. Speaking of that, I'm going to New York next year to see Yo-Yo Ma with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. BTW, If I would choose that cellist, his cello would go well to replace the Cello from the FluidR3 soundfont to make it sound better! I would ask him to play some minor third notes with dynamics like pp with No Vibrato, mf with medium and beautiful vibrato, and ff with molto vibrato.

You'll be taking on an enormous and potentially financially crippling project here.

Even if you can get the celebrity soloists to perform for you, you will need a recording studio with an experienced engineer and quality microphones and equipment to record the sample - recording on your iPhone in your bedroom just won't hack it I'm afraid.

So the first thing is to persuade a recording studio to give their studio space and allocate a studio engineer for nothing. Approaching a university or college Music Technology department may be the way forward here.

Secondly you will need to persuade the artists concerned to give their services for nothing. You will find that they may say yes if the project is of sufficient importance and renown to warrant the waiving of their fee. Artists of this class will do things for nothing, but usually only if the project is of sufficient importance and renown to make them look good in the eyes of the world's media. So you will need to spend a lot of time, and probably your own money on raising the profile of your project to the extent that it is of international significance.


Oh, and best of luck :)

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