Considering that I’m a tiny tadpole in a huge pond and not even extremely experienced as far as virtual orchestrations go, I understand that writing lengthy articles about this subject might be perceived as hubris of the highest degree. Every posting of a new article comes with a sense of trepidation, thinking “oh shit, someone more knowledgable is going to step in here and whup my ass”. So far this hasn’t happened, probably because I’m mostly preaching to the choir here.
Anyway, my reasons for writing these articles aren’t what you might initially think. It’s not about showing off or being a know-it-all. I just happen to think that knowledge should be shared, not hoarded. My knowledge might be flawed and/or incomplete, but as it’s based on actual experience over a long period of time, I think it might just be of use to people.
Let me give you a bit of background.
When I started out doing “modern” virtual orchestrations (i.e. when I moved from MIDI hardware to software samplers and samples) around 2005, there was simply not a lot of helpful information available online. Or more correctly, there probably were, but mainly intermediate/advanced stuff I couldn’t make sense of because I was very green. There was nothing in the way of “orchestral arranging for dummies” or “what you’ve always wanted to know about working with instrument samples but were afraid to ask”.
Keep in mind that back then, everyone but the Gigastudio-wielding big shots (like Jeremy Soule) were all pretty new to the computer-based virtual orchestration thing. It was an emerging technology — GPO was still the new kid on the block, flaunting its sacrilegious notion of “putting orchestras within everyone’s reach” — and there was a lot of conflicting information around. Hardly anyone was experienced enough to be of any major help to anyone else, so it was a very confusing time.
For me it was basically a long process of trial and error, trawling through hundreds of forum threads and well-meaning but obtuse online articles, trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the end, I’m happy I spent the time reading and learning all the stuff that I did, but I’ve always felt that, you know, it shouldn’t be that difficult.
And today, ten years later, suddenly I have the opportunity of sharing my knowledge with a bigger audience. I would be ashamed to let people learn everything the hard way, like I did.
I stand by my words when presenting the Orchestral positioning articles, “If I’m going to wait until my knowledge is all-encompassing, I will go to my grave without having uttered a single word of advice to anyone.”
It’s as simple as that.