How to get a Timpani roll sound

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Luka1914
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How to get a Timpani roll sound

Post by Luka1914 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:43 pm

Hello everyone

I searched through some threads to try to find a solution to getting a desirable sound for any kind of percussion roll (i personally want to get the sound of a timpani, but I'm not concerned with sampling but rather how to program it).

My problem is, i cannot make it sound like a proper roll, it always resembles machine gun fire because that initial attack doesn't get muted as it would in an acoustic instrument thanks to that vibration and sounds of drum stick overriding each other so to speak. So far i tried using echo plug-in, i tried to draw the stereo signal to just travel from one end to the other, but i didn't get the desired effect, nor did it help when i also drawn volume to gradually increase, although it did somewhat make it sound better, combined with the previous.

This is what i want to acquire

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wekaY80Y7Hk

Regards,

Luka

yur2die4
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Re: How to get a Timpani roll sound

Post by yur2die4 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:04 am

I'd use arpeggiator and automated 'velocity' midi effects.

Velocity would ramp up (or automate it by recording yourself adjusting expressively over time) and add 'some' random.

For the arpeggiator you can either stick with perfectly timed intervals or use milliseconds and do the math, but that's a little risky. The nice part about that though is you can do subtle offsets.

If you record perfect intervals to a clip though, nothing is stopping you from applying Grooves to it. That could actually be a solution to both rhythm And dynamic.

Angstrom
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Re: How to get a Timpani roll sound

Post by Angstrom » Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:24 am

The issue with synthesizing these sort of instruments is super complex physics. I've done some amateurish work on this stuff, not from the math side but the side of thinking "whats happening in the real world and how can I make synths sound a little more like that".

If you are interested in resonant bodies, and how real world instruments behave I strongly recomend a book by Bart Hopkin called Musical Instrument Design: Practical Information for Instrument Making. It's an amazing book that makes synthesists consider sounds differently. Although its mainly about steel, wire and balloons!

As far as synthesizing tympani. I would make a rack with one chain emulating the resonant body interaction with the skin (think "wub wub" type noises, no not dubstep). For the Wub dept I'd ensure the oscillator phase was unlocked, because repeating phase on note start is a sure sign of digital synthesis.

And I'd make a chain that handled the stick hitting the skin part of the sound. . The stick and skin chain can remain phase locked, as that would correlate with the real world model. Stick hits skin, skin goes downward, every time.

As far as emulating the skin modes (for both layers) refer to the SOS synth secrets articles. Theres one which lists the modes. Use operator, the additive partials, and the Ring mod device in freq shift mode to get difficult to reach harmonic interactions.

I'd actually be tempted to make three layers. The stick and skin strike The top skin resonance. The body interaction. To set the velocity responsivity for each more precisely using Velocity devices.

lastly, orchestral instruments exist in a room, a big part of a drums sound is the room. Think about what a mic would hear, where it/they might be positioned. Lots of room. More than you might think. Digital synths benefit from whats called Phase Decorrelation. Basically messing up the phases so it doesnt sound robotic.

Idonotlikebroccoli
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Re: How to get a Timpani roll sound

Post by Idonotlikebroccoli » Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:05 pm

I'd probably try to automate things like the attack envelope, lowpass filter cutoff, and maybe some distortion. As others have said, some slight randomness would probably make it sound more natural.

I know you said no sampling, but may I ask why not? It would definitely be the best-sounding option. Keepvid.com is your friend.
Maybe a combination of sampling and MIDI programming would work? Then your programming wouldn't be so static, and the sampling wouldn't be that obvious.
Please vote! Live 10's "multi" clip editing should allow selection+editing of multiple clips in one action:

(L10-SUG-0228) Multiple MIDI transpose

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=228094

Angstrom
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Re: How to get a Timpani roll sound

Post by Angstrom » Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:26 pm

the relevant frequencies of the modes

https://web.archive.org/web/20160403115 ... ts1101.asp
Although it has long been known that drums are essentially enharmonic, the tonal nature of timpani was understood more than two centuries ago. Researchers recognised that the 1,1 mode was producing the principal frequency, with two strong overtones at ratios of 3:2 (a perfect fifth), and 2:1 (an octave) above the principal. This is an amazing result, not least because the principal is not the fundamental, which lies at approximately 63 percent of the principal frequency. But the most important question this raises is; how have the enharmonic modes suddenly become harmonic?

Let's look at the frequencies of these overtones in terms of the fundamental frequency, 'f'. ...

timday
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Re: How to get a Timpani roll sound

Post by timday » Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:18 pm

I was reading some stuff on drum MIDI in general. What a lot of people don't realise is even the best drummer will generally have one hand (and leg) slightly weaker than the other. So if you're doing a roll having the velocities alternate between slightly more/slightly less will give a more realistic sound. Don't overdo it obviously.

Also, allow a bit of variation in the quantisation. In real life noone is dead on the beat to the microsecond. If you can find a groove in the groove pool that works, use that.

Luka1914
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Re: How to get a Timpani roll sound

Post by Luka1914 » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:15 pm

Guys, thank you for your help

In the end i managed to get some kind of a decent sounding roll, but i must admit not so Timpani sounding,but close, and with more chorus effect than i would appreciate (it was a part of making it work). But i can eliminate the worst part of it by cutting it with automation. I made a snare and a kick drum rolls parallel, drew an increasing velocity line on both, and then tweaked a bit with chorus and reverb on both in order to kind of mash up their sounds, but it did create some undesired effect too.

@Idonotlikebroccoli

Actually, in the end i believe i will be using sample for my track, simply because it just sounds better. But i really want to also learn how to program these things because I believe learning how to make things sound the way you want is important for learning process.

@Angstrom

Now you mentioned something i actually haven't thought of at all. That sounds more complicated since you would have to tune each sound over and over until you reach satisfying product. But that's what I asked for i guess. In my head, the only idea i had was using digital drum sounds and just kind of mapping them, arranging and tweaking. Never occurred to me that synthesizing the whole thing is also an option.

Just a question, since all sorts of drum rolls are such frequent sounds in music, do drum machines have programs to make them ? I have to admit making rhythm tracks all in Ableton can be a tedious process.

Angstrom
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Re: How to get a Timpani roll sound

Post by Angstrom » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:14 pm

I spend a lot of time making weird things in Operator, and I use the examples from Sound on Sound a lot to make kick drums, so here's an example patch showing the harmonics of the Tympani skin
It uses 3 operators in a rack.

http://angstromnoises.com/ang-op-tympani-skin-2/

it's no super-accurate, but it's interesting.

NoSonic822
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Re: How to get a Timpani roll sound

Post by NoSonic822 » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:55 pm

adjust the voice retriggering behaviour

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