#TwtrTpc What are the issues playing with a virtual orchestra?

TwtrSymphony examines what's it like to play in a virtual orchestra with today's Twitter Topic (TwtrTpc)


We'll be following TwtrSymphony musicians today to see how they respond to today's topic. - so come back tomorrow to see what they've said - and catch tomorrows TwtrTpc


As the Music Director/Composer-in-Residence, I'm familiar with the tracks as they come in. It's surprising to me how good two individual tracks can sound. Yet put them together and the slight differences between attack and release are extremely noticeable. Trying to write music that allows musicians a chance to express themselves and yet capture that ensemble, everyone playing together feeling is a real challenge.


It was a lively discussion today — obviously one we should have done months ago. We chatted about:

  • the difficulties of not being in the same room
  • potentially using skype or Ninjam as an alternative
  • struggling with the concepts of dynamics (and tempo)
  • lots of information about recording
  • using section leaders and sample recording more than just click tracks

Felipe and Garry are going to start Thursday Tech days where the TwtrTpc will be technical. It won't be so much a question, as a place where YOU can post questions and our technical experts will answer them. And if you can't catch the conversation live on Twitter, it'll be posted here on Friday. So, start thinking about what technical issues you'll like to resolve.

Here is a detailed rundown of what was said o TwtrTpc today:

Bonnie Gartley: I wish we were all in the same room, but we have so much interaction on twtr it seems like we're always together #TwtrTpc

Bonnie Gartley: also waiting for new music to come. I wish we could play more & really like the music we get :) #twtrtpc

Jonathan Hunt: I wish that we could jam via Skype or FaceTime. If only latency weren’t an issue :( has anyone tried?! #twtrtpc

Chip Michael: Another problem is the 'cut out' of the mics on internet vid rooms. One mic becomes primary...

Bobbi Blood: We might want to look into Ninjam for jam sessions. #twtrtpc Jonathan Hunt: let’s try it sometime! I’m intrigued to see how prohibitive the latency really is! #twtrtpc

Bobbi Blood: Ninjam basically stretches the usual internet delays and makes it to where you hear 1m behind what everybody plays. #TWTRTPC

Bobbi Blood: Those interested in looking up Ninjam, go to ninjam.com to find out more. The results are quite intriguing. #twtrtpc

Bonnie Gartley: Bobbi, we're already writing new rules for orchestras :). why not for jam sessions too #twtrtpc

Jessica Mullen: I feel like performer/conductor. For ex: Deciding on what the ensemble concept of forte is while sitting alone in my living room. #twtrtpc

Jessica Mullen: Interesting discussion on Skype. For sake of discussion, if we move that direction how would we stay true to @twtrsymphony concept? #twtrtpc

Felipe Gonzalez: What mic should I use to record?, a condenser for strings, a dynamic for winds & percussions, both set to a good level, helps a lot #TwtrTpc

Felipe Gonzalez: Hear your instrument, and place the mic between 30 to 60 cmts. of the sound source, hopefully in a quiet place to avoid noise. #TwtrTpc

Felipe Gonzalez: Always check your levels, too low is close to noise, too hot is close to distortion and we don't want any of them ;-) #TwtrTpc

Felipe Gonzalez: Look the colors on your DAW meters, Green is good but Yellow is better!, always avoid Red, specially when recording. #TwtrTpc

Felipe Gonzalez: Always LISTEN to the recorded piece, if it doesn't sound good to you, it doesn't sound good, try it again ;-) #TwtrTpc

Jessica Mullen: Felipe, Good info! I get sidetracked by performance & turnaround time & recording quality sadly becomes an afterthought. #TwtrTpc 1/2

Jessica Mullen: Felipe, Hoping to change that and I will try your suggestions. Thanks! 2/2 #TwtrTpc

Matt Erion: Context is pretty tough. My pitch reference comes from hearing the ensemble as well as the section. #twtrtpc #TwtrSymphony

Janet K Bordeaux: #TwtrTpc @twtrsymphony The biggest issue for me is alignment to the click track. It would help me to hear a measure or two of music as cue

Janet K Bordeaux: #TwtrTpc Yes, I see your point! Wonder what would happen if each section had leader who recorded the part instead of clicktrk

Matt Erion: More music? Back away from the twitter… #TwtrTpc #TwtrSymphony

Janet K Bordeaux: Felipe You assume we all know what DAW meters are, and that we have them! #TwtrTpc

Felipe Gonzalez: No worries Janet :-) Digital Audio Workstation, the audio software on your computer, and yes, all of them has it ;-) #TwtrTpc

Janet K Bordeaux: Depends on your instrument. Flute is better with mic father away.#TwtrTpc Felipe Gonzalez: Not always, but since you are the musician, and you know your instrument very well, your ears are the judges #TwtrTpc

Janet K Bordeaux: Different abilities/equipment make it tough! I don't have expensive recording equipment, and bearing know how to use what I have! #TwtrTpc

Felipe Gonzalez: That's why we are here to help :-) #TwtrTpc

Felipe Gonzalez: Guitar recorded with 2 condenser mics for direct source, 2 for room, no eq, no plugins, direct to ProTools #TwtrTpc YouTube Video

Janet K Bordeaux: Wonder what would happen if each section had a leader who recorded the part instead of clicktrk - #TwtrTpc

Diljeet Bhachu: #TwtrTpc Tuning - can be difficult when everyone's in the same room, so in a virtual environment I don't know how it could be dealt with.

Felipe Gonzalez: Janet, please review this flute video, the sound is coming from 2 mic, no eq, no edits,no plugins #TwtrTpc YouTube video

Alison Wrenn: #TwtrTpc Musical shaping, how much to crescendo etc, Can't really rit or accel as it would never be together!

Felipe Gonzalez: Piano Recorded with 2 mics for the main sound, 2 for the room, no eq, no edits, no plugins #TwtrTpc YouTube Video

Bonnie Gartley: I agree! I liked when we had a midi instrument w/ the click track to hear the shape of phrases #twtrtpc

Jessica Mullen: Curious if note lengths were any different in first round of recordings w/ MIDI file. #twtrtpc

Shana Norton: My recording set-up (& technical know-how) is improving, but is still very modest (i. e., I don't really know what I'm doing).

Felipe Gonzalez: Feel free to ask Shana!

Shana Norton: Thanks; I will. How about a Home Studio 101 Skype/FaceTime session for any @twtrsymphony folk who need coaching? #TwtrTpc

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