Start a Scratchband Dialogue

April 28, 2010

Please comment on your Scratchband experiences

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2 Responses to “Start a Scratchband Dialogue”

  1. Don Nelson Says:

    Hi,
    We are performing Scratchband this coming season. I find it perplexing and disconcerting that Mr. Adams’ technical requirements are either for obsolete instruments and hardware – in this case a Kurzweil that is no longer available, and of all things, a Zip Drive – or as the only alternative for a single specific piece of very expensive non-mainstream software.
    With the proliferation of software and hardware the one thing they all have in common is file types. That being midi or wav. Those files can be utilized on any manner of devices and software packages.
    It is a shame that in order to properly perform works of Mr Adams’ we would not only have to pay extremely high rental fees for the sheet music, but then have to purchase a piece of software that for most will serve a single use and then sit idle never to be use again.
    Please provide technical requirements in a more universal format that can serve the music and those performing it.
    Thanks much.

    • Mark Grey Says:

      Dear Don,

      Thank you for the note and thoughts.

      Actually, the Native Instruments Kontakt Instruments format (*.nki) is fairly flexible, noting a decent “importability” track record into various 3rd party software samplers, and the reason why we have accepted to work in this format.
      Yes, you are correct, MIDI file and wav soundfile formats are quite universal these days but it doesn’t get us out of the woods just yet, unfortunately.

      Software samplers require some greater umbrella file to handle/manage the performability of a sample, or multisample/keymapped situation as we have here. Often, this umbrella file (say nki, or MachFive M5p) hold info specific to the software sampler’s file paths, sample start/end markers and looping (sometimes both embedded in the actual soundfile), keymap ranges, envelopes (ADSR, LFO, velocity, etc), multi-effects, and a plethora of other data native to that software sampler.
      As noted on our tech pages, if your existing software sampler does not import nki format there are software translation applications out there to make the migration fairly painless, the better translators will have a fee. Chicken Systems Translator comes to mind, in at about $150 USD.
      http://www.chickensys.com/products2/translator/index.html
      Unfortunately, there is no universal software sampler (umbrella) format. It will be a great day in electronic music when it does happen, though.

      Boosey has been working with REALTIME MUSIC SOLUTIONS in developing a proprietary software sampler which requires a negligible license fee to use. Some of John’s works are already in this format, such as Chamber Symphony and The Wound Dresser.

      Boosey & Hawkes should have supplied a URL for you to access our custom Scratchband Kontakt materials (and Kurzweil format, if needed). Once there, you will find a readme file as well as nkm (NI Kontakt “multi” format for a plug and play situation in Kontakt) as well as nki breakouts for each patch so you can import into non-NI software samplers.

      Now, it is possible to download our raw soundfiles (in wav format) but it means someone will be spending a great deal of time (no doubt costing more in their time than the $150 translator application fee) attempting to rebuild each of the 11 Scratchband patches. This raw approach often opens a huge can of worms because we have done all of the meticulous work for you in those nki files – which line up with the composition’s intensions.

      The next part of this reply includes sensitive material so I will email you directly with details.
      Best wishes,
      Mark


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