Through the decades, and different genres of music, string instruments have remained one of the elements that made some tracks successful. The skillful use of string instruments can give a piece of music a unique character and sound that elicits power and emotion. There are several instances where sampled strings have been used to great effect – from the Mellotrone of the sixties to more hi-tech solutions employed in modern day music.
In spite of the use of technology to advance sampled strings, many producers and artists still prefer to employ the use of real string instruments. Live players make it more possible to be versatile and add articulations which only sound original on a real instrument. First, it is important to note that violins, violas, cellos and double bass which are a family of string instruments have a lot in common, but work differently from the guitar or keyboard. It is also important to know the range of each instrument and understand quality of sound is affected by pitch notes. The next factor to consider is the skillful business of spacing chords for the string section. Violins are split into two sections, called the first and second violins.
The first violin often works simultaneously or an octave higher than the melody, while the second violin plays a counter melody. In a chord, each instrument can take one or two notes depending on the fullness or effect required.
A good understanding of the synergy required to bring out the best in stringed instruments is also an important aspect. A great string arrangement is subject to a thorough understanding of the instruments.
Strings have been employed in virtually all genres of music. Sometimes, single strings can serve as an option to showcase the solo sound of each player. This can be used for more intimate song styles.
Most often than not, when a string section is composed on a keyboard instrument, it can sound fixed and somewhat chordal without the string parts.
An increasingly popular method for people who are financing their own projects is to deploy the expertise of the few musicians who can multi-track many overdubs to create a larger sound. It is imperative that these musicians have flawless tuning and an exceptional range of sound to create a realistic end result. The professional string arranger should know when the strings should be the dominant sound in a piece of music, and when they should serve as a background support. A piece of music can be transformed and made memorable when strings are used as a hook or counter melody.
A specialized string arranger (who more often than not has years of experience) will likely get a better result in string arrangement, than bands and artists who do not have the required training in music theory and orchestration. The proper scoring and orchestration of music is important. It helps to save studio time as session musicians can simply sit and play through at any particular time.
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