Bruckner, Aequale for three trombones


If someone remembers our discussion about tuning brass instruments, here is my latest effort: three trombones, all detuned as real players would probably do (for the good or the worse…).

VSL Synchron Brass, full microphones set, a lot of CC lanes and data.

Bruckner, Aequale #1

(Older version: Bruckner, Aequale #1, older)



This is very beautiful, and sounds incredibly realistic! Shockingly so, in fact.

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I’m a trombonist. Just curious, what does “detune” mean?

Not playing in tune. :grinning:

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This was all done in Dórico? I only ask because I’ve heard pieces done in DAWs that don’t sound this realistic.

Fantastic work. Would love to see some screenshots of the notation and the midi cc info.

Is this the discussion that you are referring to by any chance?

Also, how did you do it? :smiley: Did you detune all the notes manually or did you use some kind of plugin/script to automate the work?

For you wind players, I guess it just means ‘playing it right’! (I mean: adjusting tuning so that Equal Tempered pitches are moved next to Just Intonation pitches, and play in tune with the harmonics of the other members of the band).

Possibly, probably. I’ve transposed to Just Intonation the middle and upper voice. But, not being a wind player (well, not a pro one), I’m not sure the top line should be also retuned, or if there are constant adjustments to be made depending on the chord and the scale grade.

Yes, all done in Dorico.

Yes, we discussed extensively about this matter there.

All done manually, unfortunately. And with the CC lane chosen manually for each track at each edit. Being able to send Pitch Bend information from an addon technique would have been great.


The detuning (or ‘right tuning’?) data is nothing special. Just MIDI Pitch Bend inserted at the note start position. Sometimes, with a small and fast change of tuning at the beginning of the note, if I feel it is needed.


I really admire your patience and devotion. Well done! :slight_smile:


Are the numerous dynamic “swells” there to recreate a bygone style? Modern players would play it like this:

Yes. My impression is that Bruckner tried to recreate something in the style of Gabrieli. Gabrieli was a recent rediscovery, at that time, so the way of playing it was probably not the same as we are used to today, after the historically informed experiences. But I wanted to give it that kind of ‘allure’.


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purely in terms of sound, it’s probably better than the YouTube performances I’ve heard. Despite being an ardent Brucknerian, I’d never come across this – but then I didn’t know he’d written anything at that age. However those swells – sorry, it simply doesn’t sound musical even if it might have been what the composer had in mind at that time (I’m sceptical but could be wrong!)

Still, it’s a very good job of showing the sceptics you don’t need a DAW for realistic output

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I’ve tried with a new version with less swells. I’ve not found the courage to remove all of them, even if I mitigated them by cutting some frequencies with the filter. If you happen to listen to it again, do you think it is a bit more accurate from a stylistic point of view?


I’ve reworked the detuning (of ‘just tuning’?). In particular, I’ve also considered the relation between the tenor and alto, when the bass is just playing a pedal note. Those intervals become more important than the relation with the bass.

Also, I’ve sometimes smoothed out the detuning, just by using my ears. I found it to just sound better, and I think this is what real players do when adjusting their tuning, and looking for a mean consonance between all the voices.


I’ve re-edited the tuning again, following a series of hints from various authors (not always in agreement about the wider intervals), and letting my ear be the judge in the end. Starting from Major Sixth, the context is really important.

Oh, how much would I love a way to add these commands to addon techniques! :frowning:


it certainly is an improvement but I still find rather too many rather sharp swells on the same note --as opposed to more natural hairpins over a phrase. Tuning sounds fine. Just out of curiosity, what happens if you set a humanizing of the tuning in the Synchron player to a higher level?

Sigh, you are not leaving me any of those nice swells!

On a serious note, I could try to make them slower with time-stretching. But it is true that Synchron Player is very smooth in dynamic crossfading and with the new Timbre Adjust. So, I’ll see how it goes, without the (lovely) swells.

Thank you for lending your ear! It is an interesting area to investigate further in the notation/playback/sampling world, but I guess we have the tools to do it, at a certain extent.

I’ll try. I guess it would be better not to leave the amount of humanization constant, but change it depending on the position in the phrase and along the range of the instrument. I’m led to believe that phrase start, and higher notes, are the ones where more uncertainty would work better.


no, by all means keep a few. My impression was that you had been a bit conservative with the initial pruning! It’s not that I have any objection to the swells per se, it’s just that I’ve never heard of anything like that in any performance of Bruckner’s mature work. And this example is of course very much when he was young and perhaps experimenting wildly for all I know :grinning: My authority in the composer extends no further than him being the most important influence in my own symphonies.

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Paolo, you are the digital conductor. You can have your trombones play however you want and whatever sounds good to your ears. Stops trying to please the whims of some strangers on the internet, lol.


of course @Romanos401 is perfectly correct. You can mangle Bruckner as you see fit – I certainly do…