“I love the old school spirit of craftsmanship...” Fernando Gros.
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Blog // Sounds
December 1, 2014

Layering Music Samples For Christmas

Lately I’ve been starting my music projects by digging around for one sounds that would set the mood for the song, or piece of music. For Christmas music, it’s always a challenge to come with something that balances the familiar with the surprising. Increasingly I find that layering sounds gets me the best results. Here […]

It-Came-Upon-A-Midnight-Clear-Spectrograph
Lately I’ve been starting my music projects by digging around for one sounds that would set the mood for the song, or piece of music. For Christmas music, it’s always a challenge to come with something that balances the familiar with the surprising. Increasingly I find that layering sounds gets me the best results.

Here I used three sample libraries from Sonic Couture to bring the opening bars of It Came Upon A Midnight Clear) to life. I’m not affiliated to them nor do I get a kickback from writing about their libraries, I just dig what they do and their sounds find their way into a lot of my music.

Starting With Music Boxes

SonicCouture-Music-Boxes
This exercise started with Sonic Couture’s Music Boxes (which is a free library). Christmas melodies are so strong, they can stand up to being played on really fragile instruments, like music boxes, toy chimes and the like. Here’s the basic intro part I played in using this library.

Adding Some GuZheng

SonicCouture-GuZheng
This Gu Zheng sample library is one of my favourites. It has a rich, nice sound and most importantly, it plays in a very musical way. Adding it to the Music Boxes rounded the sound out a little and made the melody a little more surprising.

GeoSonics In The Bass

SonicCouture-Geosonics
Geosonics is one of SonicCouture’s newer libraries and uses ambient field recordings to create some evocative soundscapes. I really like it for ambient pads and here, for unique basslines.

The Full Layered Sound

It-Came-Upon-A-Midnight-Clear-Mix-Window
If I was playing this live, I would play all the libraries from within one Kontakt instance. But, as a mix in Logic, I created three tracks, disabled the library’s own reverb, then created my own busses, with UAD EMT Plate, Lexicon 224 and Roland RE201 plugins to give the tracks some ambience, and a special treatment on the Music Boxes, with an Elysia Niveau and UAD Fatso Jr. I also made use of the BrainWorx bx_digital2’s mid/side processing to give each sound it’s own space in the stereo and eq spectrum.

I hope you like the result, one performance, layered across three sample libraries, the first of a few sonic experiments to mark this Advent/Christmas season.

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