The Virtual Philharmonic Orchestra (VPO)
Reinhold Behringer's Music
Since 1993, I have been using computers to record classical music. I have used these electronic means (MIDI control) not with the purpose of creating a "new" sound, but rather with the goal of creating natural sounding musical recordings, reproducing classical orchestral sound, following my own interpretation of the music.
My method is as follows: I take an orchestral music score (printed, available either for purchase, or for free from the Petrucci Music Library. First, I study the structure of the work, the orchestration. I then prepare a template for the orchestration, in which the instruments are selected. This also means placing the instruments spatially in the proper and appropriate configuration, to create a full stereo sound. I do have several such templates already and usually modify them, adapting them to the individual piece. Then the main work starts: playing the music. I start usually with the bass notes, then move up the score until to the high piccolo flute. Break the music into segments, and sometimes I want to get a segment completed before moving on further. The "playing" is actually done "live", in real time on my keybpoard. Setting the tempo to a fixed value does unfortunately NOT permit me to have variations in tempo through live play; these must be added later offline. But I try to keep the slight variations in tempo within each bar, the emphasis etc. to create a "musical" experience. The attack of each note is controlled by the key press (= MIDI "velocity"). The "expression" is created in a second recording round for each instrument: with the mod wheel of the keyboard I control the value of the "MIDI expression" controller (#11) which shapes the volume of each instrument. In the end, I draw the tempo map, iteratively in try-and-error, until it sounds right.
In January 2010 I built a new recording system, MAESTRO-2, running Windows7 64bit, with an Intel Core i7 920 processor, 12 GB triple-channel memory and a RAID-0 disk array. The system has the sequencer Sonar 8.5 and the instrumental sample library Garritan Personal Orchestra 4. With this new system I am now re-recording some of my previous renditions, and am also starting new projects.
The music selection here on this site represents solely my personal taste: I am creating these "renditions" from music works which I like very much and which I know well. Having listened to several different interpretations of these works, I use the computing technology to create my own personal interpretation of the music I like.
This web site is also a kind of testbed for some web technologies with which I am experimenting. One should note that this web site adapts to any screen size automatically, and it should work well on a mobile phone screen too. This is achieved through floating DIV segments. Furthermore, I am using PHP and MySQL for administration of the file information.
This site uses some elements of HTML5: the audio streaming has been implemented with the new <audio> tag. Also, care has been taken to use proper accented foreign characters, using the international UTF-8 encoding.
Whenever possible, I have placed links from composers and compositions to articles on Wikipedia, which provide valuable background information.