Tag Archives: string loops

Free stuff

Over the years, I’ve made some string files available for free or in exchange for a donation to charity.  Here’s the full list.

These are all copyright free, do anything you like with them.

  • 8 bar phrases.  There are a few files in this zip, recorded back in 2000 at the legendary Cutting Rooms in Manchester.
  • Zadok Just for fun, we recorded the opening section of Handel’s Zadok The Priest. Help yourself to the stems.
  • Mad rise It slides up, in a mad kind of stringy way.
  • Disco pull-downs. Or falls, whatever you want to call them.
  • Held notes string notes, that are held for a few seconds.
  • Lifeshare loops buy these from Loopmasters, with all proceeds going to homeless charity Lifeshare.


Realstrings 5: Uplifting Cinematic

My biggest string loops project to date has just been released at Loopmasters. Realstrings 5: Uplifting Cinematic.

RS5-CoverThe theme of this pack (and another coming out later this year) is uplifting, inspiring, good-feel, sync-friendly strings.  Everyone wants their music to get synced.  It’s additional revenue, it’s exposure, it’s kudos.  Advertising, documentaries, sports, drama, they all need music, ‘cos however great the visuals, it’s the music that brings out the emotion in their stories.

Listen to any music to picture, and more often than not, strings are in the mix, since they support emotion and character so convincingly.

This is a collection of 640 real strings loops and phrases, written around common chord sequences and presented in 10 construction kits, at tempos from 120 – 130 bpm.   Use individual phrases, or stack them up for rich orchestration.

All the loops are 4 bars, supplied as full mixes and separate stems (violins 1, violins 2, violas, cellos). Most files are 5 bar in length, to include the ambient tail.

Each construction kit includes:

  • Pads for warm, flowing, simple chord movement.
  • Rising lines,  to create crescendos and a musical lift.
  • Melodies that sweep and soar.
  • Figures, to bubble along and provide movement.
  • Staccatos for punch and drive.
  • Riffs that are simple and hooky.
  • Runs for sudden, swirling flourish.

This short video takes a look inside the pack.

And here is a demo track produced by Julian Cole.

Skrillex and realstrings

My son likes to pick out tunes on the piano, like you do, and I help him find the notes if he gets stuck.  He’s nailed the Axel F theme and asked to learn another one, which he sang to me, and opened up on YouTube.  The riff he was singing sounded familiar.  It was; I wrote it.

Skrillex – love him or hate him.  His name makes Dubstep afficianados involuntarily vomit apparently.  The tune  Ruffneck has plays in the millions on Youtube.  Not sure if it’s getting loads of radio play or selling much.

There’s some debate on music forums about where the string samples are from, with suggestions that they’re off an 80s pop or tv track.

Nope, they are all from Disco Strings, by realstrings.com, 20 quid from Loopmasters. 

Here they are at their original tempo of 114 bpm.  Loops 18A, 18B and 66B.

It’s probably about the only time my lad has had any interest in Dad’s work!

Share or buy?

The debate about fie sharing has been running for years.  I’m not in the camp that says the technology that permits file-sharing is killing the media industry; it’s the same technology that has revolutionised my life and work, so complaining about tech advances is hypocrasy on my part.  Taking something that you should pay for isn’t tech’s fault; it’s a weakness of human nature.

So how do I react when my loops libraries, which are an important part of my portfolio of work, appear on file sharing sites?  I am on a sales royalty (a minority percentage) so unless the libraries generate income, my investment is wasted, as are the investments of Loopmasters.  (My investment is time, studio and musicians’ fees.)

I’m frustrated, angry but ultimately optimistic.

Each copy taken does not necessarily mean a lost sale.
Some who search for a string loops library will buy it, some will take it.  Some will stumble across it and it and take it, just ‘cos they can, but probably wouldn’t buy it.

File-sharers ultimately become file buyers.
I may struggle to remember the distant past, but I know for sure that I was young, and stupid and short of money and mad that I couldn’t seem to afford everything I wanted.  But I’m older and wiser and have some social responsibility and a conscience now.  I pay for software and media because I know that’s what keeps the business going.

My brand gains wider exposure.
There’s been a lot written about the artist and the brand, and how wide acceptance of your brand ultimately leads to income (still not sure how exactly).  A recent post here was about RCVR, a short-film series with a big budget, given away to viewers on Youtube.  The guys doing that stuff are wiser than me, so I’m confident brand improves, even from a file-sharing site.

I’m overwhelmingly optimistic.  Jeez, I hope I’m not convincing anyone to turn to file sharing just ‘cos I can list at least some positives!

When my latest library appeared on file-sharing sites recently, I was, at first, incensed by 2 things; the page contained not only the text and logos from Loopmasters but the video I prepared to demonstrate the library.  And the file sharing site carried ads from well-known companies, which I interpret as the corporate big boys condoning file sharing.

That 2nd point I’m still pissed off about, the first gives me some interesting data.

I have a Youtube channel and the views for the Realstrings Volume 3 video were high, by my standards.  Youtube is even suggesting I carry ads for my vids to make some revenue.  So my brand is getting exposure and positive feedback.  But the list shows something pretty depressing – the hits from file sharing sites far out-weigh the hits from sales sites.  By a ratio of about 4:1 as far as I can tell.

Of course, a Youtube hit from a sales site doesn’t necessarily mean a sale, but this is at indication, at least, of take v buy.

I don’t think I can do much about it, other than try to capitalise on brand awareness and encourage the takers to become buyers in the future.  I expect advertisers to pull out though and Google, ffs, stop putting file sharing results in your searches!

Realstrings Volume 2: cinematic loops

realstrings vol 2My loops packs on Loopmasters have been pretty popular (Volume 1 and Disco Strings) so here comes another; Realstrings Volume 2: cinematic loops.

I’ve taken, for inspiration, the music of artists like Hybrid, Cinematic Orchestra and Bjork and the media scores that capture a similar feel.  There are 126 loops (mostly 4 bars) at tempos from 110 – 140; they each offer a distinctive character as individual loops, but they are also organised into 12 construction kits.  This is the 1st time I’ve tried this and the feedback from writers and producers is already very positive, so the next pack will do a similar thing but slower tempos and darker moods.

This short video demonstrates some of the loops and how they might work as construction kits.

Update: 24th January 2011
The loops pack got a couple of reviews; a very thorough going-over by rekkerd.org and this, from Future Music.

Disco Strings loops pack

Disco – it never really went away and its musical influence pervades many other genres, not least in the stylistic writing for strings that came out of the classic arrangements of the 70s.

So my 2nd loops pack for Loopmasters tackles the fun and emotion that characterises disco strings.

I’ve also made a video, demonstrating some of the features of strings in disco.

The pack costs just under 20 GB pounds and includes nearly 200 files, ranging from single pull-down stabs, to 8 bar phrases.  See the score for all the main loops as a Sibelius Scorch file here.  And post any questions about the pack below!

Special thanks to Bob Christie at Langdale Productions for his advice on disco and his copious reference material!

Realstrings 2009

Despite the credit crunch and despite my wife having the toughest year of her life, for realstrings.com it was  a ridiculously good year.  Thank you to all the producers, composers and record labels who have employed us, and to all the musicians who help me!  Here are some of tracks we recorded strings for, released in 2009.  With thanks to the copyright holders.

Organic Loops

It’s taken me a while, but finally I’ve got a strings loops library up and selling!

And currently it’s number 2 in the bestseller list on Loopmasters.  It’s a long term investment taking on a project like this, but provides another angle to my work (you’ve got to evolve and exploit your own specialisms!). I looked at other outlets for string loops, but none seemed to have the marketing machine that Loopmasters achieves.  (The library is on Organic Loops, mainly sold through Loopmasters.)

Here’s the demo – put together by Rob at Organic Loops.

So, motivated by this success, I’m moving straight on to a disco strings project.  Starting point for something like this is to study the genre – so here’s my Spotify playlist which is providing some inspiration!