Speed Changes to Loop Music


eyore

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Just thought I'd ask this one and see if there is a logical answer.
I've noticed that often there is some variation to the speeds of loop tracks when compared with the sources.
Recently it was pointed out that one of the tracks in our Frontierland playlist was well over time (Big Country from the album of the same name by the Philharmonia Orchestra -Silva America). The CD plays at 3:13 and the loop for 3:03 (actual music - not counting any lead-in silence etc).
After a lot of searching and some help from those who have the required software, we found that the loop track is slightly speeded up (by a factor of 1.050173). Now the odd thing is that the pitch remains the same which rules out just a speed change (which would also alter the pitch) and looks like a deliberate action by Disney. Just speeding up CD version (or slowing down the loop version) results in a slight pitch change.
Anyone aware of any reason to do this (apart from artistic license because the producer thought it sounded better)?
The slowed-down CD version is an exact match to the loop version.
The loop version appears on 3 park CDs plus my own recording and they all match too so not a recording glitch.
There has to be a reason why they didn't just use the track "as is" in DLRP surely!
 

ebbelein

New Member
As you say, eyore, there seem to be only artistic reasons for this (for example, if the track follows a track that is very fast, i would consider speeding up the second track, so the transition would be more smooth)... I only can think of one other reason: It was done by mistake... Perharps someone mixed the loop in an existing multitrack session, unaware of some speed-changing plug-ins working in the background from a former project... If you do a lot of of work with audio multitrack software you tend to have your templates that you use for every new mixing project - mostly without sound-affecting plug-ins activated. But sometimes you accidentally overwrite these templates with changes you made for a special project... (After i did this 2 or 3 times I turned on write-protection for my templates :D ) I don´t think they sped it up because the couldn´t get the license for it, there are enough recordings they could have used as alternates...
 

eyore

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The first CD came out around 1995 but the loop was playing in the park in 1992 so maybe the album they got it from really did play at that speed and it's the later CD that's slowed down! The original recording (according to allmusic) was made in 1988. So what happened in those years then? Vinyl maybe? There are other examples of DLRP tracks that only existed on vinyl and never made it to CD.
 

thx99

Real-life Harry Caul
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The first CD came out around 1995 but the loop was playing in the park in 1992 so maybe the album they got it from really did play at that speed and it's the later CD that's slowed down! The original recording (according to allmusic) was made in 1988. So what happened in those years then? Vinyl maybe? There are other examples of DLRP tracks that only existed on vinyl and never made it to CD.

Actually, the first CD that Silva Screen released of this re-recording was in 1988, not 1995. The 1995 release appears to be a reissue on the Silva America label and has different cover art.
 

eyore

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That's interesting. The earliest CD I could find was the 1995 one. I suppose that's going to be pretty impossible to source a copy of to compare speeds (with a genuine 1988 CD you know it's right and not been messed with in a re-release) . The iTunes one certainly sounds the same speed as the loops (it's around a 1:30 clip). There is a comment on allmusic regarding the slowness of the tracks so there must be a comparison somewhere. Just because they show the 1995 cover on iTunes doesn't mean they used that particular CD, of course. I'd be interested to hear if the iTunes version actually lasts 3:13 (CD length) or 3:03 (loop length). Wish they'd let us Brits buy from the US store :angry:
 

DavidG

Member
The first CD came out around 1995 but the loop was playing in the park in 1992

This is a little OT but it actually looks like the DLP Frontierland loop was changed some time after opening. Many original score tracks were replaced by Synth versions at that time so there may have been other changes as well.
 

eyore

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Big Country was playing in 1992 when I was there (June 1992). One of my favourite tunes along with magnificent 7 (as played on he railroad) and we stopped just past the boat landing to listen to it. It's possibly what endeared Frontierland to me so much. Of course, it may have been a different version as I didn't record it at the time (too excited).
How do you mean "synth" versions? I don't recall anything but movie theme versions (OK, they may have been cover versions rather than the OST, I doubt I would be able to tell them apart) with orchestras for the Thunder Mesa loop. Do you mean like the BTM loop and the bits of the WDW loop as used in the Fort?
 

DavidG

Member
How do you mean "synth" versions? I don't recall anything but movie theme versions (OK, they may have been cover versions rather than the OST, I doubt I would be able to tell them apart) with orchestras for the Thunder Mesa loop. Do you mean like the BTM loop and the bits of the WDW loop as used in the Fort?

No, I mean the main Thunder Mesa loop. Several of the movie themes are synthesized rather than recorded by actual orchestras. This has been the case since at least the late 1990s. Specifically, they're tracks 1, 2, 3, 8, 12, 13 and 23. Those same tracks have been released on countless cheap Western soundtrack samplers so I imagine that they cost little to license.
 

eyore

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So the Ned Nash Orchestra isn't an orchestra then?
I realise they are not the OST versions but synth?
The Greatest Western Movie Themes
Are you saying we are wrong with the ID then?
I realise that you are familiar with the loops there but this album predates the park. Do you have any idea what year they were changed? I noticed no difference over the years although I admit I was using ears and not recordings.
 

DavidG

Member
No, they're the right tracks. I couldn't vouch for the fact that they're 100% synthesized but they do make heavy use of synth at the very least. As someone who's done a lot of synth arrangement since the mid-90s I'm rather sure of that. And "Ned Nash Orchestra" is just one of many names under which the same identical tracks have been released over the years.

As for the loop having changed, I had no idea either until recently. A frequent DLP visitor pointed out that they used to play the original soundtrack versions (or soundalikes at the very least). This was then confirmed to me by Frontierland show producer Jeff Burke.
 

eyore

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That comes as a surprise to me. I don't suppose you could call me a frequent visitor (once or twice a year since the park opened) but I have to admit I hadn't noticed any changes at all but Jeff Burke should know as he designed the place!
It may be a case that the loop changes were something that were not noticeable to the guest (very possible, I would think). Let's face it, if it was that easy we wouldn't have to search for the correct albums would we.
Whilst I have no doubt he will be right, I think I'll leave the dates as is unless something official turns up (ie a recording before any changes) that can be checked and verified. Note as well that the loop contains one track which is not on the official park listing for the loop (Track 16 in the blog playlist) so anything is possible!
I'll add "a recent report states" to the blog which I think will be enough to raise the possibility of a change of sources. Thanks for the info.

I think we can say with some certainty now that the Big Country track is from the original 1988 release of the CD. I haven't been able to source an actual 1988 copy myself but have had it confirmed by a couple of others.
 

Magic Music

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So the Ned Nash Orchestra isn't an orchestra then?
I realise they are not the OST versions but synth?

Look no further than to the reviews on Amazon:

Very Disappointing, August 28, 2000

This cd has some great movie themes but the performances are lousy. [background=yellow]The "Red Nash Orchestra" consists of one person playing all of the parts on a synthesizer.[/background] The selections have no orchestral life and very poor depth. Also, some of the arrangements are quite sloppy. Avoid this cd and buy Erich Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops "Round Up". It has great western themes and the lush sound of a great orchestra.

Moderate Quality Compilation, November 28, 2003

"The Greatest Western Movie Themes" offers a good selection of tracks from some of the best western film scores. [background=yellow]It suffers, however, from having all of these tracks played on a synthesizer.[/background] As a result, most of the musical reditions fall flat; they are pale imitations of themselves.
That's not to say that this album is not enjoyable - it is. Unfortunately, it is also seriously flawed.

Totally Sucks, July 5, 2005

Ever click on somebody's crappy web page from 1995 and think "Jesus Christ, what IS that terrifying sound!"? Well, it was probably a midi ripped from this CD. [background=yellow]I think it's safe to conclude that "The Ned Nash Orchestra" is actually some nerd messing around with a synthesizer in his garage.[/background] If you're counting on sweeping renditions of classics this is not for you. Then again this CD is not recommended for anybody who cries easily, suffers with migraines, or values music in general.

And my favorite:

Terrible, January 20, 2007

This CD is terrible. [background=yellow]The songs sound like they are from Disney's Electrical Light Parade.[/background]
 

eyore

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After extensive searching it's the only thing the "Ned Nash Orchestra" ever did! There seems to be no information about "him" other than references to this album.
I have to admit (a) not realising it was a synth and (b ) thoroughly enjoying the album - it's one of my favorites out of all my western albums.
That comment about the MSEP wasn't that far out either ;)
Even knowing, it's still my top album for playing in the car. I really like it. Maybe frontierland influenced it, of course, even though, when I bought it, I didn't know it was a source album.
Interestingly (or maybe not) the remarks about being synth only appear on Amazon and on none of the sites that reference the album so it seems to have slipped people's notice (or been too obvious to mention) :D
 

DavidG

Member
After extensive searching it's the only thing the "Ned Nash Orchestra" ever did! There seems to be no information about "him" other than references to this album.

Yep. It was just a random name to put on the CD cover. Like I said, the tracks were released under many names.
 

eyore

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I should really have been aware of things like this. I have a number of relaxation CDs (although, like the Wind in the Rigging CD, they are often actually played by session musicians) they go under a variety of names and (more confusing) give new titles to well known tunes. Northsound were really bad at doing this.
Strangely enough it seems to be a very popular collection of Westerns (more so than OSTs). I wonder if Disney used them because of cost or because it's what most guests would have heard and recognised due to it's popularity.
Don't you just wish you could ask them!
Mind you, as I've said before, there's one in that loop that isn't even listed (from OGM - there's 2 from there in the loop - that's really going cheap) so maybe someone just got their favourite music and went ahead - it's been done before - and it got approved.
Someone at Disney really should write a book on it!
 

eyore

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Well, going back to the subject of this topic, it's solved!
The version used in DLRP and on the CDs is from the 1988 release.
On Filmscoremonthly.com, it explains the reasons for the speed change under the topic The Big Country - two differing main titles.
In a nutshell, the original recording was 3:04.
Moross wrote the main title tune using "Scottish snaps" - a short note often used in bagpipe music. This is what appears in the park loop.
A lot of this was done by Moross during the recording so, technically, didn't follow the score he had written (it's not something easy to notate).
Silva re-recorded it "as written" in the manuscript and under instructions from the Moross estate to do so. The change to the snaps resulted in a slightly longer tune - which is what is available now. There are some copies of the 1988 release available at various outlets but, at £13 for a copy (and I only need the one track), I'm not bothering as it's exactly the same one on the park CDs. I do have a scan of the cover of the 1988 release which will appear in the playlist when I finish it, honest!
A very convoluted tale to say the least.
 

gmeader

Member
Just thought I'd ask this one and see if there is a logical answer.
I've noticed that often there is some variation to the speeds of loop tracks when compared with the sources.

I know it's been awhile since this topic was first started and it's been answered but what the heck I'll post my thoughts anyway.

Based on my experience I would say there are a couple of possible reasons:

1) Unless individual machines are referenced (locked) to a master clock or one of them is acting as the digital master via word clock there is no way any two machines will ever run at exactly the same speed. I don't know if WDI did all the BGM in question but all of their editing systems (Pro-Tools) are referenced to a master sync clock that ensures that each system is playing back at the same speed. Unless you are referenced to that same master clock odds are your source files will have a sightly different run time than the BGM loop.

2) Another possible reason is that it also depends on how the audio is sourced from the EER on site. Is it a CD, Alcorn-Mcbride Digital Bin-Loop, Roland AR-200 or Medialon Mas-Pro and are they referenced to video sync or are they free running. Each of these machines will run at different speeds depending on how they're referenced.

Now the odd thing is that the pitch remains the same which rules out just a speed change (which would also alter the pitch)
Not necessarily, I use a plug-in called SPEED by Wave Mechanics which alters either pitch, length or both depending on the task at hand. It's entirely possible to alter the length without effecting pitch. There are limits to this but for small adjustments it works quite well. It depends on the length of the cue, the amount of adjustment and the type of material that is being played. There's also Elastic Audio in Pro-Tools that can work some magic as well.

and looks like a deliberate action by Disney.

Yes it probably was. So many hours are spent on the BGM tracks that it's virtually impossible for anything to happen accidentally. There may be mistakes made during the creation of the loops but they are almost always caught before anything gets released.

As you say, eyore, there seem to be only artistic reasons for this (for example, if the track follows a track that is very fast, i would consider speeding up the second track, so the transition would be more smooth)... I only can think of one other reason: It was done by mistake... Perharps someone mixed the loop in an existing multitrack session, unaware of some speed-changing plug-ins working in the background from a former project...

Although it's possible that someone editing may have been unaware of a speed change plug-in working in the background it's very unlikely. I'm not sure what DAW software you're using but I've used Pro-Tools almost daily for the last 13 years and can count on one hand the number of times I've been caught by a surprise plug-in. I'll make my share of mistakes but they are always caught long before I deliver the final product. I don't know who created the specific audio loops in question but I have to respectfully disagree that a forgotten background plug-in was the cause here.

Anyone aware of any reason to do this (apart from artistic license because the producer thought it sounded better)?

Here's my best guess:

Years ago all park BGM was sourced off CD's. In order to maximize the rack space each CD would have two mono loops on them (the Left track being one zone and Right track being an entirely different zone). The CD players were set to loop at the end of the program. The problem then became having the two loops end at approximately the same time. If the Left track were to end 30 seconds earlier than the Right then there would be 30 seconds of silence in the zone being fed by the Left track (which would be unacceptable). In order to get around this the music would sometimes have to be edited, sped up or slowed down slightly in order to match lengths between the Left and Right tracks. My guess is that is what may have been done here. It was always a challenge to get 60 minutes of different musical pieces to end at the exact same time without some studio magic.
 

eyore

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Fascinating stuff.
As I said, in this particular case, Disney did take the track from a CD as the earlier CD version matches exactly that in the loop (3:03) but subsequent releases are the longer time (3:13).
You are quite right, Disney does make it difficult sometimes with editing and what seems to be speed changes (usually only a second or so). I suppose we also have to take into account the standard of technology back then as regards copying and editing - especially where vinyl was concerned (never found a record deck yet that actually spins at excactly 33 1/3 rpm)!
I wasn't aware that different speakers played differently to each other (left and right). I had always presumed that they all played the same and in mono. That's useful information, thank you.
 

DavidG

Member
I think what he's saying is that two channels on a CD play two different music loops, for two different parts of the park. Actually, that explains a lot in regards to edits and subtle speed changes which would then have to be made in order to make two completely different loops match in duration.
 

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