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The Visual Orchestration Trilogy
The Visual Orchestration Trilogy
Model #: Spec-VizOrch-Bundle-Dwnld
Manufacturer: Alexander Publishing

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The Visual Orchestration Trilogy

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About the Courses


Contents of Bundle

  • Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course - Master Edition
    - Includes 70th Anniversary Edition of the Spectrotone Chart
  • Visual Orchestration 2: Articulations & Templates
  • Visual Orchestration 3: DOING The Basic Orchestral Mix
  • 17 Custom IRs from Numerical Sound in 44.1 for Early Reflections, Reverb Tails, and EQs (TILT Filters)
  • Supporting PDFs and Web Links

  • TOTAL VIDEO TEACHING TIME: Over 14 hours of instruction!
    TOTAL FILE SIZE: Approx. 5.5GB compressed / approx. 6.5GB uncompressed (split into multiple downloadable zip files of 100MB - 300MB each)

    Visual Orchestration 1 Course Icon VISUAL ORCHESTRATION 1

    1. With seven video lectures totaling approximately 3.7 hours of instruction;
    2. The Spectrotone Chart in PDF format that you can print out on either 8.5” x 11” paper (or larger depending on your home or office printer) or 18” x 24” poster size;
    3. plus PDF booklets with supporting material...

    in a short weekend afternoon with the Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course, you’ll learn a boatload of practical writing concepts that you’ll use every time you begin creating music, whether for live ensemble or for a MIDI mock-up.

    About Visual Orchestration 1
    Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course™ is a short course in orchestration with seven well thought out video lectures giving you valuable professional scoring information rarely, or if ever taught, in orchestration courses. The information is directly applicable to both live performance and MIDI mock-ups.

    Stylistically, you can apply Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course™ insights to orchestral ensembles (small or large), string quartets and quintets, woodwind ensembles, brass ensembles, trombone choirs, percussion ensembles, concert bands, jazz big bands, horn sections, and MIDI mock-ups when using orchestral sample libraries.

    No textbook is required.

    End Results
    By the end of the Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course™, whether you read music or create by ear, you’ll have been taught a new common sense tool kit explained in MIDI-speak that can absolutely transform how you currently score, whether for live performance or MIDI Mock-ups.

    For those who want to learn orchestration by ear, Visual Orchestration 1 is the ticket because you don't have to read music to learn a lot to do a lot as it combines instrumentation, orchestration, composition and some recording information. That’s because Visual Orchestration 1 distills the core principles of orchestrating so that the ability to read music is not required. The focus is on the things you do by ear using the Spectrotone Chart as your visual guide.

    But for those who do read music, you’ll find that Visual Orchestration 1 covers advanced concepts rarely taught in the college classroom, especially in the practical application of counterpoint, and creating combinations.

    That’s because the Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course teaches you by emphasizing the aural aspects of orchestration which is the heart of orchestrating whether you read music or create by ear. That’s because all orchestration, every single bit of it, is done by ear in the musical imagination before ink hits paper or an orchestral sample is triggered by a MIDI keyboard.

    The 7 Video Lectures in Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course
    The Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course has seven video lectures totaling 3.78 hours of instruction. To learn effectively, if you don’t already have the CDs in your collection, legal MP3s are available from iTunes for listening analysis.

    Lecture 1 – Introduction: Looks at the beginnings of instrumentation and orchestration; four aspects of music notation separate from the creative process; starting point for the instrumental composer; orchestration’s goal; Visual Orchestration course goals and how they’re achieved.

    Lecture 2 – How the Spectrotone Chart Came to Be: The four men who influenced Arthur Lange in the creation of the Spectrotone Chart; the origin of Span of Orchestration; why we use C4 instead of C3; what Rimsky-Korsakov started that Arthur Lange finished with the Spectrotone Chart and then some.

    Lecture 3 – First Steps in Using of The Spectrotone Chart: MIDI Note Numbers; Span of Orchestration; instrument ranges; musical language; technical language; Hz frequencies; Span of Orchestration and EQ’ing; Tone Colors; Tone Colors and instrument range; application to the flute and other instruments, muted brass; and the string section as a whole.

    Lecture 4 – Orchestral Registration: Tone Color transitions; ethnic instruments and the Spectrotone Chart; 3-Part span of orchestration; contrasts by register; melody placement by register; common knowledge; Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Princess Leia’s theme; Sayuri’s Theme.

    Lecture 5 – Composition With The Spectrotone System: Broad music creation paths; a framework for inner listening to compose; melody and figuration; melody in unison or harmony; scoring in 2, 3, and 4 parts; order of listening; contrapuntal rhythmic structure; Basic Instinct, Star Trek Voyager theme; Jupiter from The Planets.

    Lecture 6 – Creating Combinations: 5 steps to learning combinations; combination definition; secret of coloristic orchestrations; combinations and musical language; combination and technical language; layering in Visual Orchestration; four types of combinations; four types of contrast; finding complementary combinations; remote combinations; combinations and the 8 Keys of Professional Orchestration; compositional decision making; 4 applications with strings; what is orchestration; the need to contemplate.

    Lecture 7 – MIDI Mock-ups, Tone Colors and Voicings: the dreaded organ/accordion sound; unisons; octaves; the next generation orchestral sample library; tone colors and tonality; Articulation Tables; Sayuri’s Theme, Bizet’s Carmen Suite #1; French horns and ET; Liberty Fanfare; opening to Mendelssohn’s Symphony #4; tone colors and tonality; dominant tone colors for the brass; key points summary; conclusion.

    Visual Orchestration 2 Course Icon VISUAL ORCHESTRATION 2
    (From Orchestration to Setting Up the Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix)

    About Visual Orchestration 2
    Visual Orchestration 2: Articulations & Templates - From Orchestration to Setting Up the Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix (Foundation For MIDI Mock-Ups) contains ten video lectures, totaling approximately 6.7 hours, distilling the core principles of a college course on basic orchestration directly applied to sample libraries and MIDI mock-up applications complete with audio demos. Whether you read or don't read music, you'll get gangbusters out of Visual Orchestration 2.

    Your Intro to Effectively Mixing Your MIDI Mock-Ups
    Visual Orchestration 2: Articulations & Templates™ goes through the “mechanics” (articulations) for strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion, by defining what articulations and bowings are, performance insights, and how both apply to sample library purchasing, and evaluating existing libraries.

    The second focus is learning the concepts of setting up a virtual orchestral mix within your template, e.g., getting everyone into the same room.

    As with Visual Orchestration 1, Visual Orchestration 2 distills the core principles of orchestrating so that the ability to read music is not required. The focus is on the things you do by ear referencing the Spectrotone Chart. as your visual guide. (Included in your Visual Orchestration 3 Course Bundle)

    End Results
    By the end of Visual Orchestration 2, whether you read music or create by ear, you’ll know the orchestral instruments, the key articulations and bowings that go into a template, dynamic equivalents applied to the virtual orchestra, plus setting up the virtual orchestral mix.

    The 10 Video Lectures in Visual Orchestration 2: Articulations & Templates
    Visual Orchestration 2 has ten video lectures totaling well over seven hours of instruction with selected audio demonstrations included in the course.

    Lecture 1 - The Orchestra: The Real vs The Sampled (39 mins!)
    Starting at the very beginning by defining what a real orchestra is by various sizes, and how big that equates to sample libraries. For application, we look at the Rule of 4s and how that applies to building your own orchestral sound.

    Lecture 2 - Real Orchestral Seating, Orchestral Sample Library Seating, and Spatial Placement (36 mins!)
    The standard orchestral seating position is first evaluated by the Spectrotone Chart. Learn the five different ways of seating the strings plus a look at the Wall of Brass. Applied to sample libraries to learn how to evaluate tone color placement, then to create your own tone color spatial placements.

    Lecture 3 - Where's p: Musical Steps to Setting Dynamic Levels In the Mix (42 mins!)
    Examines the Italian language for dynamics and what the terms mean, how dynamics are implemented in orchestral sample libraries, why all dynamics are relative, what the Italian terms really mean, dynamics and specific libraries, the performable p by instrument and linear register, dynamic equivalents and how they apply in MIDI mock-ups. Audio demonstrations.

    Lecture 4 - The String Section (59 mins!)
    Bowings NOT articulations, how strings on the Strings are numbered, parts of the violin, violin tuning, easiest major and minor keys for the strings to perform in, the string bow, bowings by types, three bow positions, on the string bowings, two types of legato playing, multiple legato types in sample libraries, legatos and sustains, two pieces for legato study, detache: the missing bowing, detache types, staccato and staccato types, staccatos and repetitions, testing staccatos with Jupiter from the Planets, Off the string bowings, the need for testing legato bowings at various tempos, pizzicato, tremolos, measured tremolos, trills, spatial placement, two specialty bowings, briefly: divisi. Audio demos.

    Lecture 5 - The Woodwinds (30 mins!)
    The vent, number of core articulations for woodwinds, woodwinds and vibrato, the need to test faster rhythms, woodwind embouchures; single, double and triple tonguing per woodwind instrument, what tonguings are available from each library?, woodwind doublings, the flute and flute articulations plus tonguing speeds, the oboe, the English horn, the clarinet and tonguing tempos, the bassoon: the great woodwind blender, woodwinds and templates.

    Lecture 6 - The Brass (30 mins!)
    Three core articulations for creating brass templates, brass and vibrato, embouchures and tonguing, how many brass instruments in your library (solo, in 2s, unison sections?), French horns: the great blender, types of brass family combinations French horns are found in; number of French horns, dynamics, and woodwind weighting within the mix, 15 works with 6 or more French horns, sonic weight of the trumpet and the trombone, number of woodwinds needed to equal one trumpet or trombone at f, number of strings needed to equal one trumpet at f, number of strings needed to equal two French horns at f, 3 schools of trombone writing, the tubas, brass section sizes, jazz brass section sizes.

    Lecture 7 - Percussion, Harp, Celeste (28 mins!)
    9 conventional uses of percussion in a life score or MIDI mock-up, 2 categories of percussion, common snare drum stickings (articulations), timpani, timpani sizes in the orchestra, timpani range, nine orchestral uses of timpani, the concert bass drum, vibes and vibes effects, the xylophone, glockenspiel, celeste, the harp, key harp techniques, stage positioning in the live or virtual orchestra, questions to ask developers!

    Lecture 8 - Setting Up The Virtual Orchestral Mix - Part 1 (34 mins!)
    The situation: recording with that which has been previously recorded, four components, differences between concert halls and recording studios, studios where film scores and sample libraries have been recorded, RT60s of key studios, the Hollywood sound vs. the concert sound, covering reverbs, two examples of dry film orchestras before processing was applied, studios and what well known films were recorded there, more.

    Lecture 9 - Setting Up the Virtual Orchestral Mix - Part 2 (46 mins!)
    Clearly defined music production goal, 5 mixing problems unique to orchestral sample libraries, review: the 3 strategies for getting everyone into the same room, spatial placement learning order, studio footprints, 4 key blocks of a reverb, how reverb tails can effect getting everyone into the same room, orchestral setup charts for applying early reflections and reverb tails, audio demos demonstrating key concepts, more.

    BONUS LECTURE! Lecture 10 - How Music People Learn Music and Music Technology (58 mins!)
    Every individual is born with 7 thinking processes that function in an order unique to the individual. Two of these processes include music and logic/math. By understanding these processes you learn how to build musical memory from which your intuition draws from to create music and to operate music technology programs through which you produce your music. In this unique stop and smell the coffee video lecture, Peter Alexander explains how to learn music and music technology without feeling like a “MIDI idiot”.

    Visual Orchestration 3 Course Icon VISUAL ORCHESTRATION 3

    About Visual Orchestration 3™
    Visual Orchestration 2™ taught how to setup the basic virtual orchestral mix through effective setup of your template.

    Visual Orchestration 3: DOING The Basic Orchestral Mix™ is the next step with this hands-on video lecture course. Using the convolution reverb that comes with your sequencing program and the impulse responses (IRs) created exclusively for Visual Orchestration by Numerical Sound, you’ll begin developing your mixing skills with:

    1. 5 sets of Early Reflections covering the major orchestral libraries;
    2. 3 TILT Filters that apply EQ to the majority of virtual orchestral instruments (including the complete string and brass sections);
    3. 4 Reverb Tails covering the small studio up to a larger recording studio (2.0 seconds RT60);
    4. 10 video lectures teaching you how to get your sample libraries into the same room so that you can learn to create a professional sounding mix.

    By using these custom IRs from Numerical Sound, everyone has the same tools to work with. Result: total practicality in teaching you how to mix!

    Bonus Materials
    Visual Orchestration 3: DOING The Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix™ goes one more step. For those owning the original LASS which came with custom IRs designed by Numerical Sound, you’ll be shown how to apply and use what you’ve got.

    For those owning the Vienna Suite with FORTI/SERTI, which was also designed by Numerical Sound, you’re receiving spread sheet listings for all the Early Reflections and Reverb Tails showing you how to mix and match them.

    IMPORTANT! Video Lectures are downloaded from your Alexander Publishing account. IRs will be e-mailed to you separately within 1 business day from Numerical Sound. See Readme First.Doc for complete info.

    End Results
    By the end of Visual Orchestration 3, you’ll be on your way to creating a professional sounding mix of your music.

    The 10 Video Lectures in Visual Orchestration 3: DOING The Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix™
    Visual Orchestration 2 has ten video lectures with selected audio demonstrations included in the course. The learning principle is this: we teach, you do!

    Lecture 1 - The Tools Provided (15 mins)
    Overview, what’s provided, explains the impulse responses included in the course (5 sets of Early Reflections, the 4 Reverb Tails and the 3 TILT Filters, and how they’re used to set up a mix), a very brief mini-review of Visual Orchestration 2, what you need to provide to do the course (sequencing program w/convolution reverb).

    Lecture 2 - The 7 Starting Points Before You Begin Your Mix (24 mins)
    Creating an en effective mix has multiple starting points. These include defining your situation, the goal of your template, orchestration issues in setting up your template, seating issues and why they’re spatial placement issues, your virtual instrument players, and defining what the basic mix is.

    Lecture 3 - Three Spaces Where Orchestral Sample Libraries Are Recorded (17 mins)
    Examines the three spaces where orchestral libraries are recorded and how that impacts the mix: the concert hall, the cathedral/church, and the scoring stage/recording studio and how these affect your virtual mix.

    Lecture 4 - The Sound You Want, The Sound You Have, The Sound You End Up With (16 mins)
    Considers the importance of working out your own sound followed by a review of the following major orchestral libraries: CineSamples, EW Hollywood Series, EW QLSO, Spitfire Audio, Vienna. Also considered are Berlin Woodwinds, Cinematic Strings, LASS, Sample Modeling, and Symphobia.

    Lecture 5 - RT60s of Rooms and Libs (18 mins)
    RT60s of specific rooms where scores and libraries have been recorded along with the finished RT60s of specific libraries to begin learning the issues of getting everyone into the same room.

    Lecture 6 - First Steps in Working With RT60s and Early Reflections (19 mins)
    In this lecture, you’ll learn how to test and pick early reflections based on the libs in your mix, and the sound you’re trying to achieve. Reviews the ERs/Tails for LASS and Vienna Suite’s FORTI/SERTI.

    Lecture 7 - Assigning the Short and Medium Early Reflections (48 mins)
    This lecture teaches how to set up your own scoring stage with the appropriate Early Reflections.

    Lecture 8 - Working With TILT Filters and High Pass Filters (EQ) (19 mins)
    One of the most difficult things for composers and songwriters to learn is how to EQ. TILT Filters and High Pass Filters help solve that problem by letting you pick, listen and choose the solution that works best. Concepts are applied to four popular string libraries, two of which need spatial placement and two which are already positioned, each with increasing RT60s: Vienna Orchestral Violins, Vienna Dimension Violins, Berlin Violins 1, and Mural Violins 1. Here you’ll learn how to apply TILT Filters and HP filters to the Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Harp, Celeste, Violins, Violas, Cellos, and Basses.

    Lecture 9 - Spatial Placement (51 mins)
    Building on Lecture 5, you learn how to get libraries recorded in different rooms to match in their seating arrangements. You’re recommended to have Virtual Sound Stage to get the most out of this lecture.

    Lecture 10 - Reverb Tails (24 mins)
    This final lecture reviews the 4 Reverb Tails and what to listen for. Then a consideration of reverb tails with Space Designer, Quantum Leap Spaces, and Vienna Suite. Algorithmic on the Mains?

    MP3s Referenced for Visual Orchestration 1

    Because of the number of students taking this course wanting to do film scoring, the following MP3s (if you don't own them already) available from iTunes, are recommended as they are referred to in Visual Orchestration 1:

    Bizet: Carmen Suite #1 - Introduction - The Fate Theme
    Benjamin Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes - Dawn
    Jerry Goldsmith: Basic Instinct main theme
    Jerry Goldsmith: Star Trek Voyager theme
    Jerry Goldsmith: The Attack from The Blue Max Suite
    Holst: Jupiter from The Planets
    Mendelssohn: First Movement Symphony #4
    John Williams: Princess Leia’s theme from Star Wars*
    John Williams: Sayuri’s Theme from Memoirs of a Geisha*
    John Williams: Liberty Fanfare*
    John Williams: Adventures on Earth*

    * means John Williams Signature Edition Deluxe Study Scores are available for these titles (contact us for details).

    About the Spectrotone Chart - the Rosetta Stone of orchestration

    For all three Visual Orchestration courses you'll be working with The 70th Anniversary Edition of the Spectrotone Chart (included in your course materials). The Spectrotone Chart™ was created by four-time Academy Award® nominee for Best Film Score, Arthur Lange, the former head of the MGM Music Department. In 2010, Alexander Publishing took over its publication and future development. The 70th Anniversary Edition of the Spectrotone Chart has been redesigned to include Hz frequencies, MIDI Note Numbers, and Span of Orchestration so that the Spectrotone Chart now has direct applications for composers learning how to EQ their mixes.

    Spectrotone Chart

    In Arthur Lange’s own words, the Spectrotone Chart is, “a colorgraphic exposition of tone-color combinations and balance as practiced in modern orchestration.”

    Using the Spectrotone Chart you'll learn how to create effective orchestral combinations by understanding which instruments will blend well together in which registers, or which instruments will provide a more contrasting tone-color when placed together. You'll also learn starting insights on orchestral balance within each section of strings, brass and winds.

    Eight colors are used to convey the tone-color and its quality, with the lowest pitches colored Purple (mellow) and the highest, White (brilliant). Two additional colors of gray and black indicate notes that will have a "dull" or "indefinite" tone-color to them. The simplistic view is that the chart follows the keys of the piano scale wise. But the real view is that the colors reflect not only the individual instrument’s range but also the tonal quality of the instrument’s sound as it’s played up the overtone series.

    The tone-color choices make a lot of sense enabling not only precision orchestral combinations, live and electronic, but also providing a gracious way to communicate with producers and directors in a language they’ll understand since each color has a single adjective to describe it.

    One of the key concepts you’ll learn in Visual Orchestration 1 is Span of Orchestration. Span of Orchestration divides the range of the orchestra by Cs into five breaks: Sub Bass, Low, Medium, High, and Very High. When the Spectrotone Chart tone-colors are viewed this way, a scoring story emerges:

    Instrumental Tone Colors fall into specific registers. Once the tone-colors are understood, you can now hear how and where instruments are placed, types of voicings by registers, how to create combinations, even how to compose and create coloristic ensembles using the Spectrotone Chart.

    This approach also offers starting insights for orchestral EQing for which there is very little training.

    For more effective communication and study, the 70th Anniversary Edition of the Spectrotone Chart now has a keyboard, a mini-music staff with all the orchestra’s pitches, Hz frequencies for each pitch, and now for the first time, MIDI Note Numbers for each pitch. Benefit: every single tone-color range for every single instrument can now be worked with by pitch names, Hz frequencies, and MIDI Note Numbers. From this you learn how each tone-color can have its own tonality and sound including with major, minor, modal, and even Twelve Tone composition techniques. We added Hz frequencies so that its full potential can also be realized in recording and mixing.

    Span of Orchestration register breaks, besides being identified by Cs, are also identified by pitches, Hz frequencies, and MIDI Note Numbers.

    Spectrotone Chart: Tone Colors By Span

    The Spectrotone Chart is an amazing tool for learning how to create combinations. That’s why you’re first taught the general principle for creating combinations, then how to create the four types of combinations in the Spectrotone System of Orchestration: perfect, close, complementary and remote.

    Dimitri Tiomkin and Arthur Lange

    Arthur Lange was a songwriter, composer, orchestrator and conductor who came out of Tin Pan Alley. He learned his craft through private studies and on the job.

    He composed music for over 120 films, and orchestrated 105 more. He was nominated four times for an Oscar. But he never won one. In 1929, he became head of the music department at MGM. Throughout his career, he was music director at several studios and in 1947 organized the Santa Monica Civic Symphony which he conducted. He also helped create ASMAC, the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers.

    Arthur was an educator and he wrote numerous books, including, for 1926, the definitive guide to dance band arranging called Arranging For the Modern Dance Orchestra. He taught at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music which later became Cal Arts.

    But Arthur also created this unique colorized chart called the Spectrotone Chart. Don’t be put off by the quaint name, because what Arthur created, which has daily practical use for both live and electronic scoring, and mixing, is nothing less than the Rosetta Stone of orchestration.

    The Spectrotone Chart is a must have for all arrangers, composers and recording engineers!


    Peter Lawrence Alexander
    Peter Lawrence Alexander is the first American to create in English the multi-volume Professional Orchestration™ Series which has been endorsed by winners of the Academy®, Grammy®, Emmy®, and BAFTA® Awards. He’s also the author of How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite, The Instant Composer: Counterpoint by Fux. Writing For Strings, Applied Professional Harmony 101 and 102 and the popular How MIDI Works. He’s also Film Music Magazine’s award winning Music Technology Journalist.

    A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston with a BS In Music Composition, he has studied counterpoint privately with Dr. Hugo Norden of Boston University, and orchestration with Pulitzer Prize nominated composer Albert Harris.

    He’s coordinated beta test teams for the Vienna Symphonic Library and co-produced the Modern Symphonic Orchestra orchestral sample library for Creative Labs. As a media researcher he’s done studies showing geodemographical radio station listening patterns by day part, and in working with renown radio programmer Jack McCoy’s RAM Research he laid the research foundation for what later became Arbitron Information on Demand. He’s currently under contract to produce library music for film and TV.

    Ernest Cholakis
    Bruce Botnick, engineer for The Doors, Jerry Goldsmith and the Beach Boys Pet Album project had this to say about the Impulse Response work of Ernest Cholakis:

    ”The best impulse responses I ever heard are from Pure Space [Classical and Mystical Reverberation Impulses]....Ernest Cholakis out of Canada is the genius/mad scientist who listens to music. He's mathematically figured a way to eliminate all of the electronics from the sample. They sound extraordinary. An acoustic room-it blooms. You make the sound and then it [snaps] responds and the room does it's thing. The majority of the digital reverbs are very linear and they die off, but Ernest's samples are extraordinary. I've got one that I think sounds super close to chamber four at Capitol, which is *the* chamber."

    Ernest’s work with IRs includes his own Pure Space Classical, Pure Space Film, FORTI/SERTI for the Vienna Suite, eight (8) software products for Reason (including Bass Tilt Filters, Midrange Tilt Filters, Treble Tilt Filters, Tone Mutation, ReStereo, and RiVerb), and now this special package for Visual Orchestration 3.

    As an instrument developer, he co-produced with Dan Dean the Bluthner Piano.

    Many of Cholakis' unique drone tones have been used in feature films, film trailers and TV by many well known film composer and several movie studios such as Paramont Pictures, Warner Brothers and Lions Gate Entertainment, who have licensed material directly from Numerical Sound.

    Cholakis has co-produced the world's most recorded drummer Bernard Purdie, the world's most sampled drummer Clyde Stubblefield, and top Reggae drummer Sly Dunbar.