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Topic: newbie question on articulations

  1. #1

    newbie question on articulations

    Hi - I just ordered my first orchestra sample package and I\'ve only been playing with samplers for a short time.

    Initially, I plan on starting with small existing scores just to learn the sound set and how to do midi orchestrations.

    I assumed I would either play each part into a midi track or perhaps buy Sibelius and input the score that way.

    My Question: I assume that when I\'m playing in, for example, the 1st Trumpet part, that part will have a mix of articulations. However, as I understand it, I will only have 1 sample assigned to that track (and therefore 1 articulation?)

    What is the common way to get multiple articulations into a single track? Or is it recommended to break the 1st trumpet part into multiple tracks? The latter seems awkward to me (in theory as I\'ve never tried it). However, the goal of this post is to just see how this problem is commonly solved.


    PS - Maybe this will be more clear once I get the package and try it out.

  2. #2

    Re: newbie question on articulations

    I\'ve done pieces with Sibelius, with a sequencer and with a combination of the two.

    Regarding Sibelius, the results can be surprisingly good, but with strict limitations. You can ask the program to make it\'s own dynamic expressions (it manipulates velocities), and you can ask it to play rubato.

    The expressions are surprisingly good. With Sibelius 3, you can hand tweak any velocities that you want to adjust, which is a nice new feature.

    Auto-rubato (Mr. Roboto) isn\'t as human-like; however, you can add your own acc., rit. and tempo controls, so again, you are in control of the piece.

    The result will be quantized. Again, you can adjust each note\'s start time and duration by hand, but it\'s not as friendly as working with a piano roll in a sequencer - but it is possible.

    Theoretically, one could play the notes by hand into Sibelius. Unfortunately, I haven\'t had good results with this. The real-time note entry isn\'t as solid as it should be. I\'m not sure why. It just doesn\'t feel right to me.

    The big limitation with Sibelius is that you can\'t draw envelopes. (And like real-time note entry, real time envelope entry with a fader isn\'t up to snuff.)

    One thing Sibelius does well is accept program changes. I find this easier than when working in Cakewalk. To enact a program change, just type \"Ctrl-T ~P1\" (That wrote hidden \"technique text\" to jump to program 1.) You can then copy and paste that text to any note, and modify it as needed. You could also add the text \"portato\" or something like that either hidden or visible on the printed page. And you can also store text that you will use often. I like it.

    I\'ve saved Sibelius outputs as MIDI files and imported them into a sequencer with good results. You can then draw envelopes, change note timing, duration and velocity graphically.

    The big decision: is a quantized starting point okay, or do you want to play by hand? If quantized is okay, Sibelius is a good way to go. You can even use it to scan an existing score. Just plan to save to MIDI and post process with the sequencer.

    If you want to play by hand, go stright to the sequencer. You can still use Sibelius for notation and composing, but not for the performance. (At least that\'s my experience.)

    Best of luck!

  3. #3

    Re: newbie question on articulations

    Jon, thanks for the info on using Sibelius. Sibelius isnt something I\'ve gotten yet, however I am considering it. I do use Sonar 3 however.

    It sounds like what you suggest if you want to use multiple articulations in a single track is to just use program changes?

  4. #4

    Re: newbie question on articulations


    The current crop of soft-samplers (Gigastudio, HALion, Kontakt etc.) let you use something called \"mega-trigers\", basically a way to switch between articulations (also called dimensions) on the fly.

    For instance, when playing a trumpet patch, you could have some of the keys outside the instrument\'s range assigned to various articulations.

    You\'d play the patch in the normal way in the normal range, and when you wanted to switch articulations, you\'d simply press one of the mega-trigger keys to change sounds.

    For instance you could have the lowest C on your keyboard assigned to a \"normal\" sound, C# could be used to switch to a \"dim\" patch, D to a swell patch, D# to overblown or sfz articulation etc.

    Basically you can either use the articulations/triggers provided by the library vendor or else assign your owns.

    The mega-triggers are not limited to keys, you could also use a controller such as mod-wheel to switch articulations.

    This is IMHO a much more natural and immediate way of \"playing\" instruments. You can do it either in real-time or by adding the key switches at a later stage.


  5. #5

    Re: newbie question on articulations


    That makes sense to me. In fact, I just recently bought Kontakt and Kompakt to experiment with. After I read your post, I looked through the manuals to see how to do this and did not see any explicit explanation. Do you happen to know how to set this up on Kontakt or Kompakt?

    (I also ordered EWQLSO - Silver which hasnt arrived yet, so I assume that it supports the method you mentioned also?)


  6. #6

    Re: newbie question on articulations

    Rudi\'s right. Keyswitches (using keys or whatever controller) are the way to go for live playing.

    By contrast, I set up my templates with each instrument owning its own bank, and I use the patches for articulations. I don\'t generally do articulation changes on the fly, so this method works great for me to keep my stuff organized. (P0 is always sustained vibrato. P2 is always portato. P3 is alway marcato, etc...)

    In Sibelius one can also use Ctrl-T to play hidden note-off commands (for keyswitching) as well as to set controls (~C1,127 to max out the mod wheel). However, I got tired of trying to remember which note/control level selected which articulation for each instrument. Each developer does something different - often even with instruments in the same library. My migranes have now subsided :-)

  7. #7

    Re: newbie question on articulations

    I only use HALion at the moment (until Silver gets to the UK!) so I can\'t tell you specifically how to use Kompakt, but a quick look on the NI website showed that they refer to the mega-trigger facility as \"Key Activator\" and \"Controller Activator\".





  8. #8

    Re: newbie question on articulations

    Rudi - thanks for the pointer (and apologies for mis-spelling your name earlier).

    In general, are there any good tutorials for orchestrating in MIDI? While I can lay down a simple dance or pop song sequence (as I never change patches in a track and there are only a few tracks), it is the process of doing an orchestration that befuddles me.

    THanks again,

  9. #9

    Re: newbie question on articulations

    As far as setting these up in Kompakt and Kontakt goes... you can just load a program with keyswitches into either one. The cool thing about Kompakt is that the little keyboard at the bottom of the program shows (in green) the range of the instrument, and (in orange) the key-switches. (You might need to scroll the keyboard way over to the left to see the orange keys).

    If you want to make your own, basically in Kontakt you can add instruments as different groups and set each group to \'start on key\' (key being the note that will act as the keyswitch/activater). That\'s sort of vague, but if you do want to make your own keyswitch instruments in Kontakt, let me know and I can help you.

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