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Topic: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

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  1. #1

    Question Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    Dear knowledgeable users of ARIA,

    Back in the earlier days of ARIA the Length Control (CC#21) for an instrument used to flick back and forth automatically between 0 and 49% as the file played. One assumes that action was entirely based upon the actual duration of the MIDI note concerned somehow precalculated by Aria code.

    A while back, I remember reading advice about setting the length control to a higher value, maybe 65% (as I recall) and further discussion ensuing that recommended even higher values (circa 83%) for smooth legato.

    I have recently noticed that the previous automation no longer seems to work whether one sets the length control to another value or not. I assume the automation disappeared in one of the upgrades to ARIA?

    I wonder whether there is any more specific advice on the use of this control other than that to be found at the foot of page 72 of the GPO4 manual and 81 which is really just a repeat?

    The reason for asking is that I'm revisiting my sequence of Dvorak's Song to the Moon from Rusalka, which I've never been entirely happy with, and finding great variation in the violin and viola note lengths between long held notes (see p89), legato sections and hemidemisemiquaver (64ths) sections (p93) and fast tremolo (p99). Clearly I'm going to have to add another controller pane to the sequence. I'm assuming that a value of zero would be appropriate for the 64ths, but what about the legato 64ths? In the past the sequence used to play reasonably well using the Aria automation, now it's a complete mess!

    A copy of the pages I'm working from, from IMSLP, starting from rehearsal mark 38, can be found here:
    https://app.box.com/s/mp9at64ke48xyka2q1j4.

    Any general advice that could be offered would be most welcome.
    Many thanks in advance,
    John.
    Author of MIDI tutorials at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi

  2. #2

    Re: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    Dear knowledgeable users of ARIA,

    Back in the earlier days of ARIA the Length Control (CC#21) for an instrument used to flick back and forth automatically between 0 and 49% as the file played. One assumes that action was entirely based upon the actual duration of the MIDI note concerned somehow precalculated by Aria code....
    Actually, John, that Length Control zooms up and down from 0 to 49% when Auto Legato is engaged. It doesn't move otherwise, unless you've included CC21 in a project file. So, with AL not on, then you can take advantage of the kind of control over length as you're talking about in the rest of your post - with higher values for legato, and values way under 49 for more aggressive notes.

    Quite awhile ago now, the default length of string notes was changed, it's shorter than it used to be, and I find it often sounding unnatural in many passages. I usually need to keep it a few percentage points higher than the default, and then change it via CC21 if I need during the course of a piece.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Actually, John, that Length Control zooms up and down from 0 to 49% when Auto Legato is engaged. It doesn't move otherwise, unless you've included CC21 in a project file. So, with AL not on, then you can take advantage of the kind of control over length as you're talking about in the rest of your post - with higher values for legato, and values way under 49 for more aggressive notes.

    Quite awhile ago now, the default length of string notes was changed, it's shorter than it used to be, and I find it often sounding unnatural in many passages. I usually need to keep it a few percentage points higher than the default, and then change it via CC21 if I need during the course of a piece.

    Randy
    Aha! Thanks Randy.
    It's the auto legato switch that controls that short/long thing.

    Yes, I'd switched auto-legato off to get more natural sounding legato passages.
    I may have shot myself in the foot again as I don't have a huge amount of time to get this correct before rehearsals for the performance, so I'll have to think again.

    Thanks for coming back to me on this one, very much obliged.

    Kind regards,
    John.
    Author of MIDI tutorials at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi

  4. #4

    Re: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    Further to my last post, I have tried both with auto legato and without (but with Hold on/off controls added of course), and I'm still having problems with rapidly repeating 64ths not sounding at all.

    Looking at page 93 of the score posted in the OP, at rehearsal mark 41, 1st violins.
    The patch loaded, GPO4, Section Strings, Violins 1 KS, key switched to Sus + short mutes (C#).
    The first four legato 64ths sound. The next four repeated 64ths produce silence, the final note in the measure sounds.
    I've tried adjusting the level of CC#21 from 0 all the way to 83%, made adjustments to note length, and also note on velocity from 40 to 127, all with no joy.

    What am I doing wrong, or can other people duplicate this experience?

    Kind regards,
    John.
    Author of MIDI tutorials at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi

  5. #5

    Re: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    Further to my last post, I have tried both with auto legato and without (but with Hold on/off controls added of course), and I'm still having problems with rapidly repeating 64ths not sounding at all...
    Oh! Thanks for the greater detail, John - I didn't understand from your first post what the exact nature of your problem was. I understood there was confusion about when the CC21 knob jumps up and down on its own (AutoLegato) and when you have actual control over it - But I thought that was the whole question.

    Now this is a serious problem indeed - I don't recall it happening to me, but then, it's so rare for me to work with 64th notes.

    I think I'll be working on a piece later today, I could run your experiment, as per the details you've listed.

    In the meantime, have you tried the Short Bows patches? I do know I've switched to them for fast passages before, because they have the sharpest attack of all the string patches. The Sus+Short patches have a semi-soft attack in their samples, so you can never get them to sound off any faster, no matter how high your velocity value is.

    So, if you haven't tried different patches, you could try Short Bows, or Short Bows KS Ag (Ag=aggressive) or the Sus+Short Ag patches which, as their name implies, do have a sharper attack. If you use Short Bows, you'll notice that you'll need to be careful with volume - they can jump out unnaturally louder than the other patches, and you would need to adjust accordingly.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Thumbs up Re: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Oh! Thanks for the greater detail, John - I didn't understand from your first post what the exact nature of your problem was. I understood there was confusion about when the CC21 knob jumps up and down on its own (AutoLegato) and when you have actual control over it - But I thought that was the whole question.
    Sorry, not your fault, I didn't explain the problem in full.

    Now this is a serious problem indeed - I don't recall it happening to me, but then, it's so rare for me to work with 64th notes.
    Yep, 64ths seem to be the issue, although it may just be a physical duration thing, i.e. 32nds at a faster tempo may have the same problem, dunno.
    Just for reference, this part is in 3/8 at around 50 bpm give or take the occasional rit and ral.
    I've tried adjusting note lengths and CC#21 from 0 up, also messing around with note velocity all the way to 127.
    No change.

    I think I'll be working on a piece later today, I could run your experiment, as per the details you've listed.
    I would be most incredibly grateful if you could.

    In the meantime, have you tried the Short Bows patches? I do know I've switched to them for fast passages before, because they have the sharpest attack of all the string patches. The Sus+Short patches have a semi-soft attack in their samples, so you can never get them to sound off any faster, no matter how high your velocity value is.

    So, if you haven't tried different patches, you could try Short Bows, or Short Bows KS Ag (Ag=aggressive) or the Sus+Short Ag patches which, as their name implies, do have a sharper attack. If you use Short Bows, you'll notice that you'll need to be careful with volume - they can jump out unnaturally louder than the other patches, and you would need to adjust accordingly.
    Aha! Loading the Violins 1 short bows KS and selecting auto alternate does the trick, and you're right, the AG patch is too aggressive. It's a pity the short bows isn't part of the Violins 1 KS patch, now I have to split out all the sections with these fast repetitions into extra tracks. Ah well, no matter, as long as it works.

    Thank you so much for that suggestion, Randy, I really am most grateful.
    And so, I might add, is the Mrs.
    I've been a real grump for the last couple of days, tearing my hair out (what little I have left!)
    "Bowser rules OK!"

    Kindest regards,
    John (and Susanne).
    Author of MIDI tutorials at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi

  7. #7

    Re: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    I just tried a solo violin using ARIA in Sonar X2. I could hear the pattern I set up clearly.
    The pattern was C D E F G G G G played 4 times as 64th notes. They were clearly discernible at speeds up to 112 bpm. After that the repeated G's were difficult to hear. As a musician (myself) I have only seen 64ths and 128th notes a few times in my career and never at tempi faster than 112 bpm. Usually at speeds that ranged from 40 bpm to 72 bpm. I am a woodwind player and finger technique and tonguing speed dictates how fast one can physically play faster notes. I am sure bowed instruments have a critical speed of bowing limit as well.

    All that being said, it would be important to know what speed you have set for the tempo. And one question for you is what kind of program are you doing this in (a DAW or a NOTATION program). Notation programs usual are difficult to set up midi controllers.

    Anyway, I tried duplicating your problem and I didn't seem to reproduce what you are experiencing.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  8. #8

    Re: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    Quote Originally Posted by RichR View Post
    I just tried a solo violin using ARIA in Sonar X2. I could hear the pattern I set up clearly.
    The pattern was C D E F G G G G played 4 times as 64th notes. They were clearly discernible at speeds up to 112 bpm. After that the repeated G's were difficult to hear. As a musician (myself) I have only seen 64ths and 128th notes a few times in my career and never at tempi faster than 112 bpm. Usually at speeds that ranged from 40 bpm to 72 bpm. I am a woodwind player and finger technique and tonguing speed dictates how fast one can physically play faster notes. I am sure bowed instruments have a critical speed of bowing limit as well.

    All that being said, it would be important to know what speed you have set for the tempo. And one question for you is what kind of program are you doing this in (a DAW or a NOTATION program). Notation programs usual are difficult to set up midi controllers.

    Anyway, I tried duplicating your problem and I didn't seem to reproduce what you are experiencing.
    Thanks very much for your input, Rich.
    As stated above 3/8 at 50bpm. It may be fairly critical that the strings are playing piano at this point and are with mutes too.
    And I'm using a DAW.
    At the start of this section of the score it states 'with mutes' and at this point the violinists are instructed 'with the point of the bow' and played piano. So I had that set up, and all was well apart from the four repetitions.

    The four repetitions are there but very, very vaguely.
    I'm now using the short bows KS patch just for the repetitions and that seems to work okay.
    It's now a case of trying to balance the levels of the two tracks.

    It would be interesting to know what levels and note lengths you have entered in your implementation, Rich.

    I do remember spending many happy hours learning double and triple tongueing of the oboe in my mostly misspent youth. Now long past. I never could get the hang of circular breathing though.

    In this particular score Mr Dvorak spares all the winds from anything more onerous than the very occasional 32nd.
    Not so the 1st violins though. Many "u špičky" fast parts for them.

    Kind regards,
    John.
    Author of MIDI tutorials at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi

  9. #9

    Re: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    I had my CC#1 set at what would be a mf volume. I would think that a violinist intuitively would most likely play louder than the score marking as such a fast bowing would almost certainly cause a louder sound. Dvorak may have taken that into consideration when he wrote the piano markings. The musician will always due what is necessary to make a passage speak. The same thing cannot be said for a sampled sound device.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  10. #10

    Re: Settings of the length control (CC#21)?

    I just want to add that the behavior between the group string patches and the solo string patches are very different. Rich, your report was on a solo, John was talking about having difficulties with a group patch.

    Randy

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