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Topic: My Approach to Solo Strings

  1. #1

    My Approach to GPO Solo Strings

    After reading Randy’s riveting post about his experience with a music industry insider’s criticism of his work and my subsequent maddening discovery that the ensemble strings in GPO4 do not function properly at all regarding CC68, I decided to retackle the challenge of producing a presentable recording of string quartet music.

    This being all GPO and hence causing me much trouble, given the numerous weaknesses and problems these samples present, I have never revealed this music to anyone. My original render of this piece was unbearably weak, mainly because of ineffective legato due to poor implementation of the effect by the programmers, as well as my own mishandled velocity settings. This resulted in an unpleasant sense that every single note had a pronounced attack. However, after much experimentation it finally dawned on me that the best way to slur passages and thus produce convincing legato, at least as far as strings are concerned, is to avoid CC68 entirely (I work in notation.). This recording of TRIBUTE TO GREYFRIARS BOBBY was produced without use of Legato Controller 68. Instead, I simply overlapped legato notes in piano roll view while simultaneously lowering velocity on those same notes. I know that you are all aware of this approach. However, I feel I have discovered something interesting that may be of interest to members of this community.

    First, all notes in a legato passage must be clearly overlapped rather than just joined flush. Second, velocity levels on those notes must be lowered to facilitate a believably smooth progression. If one lowers the velocity too much, there will be an obvious dip or dimple in the sound resulting in a break in continuity. Conversely, if one does not lower the velocity level enough, there will be an obvious prominence in the attack thereby obliterating any hint of legato. By application of this method I feel I have achieved a far more musical performance from these Garritan solo strings. With easily discernable phrases, these instruments now seem to sing with sparkling clarity that is far, far more satisfying to my ear than anything I have yet produced with these patches. What are your thoughts?


  2. #2

    Re: My Approach to Solo Strings

    Hi Sean,

    It surely was a daring challenge to build a string quartet with the GPO solo strings. I agree with your approach to overlap and reduce the velocities. The result is more than decent, but no more than that. The piece has lots of qualities and fine thematic material, but it deserves better sounding instruments. Balance, ambience, mixing are issues for improvement, but the overal sound is rather mechanical and sometimes not at all string-like. I don't know exactly how to express, but it's not the kind of quartet that invites for more (and that has nothing to do with the music itself, that is very much OK). I know you've put a lot of effort in this, but the final outcome isn't worth all your energy.

    It may sound a bit harsh, but you've asked for opinions? Mine is simple: a very good pice, that sounds too poor to honour the music. That's my honest opinion.


  3. #3

    Re: My Approach to Solo Strings

    Hi Sean.

    I simply overlapped legato notes in piano roll view while simultaneously lowering velocity on those same notes
    Any suggestion about the value range for lowered velocity notes?
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  4. #4

    Re: My Approach to Solo Strings

    I chose to set velocity to 75 for the violins and viola and 70 for the cello on legato passages.

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