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Topic: Aggressive Short Bows - A Tutorial

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    Aggressive Short Bows - A Tutorial

    Since many have requested more Tutorials, Tom has been busy honoring the requests. One technique that is often requested is the creation of the familiar aggressive violin short bow sound used in certain film scores.

    Here is an example of a an Aggresive Short Bow sound using GOS: Aggressive Violin mp3

    How It Was Done:

    Load these instruments for the glissando:

    MIDI Channel 1 = 1st Vln Sul Tasto mf UpDn ALT VAR1
    MIDI Channel 2 = 2nd Vln Staccato UpDn ALT VAR2

    Here is the MIDI file that was used for this tutorial: Aggressive Violin MIDI

    1. Use the 1st Vln Sul Tasto mf UpDn ALT VAR1 to provide clear definition to the fast triplets. Automatic alternation mode in MaestroTools is turned ON. Instrument volume (cc#7) is set to 93. Attacks are varied slightly from note to note using cc#16. I\'ve made one important modification to the instrument for this application: I\'ve eliminated the instrument default attenuation so that it will play at a much higher level than the default design. The modification is easy to do: Load the 1st Violins Short Bows into the GigaStudio Instrument Editor and double click on instrument #34 in the list on the left of the screen. This opens the \"Instrument Properties\" window. Change the \"Attenuation\" box to \"0,\" click \"OK,\" and save the .gig file. I\'ve used some mod wheel VAR data in this track. Care must be taken with extremely rapid repetitions like the triplets to avoid \"phasing\" artifacts when using VAR - notice that, for this reason, I have not used it on the Eb triplets at the end of the phrase.

    2. To add more body to the sound I have layered the 2nd Vln Staccato UpDn ALT VAR2, loaded into a second MIDI channel. Auto alternation for this instrument is turned OFF. Velocity is the key to using the VAR2 instrument effectively in this case. Observe the changes in velocity from note to note. This is one case where the second instrument uses the same note data copied to a second track. Controller and velocity data, on the other hand, is NOT identical, being tailored to differences in the two instruments.

    3. If your system allows real time application of parametric EQ use two bands to tailor the sound of the violins. For this mp3 I used a cut centered at 2.6khz (Q=.74, -5.5db) and a boost at 5.3khz (Q=3, +7db). Adjust until you get the quality you require.

    Adjust the level of the Sul Tasto track relative to the staccato. Higher relative levels for the Sul Tasto will give more aggressive results. In this mp3 I\'ve panned the violins somewhat to the left and added some hall reverb. Using a stage position tool like Cakewalk\'s SoundStage can be even more effective if you are working on the PC.

    Logic Audio Screenshot:

    The following Screenshot shows the tracks, port-channel assignments, instrument names, and clarifies the use of controllers. The left side of the screenshot shows track layout and volume settings. The right side shows piano-roll view with velocity and mod wheel data.

    General Advice for problem-solving in specific situations:

    * Consider the 1st and 2nd violins short bows as a single pool of articulations to draw upon. 1st and 2nd violin differentiation can be accomplished through positioning and other techniques.
    * Don\'t take the instrument names too literally when trying to find solutions to problems. Think in terms of speed of attack and quality of sound (also independent of the loudness of an instrument).
    * Use them in layered pairs. Layering can increase the number of choices considerably and careful adjustment of the relative levels of the two to one another can give interesting results. Once the level of the track is set with cc#7use automation of cc#11 for time-based control of the relative levels, even note-by-note if necessary. Some of the other tutorials I\'ve prepared (arpeggio, in particular) illustrate additional uses of layering as well.
    * Use parametric EQ to emphasize/de-emphasize the particular quality you are after. Think of EQ as a sound-shaping tool. A good starting point is with one center frequency set at between 2 and 4khz (basic harshness/sweetness) and a second between 5 and 12khz (\"air\" and bow noise). Often, as in the example above, I find myself using a cut in the first and a boost in the second. These are best adjusted in the context of the mix, not alone. For even more flexibility they can be applied independently to each instrument of a pair - that way it is possible to tailor particular unique qualities of each instrument in relation to the combination of the pair.
    * Once a satisfactory combination is found you may wish to render the result to audio. This can be both insurance and an excellent way of reducing polyphony demands for a passage.

    We will be posting more tutorials shortly. Thanks Tom for providing these instructions.

  2. #2

    Re: Aggressive Short Bows - A Tutorial

    Thanks Gary,

    First let me say that this is a great idea and I for one apprecieate this very much.

    I just thought I\'d let you know that your midi file seems to be a broken link. (I couldn\'t download it)

    Ben Ripley

  3. #3

    Re: Aggressive Short Bows - A Tutorial

    Awesome Gary Thank you!! This is just the kind of thing I know that I at least need.

    Also, the midi file link is broken as Ben mentioned, the \"T\" needs to be taken out just before the word Aggressive like so;


    This link will work.

    Regards, Scott.

  4. #4

    Re: Aggressive Short Bows - A Tutorial

    Cool. Thanks Scott.

  5. #5

    Re: Aggressive Short Bows - A Tutorial

    These tutorials are a great idea. Just to point out a \"gotcha\" for this one, it says above \"MIDI Channel 1 = 1st Vln Sul Tasto mf UpDn ALT VAR1
    MIDI Channel 2 = 2nd Vln Staccato UpDn ALT VAR2\"

    I was going \'What and where the heck is VAR1 and VAR2???\'
    Then mucking around with the updates I finally figured out that the VAR? stuff is Art File updates from the older updates. (This could not be done without the VARs?) Certainly when when I tried to do the following:
    \"Load the 1st Violins Short Bows into the GigaStudio Instrument Editor and double click on instrument #34 in the list on the left of the screen.\" ...I could not find any instrument higher that 21. So, important safety tip: To do this tutorial, you have to do the VAR updates first.

  6. #6

    Re: Aggressive Short Bows - A Tutorial

    Thanks for the tip, Doyle.. was wondering about that, myself [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7

    Re: Aggressive Short Bows - A Tutorial

    No problem Sam.
    I just did the updates (I had not done the VAR and ER because at the time I got the update, I did not think I needed it; but I did most of the rest of the updates). SO after doing the VAR/ER update, I was able to make the adjustment for this tutorial.

  8. #8

    Re: Aggressive Short Bows - A Tutorial


    I’m glad you brought this up. It’s always best to assume that any tutorials apply to the latest updated version of the library. Why? Because when I prepare the tutorials I’m using the latest version of the files. They may or may not differ from earlier versions (depends on which files are specified) but using the latest files eliminates the possibility of a discrepancy.

    In the case of the Aggressive Short Bow tutorial the use of the VAR instruments will give somewhat different results compared to the standard instruments. This is because they are constructed with different amplitude envelope parameters. The standard instruments should still work but I can’t tell you how well because I haven’t tried it. The basic principles of the tutorial remain the same - however, if you want to hear it precisely as I prepared it, stick with the designated instruments. Personally, I tend to use only the VAR instruments for short bows now because they don’t use any more resources than the standard instruments and they give me the tools to eliminate the “machine gun” effect if and when the problem arises (see the VAR tutorial). Win win.


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