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Topic: Divisi?

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  1. #1

    Divisi?

    Can anyone explain to me what divisi refers to? I probably already understand it but have never heard the specific term before. Its used in the GPO manual.
    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Divisi?

    Hi, the very non-technical reply is when the part is shared between two players. For example, 2 Violinists might both be reading from the same part in front of them, one plays the top line, the other plays the bottom line.

    Thats my basic understanding of Divisi.

  3. #3

    Re: Divisi?

    This is an easy one [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    You mark \"divisi\" in your score when you want one string section to play a poliphonic part divided, ie, half the section for the upper part, and the other half for the lower voice. If you don\'t set that mark, string players will play with double stops, for example, wich means every player playing \"chords\" in unison.

    Right?

  4. #4
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    Re: Divisi?

    Most of the time it is used for strings as they have a decent amount of instruments in each section to do a decent divisi. Each string section can be divided 2-4 sections. Look at the chart below:

    12 violins divided into 2 = 6 per part
    12 violins divided into 3 = 4 per part
    12 violins divided into 4 = 3 per part

    You don\'t want to divide to anything less than 3 instruments in each section or the lose the section sound.

    I emulate divisi parts by using solo strings to get the lighter sound. You normally don\'t want to stack the parts with full section patches as then the parts get too heavy.

  5. #5
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    Re: Divisi?

    According to the Harvard Dictionary of Music, \"In orchestral scores. divisi indicates that the player of a part should be divided into two or more groups, each group playing a different part\".

    When we planned GPO, we wanted to produce a library that would allow one to do divisi. Usually sample libraries only provided unison sections, where every player plays the same note. This makes it difficult or impossible to perform true divisi. In orchestral music, it is not common for all the sections to play in unison, except in full tutti passages. It is commonplace in orchestral music to have the instruments play either separate parts or divisi. GPO

    Gary Garritan

  6. #6

    Re: Divisi?

    Isn\'t the problem with most libraries is that splitting a section of say 24 first violins into two parts equal to 48 violins now?! To capture a realistic sound you would need to suddenly play two separate samples of 12 violins playing each divisi part.

    Steve Barden

  7. #7
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    Re: Divisi?

    [ QUOTE ]
    12 violins divided into 2 = 6 per part
    12 violins divided into 3 = 4 per part
    12 violins divided into 4 = 3 per part

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Marked on the score in that order:

    div. (no number means two parts)

    div. a3

    div. a4

    when you want the players to return to normal, write \"unis.\"(unison).

    If you want double stops in a section but the score is such that the players may play divisi without your command (it happens!) you can write \"non div.\" Generally, you don\'t need to write that, though. If the conductor asks then it isn\'t clear - write it in.

  8. #8
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    Re: Divisi?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Isn\'t the problem with most libraries is that splitting a section of say 24 first violins into two parts equal to 48 violins now?! To capture a realistic sound you would need to suddenly play two separate samples of 12 violins playing each divisi part.

    Steve Barden

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Steve,

    This has been the problem up until now. With GPO you have 25 seapartely programmed stringed instruments. So you can do divisi or even separate parts for each.

    Here\'s a String Section demo that Francesco Marchetti did with separate stringed instruments (no section strings):

    http://www.garritan.com/mp3/fm-CombinedStrings.mp3

    You will notice that the instruments do separate, divisi and unison lines throughout the piece. To my knowledge this had not been possible until now.


    Gary Garritan

  9. #9

    Re: Divisi?

    Well maybe I\'ll throw a wrench into this discussion!

    First, what we are trying to achieve with our sampled orchestras amounts to fantasy, not reality. We may all want to sound as realistically as possible, but that does not always mean we should follow the rules of traditional orchestration as we would if we were writing for a real orchestra.

    Often times, section sounds of instruments will cover the bases much better than using solo instruments to build up a section for use in \'divisi\' chords. What can often happen is a result that sounds \'disjointed\' when contrasted with actual unison samples of the same instrument. Its difficult to get a proper blend between the different parts. Just listen to a decent recording of strings alternating between divisi and unisono to hear what it SHOULD sound like.

    Unless you ONLY use solo instruments to make your sections (as Francesco did) you will get a \'disconnect\' between the \'divisi\' and \'unisono\'.

    The term \'divisi\' is a necessary convention for composers writing for real orchestra. What we \'sample jockeys\' need are strings that have a little thinning down of the sections to cover those \'divisi\' parts. Again, using solo instruments is not the best method usually, to avoid the \'sampled\' sound of an orchestral mock-up. Layering solo strings over sections is a kind of work around, but usually they have too much vibrato to blend well enough.

    So if we can get a hold of some smaller sections, with the same tone and vibrato (or lack of) as the large unisons and we can get closer to \'reality\'....!

  10. #10
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    Re: Divisi?

    Nexus,

    Not really a wrench but an observation. If you are using the ensemble approach you must use solo instruments for divisi as well as unison (as Francesco did). Otherwise the instruments will not blend. Also, the stereo spread will be different. Dryer solo instruments work best as instruments can be positioned without fighting the fixed positioning inherent in wet samples.

    With pre-determined sections, the instruments are at the same relative volume, the start at exactly the same time, have the same relative attacks, same positioning, etc. which are burned into the samples. Every instrument goes in lockstep and there is little flexibility in such a rigid system.

    If each instrument is different, starts slightly different, has different intonation, different dynamics, plays differently, and is lyrical in its own right; this is more akin to how a real orchestra behaves. The ideal is to control each instrument the way a real player does and to control the acoustical environment. I believe that using individual instruments is a superior approach to orchestral simulation.

    We are working on a string orchestra library that will allow users to build string orchestras with the instruments of their choosing.

    Gary Garritan

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