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Topic: Overlays ?

  1. #1

    Overlays ?

    Hi everybody,

    I wondered how I could use the overlays the right way.
    Do you use it only for f or ff ?
    When do you use them ?
    Do you just make a copy of midi events (for example, copy the trumpet track when the trumpet plays f).

    Thanks you for your help.

    Windows XP. P4.
    Full GPO and CoMB.
    Finale 2008 and Sonar 7 PE.

    Mostly writing music for concert Band.
    Publishing his own work.

  2. #2

    Re: Overlays ?

    There are many ways to use them but they are primarily designed to be layered with the Solo and Ens instruments to add body and weight to the section. In the case of the French horns either or both of the f and ff overlays can be used. Using both along with the individual instruments can create a very powerful sound containing lots of variation in “brassiness” with volume changes. You should experiment with relative levels between the individual instruments and the overlays. By doing so, the effect can be adjusted from quite subtle to very obvious. The overlays can be used to double the 1st part or all parts. I prefer to play them in separately (rather than copy data from other tracks) to increase the variability of attacks and expression: The more subtle differences between parts, the better.


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    In a house

    Re: Overlays ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins
    In the case of the French horns either or both of the f and ff overlays can be used
    Tom, if using some of the French Horns with BOTH overlays at the same time, would that result in phasing problems ?


  4. #4

    Re: Overlays ?


    It shouldn't. Different samples.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Kauai, Hawaii, USA

    Lightbulb Re: Overlays ?

    I remember a discussion of phase problemsfor various instruments (French Horns come to mind) in the past. Do you suppose that the new update could clearly identify those (if they persist) so each person does not have to discover "the problem" independently (or scour the board for that info)?

    Just a "documentation" nit, fwiw.


  6. #6

    Re: Overlays ?


    the overlays usually blend quite nicely: when I have e.g. four french horns, I mix the midi tracks down to another one which controls the f overlay and a second (identical) one which controls the ff overlay. This works for me in many circumstances, since the velocity curves (response of volume to modulation wheel) is programmed quite reasonably. If it doesn't work, I adjust the mod wheel settings for the overlay manually.

    Phasing: most severe phasing problems I had occurred with the trombones, since all samples seem to be derived from one principal instrument. Since I mostly use at least two trombones, manually delete double notes in the second instrument. This makes the sound thinner (there's only one tbone playing), but then there is at least the overlay...

    My "christmas whishlist" for the next GPO release:
    Two to three independent trombones.
    Four independent french horns.
    Four independent trumpets.
    Saxophones and other "brass band" instruments.
    Timpani rolls (like the snare rolls, since I'm not so good in programing these...).

    Best regards,

  7. #7

    Re: Overlays ?


    Do you mean that on the f and ff, you have then 4 tracks of horns, (1, 2, 3 and 4), and two tracks of overlays (f and ff) ?
    For which level do you begin to use the overlays ?

    Which software do you use ?
    I'm using SONAR, If you too, would you have an example I could listen to ?
    Or just a MP3 to hear the horn ensemble ...

    I agree with you for the christmas list, but as I write a lot for concert band, I would add a Euphonium (with overlays too).

    (What do you think Gary and Tom) ?

    Windows XP. P4.
    Full GPO and CoMB.
    Finale 2008 and Sonar 7 PE.

    Mostly writing music for concert Band.
    Publishing his own work.

  8. #8

    Re: Overlays ?

    Hi Alex,

    ok, let's count ...
    There are four "basic" tracks nos. 1-4 for the four french horns (so each voice can have its own sample). Each of these tracks is "monophonic".
    In addition to this, there is one track no. 5 for the f overlay, and another track no. 6 for the ff overlay. Each of these two tracks may have four voice polyphony (chords), since they are just mixedowns of tracks nos. 1-4.

    I'm using Cubase sx, and until now, I did not yet care too much about manually using the overlays, i.e. I use them always This does not mean that there is *always* a ff brass sound, because the overlay samples seem to blend in gradually when a certain velocity / mod wheel is reached (at least that's my impression of it). However, sometimes manual "tuning" might be much better than this quick solution.

    As an example, you may listen to the fourth movement of my first symphony, it is quite "brassy". You find the link at:


    Btw., an euphonium would be nice. Or a sousaphone?

    Best regards,

  9. #9

    Re: Overlays ?

    Here's another idea for the trombone (or any instrument for that matter) phasing problems. In Cubase, (probably in Sonar also) you can adjust your MIDI notes by a few ticks. I have found in the past that doing so eliminates phasing and does not introduce timing problems. It might be worth trying.

    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

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