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Topic: Strings Legato Tutorial using Ghost Notes

  1. #1

    Arrow Strings Legato Tutorial using Ghost Notes

    I saw somebody needed info in the thread "Idiots guide to portamento" so i decided to make a tutorial about it with the technique i use , i hope you find it useful and inspirational !

    First of all, make two channels that have Different string patches on them ( preferably something like 8 Violins and 16 violins or Solo Cello and Cello section for example ) . If you use the same patch on both channels, you will get phaze problems .

    Set both channels to exactly the same Panning . Around 20 pan works well for me when making violins. Around 100 pan when writing Cello . Up to you !

    This image above shows a simple string line with an example of expression controllers . We will take this line ( Midi Clip ) and all of it's controllers and copy the whole thing to our second channel.

    As you can see on the second picture ( Channel Two ) the notes have been moved a -little- bit to the left , depending on the tempo you are working on , move it more to the left for fast tempos, and less for slower ones. Or don't move it at all if you don't want .

    The described above are our Ghost Notes ! They will make the legato's smooth . You will not be able to hear them in the final mixdown, but their pitch and harmonics will interact with the main channel and make the sound fatter and richer or will be used for very smooth transactions. Doesn't even the sound of it just make you so happy ?

    Now on channel 2 we will draw Pitch Bends .
    Whenever moving to a next note which is Higher, draw a bend that follows the Legato you imagine and it's speed . ( Like on Picture 2 ) . So for example, when you go from C to a D, draw 2 semitones bend. From E to F draw one semitone .
    Usually you can start the Bend from the middle of the initial note, it's peak reaching the start of the next note, and the end of the bend in the middle of the next note .

    Now, set this channel MUCH lower in volume, If channel 1 is 100 , set this to 50-60 or even lower . It depends on what instruments your two channels have so it's difficult to have a standard. About 50% seems to do the job .

    Demo Mp3 File

    Mp3 Demo File -----> Download Link
    Download the First song on the List by clicking on the small blue Mp3 link, it features my horrible accent and speech with a 6$ mic .


    -If you see that the note transactions are -too much- distorted by the bends, lower the velocity of the notes in channel 2 or just set the volume lower. This trick works well when applied subtle . When overkilled, the two channels start to seperate and distort.

    - If you want to fatten the sound in one note/part, just go to channel 2 and make a bend downwards with 1 to 2 semitones. Downwards works better imo.

    - Always work with big tempos instead of small ones. Instead of using 100 Tempo use 200 and make all your data expand to double the length. Instead of 50 use 200 and make all your data expand to four times the length .

    The faster the tempo is , the more values in the controllers and the pitch bend you can use and you will also get better quality since the volume increments will be more . So in a Fade in , the values won't go 90-92-94-96 but they will go as they should -> "Chromatically"

    That's about it !

    If you need any help , please post your questions in this Thread.

    Here is the Tutorial Part 2 :

    May the force be with you .
    Theo Krueger - Composer


    Kontakt 2 Scripts

  2. #2

    Re: Strings Legato Tutorial using Ghost Notes


    Great idea! Thank you for sharing!


  3. #3

    Re: Strings Legato Tutorial using Ghost Notes


    Thanks for the tutorial. The pictures don't show. Can you, please, upload them again?

    Thanks, S.

  4. #4

    Re: Strings Legato Tutorial using Ghost Notes

    Thank you very much, Theo, for this post with valuable tips!

    I personally do not like portamento, even in real orchestras. But of course it does have its place, and with your technique I may be able to get more convincing portamenti in my renditions. Until now I have largely omitted those portamenti and instead have done just a note overlap with soft note attack and decay, pretending a simple legato.

    BTW, for getting a higher resolution in the controller series you do not need to increase the tempo, but the resolution. In the setup for each sequence there is usually this parameter, something like ticks per quarter. This need to be set to the highest possible value. In Sonar, this is 960. Then the tempo can be set at any (slow) value, and the controller values still show up in all fine gradations. On has also to switch of quantization for this - otherwise the controllers will only appear on the quantized positions, e.g. 1/16. But it may be that your sequencer is working differently than Sonar.

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