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Topic: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

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  1. #1

    Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    I understand that GPO uses the mod wheel (cc1) to control dynamics rather than using velocity, and I understand that dynamics and articulation are two different things.

    I thought, though, that there was already a MIDI convention that the Expression controller (cc 11) should control dynamics. So I'm curious about the reason for the decision to use cc1. Is it just that many MIDI keyboards come with devices that control cc1 and not cc11?

  2. #2

    Re: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    Without empirical knowledge, I'd have to say, "Yes." Most keyboards, right up till GPO was released, had a mod wheel, but not all had an easy way to use cc112, even if you could reassign a pedal.

    Right about at the same time, manufacturers started releasing keyboards with pitch bend but no mod wheel. Coincidence? I don't think so...

    Theyre out there (so am I, I guess...)
    Dasher
    -------
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  3. #3
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    Re: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    Andrew,

    We decided to use the tools most people had at their disposal. Most have a keyboard, mod wheel and sustain pedal and we wanted something immediately usable for the most people to plat in real-time.

    The optional X-Custom instruments available at http://www.garritan.com/downloads.html gives you the option of assigning CC#11 (expression) to that particular function.

    Hope this answers your question.

    Gary Garritan

  4. #4

    Re: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    Andrew,

    We decided to use the tools most people had at their disposal. Most have a keyboard, mod wheel and sustain pedal and we wanted something immediately usable for the most people to plat in real-time.

    The optional X-Custom instruments available at http://www.garritan.com/downloads.html gives you the option of assigning CC#11 (expression) to that particular function.

    Hope this answers your question.

    Gary Garritan
    Yes, it does.

    Just as background, before I started using GPO, I had been using a sequencer (Midi Maestro) that lets you control the volume of individual tracks during playback--but not if those tracks control their own volume with cc7. Under ordinary circumstances, Finale HP puts its dynamic changes in cc7, which would override Midi Maestro's own volume controls. When I conferred with the author of Midi Maestro, he told me that he believed the Midi standard was to use cc11 for dynamics. Then I started using GPO, which uses cc1. Of course when I ask Finale HP to generate a file suitable for GPO, and play it back through another synthesizer using Midi Maestro, it sounds terrible.

    As a computer scientest who has spent many years working on international standards, I have seen many such problems, and they always have a cause. At least for myself, I find it much easier to understand how things work if I know more about why they are the way they are. That helps me form a model of what's going on.

    Thanks for the information!

    PS: As it happens, I'm composing music a note at a time rather than playing a keyboard into a sequencer. And in any event, neither of my two keyboards has a mod wheel, though I think I could assign one of the dials on one of them to cc1. But right now I'm more interested in the notes-on-"paper" route first.

  5. #5
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    Re: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    Andrew,

    MIDI Maestro is a very clever program and it is surprising it is not more well known. It is fantastic for live performance.

    I too wish there were better standards as it makes for developing a library more difficult. Especially standards in keyboards. Most have mod wheels and some don't (and some spring loaded), some have C4 as middle C and others C3 or C5, they treat aftertouch differently, etc. Still, the tools we have at our disposal is nothing short of amazing.

    Good luck with the notes-on-"paper" route.

    Gary Garritan

  6. #6

    Re: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    Andrew,

    MIDI Maestro is a very clever program and it is surprising it is not more well known. It is fantastic for live performance.

    I too wish there were better standards as it makes for developing a library more difficult. Especially standards in keyboards. Most have mod wheels and some don't (and some spring loaded), some have C4 as middle C and others C3 or C5, they treat aftertouch differently, etc. Still, the tools we have at our disposal is nothing short of amazing.

    Good luck with the notes-on-"paper" route.

    Gary Garritan
    I keep thinking about what Bach would have written if he had today's tools. I get the feeling that he was largely limited by the physical speed at which he could write down notes.

  7. #7

    Re: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Koenig
    I keep thinking about what Bach would have written if he had today's tools. I get the feeling that he was largely limited by the physical speed at which he could write down notes.
    I really do personally not think so, but this is of topic and another matter.

    Iwan

  8. #8

    Re: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Koenig
    I keep thinking about what Bach would have written if he had today's tools. I get the feeling that he was largely limited by the physical speed at which he could write down notes.
    I do not think you meant to imply "limited" in the pejorative sense but maybe rather, "restricted". In any case, perhaps limited but not as yet superceded(:-)

    Ed

  9. #9

    Re: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edi
    I do not think you meant to imply "limited" in the pejorative sense but maybe rather, "restricted". In any case, perhaps limited but not as yet superceded(:-)

    Ed
    I mean mechanically limited. For ten years he composed, rehearsed, and directed approximately 20 minutes of orchestral music every week. Moreover, he seems to have written out many of the parts himself, rather than using copyists, as they often contain improvements. My understanding is that Bach musicologists generally consider the parts to be more authoritative than the scores for that reason.

    So I think he was limited by his tools in the same way that a novelist would be limited by not having a typewriter. Nothing perjorative intended--merely a comment on the physical problem of committing ideas to paper.

  10. #10

    Re: Why Mod instead of Expression for volume control?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Koenig
    I mean mechanically limited. For ten years he composed, rehearsed, and directed approximately 20 minutes of orchestral music every week. Moreover, he seems to have written out many of the parts himself, rather than using copyists, as they often contain improvements. My understanding is that Bach musicologists generally consider the parts to be more authoritative than the scores for that reason.

    So I think he was limited by his tools in the same way that a novelist would be limited by not having a typewriter. Nothing perjorative intended--merely a comment on the physical problem of committing ideas to paper.
    I certainly understand what you mean. Indeed, I remember listening to Chopin, for example, with all those voluminous runs, and thinking that even if I had the talent I could never have tolerated the (to my mind) tedium to write it all down!

    Ed

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