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Topic: Building a String Section

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  1. #1

    Talking Building a String Section

    Folks. I'm building a string section of 18 1st violins, 12 2nd violins, 10 violas, 8 cellos, and 6 dbl basses. From what I've gathered from previous posts it seems to be a bad idea to mix solo & keyswitched samples along with the derived individual players so I am about to use the player 1-3 samples. For my 1st violins this would mean 6 each of the Strads, Guarns, and Giagli players in a combination of 2 * player1, 2 * player 2 and 2 * player 3. This is nothing if not laborious but I'm looking forward to trying knocking it into shape.

    What I'm worried about however is that after all this effort I find there are "phasing" or other problems lurking somewhere waiting to emerge as soon as I wave my baton. So I would be very gratefull if anyone out there in Garritan-land can give me a heads-up as to any likely problems with this approach before I wade in too deep.

    Cheers, CD
    +++++++++++++++++
    Musical Inspiration is only 10% of the Effort!

  2. #2

    Re: Building a String Section

    If you have more than one instance of any sample set--i.e., Plr, Solo, Section, doesn't matter--playing the same note, you will get phasing/cancellation or you will simply increase the amplitude of the signal to produce a louder single sample.

    The reason is that any note (middle C, for example) in a given sample set is (or is based on) a single sample. If you have two or more instances playing the same note, they will all use the same sample for any given note and phasing will result. This holds true even if you try to create separate 1st and 2nd vlns. If they both contain the same sample set and play a unison, bingo.

    "Players" in a single category can be combined only because their samples don't overlap. But if you put Strad Plr 1 in two different "collections" and then play a unison, you've done what is described above.

    Use the Sections. The elements that give a section its sound are the imperfections of timing, tuning, timbre, etc. of each player and instrument. This is extremely difficult to achieve with individual samples, especially the limited set that is included in GPO.

    Danielle did an excellent tutorial on section building and there you can see how much work is involved. You can really practically create only small sections by alternating the Plrs between Vlns I and II so there is no sample overlap.

    If you experiment yourself with loading just two instances of the same "Plr" playing the same note, you will see that the unison produces what sounds like the original single note only louder. If you try to offset the timing, you will introduce phasing.
    Bill

  3. #3
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Building a String Section

    Well one thing I am doing now, which may help your thought process a bit with what you have, is I am taking a more economical approach to writing by setting up a studio orchestra rather than large orchestra.

    Limiting my instruments in each section into groups of three may get better mixes of instrument qualities:

    ex:
    Rather than Vlns 3 Guarn KS, Vlns 3 Guarn plr1, Vlns 3 Guarn plr2, Vlns 3 Guarn Guern plr3...

    Breakdown to three violin instrument x 3 sections

    Vlns 3 Guarn KS, Vlns 1 Gagli Plr1, Vlns 2 Strad plr1
    Vlns 2 Strad KS, Vlns 1 Gagli Plr2, Vlns 3 Guarn plr1
    Vlns 1 Gagli KS, Vlns 2 Strad Plr2, Vlns 3 Guarn plr2

    and using a1 on the ww, br, perc

    Now, I am doing this because:
    1) I am basically in a recording studio, and have no need for an orchestra to fill a Mahler concert hall.
    2) These are mockups for real studio gigs, and most of my gigs do not use 190 piece orchestras.

    The next step up would be to write for Chamber orchestra (a2), and here I am looking only for creating mockups to real concert gigs. If I wanted the # of vlns per section that you are speaking of, I would go ahead and use the sections in GPO or my GSO (for all instruments). However, I found I can get a VERY REAL and close sound to a section in a RECORDING situation, by using LESS instruments and not necessarily more. 9-12 vlns 4 vla, 4 cello, 2 bass when set up right sound very real indeed. ANd I bet I could get it down to less if I tweaked it a bit more...

  4. #4

    Talking Re: Building a String Section

    Guys, the penny (or nickel) is finally begining to drop. I've been looking at Danielle's tutorial and see she is building a section of 12 players in total split between vlns I and II. From what I can gather from my various posts (and your generous help) is that in violin section building it is best to avoid going beyond 9 players in total, excluding the ks & solo samples so as to avoid possible phasing conflicts. Cheers, CD

  5. #5
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Building a String Section

    I think you can safely use KS or SOLO instruments, as long as you dont put them together with their children plr-n in a unison setting. The second point is that if you want to make a section sound more convincing, mix up the "type" of violins in a section, so that they don't all sound alike or play similarly. I mean, how many sections of 6-9 instruments have 80% Strads for instance in real life? The Strada-various Philharmonia? Try to get an even distribution.


    Danielle's tutorial is good, but is a bit confusingly written.

  6. #6

    Re: Building a String Section

    Quote Originally Posted by billp
    Danielle did an excellent tutorial on section building and there you can see how much work is involved.
    Would someone point me to this tutorial - I can't find it.
    Many thanks,

    /dave

  7. #7
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Re: Building a String Section

    Quote Originally Posted by dbmac
    Would someone point me to this tutorial - I can't find it.
    Many thanks,

    /dave
    Dave,

    Go here: http://www.garritan.com/tips_tutorials.html

    Scroll down and you will find it. Lot's of other good info on that page.

    R. Pearl

  8. #8

    Re: Building a String Section

    Quote Originally Posted by newmewzikboy
    ex:
    Rather than Vlns 3 Guarn KS, Vlns 3 Guarn plr1, Vlns 3 Guarn plr2, Vlns 3 Guarn Guern plr3...

    Breakdown to three violin instrument x 3 sections

    Vlns 3 Guarn KS, Vlns 1 Gagli Plr1, Vlns 2 Strad plr1
    Vlns 2 Strad KS, Vlns 1 Gagli Plr2, Vlns 3 Guarn plr1
    Vlns 1 Gagli KS, Vlns 2 Strad Plr2, Vlns 3 Guarn plr2

    and using a1 on the ww, br, perc

    Now, I am doing this because:
    1) I am basically in a recording studio, and have no need for an orchestra to fill a Mahler concert hall.
    2) These are mockups for real studio gigs, and most of my gigs do not use 190 piece orchestras.
    I'm not quite clear as to what you're trying to do. Are you trying to make three violin sections instead of the standard two? Or do you want to combine all of those instruments you listed into one section? If you wanted to combine them into one section or make them play in unison you have to get rid of the KS instruments and substitute them for plr instruments. Otherwise you'll get phasing.
    In GPOA, GOS2 will be intigrated, so we will have many more solo instruments so that section samples will probably become a thing of the past. I think this development will simplify things a bit.

    -Chris

  9. #9
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Building a String Section

    Yawn...read closely

    3 sections of 3 - its the only way to get a mix of different types w/o phasing

    Quote Originally Posted by cptexas
    I'm not quite clear as to what you're trying to do. Are you trying to make three violin sections instead of the standard two? Or do you want to combine all of those instruments you listed into one section? If you wanted to combine them into one section or make them play in unison you have to get rid of the KS instruments and substitute them for plr instruments. Otherwise you'll get phasing.
    In GPOA, GOS2 will be intigrated, so we will have many more solo instruments so that section samples will probably become a thing of the past. I think this development will simplify things a bit.

    -Chris

  10. #10
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    Re: Building a String Section

    In addition to the Ensemble Building Tutorial, you may also want to refer to the GPO Strings Tutorial http://www.garritan.com/tutorial/Dan...s_Strings.html
    which discusses layering solo strings with sections.

    Gary Garritan

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