I'm a composer still in the research phase of using samplers and sample libraries. I'm quite familiar with most other aspects of digital audio recording and manipulation (good old college education and lots of practice), but I'm finding my current setup lacking: for orchestral works, I write everything in Sibelius, export the MIDI file to Sonar, and record the sounds straight from my synth's patches.
As you can imagine, this setup is quite lacking in that the patches, while very good, are nowhere near as good as the biggie sample libraries. And the only articulations I can control are the basic ones I do with MIDI, whether in Sibelius or Sonar. I've been researching the realtime editing options that libraries like GPO offer, and I'm excited about what's possible.
My question is, with samplers like Giga or Kontakt, is there a way to see the results of manipulating articulations? Do these programs allow for graphic editing of articulations? In other words, let's say this: I have a solo violin part. I load the raw MIDI file with nothing but note-on messages into Kontakt. Can I use the editing functions unique to Kontakt to edit dynamics, legato phrasing, and different articulations graphically like I use the normal piano-roll graphic to do basic MIDI editing?
Sorry for the long question, but it's hard to get across what I'm confused about. Thanks in advance for your replies, or if you can point me toward any web tutorials or previous threads on this that would also be of great help.
Okay... so the sequencer is what loads the MIDI data, and the sequencer then triggers the sample player, which plays the samples... correct? I guess what I'm asking is that since sample players will play different individual samples for a single instrument depending on articulations and dynamics and whatnot, is there a graphical way of seeing which samples will be chosen by the player at any given point in the music? And can you then graphically manipulate how the sample player chooses the samples? Or are the changes in samples completely controlled by MIDI messages in the sequencer?
The articulations can be changed with MIDI messages. You can add the messages in Sibelius, or in the sequencer (typically Sonar, Cubase, Logic or Digital Performer).
In Sibelius, add Technique Text (Ctrl-T), then type in the MIDI message. For instance "~P0,13" tells the sound module or sample player to change to Bank 0, Patch 13, and the text is invisible on the printed score.
Note that Giga respects program changes, but Kontakt does not. Both handle key switches. You can type "~N60,1" to send Note On middle C at velocity 1.
If you add the other notation marks, such as pizz, slurs, and stacato dots, you will see a graphic representation. Unfortunately, it's up to you to manually add these, and ensure that they agree with the articulation that you've chosen.
When you export MIDI from Sibelius to the sequencer, the MIDI messages survive in the MIDI file. You then need to set up the ports manually, but you can then draw in the expressions and fine tune the timing to get a more musical feel. And you can always play certain lines in live to really humanize the timing.