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Topic: Legato question

  1. #1

    Question Legato question

    Hey everyone,

    I have a real basic question about legato playing for different instruments. I'm just a student hobbyist, and I'm not too familiar with all the musical terms that get thrown around here, (I play by ear, I can't even read music!) but I know that legato means to have a smooth transition b/w successive notes played by an instrument. Since I don't have a sustain pedal yet for my midi keyboard, (I use cubase) I was wondering what that actually sounds like, as I can't notice a discernable difference when I draw into the sustain cc64 option in my sequencer. (My option is no sustain/ midi controller) Is Legato set to default when I load (SuS) instruments? If I could hear the difference I would know if I have the correct setting and whatnot. Can somebody please provide a sample or let me know where I could find one the shows the difference?



  2. #2

    Re: Legato question

    Two things to consider here, the term "legato" as it relates to music in general, and the "legato function" of GPO.

    The musical term describes a passage of notes that are played as smoothly as possible, with no discernable gaps between them. On a wind instrument, it means that the column of air that the player is producing remains steady during note changes, and the tongue is not used for successive notes. A piano's legato is just a matter of keeping the length of each note long enough to overlap ever so slightly with the next note. For some instruments, legato has no meaning, such as a xylophone, or strings playing pizzicato.

    GPO's legato function works for woodwinds, brass, and strings only. You should mostly concern yourself with the winds here, as they are easiest to understand, and benefit the most from legato function.

    To hear the effect most easily, try using a solo flute or clarinet for your example. Make sure the instrument polyphony is set to 1. Write a passage of even quarter notes in a scale, and make the durations just longer than a quarter, so that they slightly overlap. Place a CC#64 message with a value of 127 just after the beginning of the first note in the scale. Place another CC#64, but with a value of 0, at the end of the passage.

    What to listen for:
    With the controller messages in place, you will not hear each note in the passage tongued. They will be very smoothly strung together. Without the messages the notes will still be strung together, but there will be tonguing on each one. This effect is generally termed "tenuto" (depending on context), and means "held," (as in held to its full length).
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  3. #3

    Re: Legato question

    Thanks for the quick reply skysaw, here's a follow up for you, what exactly is polyphony and how do I adjust it for each instrument?

  4. #4

    Re: Legato question

    =bullock444]what exactly is polyphony
    Basically, the number of notes that an instrument can play simultaneously.
    e.g., Flute=1, Violin=4, Piano=many (GPO defaults to 64, I think)

    how do I adjust it for each instrument?
    Generally, the instruments in GPO are set to proper values and you don't need to change them.

    BUT, if you want to adjust the polyphony for some reason (there are a few):
    On the player, look at the two boxes below the "CPU USAGE" display on the left side of the track info display. The right hand box will show a couple of numbers, like 0/1, for example, on the flute.

    Click and hold the left mouse button on the right hand number ("1" in the example above) and drag upward to raise the polyphony, down to lower it.

    If you change the polyphony on an instrument like the flute or the horn to a number above "1", you will disable the legato functionality of the pedal (CC#64) on that instrument.

  5. #5

    Re: Legato question

    Thanks for the explanation, I still need to brush up on the lingo, but these answers have been very helpful! thanks

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