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Topic: Layering Strings

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  1. #1

    Layering Strings

    I have heard in the past that some (renderers? what do we call ourselves?) will layer solo strings over the string sections to make a fuller, more varied sound.

    As I'm getting to that stage in my first GPO project, I'm curious what people layer together - the solo strings or the individual player strings, or all of the above.

  2. #2
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    Re: Layering Strings

    Hi Rob,

    Renderers is a good name.

    Layering solo strings with sections does create a fuller sound. With section strings the players seem to move in lockstep fashion. The start times, relative volumes, attacks, etc are the same. With real strings you hear individual players weave a delicate tapestry - with players coming in and out, starting with different attacks, emphasizing certain notes, etc.

    GPO is primarily a library of individual instruments designed and you can layer and build ensembles quite easily. There are a couple of dozen solo strings you can do this with in GPO. And layering other solo string libraries or real players will also work.

    Here is an excellent tutorial done by Robert Davis that shows how to do superb string writing using GPO. It shows how to layer solo and section strings, imparting variability, optimizing string parts to achieve the utmost realism and imparting subtle nuances. There are some wonderful tips and tricks, pictures of sequences, midi files, as well as audio examples.

    http://www.garritan.com/tutorial/Mas...s_Strings.html

    There's also an excellent tutorial on Ensemble building for strings: http://www.garritan.com/tutorial/Str...gTutorial.html

    Hope this helps.

    All the best,

    Gary Garritan

  3. #3

    Re: Layering Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by raweber
    I have heard in the past that some (renderers? what do we call ourselves?) will layer solo strings over the string sections to make a fuller, more varied sound.

    As I'm getting to that stage in my first GPO project, I'm curious what people layer together - the solo strings or the individual player strings, or all of the above.
    I like the term "renderers."
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  4. #4
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
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    Re: Layering Strings

    Lots of good info in that tutorial. He mentions the use Var1 and Var2, and i'm wondering what experienced people are usualy setting those to, a little Var or a lot. Around 2 or 3? About 8 or 10? 15? More? 50?

    edit: Ok maybe 50 too much, but where are you guys setting these?

  5. #5

    Re: Layering Strings

    Wow, a personal response from the head of the company. You don't see that often enough. Thanks, Gary. I checked out the tutorials and there is scads of great information there.

    It may be apropos to mention, though, that I'm using the Finale Edition of GPO, so I only have three individual violins and two violin solos to mess around with. I figure layering one or more of the individuals or solos over the section strings will provide the best results.

    I also have a pizzicato section in the piece, and the individual players don't mention any keyswitching. Do those players have pizz. samples, or just the "solos"?

  6. #6

    Re: Layering Strings

    I've spent some time curled up with the help files tonight, and so far have had no luck finding any reference to the "Var. 1" and "Var. 2" controls on the Kontakt 2 player. So, just what to they do?

    Also, I added in the Solo Violins 1 and 2 to the Violin Section, and they aren't keyswitching to Pizzicato with the section strings (HP, pizz. above all staves). The solos to have pizz. samples, right?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
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    Re: Layering Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by raweber
    Wow, a personal response from the head of the company. You don't see that often enough. Thanks, Gary. I checked out the tutorials and there is scads of great information there.

    It may be apropos to mention, though, that I'm using the Finale Edition of GPO, so I only have three individual violins and two violin solos to mess around with. I figure layering one or more of the individuals or solos over the section strings will provide the best results.

    I also have a pizzicato section in the piece, and the individual players don't mention any keyswitching. Do those players have pizz. samples, or just the "solos"?
    In both the section strings and solo strings there are some with KS on the name.

    After loading one of them, from the kontakt player push the keyboard button at the top left of the Kontakt Player Logo name.

    On the keyboard graphical you will see some bluish keys. Those are ones that are inside the voice range of that instrument or group.

    OK, now click the left arrow on the far left of the keyboard to view it's lowest octave. You will see some keys that are pink in color, those are the keys for the keyswitches and for section strings that lowest f note is the one for pizz (press and hold a pink key while playing the bluish keys), i think it is the same for solo but there are only a few so you check to see which one.

    I have to have my midi keyboard connected to operate the key switches, there may be another way, but i haven't read all of manual yet.

    edit: I haven't used this yet in a Finale score, i have been giving piz strings a separate stave. Some people make two scores, one for publishing and a different one for playback.

  8. #8

    Re: Layering Strings

    Var1 and Var2 usually control variable timbre and variable intonation (i.e. detuning). But it depends on what instrument you're working with.

    -Chris
    There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Therefore there must be a God. You either get this one or you don't - Kreeft & Tacelli
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    Musicians are just these guys that want to make music. Okay, they want to have a wonderful lifestyle, but the majority just want to make really great music. - Jon Anderson


  9. #9

    Re: Layering Strings

    So, does anyone want to chime in with their preferred settings?

    BTW, I'm not getting the Solo Violin 1 KS or 2 KS to respond to the "pizz." symbol in Finale (where in another staff the violin section is). The section violins in pizzicato sound good enough, though, so I think I'll just eliminate the notes in that passage from the solo instruments.

  10. #10

    Re: Layering Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by raweber
    So, does anyone want to chime in with their preferred settings?
    These parameters can be controlled by MIDI CC's (22 and 23) and adjusted throughout the piece. On passages of repetition I tend to turn them up to around 8 or 9, then bring them down for the more lyric phrases.

    Best,
    Reegs

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