I have found that a fairly effective and realistic way to determine the value for Var1 (CC22) and Var2 (CC23) is with the formula:
CC = 2/x (where x is the duration of each note in seconds)
For a quarter note at 60 BPM (which has a duration of 1 sec), you get a CC value of 2. For a sixteenth note at 120 BPM (which has a duration of 0.125 sec), you get a CC value of 16.
If you don't feel the effect is strong enough, you can increase the formula to 3/x or 4/x, but anything above 4/x is probably going to result in a non-subtle effect.
Is anyone else using some system like this to apply these controllers? Any advice for why this approach might not be such a good idea?
I haven't found any problem with applying the same CC value to successive notes (no machine gun effect). I think this is because these controllers determine the degree of randomness that will be applied to the intonation/timbre, rather than actually specifying the intonation/timbre to use. (I haven't been able to verify this from the GPO documentation, but I believe this is correct.)
I wrote a program to go through a MIDI file, calculate the duration of each note, and apply these controller values. I like the results it gives me. Unfortunately, the program only runs on Unix systems, so it isn't something that others can easily use. I'm working on a plug-in to apply these controllers in Finale, but I'm a little too busy to learn how to use the Plug-In Development Kit right now.
Anyway, I was just curious about what others are doing for Var1 and Var2, and I thought I'd see if anyone has comments about the method I have come up with for assigning values to these controllers.
This sound fascinating. I'm afraid I have never thought about applying these controllers in a mathematical way. I simply have to rely on my ears. I draw little wavy lines of cc22 and cc23 in those areas needed and listen and adjust and listen ad infinitum. But I guess this way could save a lot of time if one is in a hurry. Thank you for sharing your research with us.
I've noticed this post and your other one about this for awhile now, and have been meaning to reply.
Along with Louis, I think this is a very interesting concept you have going here with this.
I'm a sequencer user, for many reasons, the primary one being that I'm a keyboard player and have to have a gut level connection with my music by actually Playing it rather than inserting it note by note. But that leaves me inexperienced with what notation users have to work with.
My understanding from posts I read recently, is that Finale users actually have a MIDI editor available for adding greater detail to their tracks than is available with just hairpins and dynamic markings. That means that they're able to draw in MIDI controllers, like Var 1 and 2.
With any kind of direct MIDI input being available, especially if a keyboard is involved, I agree with Louise that it works out fine to trust one's ears and instincts for hearing the result of applying amounts of MIDI controllers like Var 1 and 2. I'm not so sure I'd like to reduce it to a formula.
For me, it's a very simple matter of dialing in the right controller numbers on my keyboard's mod wheel, and recording Var 1 or 2 data in real time. If I've gone over board in my recording, I can easily modify my work in the Piano Roll View of Sonar. It's not a time consuming task at all, and for me, it's satisfying that it's something I've arrived at by using my own ears to determine how much is too much or too little.
I frankly have a strong hesitancy to rely on any plugin which automates things I know I can do easily on my own and which can be controlled by my own human input. In fact, I find most any program or utility which is designed to make my music more Automatically arrived at to be something I'm just not interested in using.
See where I'm coming from? - Var 1 in particular can be used sparingly as a chorusing effect, or it can be used to make fast passages more believably realized - It can be used to introduce random intonation variations - but not in a way which can be prediced or dictated. I enjoy finding the places where this spice can be added sparingly.
So, that's my perspective and approach to using Var 1 and 2. I'm quite content with using those controllers in real time just as I deal with velocity, volume and vibrato. It's n my nature I guess that if those values aren't chosen and controlled totally by myself, than I'm not happy.