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Topic: open strings?

  1. #1

    open strings?

    Hi folks! I'm new to the Forum - I'm a long-time Finale user, I recently upgraded to Finale 2009b (from the 2004 version!) and and have been enjoying using and learning about the Garritan Instruments for Finale. I've been reading the posts here for a while, with an eye towards buying some more Garritan products.

    As a violinist, I've been especially interested in the string samples in the GPO, and such products as the upcoming Garritan Orchestral Strings 2.

    One expressive device used sparingly on the violin is the use of the open strings (E/A/D/G) - the metallic edginess can add quite a different color in the right place (I can provide some examples if folks are interested). It's usually without vibrato, as well (although you can achieve a type of vibrato on an open string by vibrating the same note, or an octave higher, on an adjacent string.)

    I was wondering if this "open string" sound is part of the Garritan samples, either in the existing products or upcoming products? Can it be 'invoked' via a controller, etc.?

    I hope I've been clear; if not, please let me know. Thanks for any information about this!

    Larry Samuels

  2. #2

    Re: open strings?

    Hi Larry,

    Welcome to the forum!

    It sounds like you are asking if the various open strings on the various GPO string instruments may be played either vibrato or non vibrato. The answer, in short, is no. I believe only the lowest open string on each patch is fixed senza vibrato. I suppose the reasoning was that, in the real world, those pitches couldn't ever have any vibrato, though as you say, this is not entirely true. On the other hand, the Garritan Strad violin and Gofriller cello are senza vibrato by default, and the vibrato rate and depth may be continuously varied via controllers. So if you wanted to replicate a non vibrato open A on the Strad violin, that is easy enough to achieve (though I doubt the sample is actually an open A). Unfortunately, these instruments are no longer available and I'm not sure what's coming down the pipeline. There's supposed to be a GOS3 or something and also an Aria upgrade to GPO purportedly adding new capabilities.

    However, what you are asking is something I would like to see for all string instruments, both ensemble and solo. In fact, I would take it a step further: It would be nice to have a controller that allows one to specify a particular string for a particular note (and the samples to back it up), for those that would like that level of control. I suppose the default could remain where the lower notes are played in first position on the lower strings. But it sure would be nice, for instance, to direct a melody to sound in what amounts to the fifth position on the A-string, for example.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: open strings?


    Welcome! I don't know if this works for all strings, but if you play the low G on the violin, you will hear that it has no vibrato; haven't checked all the others...
    Ron Pearl





  4. #4

    Re: open strings?

    I'm thinking more of the quality of the open sound string (not whether it has vibrato). The open strings, especially the E string, can come across as metallic and 'harsh'; beginning players are often taught to avoid them. -)

    But this 'edginess' can have its points; as an example, passages involving quick notes fingered, say, on the A string alternated with the open E string (the Bach E Major Prelude for the violin, Partita #3 has a well-known example); for the cello, the end of the Bach Prelude from the Cello Suite #1 has 16ths on the D string alternated with the open A. The open string becomes sort of a pedal point, but the use the open string (rather than a fingered note) makes it more prominent and adds 'flavor'. -)

    Cheers! And again, thanks for any information!

    Larry S.

  5. #5

    Re: open strings?

    Whoops, sorry we weren't able to answer your question straight away.

    The developers can say for sure, but I doubt any of the Garritan string patches, solo or ensemble, use any open string samples, with the possible exception of the non vibrato pedal tone (and if open tones are used, any "edginess" has apparently been intentionally equalized away). The reason for this would be that the open string sound is noticeably different than the fingered tone, creating an uneven timbre were those tones part of a scale or other linear passage. In any event, open tones are part of what comprises the sound of a real violin, and I can understand the desirability of having them available.

    It would be nice to specify the open tone and have an open tone sample play, but this is not currently possible, not only for the examples that you site, but for things like double stops and adjacent string unisons. Especially for solo instruments, it would add another level of realism to the performance, but no doubt create a more complicated interface and programming effort. On the bright side, perhaps open strings might become available in a future generation of one or more of the Garritan virtual string instruments. Gary's team is constantly improving their products and this is definitely something I would add to the wish list, along with the ability to sound specific tones on specific strings through 6th position, i.e., all the pitches (including the open tone) up to at least a major 10th on each string.

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