As I began to use Aria/GPO4 with an older version of Finale (2008), I was not using Finale's native Kontakt player so I started by just creating a virtual midi cable and sending midi to a standalone Aria. That got me think, the standalone aria player has only 16 channels. In fact, the MIDI spec itself has only 16, I think. So what about big orchestrations that require much more than 16 instruments. Imagining sections, solo instruments, for a full or augmented orchestra... I think that would border more on 32 patches.
Then I got around to hooking up Aria as a VST instrument in Finale 2010. I learned that it is not as closely tied to Finale functionality as the Kontakt player, but with the Instrument Setup window I discovered I could access the aria plugin just fine. It's all dandy.
What I saw in the Instrument Setup window hinted at a new possibility.It looks like there are 128 "Finale channels" which are dvided into sections of 16, and each section goes to a unique instance of any VST instrument.
Well, now that's how you make a lot of instruments! So each Aria can go up to 16, but we can have multiple Arias.
I wonder if there is any similar way to do with through a virtual midi connection to the standalone aria player.
Does that work with most sequencers or notation programs? My memory is that when you set up a notation program or sequencer like Cubase you choose one midi output. Looking at Finale 2010 just now, in the midi setup dialog there is only a single option for midi output.
Hi, Michael - Both sequencers and notation programs support multiple sets of MIDI systems in a piece. That's the way people accomplish renderings with so many instruments, a full Wagnerian-sized orchestra if they want.
I've been digging around and cannot find a Berlioz work calling for 450 instrumentalists. He does have some works calling for very large orchestras, though. His Requiem calls for a little over 200 players although there must be a lot of doubling there since he apparently recommended scaling the orchestra to the chorus available. The premier of the work had over 400 performers but half of those were in the chorus.
Berlioz may have out-Wagnered the Wagnerian orchestra because it calls for 4 brass choirs (placed in the corners of them auditorium) in addition to a VERY large orchestra. Also, 10 (count them - 10) cymbals. While both Wagner and Berlioz used massive orchestras, I suspect the term "Wagnerian" is usually used because it was the Germans/Austrians, not the French, that continued the trend. Bruckner, Mahler, and Schoenberg all took and expanded the Wagnerian orchestra. (Some sources say Schoenberg's Gurrelieder calls for the largest orchestra, but at 150 it seems to trail behind Berlioz's Requiem.)
But in any case (getting back on topic) about half of those massive orchestras are strings. Even with a lot or divisions in each string section you'd probably not need more than 20 or so channels for the strings. You could probably have the whole orchestra covered with a mere 70 or 80 channels.
Let's not forget Skriabine (Third Symphony, The Poem of Extasy and Prometheus), Glier (Third Symphony) and, of course, Richard Strauss. What's interesting about Shoenberg is that he tried not to double (that doesn't mean he always succeeded). His Peleas is incredibly polyphonic with its leitmotifs, sometimes many if not all superimposed. In looking at the score, even bass lines and so called fillings are most of the time made up from those motifs. Amazing work for a 28 years old. So is Gurre for a 26 years old with its mesmerizing melodies. Anyway, just pitching in because you've touched upon one of my favorite subjects.