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Topic: Violin Harmonics

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  1. #1
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Violin Harmonics

    Hi, ya'll -
    From way back when (GPO 1 days and the old, old, Garritan website) I seem to recall a 'paper' (or tutorial of sorts - they no long exist, according to Tony M.) about String issues that talked about, among many other things, getting "harmonic" sounds. I don't know if this was being related to GPO, GOS, or whatever. But I would like to create a true violin harmonic sound.

    I now have GPO 4 (with Aria) and I noticed that the range of the violins (at least Violin 2s) have been extended from D to C (a criticism I noted to Garritan years ago). This is in what I would consider "harmonics" range, but it has some vibrato with it. So this would be a dead giveaway that the sound is not a violin harmonic.

    Is there any technique, possibly using filters or other audio processing devices, that can either eliminate the vibrato or render the normal violin sound to be more like a harmonic sound? (I have Sonar 8.5 Producer and some other FX devices, so I have a fairly substantial array of audio processors - although I am not terribly knowledgeable about many of them).

    Thanx for any input.
    Frank
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  2. #2

    Re: Violin Harmonics

    I don't think there's any way to do it convincingly in GPO (unless there's some amazing trick that I don't know about!). Back in the early days of GPO, I used the Glass Harmonica patch to simulate harmonics in a couple of pieces. It kind of worked.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  3. #3
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Re: Violin Harmonics

    Hi, Dan -
    Interesting idea. I've got VSL Glass & Stone with a Glass Harmonica, Verriphone and Musical Glasses. Come to think of it, there is a bowed Lithophone that might sound a lot like violin harmonics. Did you do anything to modify your sound to make it more convincing or realistic?

    Thanx for the input.
    Frank
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  4. #4

    Re: Violin Harmonics

    No, I didn't modify it in any way. I'm not really sure what could be done, or if it would be worth the effort.

    These days I'm using VSL Chamber Strings for most of my string writing, so the issue hasn't arisen.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  5. #5

    Re: Violin Harmonics

    Hi Frank, getting the harmonics out is feasable (but it probably won't sound right), and getting rid of the vibrato is another story alltogether. I think that you are better off searching to find sampled violin harmonics. I belieive (but I don't remember) that the Garritan Stradivari solo violin did have sampled harmonics, but it's been discontinued.

    While you can supress the fundamental frequency by highpass filtering right below the desired harmonic, the violin has such a rich tone that this will not necessarily bring out the harmonic explicitly (there will still be lots of residual sound from the original timbre). If you had a violin sample without vibrato, you could try applying several narrow bandpass filters to multiples of the desired harmonic frequency, and this would filter out some of the residual sound... but it would probably sound unnatural and sterile, as you would also be filtering out bow noise, ext. In fact, if you did this you would probably be filtering out some of the violin's higher frequency formants (formants are key resonant frequencies that make a violin sound like a smallish hollow wooden instrument)--- while harmonic tones depend less on formants than regular tones, the result would still likely sound inorganic.
    "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." – Henry Thoreau


  6. #6

    Re: Violin Harmonics

    Hi Frank,
    Garritan Orchestral Strings has fantastic string section harmonics samples,
    but they are not solo instruments.

    If this is something you really need for one particular project, you could send me the midi notes that need to be harmonics, and I could render a stereo wave file recording of the midi track.

    Here is a song I did quite some time ago that has all Garritan sounds along with one Garritan Stradivari solo violin as concertmaster.

    It was written by David Foster and is called Water Fountain.
    Dan

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