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Topic: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

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  1. #1

    Question Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    I posted the following on the Support & Technical forum, but no responses, so I'd like to try my luck over here...

    I'm finally putting together the ensembles for my virtual orchestra in GPO 4. There are a couple of instruments for which I'd like to slightly extend the downward range:

    Oboe Classical Solo lowest note from B2 to A#2

    Trumpets lowest note from G2 to F2

    Is there any way to do this besides applying pitch bend? My intuition tells me that if this is even possible, it would be by editing the appropriate .sfz file. However, I don't want to muck around there unless I know precisely what I'm doing, so any expert advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!


    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  2. #2

    Re: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    Based on what I know, your right that you'd have to edit the .sfz file. However, I believe the .sfz file would just tell ARIA to bend the pitch.

    So you could use the Notation banks and bend the pitch the desired amount, you could edit one of the existing .sfz files, or you could make you own .sfz by copying one of the original .sfz files and keeping it separate from the original.This way, you can play around with out messing anything up.

    Visit this link for some more about .sfz files:
    http://www.ariaengine.com/garritan/gpo4

    My advice is that the Notation banks are the way to go, try .sfz with caution .

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3

    Re: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    Quote Originally Posted by symphonyofone View Post
    Based on what I know, your right that you'd have to edit the .sfz file. However, I believe the .sfz file would just tell ARIA to bend the pitch.

    So you could use the Notation banks and bend the pitch the desired amount, you could edit one of the existing .sfz files, or you could make you own .sfz by copying one of the original .sfz files and keeping it separate from the original.This way, you can play around with out messing anything up.

    Visit this link for some more about .sfz files:
    http://www.ariaengine.com/garritan/gpo4

    My advice is that the Notation banks are the way to go, try .sfz with caution .

    Hope this helps.
    Actually, you helped me re-find something I had accidentally stumbled on awhile back. I dismissed it at the time because I figured I would never need to edit .sfz files. Although I couldn't find anything specifically that told me how to introduce pitch-bending through sfz, I saw enough to warn me off even making the attempt. It appears that I would be messing around at the programming level, and it's just way too easy to screw things up if you really don't know what you're doing.

    Such being the case, I think I'd be much safer doing pitch bend the "old fashioned" way through my DAW when I need it. I'm asking only for an extra half-step for the Classical Oboe, and a whole-step for the trumpets -- which happens to be the range of extension of the pitch bend wheel. With that said, I'd appreciate hearing from anyone else who might have some thoughts (or perhaps specific instructions?) on what I can change or add in the sfz files to do what I'm after.

    Thanks for your help!

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  4. #4

    Re: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    You've brought up a devilish point for the trumpet's low F-nat. I see no problem using pitch bend for the oboe note, but that F for the trumpet is a doozy. (All of my comments apply to the Bb trumpet, but they should apply across the board.)

    I played trumpet professionally for 43 years, and there are only two ways to produce that F-nat. (F-sharp is easily playable by holding down all three valves.) The first way is to use the human form of pitch bend, which is the lips. The second way is to alter the tuning slides of the instrument.

    I never ran across anything in the literature before that uses that F-nat., so it would be extremely rare to find it anywhere, if at all, unless it would be in some obscure Baroque piece (or pre-Baroque) in which tuning "crooks" were used to alter the key for trumpets and French horns. It would be very difficult to play in tune, no matter how it is produced and would probably sound "pinched". Either way, it wouldn't be a very pleasant sound to hear, so no matter how you create the sound in your DAW, you will probably come out with something much more pleasant than it would be in reality.

    I have not used it yet, but the SFZ Editor (a free download) should allow you to add a note or two to the bottom or top ranges of any instruments, and I believe they have very good instructions with it. But please be sure to work on COPIES of the original instrument files.

    Sounds like a very interesting problem.
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  5. #5

    Re: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    Quote Originally Posted by bionicbub View Post
    You've brought up a devilish point for the trumpet's low F-nat. I see no problem using pitch bend for the oboe note, but that F for the trumpet is a doozy. (All of my comments apply to the Bb trumpet, but they should apply across the board.)

    I played trumpet professionally for 43 years, and there are only two ways to produce that F-nat. (F-sharp is easily playable by holding down all three valves.) The first way is to use the human form of pitch bend, which is the lips. The second way is to alter the tuning slides of the instrument.

    I never ran across anything in the literature before that uses that F-nat., so it would be extremely rare to find it anywhere, if at all, unless it would be in some obscure Baroque piece (or pre-Baroque) in which tuning "crooks" were used to alter the key for trumpets and French horns. It would be very difficult to play in tune, no matter how it is produced and would probably sound "pinched". Either way, it wouldn't be a very pleasant sound to hear, so no matter how you create the sound in your DAW, you will probably come out with something much more pleasant than it would be in reality.

    I have not used it yet, but the SFZ Editor (a free download) should allow you to add a note or two to the bottom or top ranges of any instruments, and I believe they have very good instructions with it. But please be sure to work on COPIES of the original instrument files.

    Sounds like a very interesting problem.
    Yes, I made a boo-boo with that one. Checked Shatzkin's book on orchestration, and sure enough F#2 is the lowest note. There's a brief spot in the first section of my symphony with trumpets playing in octaves. That's where I have the 2nd trumpet hitting a low F. I'm just going to reassign that part to one of the French horns. It should sound fine. As to editing SFZ files, I think I'll put that idea back under the rock from whence it came.

    Thanks, Arvid!

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  6. #6

    Re: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    In practice, F#2 is the lowest practical note, but it is possible to produce much lower notes, going down another octave and more. These are called "pedal tones" and are not usually used in musical works, but I have seen them in published music. They involve playing the trumpet with only the upper lip in the mouthpiece. (Some use the lower lip by itself as well.) It takes years of practice to get them to sound like anything other than "mud" to other people, but many professionals, especially in the jazz field, use these pedal tones as warm-up exercises before performances in which they may be called upon to do a lot of "screeching" (or "screaming") in the extreme upper registers.

    You probably won't find any references to this in any textbooks on orchestration, but I had planned to use something like this in an upcoming piece. I have already used some "pedal tones" for the trombone in one of my works -- "Buddha Meets the Moos-sician". [ http://www.box.net/shared/ejs8acyffd ]
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  7. #7

    Re: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    The sfz file contains the mapping info.
    There will be a sample name and then the high note and low note which tells the player which keys will play that sample.

    In order to lower the range of an instrument you would change the low note.

    Before you do any editing of a file, make a copy of the file and edit that.
    You can move the original to a safe place.

    It's really not a big deal.
    The text will say Low Note G
    you change it to F and save the file.

    You open sfz files with notepad.

    This is a good info site for sfz
    http://www.cakewalk.com/devxchange/sfz.asp

  8. #8

    Re: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    Quote Originally Posted by P.T. View Post
    The sfz file contains the mapping info.
    There will be a sample name and then the high note and low note which tells the player which keys will play that sample.

    In order to lower the range of an instrument you would change the low note.

    Before you do any editing of a file, make a copy of the file and edit that.
    You can move the original to a safe place.

    It's really not a big deal.
    The text will say Low Note G
    you change it to F and save the file.

    You open sfz files with notepad.

    This is a good info site for sfz
    http://www.cakewalk.com/devxchange/sfz.asp
    Thanks, P.T. I checked out the link, and there was some very useful stuff in there. I've bookmarked it for future reference. Although I'm swearing off editing SFZ files for now, it could come in handy down the road.

    Arvid, I knew a trumpet player many years ago who was adept at producing the pedal tones you mentioned. May have been a subconscious memory of that guy when I thought I could push the trumpet down to low F. However in the event that someone is nuts enough to think my symphony is worthy of performance by a live orchestra, I'll avoid writing anything that would exceed general skill level for the trumpet's low range.

    By the way, I'm a former bassoonist. You might be interested to know that the bassoon's lowest note can be extended from A#1 to A1 by insterting a tube into the bell. Pros have an extension made out of wood so that it resonates properly with the instrument. However, in a pinch one can use a rolled up piece of paper, but it make the bassoon sound like a contrabass kazoo. Classy, huh?

    Anyway, thank you gentlemen -- I really appreciate your help!

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  9. #9

    Re: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Johnson View Post
    Checked Shatzkin's book on orchestration, and sure enough F#2 is the lowest note.
    Hi Steve. Please let me recommend two valuable tools:

    Clarence V. Hendrickson's Fingering Charts for Instrumentalists

    and Kent Kennan's The Technique of Orchestration

    I've provided links to Amazon for them.

    The Hendrickson is a bit dated but includes all the ranges for most instruments as well as their transpositions. I keep one on my desk when I can't quite recall certain things, and it is handy for figuring out if that flute passage is a finger-buster or what. The Kennan is more up to date and goes into more depth. Both are excellent references for practical writing for humans.

    Hope that helps. Happy holidays!
    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

  10. #10

    Re: Extending instrument ranges in GPO 4?

    That is indeed a handy tip to know about, Steve, and I greatly appreciate your sharing it with me. I may just need it in a pinch some day... one never knows.

    I hope your new musical year blossoms with blessings.
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

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