By now, most of us know that the newest of the Garritan Libraries, Instant Orchestra, offers the user access to a large number of layered instrument sounds which can "instantly" flesh out the sound in music projects.
But before there was IO, another Garritan Library also offered a way to quickly beef up projects, and it remains an excellent sound source for several reasons. I'm talking about the Garritan Concert and Marching Band Library, referred to as either "CoMB" or "CMB."
Instant Orchestra gives users layers of produced sounds and effects which often go beyond the natural sound of a band or orchestra. A good word to describe the over-all sound of IO is "cinematic."
CoMB, on the other hand, gives users a large variety of instrument sounds which stay within the realm of natural "real world" sound. This makes it especially attractive to people who are composing music for actual orchestras and bands to perform.
CoMB is the Garritan Library least represented by music posted in our Listening Room, and it's safe to say it's also the least discussed. That makes me feel that CoMB is probably the most under-appreciated offering from Garritan. And I feel it deserves to be much more widely used and discussed.
Aimed perhaps primarily at composers who write for the thriving marching band market, CoMB is also very useful to people writing in other genres.
As would be expected from the Library's name, there are no strings in CoMB. But it does have a large selection of brass, woodwinds and percussion. The instrument samples are for the most part unique to the Library, not repetitions of instruments found in GPO.
Key to the way CoMB is programmed is the way it gives the user group sounds, and those are key to the instant layering I've already referred to. Among the "patches" are versatile keyswitched instruments which provide soloists and group versions of the same instrument. Without changing MIDI channels or tracks, with the touch of a keyswitch the user can, for instance, play a solo flute, and then instantly switch to a whole flute section.
The group patches can also be used exculsively, providing a quick way of multiplying the number of virtual musicians in one easy step, and in a way which is akin to IO. Without laboriously inserting multiple tracks, copying and pasting MIDI data, the user can immediately have a very nicely programmed group sound.
Using the Flute as an example again, here are the instruments available in CoMB:
3 different groups, with 5 players in each group
2 Piccolo soloists
2 different groups, 5 players each.
The same is true for the Clarinet and the entire Sax family. Did you take note? -- SAX - probably the most requested instrument by GPO owners who were hoping the Sax would be included in GPO, even though it's not a traditional orchestral instrument.
Logically enough, Brass comprises the real meat of CoMB. Here's the break down of just the Trumpets and Cornets family:
Trumpets - 4 Soloists
4 groups with 6 players each
Cornets - 4 soloists
4 groups with 5 players each - plus the Eb Cornet.
Similar lists of soloists and groups are available for a large variety of Brass:
Mellophones - !
Euphoniums - !
Sousaphones - !
Helicons - !
The rich variety of tones available from all those different brass instruments can instantly open up a whole new world of sound available to you when CoMB and GPO are combined.
NOTE that with all of these different groups available, each group brings its own unique sound. So if you want to build an absoutely mammoth orchestra ala Wagner, you could combine ALL of those groups without duplicating the sample pool. Instant Enormousness!
Not surprisingly, there are also percussion instruments and groups which go way beyond the traditional percussion instruments found in GPO.
CoMB is available as a download - So not only is CoMB's instant big sound available to you, it's available in instant gratification form.
This Tip Of The Week was inspired by a project I'm currently working on. I wanted to hear some passages more layered without having to stop and do a lot of setting up. I loaded some CoMB groups and was immediately hearing what I needed to. That made me think of how not everyone here may be aware of how useful CoMB can be, and in ways that may not be immediately clear to people thinking it's a Libary strictly for marching band pieces.
Check it out! For more information, MP3 demos and download, click the CoMB banner: