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Topic: Sonatina sfz Aria style

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  1. #1

    Sonatina sfz Aria style

    For those that don't know there is a freeware pack of sfz files called Sonatina that you can find here http://sso.mattiaswestlund.net/ . IMO it sounds pretty good especially considering it's free. Anyway, the problem is it is louder than the GPO4 files and it doesn't respond to the cc1 controller, so mixing it with GPO4 is difficult, but yesterday I went through and edited the sfz files. Now it plays nicer with GPO4. I haven't had a chance to use it much on a sing yet, but I think it would be useful for layering and also there are a few articulations that are present in GPO4. If anyone is interested let me know and I'll try to post the library.

  2. #2

    Re: Sonatina sfz Aria style

    I have toyed with these sounds, and making them work with GPO4, etc. does produce some good layering on the cheap. For those people starting out at the beginning, having these libraries will allow them to learn about layering without paying lots of money.

    I say go for it.

    Jim

  3. #3

    Re: Sonatina sfz Aria style

    Hi, Chandler - Glad you found Sonatina. That's a pretty amazing set of orchestral instruments which keeps getting re-discovered, and deservedly so. We've had threads about it before, but it's high time it was brought to the Forum's attention again.

    At one time, one of the Garritan developers was going to adapt that free orchestra for ARIA, not sure if he ever did. But of course, as you discovered, Sonatina can be imported into ARIA as-is, since it's in the SFZ format.

    There are volume discrepancies even between some Garritan Libraries, and sometimes between instruments inside a single Library. It's not a problem though, since ARIA has a mixer. I know people sometimes simply use the default levels, but they're missing out on a lot of control they actually have available. Levels between instruments, and between Libraries need to be set on a per-piece basis.

    CC1 volume control as we have it in Garritan isn't a standard use of the MIDI specifications. CC11 is the Expression volume control which the spec calls for. CC1 is for controlling Modulation/Vibrato in the MIDI spec. BUT, that doesn't make instruments from 3rd parties incompatible with Garritan, because CC11, and also CC2 can be used for volume control in Garritan and the results are exactly the same as when using CC1. BUT, not everything you find will use CC11 - Sonatina doesn't, for instance.

    CC7, which is also a volume control, differs from these expressive instrument volume controls. CC7 is used in ARIA and all Garritan Libraries to control the volume sliders in ARIA's mixer. You set the relative balance between instruments with CC7, and generally shouldn't change levels during the course of a piece.

    Sonatina is one of those Libraries that uses CC7 for dynamic volume control. Like most standard MIDI instruments, it primarily relies on velocity for volume, so it's possible to play the instruments fairly expressively by just relying on velocity. But for sustained notes which you want to have dynamically change in volume, you would need to use CC7.

    From how you wrote your post, it sounds like you're wanting to import Sonatina instruments into ARIA and then have them set to the same MIDI Channels as your Garritan instruments. That's a quick and easy way to work, except for the problem you're talking about - how they use different MIDI Controllers for volume.

    SO what you've done is edit Sonatina's SFZ files so the instruments will respond to CC1 for volume--correct? Clever. If you wanted to share that, as you indicate, you wouldn't need to post the entire Library - Just the SFZ file which is tiny. You could park that anywhere online and then link to it.

    The other, more detailed way to work with Sonatina, or with any Library in general, is to give each instrument it's own separate MIDI track in your project file. Copy and paste your data from the original track to the new one. Use whatever technique you want for slightly varying the Note On events, erase the volume data and record it anew so it varies from the first track. You'll have a more full sounding, less robotic sounding result. If you work that way, there's no concern about different controllers for volume, since you're using separate tracks.

    Have fun with that free Library, however you choose to work with it!

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: Sonatina sfz Aria style

    I am going to sound completely ignorant but I am not sure for what purpose would I use this library if I already have GPO. I am not sure I understand what layering is.

  5. #5

    Re: Sonatina sfz Aria style

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardMc View Post
    I am going to sound completely ignorant but I am not sure for what purpose would I use this library if I already have GPO. I am not sure I understand what layering is.
    Hi, Richard - It's very common for people to use multiple sound sources in a project. Layering is simply having more than one "patch" playing at the same time. You can layer in multiple Garritan instruments and/or layer in instruments from additional companies.

    A basic way to add layers is to load instruments in ARIA and put them on the same MIDI Channel. I could develop a 1st String line, and the 1st section strings is the sound I'm using. Then I could add an additional group string patch, like one from Sonatina, and by having it on the same MIDI channel in that instance of ARIA, the two patches would be playing at the same time. The sound is more full and lush.

    If you ever wondered how some people get such a grand, lush and huge sound - they're mostly likely layering many instruments together, not relying on just single patches.

    And a lot of people own and use multiple libraries, not just Garritan. Having one orchestral Library is just the start for a lot of people - They get additional sets and use them in conjunction with each other. Sonatina sounds good, is free, and so is a smart thing for any Garritan user to add to their arsenal.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: Sonatina sfz Aria style

    Thank you. It makes sense. I think I may have to experiment with this at some point.

  7. #7

    Re: Sonatina sfz Aria style

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardMc View Post
    Thank you. It makes sense. I think I may have to experiment with this at some point.
    If you look at post #3 on this thread, I outline the other way to layer sounds. It's my preferred way, because you have more control and can get better results. Recapping the two layering methods briefly:

    Method 1) Load two different patches in ARIA and tune them to the same MIDI Channel. One track of data will play the two voices. Especially with a touch of detuning, or by using Var 1 and/or 2, you get an instantly thicker sound.

    Method 2) Copy a MIDI track, paste it into a new one. Edit the data slightly, perhaps re-recording the volume data so it's not exactly the same. This second, edited track will be set to a new MIDI Channel which corresponds to a new instrument either in ARIA or another soft synth. It's layering sound on to the first instrument, only with more variation than with Method 1 since the data is on its own track.

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: Sonatina sfz Aria style

    Yeah I have a ways to go. I only use section strings, for example. I have a first Violin and a Second Violin. Both use the Section string patch. I do not play the same line within a section. So if I have a single line for the first Violins that is all that I write. If I understand correctly, if I have a single line for the first Violins I will get a more authentic result if I use one of the methods of doubling, or even tripling that line with different instances of section strings, be it in Aria or using another library. I hope that makes sense.

  9. #9

    Re: Sonatina sfz Aria style

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardMc View Post
    Yeah I have a ways to go. I only use section strings, for example. I have a first Violin and a Second Violin. Both use the Section string patch. I do not play the same line within a section. So if I have a single line for the first Violins that is all that I write. If I understand correctly, if I have a single line for the first Violins I will get a more authentic result if I use one of the methods of doubling, or even tripling that line with different instances of section strings, be it in Aria or using another library. I hope that makes sense.
    That's right, Richard.

    A fairly common practice with GPO is to have a solo string for each of the sections. Like what I'm working on right now:

    Violin 2 Solo KS and Violins 1 KS
    Violin 1 Solo KS and Violins 2 KS
    Viola 1 Solo KS and Violas KS
    Cello 1 Solo KS and Cellos KS
    Double Bass 1 Solo KS and Basses KS

    And then all of those lines are being doubled in a MIDI track for Full Strings KS which has the notes for all the sections.

    I'm also adding another Solo Violin for 1st Strings, and Solo Cello for Cellos - using the discontinued Garritan Stadivari and Gofriller Cello.

    And I'm using Method 2 as outlined in my last post. For instance, that first Solo Violin and the section Violins 1 patch are playing the same line, but I made a copy for the Solo to play, I recorded new volume data and moved start times around a bit. The Solo is on a different MIDI Channel, so new MIDI data is read, not what was on the original section track. Same for all the sections. Later I'll record a bit of Var 1 and Var 2 for timbre variety.

    That's about the way I usually do my strings. - Pannings aren't default - I use the European seating with 2nd Strings mirroring the 1st Strings, it makes for a more full recording. I also move my Basses almost to center - I feel that makes for a more balanced recording. The Soloists are all in slightly different panning positions - lead Violin closer to center, for instance.

    Randy

  10. #10

    Re: Sonatina sfz Aria style

    Wow. I am working rather crudely it seems. I am not a pianist so I step enter each note. The velocities vary naturally because I naturally strike each note with a different velocity. My sketch is done with manuscript paper and pencil and now I have started working in Sonar's PRV more predominantly. I have turned off the snap to grid settings and when I re-position the now marker, as I do constantly, it introduces a randomness in the start and stop times of the individual notes which I am hoping gives more realism. But it seems there is another level entirely to explore. When I hear the renderings of others who post in this forum I am just amazed. Thanks.

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