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Fiddle Virtual Instrument

dflood

Active Member
Before I purchase any more violin libraries, does anyone know if there is a decent fiddle VI out there, or a violin library capable of playing in a credible fiddle style? I’m looking for one in which it is possible to create the ornamentations and articulations associated with playing country, bluegrass, Irish, Celtic etc. So far I have tried:

  • Embertone Joshua Bell Violin - absolutely beautiful but inappropriate
  • Misfit Fiddle - seems useless as a real fiddle
  • Swam violin - tons of CC settings but difficult to play in a fiddle style
  • Kontakt Fiddle - the tone of the samples seems decent in isolation but not very playable
Some typical ornamentations that define fiddling in these styles include:

Bowhand:
scratch triplets
slurs
dynamics
doublestops
shuffle patterns

Fingering:
cut notes
rolls
hammer-ons
slides
vibrato

Combinations:
chromatic scratch triplets
fingered doublestops

So far, I can only recreate a few of these articulations. I know there has to be a market for something like this. Is this the last nut to crack in the VI world?
 

Sears Poncho

Senior Member
Most of that is technique. Anything with vibrato control/lack of vibrato would be a good place to start. EQ work will help as well. Maybe even running something through Guitar Rig with a clean setting and 10% wet would be a help.
 

Polkasound

Senior Member
There is a market for virtual fiddles, but my guess is that it's barely a fraction of the size of the market for concert violins. In my own quest for a fiddle, I recently bought the SWAM Violin, and so far that's the best option I've found. Even though all the desired articulations still aren't there, the modeling allows for nice dynamics, colors, and fluid slurs. But the SWAM violin's neatest feature is when you set the Bow Gesture to Bowed and then "play" the violin with the expression pedal -- talk about porch-fiddlin'! :)
 
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dflood

dflood

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There’s no doubt that I could improve my own live playing and note editing techniques within the limits of any sampled instrument. However, I just haven’t heard any convincing VI fiddle demos, particularly for Irish or ‘Celtic’ fiddling. I’d love to own both the Bohemian Violin and Chris Hein Solo Violins someday, but I don’t want to just buy them hoping that they can maybe pull off a credible fiddle performance.

I am experimenting with the SWAM violin and I even have a Roli keyboard which is great for taking advantage of it’s multi parameter expression capabilities. I guess what I’m hoping for someday is something as focused and playable as the Indiginus Mandolin or the Resonator, but for the fiddle. I think there would be a surprising number of buyers considering it would be the only dedicated ‘pro level’ fiddle VI out there. After all, there are at least a couple of dedicated VIs out there for uilleann pipes and mountain dulcimers. I’m guessing the fiddle is just hard to do well.
 

Polkasound

Senior Member
I’m guessing the fiddle is just hard to do well.

I think that's a big part of it. A deeply sampled fiddle would take time and money to make. And since it could never be repurposed as a concert violin, would sales be large enough to justify the resources expended on development? That's a tough question. It's probably one of the reasons why the only pedal steel guitar out there is as old as Kontakt 2 and apparently abandoned -- even when you have no competition, you still need customers.
 
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dflood

dflood

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A deeply sampled fiddle would take time and money to make. And since it could never be repurposed as a concert violin, would sales be large enough to justify the resources expended on development?

Sigh... maybe we need a Kickstarter campaign to make it happen. I’d commit to a pre-purchase from a trusted developer. :)
 

Eptesicus

Senior Member
Cinestrings solo violin 1 has a lovely folk like quality to it. I just briefly did the brave theme with it a while ago and sound very realistic in my opinion.

This is literally just playing it quickly in on the keyboard using the true legato patch.

[AUDIOPLUS=https://vi-control.net/community/attachments/brave-mp3.10823/][/AUDIOPLUS]
 

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Sears Poncho

Senior Member
Cinestrings solo violin 1 has a lovely folk like quality to it. I just briefly did the brave theme with it a while ago and sound very realistic in my opinion.

This is literally just playing it quickly in on the keyboard using the true legato patch.

[AUDIOPLUS=https://vi-control.net/community/attachments/brave-mp3.10823/][/AUDIOPLUS]
Nice job. The only non-fiddle aspect is the decidedly classical slides.

The main characteristic of "fiddle" is open strings. I don't know which, if any, sample libraries let one choose between a fingered note and an open string note. That would be a start.
For double-stops with slides on one note, I'd probably use two instances, especially if one has the open string.
The shuffle pattern is often a matter of accents that are strategically placed.
 

rrichard63

Perpetual Novice
I don't know whether this will help anyone, but it might. A bluegrass/country fiddle player told me that fiddlers use a different kind of bow than violinists use. So, in addition to the differences in technique, there's a difference in timbre. Does that suggest experimenting with various kinds of EQ (or something) to match the tone?
 

Rob Elliott

Senior Member
Cinestrings solo violin 1 has a lovely folk like quality to it. I just briefly did the brave theme with it a while ago and sound very realistic in my opinion.

This is literally just playing it quickly in on the keyboard using the true legato patch.

[AUDIOPLUS=https://vi-control.net/community/attachments/brave-mp3.10823/][/AUDIOPLUS]
I have all he suspects for fiddle gigs (mentioned above) and have a project coming up in the style of Ken Burns docs (more of a lyrical fiddle) and totally forgot about the Cinestrings vln1 - that is PERFECT. I think it will cover it just fine.

I do agree that a legit full-on 'fiddle' is needed. So hoping.
 
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dflood

dflood

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Here's a master class of Cape Breton fiddling (basically Scottish or Irish fiddle tunes) by two of the best in the business. I think they show off pretty well every ornamentation there is for that style. I agree that ringing open strings, alone and as drones are a big part of the 'sound' as are the many types of grace notes and triple bows that get slipped in to the basic melody. Scottish fiddling often tries to emulate the odd noises that come out of bagpipes, usually as rhythmic punctuations.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RzP_kIXsuvA
 
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ism

Senior Member
Check out Embertone Friedlander violin. Unlike the Joshua Bell, it has the right tone for folk , but it also has much greater control of vibrato and such. For instance, Ashton's review composes a demo with a kind folksy quartet on the embertone instruments at the centre:


Although these really are solo instruments and not really showcased deep within a mix.

I have Blakus cello , which it's a beautiful performable instrument, more so that the JB in some ways, but extrapolating its performability to the Friedlander, I'd be willing to bet it could pull off a fiddle performance - although it might take some playing around to find just the right touch OSC template that would best lend itself to performing in that style. In general I find these instruments enormously "playable", but what's hard is find the best approach, midi controls etc to playing in a particular performance style.


I also have the virharmonic cello which, while also superb in its own right, it doesn't strike me as something that would lend itself to playable in a folk style. It has a rather focused artistic vision baked into it that doesn't say "folk" to me at all. Curious is the Bohemian violin might be any different. (For instanance, you just don't have the control on the attack and such that you have with the Blakus)

Also, I do have the 8dio solo strings, and while the demos always sound great, I would personally avoid them. Especially the violin.

It's an interesting question - I'd be curious to know if you find anything that works well.
 

Polkasound

Senior Member
I own the Friedlander Violin. I've used it successfully as a fiddle for slower, lyrical parts, but that's all I could get from it fiddle-wise. Dfloods conundrum, which we all share, is that repurposing concert violins as fiddles can only go so far and no farther.
 
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dflood

dflood

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I think that we now have a wealth of excellent solo concert violin choices, and I’d love to own more of them. Honestly, they sound so good I could just sit and play them all day long. Many will work quite well for slow legato passages (airs and strathspeys), but the wheels fall off when you try to reproduce the tone, sharp attack, and mordants of traditional fiddle playing. The closest instrument I have heard is the Ilya Efimov treatment of Uilean pipes:

http://www.ilyaefimov.com/products/ethnic-winds/uillean-pipes.html

This is how I imagine a dedicated fiddle style could be sampled, where the major ornamentations are deep sampled or scripted.
 
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