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Full string section vs violin, viola, etc sections

Villanao

New Member
hi, I’m just starting with midi orchestration and I’m putting together a project template using some free libraries (Spitfire LABS, SCC Expressive Strings and VSCO2 CE).

I’ve noticed that LABS and SCC are full strings section libraries while VSCO2 is divided in instrument sections.

Do these types have different uses? Maybe the full sections for layering?

Thanks in advanced!
 
if you want to use strings in a general sense the "ensemble" or full string sections will do just fine. If you want to direct yourself towards the "classical" or orchestral forms then you will want to write for the 5 sections (violins I, Violins II, Violas, Celli, Basses) apart.

With that then comes a world of other possibilities that may or may not be new to you like counterpoint, motifs, voiceleading and so on.
 

Nao Gam

Dirty little gearslut
Sections:
More intimate, detailed sound
Better control of articulations and melodies
Works for real instruments

Ensembles:
Thick, lusher sound
Eaze of access
 
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Villanao

Villanao

New Member
Thanks for your responses. Could you please give me some specific examples of when one would use the full section? I imagine that you could use it like a synth pad on “non-orchestral” compositions. Does it have any use in a more typical orchestral piece? Thanks
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
Thanks for your responses. Could you please give me some specific examples of when one would use the full section? I imagine that you could use it like a synth pad on “non-orchestral” compositions. Does it have any use in a more typical orchestral piece? Thanks
Good question. I'm no expert, but I find the full section patches are good for sketching, or sitting in the back of a mix where realism isn't a factor.....or as a "pad" like you mentioned. In a live orchestra, not every player is going to bow the exact same time, which is why a full-section pad isn't going be realistic. Some are better than others, but I find them useless in a final mix.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
I find them useless in a final mix.
Not to contradict, since your position is held by many, but I use full string patches in mockups quite often. Let's face it -- it's hard enough to make music sound nice with samples. If the full section sounds good and you just fluff it up with a few section lines here and there, enjoy!
 

ghandizilla

Active Member
Once you get used to writing for separate sections, you can't go backwards. I can't. When I want the ensemble sound, I just layer vlns1+vlns2+vlas, exactly the same parts with divisi (I don't do epic, but if you do epic, it's the same minus the divisi). The ensemble sound is 5% of my palette when it comes to string writing. So try thinking out of the box, try the other 95%. You'll end up finding yourself too limited by ensemble patches. Unless you're on a tight schedule or need to glue sections that sound too heterogeneous...
 
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Villanao

Villanao

New Member
Not to contradict, since your position is held by many, but I use full string patches in mockups quite often. Let's face it -- it's hard enough to make music sound nice with samples. If the full section sounds good and you just fluff it up with a few section lines here and there, enjoy!
So, you use a full section to layer individual sections or you use either of them in different sections? Thanks everyone for your responses.
 

pbattersby

Member
I use full section patches when I know I want to record all the strings playing chords, or at least use that as a starting point. I then break that full section recording into the individual string tracks where I might make further changes to the individual parts. I like to know who is playing what, so the full section patch never makes it into the final mix.

I specifically created the full section patches in my library so I could use them as described above.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
So, you use a full section to layer individual sections or you use either of them in different sections?
I use whatever sounds good. If I sketched out a piece with a full section and it sounds pretty good, I don't fret (get it? "fret?") about whether I used "too many" strings or something.

That said, often there are weird breaks and overlaps in a "full" patch, because the person who put it together has to decide the range -- in that particular agglomeration of strings -- for each section. How high the cellos? How high the violas or basses?

Besides, sometimes the panning is narrow and it might sound better to have a "wider" stage sound than the "full" patches offer.
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
If the full section sounds good and you just fluff it up with a few section lines here and there, enjoy!
Yes, that's kind of what I meant by having it sit in the back of the mix. I have never used a full section patch on its own for a final mix. But like you said, you never know...if it sounds good, then by all means use it.
 

ism

Senior Member
Just as a corollary to this discussion - anyone have any thought on something like Time Macro ensemble patches were you have hi, mid, low string ensembles, ie Vl + (Va+ Vc) + (Vc + Db) ?
 

Sears Poncho

Active Member
Thanks for your responses. Could you please give me some specific examples of when one would use the full section
They all do different things. Think of electric guitar and bass guitar: One plays the lead, there is usually a "rhythm" guitar, and the bass is the foundation. Same thing. There is no "all guitars patch". The "ensemble" patch for strings is kinda for convenience or scoring something simple (or quickly). Nothin' wrong with using it. If it sounds good, use it.

First violins are higher than seconds usually. They get the lead, even in backup charts. 2nds and violas are "inner voices", they can fill in chords or play "rhythm guitar". Cello is a switch-hitter. Cello can provide rich melody or play more on the bass side. Bass is bass.

As someone said, once you start doing it that way, you can't go back. I wrote orchestrations for symphonies. Bass might be with tuba, might be with bass guitar, might do their own thing.

Viola is more like clarinet. Flute is more like violin. Different registers blah blah. There are no real rules of course but you'll get the point Good luck!
 

shawnsingh

Active Member
Does it have any use in a more typical orchestral piece?
I don't think a full ensemble strings patch has much use for typical orchestral pieces. It would only be useful when the orchestral piece really directs all strings to play in exact unison. Not so common, AFAIK. If all sections are playing something in sync, they're more likely playing in octaves.

I agree with all that's been said already too. In my own words - Full strings patch reasonable for sketching, or when it's really the sound you're going for. But it will have severe limits for typical orchestral stuff. With individual section patches, you'll be able to emulate that sections are not always accurate with each other, you'll be able to automate each section's xfading parameters independently. Assigning different notes of a chord to different sections will provide a more authentic stereo sound, but even in mono having a properly orchestrated strings chord will have a different sound that is more natural.

anyone have any thought on something like Time Macro ensemble patches were you have hi, mid, low string ensembles, ie Vl + (Va+ Vc) + (Vc + Db) ?
I find these "half ensemble" patches in OT libraries very useful - the combinations they provide really are common orchestration tropes - especially the ones where the sections are playing in octaves - so it's nice to just reach for those patches instead of having to program expressive performances on two or three separate tracks. On the other hand, there are plenty of times to need control over individual sections too. So they still don't replace having 5 separate string sections.
 
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Villanao

Villanao

New Member
I don't think a full ensemble strings patch has much use for typical orchestral pieces. It would only be useful when the orchestral piece really directs all strings to play in exact unison. Not so common, AFAIK. If all sections are playing something in sync, they're more likely playing in octaves.

I agree with all that's been said already too. In my own words - Full strings patch reasonable for sketching, or when it's really the sound you're going for. But it will have severe limits for typical orchestral stuff. With individual section patches, you'll be able to emulate that sections are not always accurate with each other, you'll be able to automate each section's xfading parameters independently. Assigning different notes of a chord to different sections will provide a more authentic stereo sound, but even in mono having a properly orchestrated strings chord will have a different sound that is more natural.


I find these "half ensemble" patches in OT libraries very useful - the combinations they provide really are common orchestration tropes - especially the ones where the sections are playing in octaves - so it's nice to just reach for those patches instead of having to program expressive performances on two or three separate tracks. On the other hand, there are plenty of times to need control over individual sections too. So they still don't replace having 5 separate string sections.
Thanks for your response, sorry I didn’t respond before. I have a much clearer picture now.
 

Daniel

Active Member
Not to contradict, since your position is held by many, but I use full string patches in mockups quite often. Let's face it -- it's hard enough to make music sound nice with samples. If the full section sounds good and you just fluff it up with a few section lines here and there, enjoy!
Horrayyy!!! This is my workflow and I am afraid what I am doing is wrong in arrangement, but it sounds really good with this method in VI's world. I am using ensemble Symphobia1 -and --or Lass ensemble, and then I write section lines. Thank you, John.
 
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