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I need to get into and understand articulations...

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Hi Peeps,

It was a toss up whether to put this post here or the noob sub forum, so, as I think this is sample/library based, I opted for here.

I am hoping to get into orchestral library stuff, which I will "fuse" with my electronic creations somehow.

I do not have any orchestral libraries at this time and I do not have full Kontakt.

For the future I am seriously considering the SA BBCSO library. But before I even think of parting with nearly £700, I could do with getting some hands on experience with articulations and key switches. I don't even know what key switches are... I'm assuming it is a MIDI message that is sent to a VST to select something or other.

So, the question is, is there a library available, preferable Spitfire Audio, that would at least allow me to learn about using articulations that isn't going to cost me an arm and a leg? A single instrument library would suffice, I think. Preferably strings.

Is there such a thing?


Understandably, you cannot download a sample based instrument to demo for a couple of weeks, like you can with non-sample based instruments.

I have LABS, but that is very simple indeed, with only volume and dynamics control (generally).

I have Noire... That is "just" piano, so even though you may be able to control the pedals, it won't give me any idea what it is like to get something "reasonable" from a violin, for example.

Budget wise I am thinking of around £100

cheers

andy :)
 

pbattersby

Member
I don't even know what key switches are... I'm assuming it is a MIDI message that is sent to a VST to select something or other.
Key switches are simply a key (a note), on your synth/keyboard/midi controller that changes the sound you hear from the currently selected instrument. This key is necessarily outside the range of the instrument. For example, if you have a violin sound and you want it to be a note with a long attack (long time to reach full volume) you'd press a specific key and from that point onwards you'd get the long notes from your violin sound. Later if you want short choppy notes (staccato) you would press another key and from that point onwards you'd get short choppy notes from your violin.

So, the question is, is there a library available, preferable Spitfire Audio, that would at least allow me to learn about using articulations that isn't going to cost me an arm and a leg? A single instrument library would suffice, I think. Preferably strings.
I honestly feel bad about self promotion, and this is now the 2nd time within a week I've done it (so the guilt is growing) but if you want to play around with articulations in an orchestral sample library for free, you could try mine.

Virtual Playing Orchestra
 

DSmolken

Senior Member
I'll self-promotion too - I have a $59 cello library with 19 articulations. Some of them are pretty far out there, so not stuff you "need" to learn about for traditional orchestral music, but at least watch the walkthrough, as I do go through each articulation in isolation. That oughta give you a pretty good idea.

But to explain - an articulation is a technique. So, plucking the string on violin aka pizzicato aka pizz is an articulation. You can also have variations of that, such as Bartok pizzicato, which is pulled in a different direction and snaps against the fingerboard, in which case a library would have two different pizzicato articulations. With bowing, there can be lots more.

With bowing, or wind instruments, you will sometimes also have longer and shorter notes as different articulations, even though in real life those would be written on the staff not as different techniques, and players might not think of them as different, but just as regular notes of various lengths.

Some more sophisticated instruments will switch between those automatically, based on note density etc. So in those cases, you'll have one keyswitch which plays "regular" notes and has several articulations hidden underneath it.
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
For your first library, the BBC SO is by far probably your best bet, although could be very overwhelming if you are unfamiliar with how orchestral libraries work. SFA gives you the option at times to use whatever method you prefer to change articulations...so if you prefer to have one instance (articulation) per track, then go that route...if you like using key switches (KS), then do that...or even switch Via velocity. If you are an accomplished keyboard player, then KS might be a good solution as this allows for a more expressive and finished performance if you can learn the switches...this just takes practice...think of the switching as your left hand piano...just need to practice the performance. However, there are some libraries and patches within the libraries that allow you to just play without doing anything, and the patch will smartly detect what you want and make the switches for you based on your playing.

Basically...it's way too much to explain here.. LOL but if you want to test these out, as someone suggested, EW subscription (soundsonline.com) is by far your best bet to get your feet wet. You can do it for one month at about $25, test out all the libraries and try the articulations and KS's for yourself to see how you like them. Word of warning...most orchestral libraries also rely heavily on being able to control the dynamics, which are usually set to CC1 (mod wheel). So you have to sometimes pick and choose what you want to control on your FIRST pass...and be prepared to edit the shit out of them after.. LOL You might spend more time editing than performing the parts, and this is perfectly normal. MIDI TIP: if you know when and where you want to articulations to switch, you can pre-program the notes associated with the key switches into your DAW, then just overdub the performance while using the mod wheel...then the articulations will automatically change for you...make sure the KS's are slightly ahead of the note you want to change.

Also having a decent controller preferably with sliders is also essential to making the libraries work properly as well...and lastly, as someone mentioned, KS's are usually set outside the range of the instrument, so having an 88 key controller works best in this situation...or having two smaller controllers.

Best of luck.
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Hi, Steven,

You can subscribe to East West's composer cloud for $19.99/month and just cancel when you're done with it.
Thank you, Steven, I will certainly have a look into that :)




Hi Paul,

Key switches are simply a key (a note), on your synth/keyboard/midi controller that changes the sound you hear from the currently selected instrument.
Excellent, thanks :)

you could try mine.
Great, I will have a good look around your website, Paul, thanks for sharing :)



Hi, D :)

I have a $59 cello library with 19 articulations.
That, too, sounds great. As you suggest, I will check out your website and watch the walk through.

And thank you for explaining articulations, that really helps :)



Hi Jake,

For your first library, the BBC SO is by far probably your best bet, although could be very overwhelming if you are unfamiliar with how orchestral libraries work.
Yes, this is what I have been thinking, to be honest. Definitely overwhelming, but so long as I know I have invested my money in the right tool, the next thing to do is invested the time.

My keyboard skills are pretty dire so I would imagine that for the most part I will be throwing some ideas down, in terms of notes, melody, harmony, and then I'll be pouring over the piano roll, tweaking velocity, mod wheel and key switches to suit after that. So, yeah... A LOT of post editing of the MIDI.



Thanks again for all the replies so far... I have a lot more to go on now :grin:


cheers

andy
 

TigerTheFrog

Amphibiousician
In my opinion, the BBCSO is a bit beyond you at this point. I do think it would be overwhelming.
Unless you know what all the articulations are of all those instruments, I don't know why you need them or how you'd be able to make full use of them.

If I were you I would start with a less comprehensive library that focuses you a bit. With something like Albion ONE you could start playing immediately, because it would be low strings, medium strings, high strings. There are many good libraries of this type that people could recommend, like Nucleus, Inspire 1 & 2, Symphobia, The Orchestra, etc. that give you ensembles and some solo instruments. You'd be off and running and enjoying making music right away.

If you want to pursue your study of all the instruments in the orchestra and their articulations, I would recommend Amadeus Symphonic Orchestra. because it only costs $149 and will probably be less than that at BF. This does not have the sound quality of other libraries, but would be a great place to start learning about the articulations of all the instruments of the orchestra.

Once you know composing orchestral music is something you want to put time into and make a part of your life, then you can watch a lot of videos and see if BBCSO is the one you want. Eventually it will be 40% off in a Spitfire Wish List sale, so there is no pressure to get it now.

The choice of what orchestral library is best is a personal one, and it's something you'll be better poised to do when you are further along in your path.
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
Hi @TigerTheFrog :)

In my opinion, the BBCSO is a bit beyond you at this point. I do think it would be overwhelming.
I am sure you are right.

I don't know why you need them or how you'd be able to make full use of them.
I think that is something that kind of excites me, to be honest.

For one thing, I know for sure that I don't want to create an orchestral piece or some cinematic music. It would simply be another tool in my ever expanding arsenal.

I think that the problem with libraries such as Albion ONE is that they are a bit too pricey and would probably "hinder" me going for BBCSO in the immediate future. But I have watched some of the videos and I am really impressed with what you can do with them.

If you want to pursue your study of all the instruments in the orchestra and their articulations, I would recommend Amadeus Symphonic Orchestra.
I'm listening to the walkthrough of this library as I type. It comes with a lot of sounds, including many percussion and even some choir. Okay, they may not sound as good as some of the stand alone libraries, but this now has me thinking that, as you say, it would allow me to get into the articulation side of things. So I will have to have a good think about this one, and perhaps the SFZ cello mentioned above.


Thanks for chipping in :)

cheers

andy
 

halfwalk

Active Member
There's going to be a learning curve regardless, so you might as well get the one you like the sound of the most. Just my opinion, but I wouldn't want to learn on a tool that I'm going to end up replacing for sure, though I can understand the logic behind that choice. For instance, I wish I had skipped the Inspire series and gone straight for the Berlin stuff instead; not that Inspire is bad (at all!) but it seems like money I could have better spent had I a bit more foresight.

Don't be intimidated though, articulations are essentially just presets like on a synth, and you just switch between them as needed.

All that said, since you expressed that you don't intend to write orchestral/cinematic music, maybe you'd be better served by a more general purpose tool (e. g. Omnisphere).

Also, it's been a few years now, but I found the EWComposer Cloud a nightmare to work with as an orchestral VI novice (like, what tf is NV NV NV Vib, why do i need 12 different legatos, etc). Your mileage may vary though, as my brain is small and weed-addled.

My opinions might be unpopular though :)
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
My opinions might be unpopular though
Ha! Well, until I get to know peeps around here, all opinions are valid to my mind :grin:


so you might as well get the one you like the sound of the most
yep

but I wouldn't want to learn on a tool that I'm going to end up replacing for sure
this is kinda what I'm thinking... A true dilemma, unless, of course, you have an Unlimited Budgie... (that's a popular bird with a load of $$$ [or, in my case, a load of £££]).


weed-addled
I've never enjoyed gardening ;)



Right... Back to YooToob...
 

Dex

Member
A good free library with keyswitches is ample sound's agml. Acoustic guitar, so not exactly what you're looking for, but it'll give you an idea for the workflow.
 
OP
synkrotron

synkrotron

A creator of Stuff
A good free library with keyswitches is ample sound's agml. Acoustic guitar, so not exactly what you're looking for, but it'll give you an idea for the workflow.
Thank you very much, Dex, I will have a look into that :)
 

DSmolken

Senior Member
Yup, the free's got fewer keyswitches than the full paid version, but it'll give you an idea, and should also tell you what extra articulations you'll get in the paid. I don't remember if the free version has some auto-legato stuff which automatically uses hammer-on or pull-off articulations when needed, but if it does, it's a great way to see how multiple articulations might live under a single keyswitch. If you've played guitar, it'll also be easier to understand than strings or brass.
 

TigerTheFrog

Amphibiousician
To understand how key switching works with orchestral you can buy the SONiVOX Orchestral Companion Strings for $3.99 HERE at PluginBoutique. You even get a bunch of Loopcloud Loops free with the purchase.


These libraries are old, which is reflected in the price, and lack legato, but if you want, you can pick up the Woodwinds and Brass for the same $3.99 each. There are some on this forum who layer them with their other libraries to beef up the sound. :)

I will warn you that this string library once sold for $1, so you might feel buyer's remorse someday. :crying: But they are still a good deal at $3.99.
 
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