Spitfire Solo Strings legato-focused experiment

ka00

Senior Member
Sounds good, Alex! I really like where this goes at 0:46.

Are you happy with Spitfire Solo Strings? I’m considering it due to the current BF collection discount.

Some other official demos I’ve heard were not as convincing.
 
OP
Alex Niedt

Alex Niedt

Active Member
Thank you! The library does sounds great with other Spitfire stuff recorded in Air, but it takes quite a bit of work to get it to sound like this. I didn't find the official demos convincing at all, so this was a challenge to myself. I'd say if you like this sound and don't mind some meticulous CC editing then go for it. If you want something that just sounds great without much fuss, I'd recommend CSSS. With Spitfire Solo Strings, you really have to edit around the vibrato...turn it off and on at just the right times, find the dynamic layers where those transitions sound the best, and sculpt around all of that. You may have to render certain sections to audio and further edit the audio, as well.
 
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ka00

Senior Member
Thank you! The library does sounds great with other Spitfire stuff recorded in Air, but it takes quite a bit of work to get it to sound like this. I didn't find the official demos convincing at all, so this was a challenge to myself. I'd say if you like this sound and don't mind some meticulous CC editing then go for it. If you want something that just sounds great without much fuss, I'd recommend CSSS. With Spitfire Solo Strings, you really have to edit around the vibrato...turn it off and on at just the right times, find the dynamic layers where those transitions sound the best, and sculpt around all of that. You may have to render certain sections to audio and further edit the audio, as well. Basically, the vibrato really hurt this library.
Thanks for the heads up on the work involved in achieving results you like. It’s too bad it couldn’t be a more straightforward process.

I’m still on the fence. @ism has made a bunch of really nice demos too.

As a general observation, whenever I have to try really hard to convince myself about a library, I usually end up regretting the purchase.

I like the “artisanal” articulations but it seems like OA Evo grid has some of that covered.
 
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Paul T McGraw

Senior Member
The sound is very nice. I have the Spitfire Orchestra and also find those libraries a challenge at times. But for me easier to use than Orchestral Tools. I would guess it is a very similar philosophy of editing as the solo strings.
 

ism

Senior Member
Thanks for the heads up on the work involved in achieving results you like. It’s too bad it couldn’t be a more straightforward process.

I’m still on the fence. @ism has made a bunch of really nice demos too.

As a general observation, whenever I have to try really hard to convince myself about a library, I usually end up regretting the purchase.
Well my demos are the opposite of Alex's (brilliant) composition in that they're more or less just noodled in with generally no tweaking at all.

I find them wonderfully expressive, and wonderfully playable. Or rather wonderfully performable, in that you can really craft a phrase as you play.

The caveat is that I use a logic script to control the vibrato - you *have* to keep the vibrato moving in this library it's absolutely not optional (with the exception of the new virtuosic violin, which has a lot more going on). But I've found a simple script can do about ~98% of the work in controlling the vibrato, saying you from messing about with cc21 entirely.

I've actually been tweaking the script this afternoon, so I'll try to share it tonight if I can get it documented.

I like the “artisanal” articulations but it seems like OA Evo grid has some of that covered.

Mixing the Olafur chamber evo with the Spitfire Solo strings is one of my favourite things in this world.
 
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lionsroarmusic

New Member
Well my demos are the opposite of Alex's (brilliant) composition in that they're more or less just noodled in with generally no tweaking at all.

I find them wonderfully expressive, and wonderfully playable. Or rather wonderfully performable, in that you can really craft a phrase as you play.

The caveat is that I use a logic script to control the vibrato - you *have* to keep the vibrato moving in this library it's absolutely not optional (with the exception of the new virtuosic violin, which has a lot more going on). But I've found a simple script can do about ~98% of the work in controlling the vibrato, saying you from messing about with cc21 entirely.

I've actually been tweaking the script this afternoon, so I'll try to share it tonight if I can get it documented.




Mixing the Olafur chamber evo with the Spitfire Solo strings is one of my favourite things in this world.

Hello @ism - When you say you have to keep the vibrato moving in the legato patches (and thus why you created a script to automatically do this work on cc21) I am a bit unclear as I thought the vibrato was only on or off. If this is the case what effect would cc21 have on the vibrato other than on or off? I'm trying to understand the full requirements of getting these legato patches to sound realistic (and thank you @Alex Niedt for your excellent demo and input) so I can make an informed decision as to whether to purchase this library or not. Thank you very much for your input!
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Hello @ism - When you say you have to keep the vibrato moving in the legato patches (and thus why you created a script to automatically do this work on cc21) I am a bit unclear as I thought the vibrato was only on or off. If this is the case what effect would cc21 have on the vibrato other than on or off? I'm trying to understand the full requirements of getting these legato patches to sound realistic (and thank you @Alex Niedt for your excellent demo and input) so I can make an informed decision as to whether to purchase this library or not. Thank you very much for your input!
I'm sure Ism will chime in with more information. In my experience, you have to move CC21 in and out of vibrato, shaping the note with vibrato the way a player would. I've found this to be particularly the case when playing exposed passages but less of a concern within the context of an orchestral setting where keeping the vibrato on and riding the modwheel for dynamics in usual fashion is often enough (though it may still bug some people). If you are just using the solo strings as first chair players, I find I don't really need to do much with the vibrato at all (except follow the section) as the solo player and section vibratos match well. I haven't worked with the solo strings much as first chair players though, so it's possible I've missed inconsistencies that would show up with more use.

The virtuoso violin is a different beast entirely and requires a different approach, but the scripting on it is magical.
 

ism

Senior Member
Hello @ism - When you say you have to keep the vibrato moving in the legato patches (and thus why you created a script to automatically do this work on cc21) I am a bit unclear as I thought the vibrato was only on or off. If this is the case what effect would cc21 have on the vibrato other than on or off? I'm trying to understand the full requirements of getting these legato patches to sound realistic (and thank you @Alex Niedt for your excellent demo and input) so I can make an informed decision as to whether to purchase this library or not. Thank you very much for your input!


There’s a couple of things to unpack here.



First a small caveat that with the new virtuosic voiln you have a much, much more sophisicated treatment of the vibrato, in that:


a) you can set it to use progressive legato, and if that’s the style you’re going for then this mean you don’t really just don’t have to think about vibrato anymore (much like CSSS and other libs that bake in a progressive vibrato). Only the virtuosic violing has this the moment, but all the instruments have progressive vibrato longs, so its reasonable to hope that future updates will also include scripting of progressive vibrato in the legato for the other instruments.



b) The new Vl also does some very clever scripting using time machine so that you can actually alter the speed of the vibrato, to some extent, once you’re playing vibrato.





That said, what I meant in terms of keeping the vibrato moving, well its easier to hear in these noodlings ( ... with the caveat that its a little embarassing to share them on the same thread as Alex’s vastly superior compostion, and also apologies to anyon getting tired of hearing them as my sharing them is getting old - but the question keeps coming up in new forms, so here we go ...)















What you hear in these is my attempts to learn how to craft a certain type of idiomatic phrasing, in a particular, expressive sytyle, in which both the dynamics and the precice timing of the shift to vibrato are central to the shape of the phrase.



There’s a few things going on here:





So out of the box, if you just play non-vibrato, it can sound very harsh, which is maybe an effect you sometimes want (Homay uses it to good effect in here demo), but not always. Smilarly if you play with vibrato always on, there’s a knind of harshness, or something, as well - especially since the vibratos are quite wide,.





But when you craft a phrase useing both non-vib and vib, while carefully controlling the moments of shifing from non-vib to vib (in general, coordinaing this with the dynamics of the arc of each note), you can use he ‘harshness’ of non-vib if you want, of the effect of the vibrato. But the whole is much more than the sum of its parst - and there’s also a kind of ‘sweetness’ that comes from using both in a carefuly crafted way.



I’m not completely sure how to describe the effect, but it feels like a kind of ‘sweetness’ that you can emphasize or downplay as you craft the phrase, and it’s very different from the baked in progressive vibratos of things like CSSS or the Joshua Bell (recorded) vibratos. Its not that I don’t like the sweetness-by-default of a nice progessive vibrato, its just that I realy love the expressve dimensions that more conroll of the vibrato opens up.



And as a bit of an aside - I think there’s another effect at play here also. The moment of shifting from vib to non-vib like this also plays an important part in the subtley and nuances of how instruments coordinate in an ensemble. I’d argue it’s not just a question of stylistic flourish, but a percepual effect. One of the things that makes solo string ensembles so amazing and distinct is the combination that you have both a very homogenous sound that blends harmonically quite wonderfully, and yet at the same time, with a bit of attention to the voice leading, the individual voices can soar off as distinct lines - which depends on our mind’s abiliy to separate sound into distinct perceptual streams. Even small details, in the coordination or offestting of the dynamics or the vibrato can have a significant effect in igniting what I’ve started calling the ‘string quartet effect’ - that moment when the voices both cohere seamlessly harmonically yet also form their own gloriously independent perceptual streams. (There’s a fun story in evolutionary psychology that suggests some underlying mechanism for why human perception is so uniqely suited for the string quartets, how they’re differnt from jazz quartets, and which maybe also help explain why string quartets are so *#%$^#$ hard to write).





As someone said on another thread of latter of the above demos, ‘I can almost hear the players watching each other’s wrists’ - which I think is probably referring not them playing in perfect timing (which they’re not), but to the way the phrasing of each line is crafted (ie with the mod wheel) while listening carefully to how they interact with each other. I don’t think you could get quite this effect this - or at least not nearly so well - with a baked in progressive vibrato or dynamic arc.





It was actually in part from listening carefully (and repeatedly) to Alex’s composition when he first shared it - specifically trying to get a sense of how he uses vibrato to such great effect - that got me thinking about how to better approach the vibrato (my early attempts where I just set vibrato to ‘on’ having been, in retrosepct, quite terrible). And whihc ultimately led to write the little script used in the above that frees you up from having to think about cc21 (I have a whole rant on why, in general, I think that cc21 is just profoundly, conceptually, wrong).





For instance - I did a rough estimate of the number of times the instruments shifts between vib and non vib in he above noodles, and its something like 450 times for < 3 minutes of not especially sophisticated noodling. And the script handles all of these changes automatically, with the exception of maybe half a dozen notes where I touched the sustain pedal to inform the script to not apply go with its first guess of when to change the vibrato. And with that small caveat, I’d argue that each of those 400 shifts of vibrato improve the expressiveness of lines.





So I guess the short answer to your question is, that you need to keep the vibrato moving to craft you idiomatic phrasing in a way that has maybe on the sufrace appears to be ‘adding your own progressive vibrato by hand’, but in practice gives you a fabulous expressive dimension that goes far beyond a baked in progressive vibrato in the musicality of its effect. (Or a least, I really like it, and don’t know of any other sample instruments where you can get quite his effect).





(I’m just finishing a few tweaks to the script incidenally, I’ll make an effort to publish it later today.)







Hope that helps.
 

lionsroarmusic

New Member
There’s a couple of things to unpack here.



First a small caveat that with the new virtuosic voiln you have a much, much more sophisicated treatment of the vibrato, in that:


a) you can set it to use progressive legato, and if that’s the style you’re going for then this mean you don’t really just don’t have to think about vibrato anymore (much like CSSS and other libs that bake in a progressive vibrato). Only the virtuosic violing has this the moment, but all the instruments have progressive vibrato longs, so its reasonable to hope that future updates will also include scripting of progressive vibrato in the legato for the other instruments.



b) The new Vl also does some very clever scripting using time machine so that you can actually alter the speed of the vibrato, to some extent, once you’re playing vibrato.





That said, what I meant in terms of keeping the vibrato moving, well its easier to hear in these noodlings ( ... with the caveat that its a little embarassing to share them on the same thread as Alex’s vastly superior compostion, and also apologies to anyon getting tired of hearing them as my sharing them is getting old - but the question keeps coming up in new forms, so here we go ...)















What you hear in these is my attempts to learn how to craft a certain type of idiomatic phrasing, in a particular, expressive sytyle, in which both the dynamics and the precice timing of the shift to vibrato are central to the shape of the phrase.



There’s a few things going on here:





So out of the box, if you just play non-vibrato, it can sound very harsh, which is maybe an effect you sometimes want (Homay uses it to good effect in here demo), but not always. Smilarly if you play with vibrato always on, there’s a knind of harshness, or something, as well - especially since the vibratos are quite wide,.





But when you craft a phrase useing both non-vib and vib, while carefully controlling the moments of shifing from non-vib to vib (in general, coordinaing this with the dynamics of the arc of each note), you can use he ‘harshness’ of non-vib if you want, of the effect of the vibrato. But the whole is much more than the sum of its parst - and there’s also a kind of ‘sweetness’ that comes from using both in a carefuly crafted way.



I’m not completely sure how to describe the effect, but it feels like a kind of ‘sweetness’ that you can emphasize or downplay as you craft the phrase, and it’s very different from the baked in progressive vibratos of things like CSSS or the Joshua Bell (recorded) vibratos. Its not that I don’t like the sweetness-by-default of a nice progessive vibrato, its just that I realy love the expressve dimensions that more conroll of the vibrato opens up.



And as a bit of an aside - I think there’s another effect at play here also. The moment of shifting from vib to non-vib like this also plays an important part in the subtley and nuances of how instruments coordinate in an ensemble. I’d argue it’s not just a question of stylistic flourish, but a percepual effect. One of the things that makes solo string ensembles so amazing and distinct is the combination that you have both a very homogenous sound that blends harmonically quite wonderfully, and yet at the same time, with a bit of attention to the voice leading, the individual voices can soar off as distinct lines - which depends on our mind’s abiliy to separate sound into distinct perceptual streams. Even small details, in the coordination or offestting of the dynamics or the vibrato can have a significant effect in igniting what I’ve started calling the ‘string quartet effect’ - that moment when the voices both cohere seamlessly harmonically yet also form their own gloriously independent perceptual streams. (There’s a fun story in evolutionary psychology that suggests some underlying mechanism for why human perception is so uniqely suited for the string quartets, how they’re differnt from jazz quartets, and which maybe also help explain why string quartets are so *#%$^#$ hard to write).





As someone said on another thread of latter of the above demos, ‘I can almost hear the players watching each other’s wrists’ - which I think is probably referring not them playing in perfect timing (which they’re not), but to the way the phrasing of each line is crafted (ie with the mod wheel) while listening carefully to how they interact with each other. I don’t think you could get quite this effect this - or at least not nearly so well - with a baked in progressive vibrato or dynamic arc.





It was actually in part from listening carefully (and repeatedly) to Alex’s composition when he first shared it - specifically trying to get a sense of how he uses vibrato to such great effect - that got me thinking about how to better approach the vibrato (my early attempts where I just set vibrato to ‘on’ having been, in retrosepct, quite terrible). And whihc ultimately led to write the little script used in the above that frees you up from having to think about cc21 (I have a whole rant on why, in general, I think that cc21 is just profoundly, conceptually, wrong).





For instance - I did a rough estimate of the number of times the instruments shifts between vib and non vib in he above noodles, and its something like 450 times for < 3 minutes of not especially sophisticated noodling. And the script handles all of these changes automatically, with the exception of maybe half a dozen notes where I touched the sustain pedal to inform the script to not apply go with its first guess of when to change the vibrato. And with that small caveat, I’d argue that each of those 400 shifts of vibrato improve the expressiveness of lines.





So I guess the short answer to your question is, that you need to keep the vibrato moving to craft you idiomatic phrasing in a way that has maybe on the sufrace appears to be ‘adding your own progressive vibrato by hand’, but in practice gives you a fabulous expressive dimension that goes far beyond a baked in progressive vibrato in the musicality of its effect. (Or a least, I really like it, and don’t know of any other sample instruments where you can get quite his effect).





(I’m just finishing a few tweaks to the script incidenally, I’ll make an effort to publish it later today.)







Hope that helps.
@ism - Yes, that helps a lot (and @jbuhler thank you for your response too, it made perfect sense). I appreciate your depth of explanation. One question...my understanding from what you (and @jbuhler) state above is that to create realism within the phrase you need to be able to control where the non-vib to vib occurs. And, my understanding is that you created your script to automate this behavior. But this seems contradictory, as rationally it seems the automated script would decide for you when to transition the vibrato and would thus defeat its own purpose, as where it transitions may not be the optimal spot. Does it somehow make an educated guess that the vast majority of the time is correct and in the cases it is not you simply apply the sustain pedal to override it? I very well may not be understanding and so thank you for explaining. I love the tone of the Spitfire library, however, I am ultimately trying to discern how much work is required for realism and, as such, whether it's a realistic purchase for me. If your script can handle the vast majority of this work with realism then that makes the decision a lot easier. Also to note, my immediate need is for a solo cello and so the primary importance is the ability to handle vibrato transitions within the instruments besides the virtuosic violin.

Thank you again for your assistance here. Very much appreciated.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
But this seems contradictory, as rationally it seems the automated script would decide for you when to transition the vibrato and would thus defeat its own purpose, as where it transitions may not be the optimal spot. Does it somehow make an educated guess that the vast majority of the time is correct and in the cases it is not you simply apply the sustain pedal to override it?
I haven't seen Ism's script, but I'm guessing the script attempts to emulate the feel of progressive vibrato. I know what I do when I'm working with it on a long note is to set the vibrato just under the crossover point and then move it in and out of vibrato before settling into the vibrato and then usually backing off it near the end of the note. It's also best if dynamics and vibrato move somewhat in concert but getting the coordination just right has been tricky. I believe Ism's script does some coordination between vibrato and dynamics as well. I've also tried attaching vibrato to aftertouch and had some success with that though I need to play around a bit with the scaling and practice more to control the aftertouch to see if that is viable.
 

HelixK

Active Member
Me gusta mucho! Spitfire Solo Strings came a long way and to me they are currently the best sounding solo ensemble out of the box. They breathe life. I'd take them over any bloated library that still sounds midi like even with a long set of articulations.
 

lionsroarmusic

New Member
I haven't seen Ism's script, but I'm guessing the script attempts to emulate the feel of progressive vibrato. I know what I do when I'm working with it on a long note is to set the vibrato just under the crossover point and then move it in and out of vibrato before settling into the vibrato and then usually backing off it near the end of the note. It's also best if dynamics and vibrato move somewhat in concert but getting the coordination just right has been tricky. I believe Ism's script does some coordination between vibrato and dynamics as well. I've also tried attaching vibrato to aftertouch and had some success with that though I need to play around a bit with the scaling and practice more to control the aftertouch to see if that is viable.
@jbuhler - Thanks for the information. This makes perfect sense. Out of curiosity, to obtain realism how many times do you typically move CC21 in and out of vibrato on a note before settling in? It sounds like ism's script does this a lot so curious what you find is manually required for proper realism.
 

ism

Senior Member
@ism - Yes, that helps a lot (and @jbuhler thank you for your response too, it made perfect sense). I appreciate your depth of explanation. One question...my understanding from what you (and @jbuhler) state above is that to create realism within the phrase you need to be able to control where the non-vib to vib occurs. And, my understanding is that you created your script to automate this behavior. But this seems contradictory, as rationally it seems the automated script would decide for you when to transition the vibrato and would thus defeat its own purpose, as where it transitions may not be the optimal spot. Does it somehow make an educated guess that the vast majority of the time is correct and in the cases it is not you simply apply the sustain pedal to override it? I very well may not be understanding and so thank you for explaining. I love the tone of the Spitfire library, however, I am ultimately trying to discern how much work is required for realism and, as such, whether it's a realistic purchase for me. If your script can handle the vast majority of this work with realism then that makes the decision a lot easier. Also to note, my immediate need is for a solo cello and so the primary importance is the ability to handle vibrato transitions within the instruments besides the virtuosic violin.

Thank you again for your assistance here. Very much appreciated.

So why a script (especially one as simple as mine) should work as well as it does is a really good question.


Long Answer:


1. The basic idea is at least for a certain idiomatic style , it turns out that dynamics aren't completely independent.

The Blakus cello comes with a patch that attempts to do this by setting dynamics on the same cc as vibrato, so soft = non vib, loud = vib. But I really dislike the results it gives.

So instead, after quite a bit of messing about with cc, I came up with an (overly complex) mathematical motivation, but the basic conjecture reduces to:

'what happens if you infer the vib/non vib from the *inflection* points of the dynamics?'.

Translating this into an actual midi script, it turns out to be amazingly (and, I'll admit, kind of disappointingly) simple:

When the mod wheel starts moving down => switch to non-vibrato
When the mod wheel starts moving up => switch to vibrato.


And while this is very crude conjecture, in practice, it works *vastly* better that I would have imagined. Better that it has any right to . However it's partly its because of this effect:



2. The mod wheel give you more sensitivity (ie can contain more information) than you need for dynamics alone.

In practice, this means that you can switch from vib to non vib when using this script by wiggling the mod wheel up a bit and then down (or vice versa). I've done some level balancing in the script to help out a bit, but basically the mod wheel is sensitive enough - especially when you're not juggling an addition cc21 slider - that in addition to the vibrato simply following the dynamics, you can very often also use it to quickly and easily select vibrato/non-vib without actually affecting the dynamics. This isn't going to work in the middle of a de/cresecendo, but it works well just before a note, or while your dynamics are fairly constant.

With a bit of practice, I've found this give you a great deal of 'playability' in idiomatically crafting both the dynamics and vibrato phrase using *only* the mod wheel. At least about ~95% of the time. For remain 5% - ie when vibrato doesn't correlate so nicely with (inflection of) your dynamics - I've set up the sustain pedal and pitch shift to handle deviations.

Conceptually, you can think of this as taking a kind of idiomatic progressive vibration inferred from (inflections of) dynamics be your idiomatic default, and then additional add midi data (ie sustain pedal or pitch wheel) only when a phrase's vibrato deviates from this norm. In practice, this usually arises when I want the end of a phrase to descrendo, but the vibrato to be sustain as an intensifying effect. And you get this by holding the sustain pedal, which here becomes 'vibrato sustain' instead of note sustain.


(Off topic, I know, but just in case anyone is interested, there's also a strong analogy here to why, previous to loop quantum gravity, all early attempts at quantum gravity failed so spectacularly. They were in effect treating the coordinates of space-time as if they were independent cc controllers. When in fact the 'loops' in loop quantum gravity bear a mathematical resemblance to the implicit gauge symmetry exploited in the above script between the vibrato and the (inflections of) dynamics).



So to summarize: it's a combination of

a) the mathematical fact that dynamics and vibrato have significant (higher order) correlation in idiomatic phrasing,

b) the fact that the mod wheel is such a sensitive controller that it can carry slightly more information than just purely dynamic (ie in the form of small virbrato-specifying wiggles),

c) the ability to easily set up alternate controls when vibrato idiomatically breaks this basic correlation. Which when you thing about midi data in terms of a performance, probably makes more sense conceptually that having cc1 and cc21 as completely independent sliders anyway.


And there you have it: Spitfire Solo String Made Easy With Loop Quantum Gravity.


3. All of this hinges on the simple fact that however you want to understand the artistic vision of library, the vib and non-vib samples work really, really well together.

Which is to say that together they give you something that is very much more than the sum of its parts. And also, very different in its effect and its implications for crafting phrases from a baked in progressive vibrato (although the baked in progressive vibrato in the virtuosic violin is also quite wonderful, and I hope well see the legato scripts for the other instruments similarly enhanced).

Short Answer:

If you set vibrato off in a decrescendo, and on in a crescendo, and ride your mod wheel with this in mind as you craft your phrases, this gives you a wonderfully playable instrument, and a surprisingly good first approximation of idiomatic vibrato performance.
 
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jbuhler

Senior Member
@jbuhler - Thanks for the information. This makes perfect sense. Out of curiosity, to obtain realism how many times do you typically move CC21 in and out of vibrato on a note before settling in? It sounds like ism's script does this a lot so curious what you find is manually required for proper realism.
Not sure to be honest as it is more a set of wiggles with the initial vibrato set close to the threshold. But you have to do it for every note, and in coordination with dynamics, which is the difficulty and that's where I think @ism's script will be quite useful. I hope we will be seeing that script soon.

I'll add that musical context means that you can often cheat, and draw in the vibrato so that it engages somewhere after the onset of the note—I found I learned quickly where the vibrato should engage for a given passage. This is usually good enough to get a sense of how the instrument will work in the passage and then you can go back and rework it with a slider or mod-wheel. @ism's script would however make roughing in this way unnecessary.
 

ism

Senior Member
@jbuhler - Thanks for the information. This makes perfect sense. Out of curiosity, to obtain realism how many times do you typically move CC21 in and out of vibrato on a note before settling in? It sounds like ism's script does this a lot so curious what you find is manually required for proper realism.

I think that there are different factors at play here involving both realism and idiomatic phrasing.

In the official demos you'll often here entire sections of phrases played non vib before switching to vib - see particularly Homay's demo where she uses this to good effect (also Andy's). There's a quality to the non vib - sometimes I feel it as a certain 'harshness', or a kind of intensity or rawness - which is really nice to have when this is what you want.


And in general there's a sonority of the non-vib 'rawness' that I feel is quite emblematic of what distinguishes the library from, for instance CSSS. CSSS makes it very easy to get an effortless 'sweetness' right out of the box in everything you play. A big part of this is the baked in progressive vibrato. It's a wonderful effect. But sometimes I also find it as a kind of middle of the road 'studio' kind of sound. (Not that there's anything wrong with that - its just that its perfectly suited for a pop track, for instance, right out of the box, which isn't always what I'm going for)


Of course, Spitfire is capable of moments of great sweetness, but also - I feel quite strongly - a much greater range.

Alex's above piece is a great example of coaxing a certain sweetness out of Spitfire - in a way that I don't think the that official demos do justice to. (Andy's legato demos are brilliant, but tend towards the high-classical, and make great use of the rawness, while sometimes leaving the library's capacity for sweetness relatively unexplored).

There's a lot going on in how Alex achieves this, but the way he crafts the vibrato in the phrasing is a big part of it. (Note that its written before the new virtuoso violin performance patch, so I wonder how it would have altered the composition if it had been available then).

At the same time, I also can hear in this piece a kind of 'rawness' of the library's sonority used again to great effect. Each phrase is designed to build a certain tension and then at least partially resolve it, but while leaving the raw sound reverberating. And it's not just a lovely composition, but its one that really work to understand the sonority and expressiveness of the library. (Or at least I found it really helpful and enlightening as I'm been developing my own sense of what this library ultimately about).


In my noodles, I'm going for a slightly different effect - but again, I think its helpful to think of the phrasing in terms of how it plays a part in balances a rawness and sweetness inherent in the library's sonority, as well as the tension and resolution inherent in the actual choice of notes. And a big part of this is how I 'resolve' almost every note to vibrato. Again, its different from the predictable sweetness of a baked in sweetness of a pre-recodred progressive legato. And its different from the dynamics of the tension and release of Alex's phrases. And it interact with the dynamics in different ways also. But hopefully you can get a sense of this effect I'm struggling to describe even in my silly little noodles.



But even though Alex phrasing is different in its intent from mine, from what I hear, the dynamics of these phrases tends to be kind 'U-shaped', in which case my script might, at least conceivably, have given much the same effect (I would speculate).


And so to answer your question of how often to switch vibrato - I'd argue that it's less a question of realism, and more of expressiveness and idiom of the phrases. My noodles shift hundred of times (mostly handled by the script), Alex's probably dozens of times. And I think both work in within their intended idiom.


Realism does enter the question, in that if you only play non vib or vib, its quickly starts to sound a bit harsh. I'll admit that at first, this was a bit jarring, compared to most string samples that have at least some progressive vibrato baked into them, to the point that you don't have to think about vibrato if you don't want to.

But even then I'd argue this is more about phrasing and idiomatic performance - in that it would sound extremely odd for a real player to ever play strictly non vib or vib.
 
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jbuhler

Senior Member
From what I hear, the dynamics of these phrases tends to be kind 'U-shaped', in which case my script might, at least conceivably, have given much the same effect (I would speculate).
So interested in seeing your script, so I can get a better sense of the mechanics of it all.