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Topic: Newbie having trouble w/ string articulations

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  1. #1

    Newbie having trouble w/ string articulations

    I recently bought GPO because I like the potential of the string section (compared to the orchestras that I already have), but after spending several hours experimenting and re-reading the manual, I'm still perplexed about how to access all the string articulations:

    1. First, where is staccato? I am surprised to not see a staccato articulation in GPO, especially considering that my two less expensive orchestras have it. Perhaps I am missing something, but I'm hoping there is a better way to achieve staccato than to manually shorten the length of individual notes.

    2. In testing all the articulations for the keyswitch string sections and KS solo strings, I'm wondering why the KS sections are playing the 3 bow variations (alternating, upbows, downbows) as very short notes, while the solos all play the full length of the notes. What am I overlooking here? At first, I thought I had discovered a hidden staccato, but it simply seems to be working incorrectly for the string sections (KS). I tried the short bows also, just for the heck of it, and they play shorter than the actual note also. I've double-checked the manual (p. 29) but find the keyswitch information a bit confusing.

    Any help/suggestions on these two issues would be greatly appreciated. This has probably already been covered here long ago, but I've been searching the forum and not found anything relevant.

    I'm using the latest version of Kontakt Player (1.1.8.004) within GarageBand 3. The GPO strings are beautiful (w/ some tweaking), but I need to master these articulations to achieve their full potential.

    Thanks.

    --Jason

  2. #2

    Re: Newbie having trouble w/ string articulations

    Quote Originally Posted by xango
    I recently bought GPO because I like the potential of the string section (compared to the orchestras that I already have), but after spending several hours experimenting and re-reading the manual, I'm still perplexed about how to access all the string articulations:

    1. First, where is staccato? I am surprised to not see a staccato articulation in GPO, especially considering that my two less expensive orchestras have it. Perhaps I am missing something, but I'm hoping there is a better way to achieve staccato than to manually shorten the length of individual notes.
    Yes, you are missing something. For the section strings, the sus+short instruments use a combination of long sustained bow strokes layered with short bow strokes. Overall volume/timbre is intended to be shaped continuously using the mod wheel (cc1 data.) Attack characteristics are controlled by velocity. Lower velocities use very little of the short bow layer, higher velocities use quite a lot. Length control (cc21) gives additional control of the release speed of the sound. These controllers work in concert with the actual note length data to allow you to play a wide variety of bow strokes from gentle sustains on up to digging marcatos. The trick is to learn how to apply them. For a staccato bow stroke play a short note with a relatively high velocity. If that doesn't yield as short a note as you would like then decrease the value of cc21. If you want more "dig" then increase the velocity further. If that isn't strong enough then load one of the "ag" aggressive patches and repeat the procedure. In the "ag" patches, adjust cc16 to taste to add more "grit." The point is: By using a combination of controllers like this the user can create a wide variety of bow strokes and not be locked into a limited number of recorded short bows. The same goes for the separate short bow patches (cc21 is especially useful) except, being percussive strokes by nature, these use velocity for volume/timbre, not mod wheel. The use of these patches can be very intuitive when playing from a keyboard once you understand the principles.

    2. In testing all the articulations for the keyswitch string sections and KS solo strings, I'm wondering why the KS sections are playing the 3 bow variations (alternating, upbows, downbows) as very short notes, while the solos all play the full length of the notes. What am I overlooking here? At first, I thought I had discovered a hidden staccato, but it simply seems to be working incorrectly for the string sections (KS). I tried the short bows also, just for the heck of it, and they play shorter than the actual note also. I've double-checked the manual (p. 29) but find the keyswitch information a bit confusing.
    The difference between the short bows of the section and solo strings exists because the solo string samples let me add the ability to give the user the choice of playing the short note any length required (rather like the sus+short instruments in the sections.) Otherwise, the same principles apply to the solo strings as outlined above.

    Tom

  3. #3

    Re: Newbie having trouble w/ string articulations

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins
    The trick is to learn how to apply them.
    --Tom
    Thanks, Tom! This is very encouraging (to know that so much is possible), but, yes, I can see I have a lot to learn! I'm using GarageBand, so the MIDI channel numbers don't mean much to me, but I am getting a better feel for how velocity and modulation interact. Now to add note length and different bow strokes into the equation. Hmm. I realize I need to do more experimenting with the various bowings with the combinations you've mentioned to see (hear) exactly how they work.

    Is there information somewhere with suggestions as to when best to apply these different choices, perhaps with examples? I don't mind learning by trial and error, but it's so time-consuming. I'm using beautiful classical pieces to learn with, so at least it's not a painful experience!

    Thanks again for your reply. As I get increasingly realistic results with GPO, I am more and more thrilled with it. Your explanation will hopefully keep me headed in the right direction.

    --Jason

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