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Topic: Aftertouch and vibrato

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  1. #1

    Aftertouch and vibrato

    Hello - could some kind person please give me a bit more help with aftertouch and vibrato ? Having read previous posts I can set vibrato intensity and speed with channel aftertouch and cc17 respectively, but don't really know what I'm doing. Some specific questions:
    1. When I insert a channel aftertouch event (I use Sonar 5), should this event be just after the "note on" command for the first note it's meant to add vibrato to, or before it ?
    2. Does one channel aftertouch command govern the entire piece and therefore confine me to the same vibrato intensity for everything ? I can't think that it does... in which case, how do I cancel the vibrato setting to allow non-vibrato notes? Do insert a channel aftertouch = 0 command ?
    3. Following on from that, in Sonar 5's Event List (or similar), what is the value that appears alongside the channel aftertouch ? I sort of understand that higher values give more intense vibrato, but am not sure how far the scale goes or where it should normally be set for an average vibrato sound.
    4. Likewise, should cc17 vibrato speed be cancelled once it's been used for a note (and if so, how ?), or should it be left at a constant value for the entire piece ? And (as with point 1), where should this event be inserted - before, after or during the note ?
    Sorry about all the questions. Any replies greatly appreciated.
    Thanks !
    Viv.

  2. #2
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    Re: Aftertouch and vibrato

    Set your general vibrato speed with CC17 and leave it unless you want to change your vibrato speed as you play. I usually play with this as a live musician never plays their vibrato at one speed.

    Aftertouch should be changed constantly. You normally don't want vibrato on the note attacks so aftertouch should be at 0. Then add it on sustained notes. A live musician won't go immediately into the vibrato but will add it gradually and then usually gradually drop it at the end of a long note. Aftertouch is not a set and forget controller but needs to be manipulated constrantly to get a realistic vibrato. Bet thing to do is listen to live players to hear how they use vibrato. This can really vary from player to player.

    Jim

  3. #3

    Re: Aftertouch and vibrato

    Quote Originally Posted by Haydn
    A live musician won't go immediately into the vibrato but will add it gradually and then usually gradually drop it at the end of a long note.
    Jim,

    you are right for the scenario of a single sustained note or the beginning of a phrasing.

    It changes a little imho for legato phrases. It can help to tighten the legato if the vibrato of the second note begins like at the end of the first note. With other words, a continuous vibrato (not static) can help the phrase. In contrast to that it can provoke a 'pumping' effect even with live players if they start every note with non-vibrato.

    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  4. #4

    Re: Aftertouch and vibrato

    Thank you both very much: that's really useful and shows me (a mere pianist) just how complex other instruments are. Armed with your advice, I've downloaded the Sirius B/Promocao Do Amor JABB Tutorial files and will load up the Sonar cwp to see exactly what was done there! Viv.

  5. #5

    Re: Aftertouch and vibrato

    Viv, to add to the excellent advice allready given, here is a tip on when to add vibrato.
    My secret technological weapon to achieve a realistic vibrato is.....er...........I sing the part.

    Some times when drawing in CC controller information in a Sequencer, you have multiple controller lanes open, and you start to get cross-eyed, and get get your cc17 confused with your aftertouch and modulation, ( well it happens to me all the time ).

    At this point I have forgotten what the damn tune sounded like. So I sing the phrase to myself....quickly....without thinking about it.
    Then I sing it again.......and try to notice where I put the vibrato.
    Did the vib start at the beginning of the note. ??
    Middle.??
    End??
    Did it swell, or start big and get small.??

    Everyone has heard about Air guitarists, but I am also an air-violist, air-harpist, air-drummer,air-sax-player.
    You name it....I will do a ridiculous mime of it.

    I am not any great shakes as a singer. In fact some would say I have a voice only a mother could love.
    But singing is really useful in adding a human dimension to phrasing. Many of our notions of phrase lengths, dynamics, expressive arc, rhythm, etc, etc, come from the human voice.

    Although I spend a good part of the day interacting with a machine, singing the parts reminds me that I am not a machine .

    And the best part of my secret technological weapon.............. the price.

    regards Joe

  6. #6

    Re: Aftertouch and vibrato

    Quote Originally Posted by joaz
    Viv, to add to the excellent advice allready given, here is a tip on when to add vibrato.
    My secret technological weapon to achieve a realistic vibrato is.....er...........I sing the part.
    Joe,

    as always I like your thinking. I think singing is the key to most melody instruments. For me it is definetely the measure in regards to violin play.

    And if anybody did not have any singing training - don't worry. Most people can even hum more musical, spontaneous and expressive than many instrumentalists with years of practise. Not so much technique that is standing in the way.

    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  7. #7

    Re: Aftertouch and vibrato

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannes_F
    Not so much technique that is standing in the way.

    Hannes
    Yes Hannes I agree.

    It is my deeply held view, that every musician should sing and play a drum.
    We will not all become Pavarotti or Airto Moreira, but that is not the point.
    In the first place it is your Human birthright to sing and play a drum, and secondly these 2 activities govern everything we do as musicians.

    My third axiom, is, if you plan on using dance rhythms extensively, ie, Salsa, Waltz, Techno, Middle Eastern.
    Then try to learn the dance. Even if you do not advance beyond the 1st lesson.

    I had 1 Salsa dance class many years ago, and although to this day,I am not a very good Salsa dancer, it transformed the way I play it.
    Instead of counting the rhythms carefully, I could feel it in my body. And instead of the Bass lines throwing me off, I realised that you push off from your toe with the Bass anticipation and this hurls you into the next bar of music.
    This allowed me to stop thinking in 2 bar sections, and made me think about the 32 bar groove.

    The other great merit of learning the dance, is it makes music fun and instinctive.
    If, as many people here seem to do, you spend your life intellectuallising the process of music making, it is too easy to forget the primeval roots of music.
    The reason "The Masters" are "The Masters" is that they balance the head and the heart.

    I think I definitely drank too much coffee today.

    regards Joe

  8. #8

    Re: Aftertouch and vibrato

    Joe - I don't care how much coffee you drank today: that tip is worth a thousand pages of a MIDI manual. I have a singing voice that even my mother can't possibly love, but the vibrato trick works !
    I've spent a fascinating afternoon/evening analysing and playing with MIDI controllers and JABB, and am getting quite hooked on the infinite variations a CC or two (or six) can bring to the basic JABB architecture. But would someone like to be honest with me here - ? - HOW do some of you say things such as "I threw this one together last night", or "Here's something I did as soon as I'd installed JABB," when (as far as I can tell) only the basic tune can be put down quickly... then a lot of fiddling about with MIDI ensues ! ? Have you got some incredible short-cuts, or is everyone drawing in and then thinning out and refining controller data and using Markleford's wonderful CC Mapper on a couple of dials as I am ? I don't mind putting the work and the time in, but I'd be delighted if someone wants to reveal a quicker way of doing it !
    Viv.

  9. #9

    Re: Aftertouch and vibrato

    Joe,

    it seems we have gone some parallel ways in life. I played the drum during my military marching band time and although I am no real percussionist I find myself always tapping and hitting on something - knees, walls, desks, driving wheel ... . And dancing has changed my view on music entirely. BTW much of classical music comes from dancing, think of all those menuets, gavottes etc. in the sonatas and sinfonies. If one has a slight clue of dancing one will find the right tempos much easier - and as Mozart (who was a good dancer himself) said, tempo is everything.

    Maybe we would say today that timing is everything - or at least without timing, everything is nothing.

    vivmarsh,

    controllers give possibilities and it is our artistical choice to use them in one or the other way. If we decide whether one note should be louder or softer than the last one or has more or less vibrato than the last one then we are doing part of the work of a conductor and/or an instrumentalist. Somebody has to decide this, now it is our turn.

    My feeling is that quite some people want to skip this step. They want a software that does it. A DPDAN in the box (which would be nice but would also take the most interesting part of making music away). They just want to press one key per one note and do nothing more - hit and forget. If this does not work for them they tend to blame the manufacturer of the virtual instrument for it.

    But this is not how I do music. I want to have fun myself. So I have to find out what I want and then find ways to realise this.

    So if you ask how it can be that some people are that fast: It is because they know what they want. This is sometimes the hardest part of it but if with experience it becomes much faster.

    Then: it can be very educative to use hairpins in notation or mouse draw for cc lines to study how this all works. But in the end nothing beats realtime control with the own hands while having audial control. Once you know what you want this is the fastest and most musical input, at least for me.

    Just my 2c, as always. Happy new year to everybody!

    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  10. #10

    Re: Aftertouch and vibrato

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannes_F
    They just want to press one key per one note and do nothing more - hit and forget. If this does not work for them they tend to blame the manufacturer of the virtual instrument for it.
    Hannes, I think there is a lot of truth in this statement.
    The only time pressing two buttons produces beautiful music for me, is when I play a CD.

    I would say the hit and forget method is unlikely to produce the very best results from any Garritan Library. The design philosophy seems to actively encourage the detailed use of controllers.

    Having said that, it is possible to get very decent results, by just playing in the notes, and adjusting the mod wheel and using the sustain pedal.

    Everybody knows that Garritan libraries are an excellent introduction to the world of Orchestral and Jazz Software. By following a few basic steps, you can achieve satisfying expressive music.

    I feel that Garritan Libraries dont get enough credit for being able to go far beyond that, and achieve very detailed, nuanced and complex performances.

    I am a big admirer of the VSL products, they sound very good, and are capable of very expressive music. My guess would be that the price tag might deter newbies to the sampling game, and so the bulk of demo's you hear from their Libraries tend to be from people who have a good idea on how to tweak and manipulate the samples into a very appealing sound.

    The Garritan Listening room contains demos from Newbie and Experienced, Amateur and Professional, the 2 hours a week hobbyist, to the 12 hours a day Maniac. It has been fascinating for me, during my time on this forum to see the likes of DPDan, Valhalx, oldbob and many others constantly improve their renderings, and raise the bar on what it is possible to achieve, by accepting the design philosophy inherent in Garritan Libraries.

    Their really is no right or wrong way to use this software, just different points of focus.

    Damn.....first too much coffee.....now too much champagne.

    regards Joe

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