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  • Setting up VSL solo strings to behave like virharmonic Bohemian?

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    Is it possible to create VI pro presets with something comprable to what virharmonic is doing with their Bohemian series? If you are not familar here is a great video. Note everything is being improvised in real time with no midi CC's, key switches, mod wheel, etc.



    More info / videos here: https://www.virharmonic.com/bohemian_cello

    I love the sound of my VSL solo strings, but I find all the articulations and getting realistic improvised performances to be a bit of a pain. After the fact I can go in an edit, but often I will just want to improvise something and unfortunately I feel limited in what I can improvise due to my poor keyboard skills and triggering the proper matrix / key switches, etc. For example, going from non-vib for the faster notes of a phrase to vibrato sustains. I usually use the perf-legato VIb-pro so there is no vibrato on the faster notes (but still have legato) and will cell crossfade into the normal performance legato, but to be honest this is very tricky to pull off in real time, which the Bohemian does automatically with ease.

    But I know VI pro is very powerful with its speed controls, etc so I'm wondering if we can get close to this type of playability? :ooking for some help / suggestions in realising a similar approach as Bohemian where its inspiring improvastional instrument, and then of course you can go back later and tweak. Perhaps I need to re-watch those old VSL videos...


  • Short answer, not really. In more detail though, you can of course set up some very complicated matrices where your playing velocity, playing speed, etc, trigger different articulations which might make the playing feel very expressive to you.

  • if you want Virharmonic use Virharmonic.  

    This question brings up the fact that a sample library is an instrument.

    This is asking the same thing as  "Can I play the trumpet if I know how to play the flute?"  

    No, you can't.   Learn how to play the trumpet, then you know how to play it.  The same thing applies to sample libraries - they are INSTRUMENTS.  They are not instant mindless translation of a jumble of music you have in your brain.  I guess in the future that will happen and then much more noise will ensue. Something about this question is irritating.  If you think virharmonic is so wonderful then use it!  It is not better than VSL, trust me on that.  


  • Thank you for your thoughts, but I respectfully 100% disagree with you. If I wanted to learn how to play a solo cello, I would practice cello. But my goal is to write music, and often get paid to deliver as quickly as possible. I truly believe that instruments that allow you to realize what you have in your head as quickly as possible while providing as much “emotion” as possible will get the most use, even if it ultimately sacrifices some “realism.” Previously the goal of sample based instruments was realism, capturing many thousands of samples and articulations, etc, but IMO the future of music composition tools are tools that allow you to compose your music as quickly and painlessly as possible, which is what Virharmonic appear to be doing quite well. 

     

    We shouldn’t have to fight our tools and spend hours tweaking midi CC's and setting up keyswitches & performances to realize the music we hear in our heads, and I still find it funny how much time and effort we put into shaping sample performances, when a live player can read it down and capture an emotional performance in less than 5 min. To me this shouldn't be "irritating" but we should be welcoming this technology as it will help us realize our music, which is ultimately the goal. I do not want to be a "professional VSL sample programmer" I just want to make music. 

     

    And in the video, to me it looks like Virharmonic are doing some of the things that are possible with VSL already, i.e. legato transitions changing based on the speed you are playing, etc. which is why I asked the question, maybe hoping other users would share their thoughts on how to achieve something similar. I apologize if this came across as irritating. 


  •  if you use samples, you are PERFORMING, CONDUCTING AND COMPOSING.  That means you are doing three extremely complex jobs.  

     there is no musician who wants everything done for him.  You have to learn how to control the instruments you are using. 


  • btw I have Virharmonic - it is no substitute for VSL.  


  • I have to add just how wrong this part of the previous post is - "fight our tools and spend hours tweaking midi CC's and setting up keyswitches & performances to realize the music we hear in our heads..."  

    I did not write this correctly...

    Then get a full live orchestra.  Problem solved.  BTW many composers have done just that.  


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    @Another User said:

    Fight our tools?  What fight?  You mean USE your tools?  What do you think professional musicians do?  They do all of that for you.  But you don't have professional musicians  You have a sample library.  So you want it to do automatically what the professionals do.

    Again I respectfully disagree with your stance. If what you said was true, VSL would have never invented the best VI player in the world - they would have never allowed "huminazation functionality" in VI pro, they would have never allow for speed to control playback of different samples and for the many differnet ways to trigger matrixes, not to mention their sequencer in VI pro, etc. They would have left it as one track per sample and thats it, and you would have to play multiple takes on these different tracks, edit these so they are balanced, etc in order to realize a single musical line. ALL these innovations are to make their sample libraries easier to perform, not program. This is the big difference, and again IMO is where the future of sample libraries are going. In fact, VSL already saw this comming to a degree, which is why they added such functionality to VI pro in the first place, no?


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    @William said:

     And so a generic automatic interpretation of musical ideas DOES NOT EXIST.  But you want that, right?  With full orchestra. 

    Then get a full live orchestra.  Problem solved.  BTW many composers have done just that.  

    Wow - so you dont think virtual instruments should behave more like musicians? You think they are mutally exclusive? Isn't that what we are using sampled instruments for in the firstplace, to realize our original music as if it was played by real musicians? I'm confused as to your point I guess. 


  • Very simple - because all of the things you want done automatically MUST be done by control from the compsoer or conductor.  if they are done automatically they are worthless.  And the ways they are controlled within Vi/VE are the most elegant and simple to use of any library.  


  • For example I often hear sounds of other libraries that are nice - but then I realize - controlling them precisely will be screwed up, because it will not be as easy to use as VSL. 


  • Also the VSL approach is based on musical values, not arbitrary decisions of programmers.  i see that so much with other libraries. one has to adapt away from the basic nature of musical expression to match them.  That is never found in VSL because everything is keyed to the actual expressions of music in performance.  


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    @William said:

    Very simple - because all of the things you want done automatically MUST be done by control from the compsoer or conductor.  if they are done automatically they are worthless.  And the ways they are controlled within Vi/VE are the most elegant and simple to use of any library.  

    I agree to a point, but I must admit I found the virharmonic demo in which he didn't use a single CC or keyswitch to be very impressive. Perhaps its different as a listener as I do not know the composers intent, therefore do not know if it was realized properlly. Perhaps as a compositon tool it would be too frustrating, though its my understanding you can override any automatically chosen performance element, so in a way its like VI-pro and its matrixes, except it will hopefully get you 80% of the way there on the first pass without any setup time. But again, maybe I'm not understanding the instrument fully and would love to hear from you more specifics since you own both. 

    Appreciate the discussion BTW. 😊

    p.s. feel free to PM me if you would rather share your thoughts in private. Again I really appreciate any specifics you can provide as you own both of these tools. Thanks again. 


  • Thanks, you are very nice compared to me.  I guess the point I was poorly making was that  the controls in VSL are convenient and very musical to use.  Virharmonic does have a very good sound as well, though I was n't able to integrate it well.   


  • IMHO, musically intelligent virtual performers are the future of expressive music using these libraries. The virharmonic approach is moving in the right direction. I'm not sure, from their documentation on the website, how user-configurable their performances are. That's the key component in any of this. The composer needs to be able to design or sculpt a performance style that can be saved as a performance preset and then applied to the music on playback. There are some real issues with being able to do this in real time to achieve an improvisational performance because some features of the music that you'd want to be made expressive are only known after they've occured, such as melodic peaks and troughs, the first pitch in a repetition, etc. That means the software would need to be able to look into the future.  Quantum computers perhaps? ;-).  This, of course, is completely possible when treating a pre-composed MIDI score by introducing an event delay in analyzing the score, effectively allowing the software to look into the future.  

    We're on the cusp folks... stay tuned for interesting times to come using these technologies.

    Kenneth.

    "Stirred with poetry, standing in ritual, completed with art and music." - Li Po 
     
    Kenneth Newby  ———  Composer-Artist —— Flicker Art Collaboratory
                       
    Music Composition — Computational Poetics — Visual Art — Media Art
     
     

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    @kenneth.newby said:

    IMHO, musically intelligent virtual performers are the future of expressive music using these libraries. The virharmonic approach is moving in the right direction.

    Kenneth

     
     

    I own both Virharmonic instruments as well as VSL libraries and I think Kenneth is spot on here.  The future will be more like the Bohemian Soul Capture series and less like VSL, I believe.  I think that one day in the not too distant future we'll look back on all the dials and switches and knobs and bells and whistles and laugh about them as we use expressive digital incarnations of instrumental performers to create music.  

    I also think that's exactly where VSL is headed with Synchron Strings and Synchron Player.  The future is ease of use and fluid expressive instruments.  With their experience in making exquisite digital instruments and their stature and gravitas as one of the premier leaders in this arena, they will probably be at the forefront again soon...

    Michael