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  • How to match orchestral instruments with existing midi file?

    In other words, I am working on a project where I am given an exisiting midi file
    and have to assign violins to one track, clarinet to another, etc. These are mostly orchestral instruments. I'm uinsg the Vienna Instruments. This is for various musicals and sometimes involves 40-60 tracks.

    I'm having a difficult time matching the right attacks, releases with the midi file. Many times the instrument will have that "sucking" sound, which I'm assuming means the attack on the patch is too slow for the midi file. At times it just seems better to replay the part, rather than trying to match to the midi file.There must be an easier way. I worked on a SHORT Cello part for almost 2 hours trying to get a natural sounding fast repetitive bow using the Chamber Strings.It either sounded too clipped or too "Loose" with longer release times.


    Any tips on how to improve this process would be greatly appreciated. By the way, I'm using Digital Performer as my sequencer.

    Thanks,

    Tom

  • Hey Tom:

    I'm not sure if there is a true short cut. That the midi data is already entered is a bit of a time saver, but matching it to a diversity of patches will take some thought.

    You will need to load in a variety of patches into your matrix and build your matrix as you go. If two consecutive notes don't flow smoothly, you will have to make use of keyswitches or some other controller to change the samples-- detaché to staccato back to detaché, for example. It will take some tweaking and experimentation to get the most natural sounding combo of patches and keywistches.

    A good place to start, imho, would be with your Performance patches. It might be easier to augment a Perf patch than to start completely from scratch. You will also be able to make use of the round robin effect which helps to avoid the machine gun or "sucking" effects of consecutive samples with slow attacks, or the same sample repeated.

    Using your Velocity X-fade will allow you to bypass the whole midi editing process, which can be a total PITA X-fade and Expression (cc #11) are your first two saving graces. No matter what you do, though, you will spend some time in tweak city, but it does start to gel at some point if you stick to it... and any shortcuts will reveal themselves as you go. It's always harder to do the first time.

  • I'm no VSL expert but...

    I think a lot depends on how the original midi file was made - was it programmed or played in by hand to begin with? ... and for what? ...general midi or another sample library?

    I have been practicing a bit myself using very mechanical sounding free-to-download midi scores etc. It's great because everything sounds really awful and this forces you to learn!

    I would say if you can't get the sound via different articulations or by tweaking note lengths etc then, yes, try playing in the music in yourelf alongside and use your performance (matched to the right articulation)instead. Often it's just quicker that way compared to getting bogged down in tweak city. if your playing is as bad as mine then it doesn't matter as you can use the orginal as a guide to touch up as much as needed.

    Or use your recorded performance as a quick way to work out what is wrong with the orginal notes ... then correct them accordingly and discard your performance.

    BTW if you drag a midi file directly into chunks (to make a new chunk) and not onto the 'tracks overview' of your active sequence you can often end up with a new sequence which has all the midi tracks already named - sometimes this can give you useful info about each track ie two trumpet tracks might be called 'Trumpets X3' and 'Trumpet solo' .......... without this info (if you dragged the midi file straight into the TO window) you might have split them 1, 1 or 2, 2

    Another thing: have a look to see if a track has expression data - if so play enable track automation and see if it sounds any good (it might or might not). If not delete it or turn off automation.

    If possible get an audio recording of the original piece, as intended. Or if it's a GM file then keep the midi file open in Finder so you can play it when you need to as a reference.

    Lastly don't be afraid to alter the music (arrangement) to make it sound good. eg last night while working on a score I halved the speed of some trills because they were sounding lke a machine gun whatever i tried. I replayed them myself using a Legato patch..... they were big interval trills..... they sounded much better my way in the end. Who cares if it sounds good! *

    Hope that helps? [:D]


    * EDIT- to clarify, what I meant was: who cares AS LONG AS it sounds good! [[;)]]

  • Thanks everyone for your tips. I will give it a try.

    One other thing- are any of you familiar with the Release folder in the Vienna VI?
    How do you use that? Do you just add that to a patch that doesn't have a release by
    dropping it into the lower cell (below your acrtual patch)?

    Thanks again,

    Tom

  • I have the same problems.
    I hope in future somebody will write a book about orchestration with Vienna Instruments with much detailed examples.
    I'm totally unable to get results like the demos here. And I don't know how to learn it. Also I don't know anything about mixing.

    Alban

  • Wolfetho,

    Confusingly, the Release folder is necessary only for the performance of the automatic nature of the Performance Legato (and some other) articulations and is there only for the manufacturer's editing purposes.

    There are no 'user-accessible' articulations in there. Probably everyone on this forum has originally gone through this exercise at first. This is the case for the "Resources' folder also.

    However be content that there are more than enough available articulations to learn.

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    @Alban said:

    I have the same problems.
    I hope in future somebody will write a book about orchestration with Vienna Instruments with much detailed examples.
    I'm totally unable to get results like the demos here. And I don't know how to learn it. Also I don't know anything about mixing.

    Alban


    Alban-- have you downloaded the tutorials that are often posted with the demos? They can offer some insights into how the demos were done.

    As for mixing, it's 75% instinct and 25% technical skill. Both are easy to develop with enough experimentation. You already know what sounds good and what doesn't, so keep in mind that the more often you work with the mixing elements, the more experience you gain... and the better you get at it. Practice makes perfect...

    Also, you may want to fly in an audio track of a real orchestra playing something similar in feel to what you are working on. This track can be muted, but solo'd when you want to reference the sound. It really helps during the mix process to have a reference track to check placement, balances, ambience, expression, and to gauge the human element where those happy accidents and imperfections add favorably to the illusion of reality.

  • Jack:

    Thanks for the explanation on the Resources. Well at least its one less thing to have to worry about.

    Thanks,

    Tom Wolfe

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    @Alban said:

    I have the same problems.
    I hope in future somebody will write a book about orchestration with Vienna Instruments with much detailed examples.
    I'm totally unable to get results like the demos here. And I don't know how to learn it. Also I don't know anything about mixing.

    Alban


    Alban-- have you downloaded the tutorials that are often posted with the demos? They can offer some insights into how the demos were done.

    As for mixing, it's 75% instinct and 25% technical skill. Both are easy to develop with enough experimentation. You already know what sounds good and what doesn't, so keep in mind that the more often you work with the mixing elements, the more experience you gain... and the better you get at it. Practice makes perfect...

    Also, you may want to fly in an audio track of a real orchestra playing something similar in feel to what you are working on. This track can be muted, but solo'd when you want to reference the sound. It really helps during the mix process to have a reference track to check placement, balances, ambience, expression, and to gauge the human element where those happy accidents and imperfections add favorably to the illusion of reality.

    Thank you for your answer. I guess that I need much time to learn it. I'm from the generation of composers who learned to compose with a pen and a sheet of paper. Computers, Software, VSL: I feel like an illiterate.

    Alban

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    @Alban said:

    Thank you for your answer. I guess that I need much time to learn it. I'm from the generation of composers who learned to compose with a pen and a sheet of paper. Computers, Software, VSL: I feel like an illiterate.

    Alban


    You're not alone, my friend. Many of us came from the pen and paper-- and I, for one, came from the PENCIL/ERASER school of thought!

    Don't want to go too far OT here, but there are a lot of great ideas and discussions on the Mixing and Post Production forum-- pages deep, depending upon your needs. You may also want to start a newbie thread there to discuss your plugins, how you are setting things up, how your workflow is or is not working for you, how your mix results satisfy or dissatify you, etc. You'll be met with helpful and understand souls!

    Also, check out Beat's tutorials:
    http://www.beat-kaufmann.com/

    Also, hetoreyn has a site with some podcasts (30 or so) on VSL mixing tips:
    http://www.elvenmusic.com/podcast/podcast.html

    It would be worth even checking their suggestions for the Pro Edition just to get a sense of how to negotiate with universal issues of mixing VIs.