notes from the shore

Adventures in Home Recording

An Orchestra All My Own

My new software arrived the day after Christmas. Unfortunately, I had to wait until the following Monday to go to the post office to pick it up (out of state when they tried to deliver). As you can see from attached image, I bought the Garritan Personal Orchestra, which I have written about numerous times in this blog.

I installed the software Monday night and then had to sit on it as I met other obligations. Finally on Friday evening I was able to get into it. I started with This Is My Father’s World, by archiving the audio tracks that I had imported from Finale.

Then I exported just the GPO lines from Finale as MIDI. I created MIDI tracks for each part in Sonar and inserted GPO into the synth rack. Then I set up GPO to transmit on multiple audio channels using the method outlined by Dan Kury over at It seemed appropriate to set up the outputs so that each solo instrument has a single mono channel, and then the four string sections share a single stereo output. I then balanced the string section within itself using the volume sliders right in GPO.

The GPO strings have a variety of controls to modify the sound. First, the main patch employs keyswitches to change the articulation, either by playing different samples or through Kontakt scripting. Alternate samples include pizzicato, muted and tremolo strings. Kontakt Scripting can create upbow or downbow articulations, and trills.

The power of the attack (not the volume) is controlled by note-on velocity. The volume and timbre characteristics are controlled by CC#1 (the mod wheel). Vibrato is controlled by aftertouch, and the sustain pedal triggers a legato mode.

Even though I’m now going to separate MIDI and synth audio channels, I’m reducing my channel count. That’s because I ran in to trouble using the keyswitches in Finale. Also, the pizzicato section wasn’t properly aligning with the rest of the song, so I had brought it in as MIDI and used the Garritan POCKET Orchestra to play them. So, I had audio tracks coming in from Finale, and MIDI and synth tracks for the pizzicato strings.

Now, I have four MIDI tracks, one for each section, and one stereo audio synth track. Finale also exported some of the Human Playback data, and I used that as a basis for placing in the Modwheel data (using controller envelopes. Then I deleted the original data, continually tweaking the new envelopes.

The remaining tweaking is still in process – right now I’m experimenting with the note-on velocity to see what effect it has on the music.

Later, I’ll be tearing apart Be Thou My Vision to replace the English Horn and Oboe samples with the more controllable GPO samples.

Until then, let’s go make some music.

January 11, 2009 - Posted by | Hymn CD Project | , , , , , ,

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