COMPANY > PROJECTS          > PlayAlong-CDs by Beat Kaufmann

Note on the audio example:

The piece demonstrates mutings of different voices. Each PlayAlong CD contains the complete version as well as the recorded score without the solo voice, depending on the chosen instrument.


G.F. Handel: Hornpipe


Graphical score (click on image to enlarge)


Other than with a live recording of an orchestra, music production with orchestral samples is done by recording the different parts of the score step-by-step, which gives you the option of muting single voices. Thus the individually recorded parts allow for a wealth of playback combinations.

Furthermore, sample-based music production offers additional advantages:

  • Any tempo is possible.
  • If desired, absolute tempo accuracy is guaranteed.
  • Renderings can be made available in various keys (e.g., for transposing instruments).

Given these options, the Swiss musician and composer Beat Kaufmann of Createc, who is well-known to many users for his Online Tutorials as well as a large variety of pieces in the Demo Zone, developed the idea to create PlayAlong CDs using the Vienna Instruments.

The PlayAlong Classic 1 and PlayAlong Orchestra Classic 1 series already include 15 CDs for the most common instruments (e.g., violin, trumpet, clarinet). The musician can play the solo part on his instrument of choice along with various orchestral and chamber music arrangements that lack the respective instrument.

The pieces come in different levels: easy, medium and difficult. Sheet music can be downloaded from the composer’s website for free.

The repertoire is ideal for music students, e.g., to prepare for playing in an orchestra, or – if you’re a bass player – for playing the bass part of the orchestra just for the fun of it.

Beat Kaufmann on his PlayAlong CDs

“Sample-based orchestral music production should neither replace nor displace recordings of a real orchestra, but this technology offers some interesting and alternative benefits. Producing a sample-based recording costs a fraction of an adequate live recording. Since the rendering consists of separate parts, any of these voices can be muted individually.

“Furthermore, the brilliantly recorded samples of the Vienna Symphonic Library add a high level of transparency and clarity to the music, which is a great benefit to the practicing musician because he or she can clearly hear the single parts within a recording. Also, difficult passages can be edited in order to support the player. In contrast to these benefits, live recordings offer very limited leeway for editing.”

About Beat Kaufmann:

Beat Kaufmann arranged and produced his first playbacks that accompanied him playing “real instruments” already back in 1975. His early recordings were done with monophonic synthesizers on a Studer Revox A77 tape recorder, applying the annoying “ping pong method” (already recorded tracks had to be merged to a new track in order to have more tracks available).

Over the years Beat Kaufmann further developed and improved his “orchestral recordings”, fostered by advances in technology.

The 90s had him performing live with a rock band and a string orchestra, playing to a pre-produced synthesizer playback.

It was difficult to teach classically trained musicians how to swing or groove. Moreover, it was uncommon for the string players to adapt to predetermined tempo changes and ritardandos, which was like playing to a “variable metronome”. Hence Beat’s wish for an orchestra that can accurately play in every situation grew more and more.

“Today I own an orchestra that can play EVERYTHING”, Beat is all smiles. “The Vienna Symphonic Library plays in any key and range, as fast as you like and in all kinds of styles and grooves – and remarkably realistically on top of that! The musicians never get tired, and they can play day and night! I never have to bother about the ideal recording situation. The Vienna Symphonic Library has done this for me in a brilliant way at the Silent Stage. The dry recorded samples allow for performances in any concert environment I desire. What else can you wish for?”