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A Practical Suggestion for an Extended Techniques Library
Last post Sun, Sep 14 2014 by johnstaf, 4 replies.
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Posted on Sun, Sep 14 2014 00:24
by kenneth.newby
Joined on Wed, Mar 19 2014, Posts 114
Hello all,

There have been several threads on the subject of extended techniques for the VSL libraries. None of them seemed particularly constructive in terms of specific details on what might constitute a useful set of extensions to the the existing libraries. The idea of an "add-on" or PLUSPLUS seems a workable thought.

One would have to think in a focussed way about what such an add-on could achieve and how it would integrate with the existing libraries and their design philosophy. There are a few extended technique libraries out there already, the IRCAM Solo Instruments library and the 8dio CAGE libraries come to mind. The IRCAM set is very limited with respect to the variety available in the set, limited layers, few if any variations on a particular technique and no legato transitions — all the features that make VSL such a fabulous product to work with creatively. The CAGE library seems to be focussed on special effects and is not something one can use to compose music at the level of detail that libraries such as VSL enable, i.e. specific articulations at the single pitch or pitch to pitch transition level.

It seems to me an extended technique add-on, created in the VSL style, would need to integrate seamlessly with the existing library it was intended to be used. I gave this some thought and there's at least one candidate for extension that seems obvious and that would be the Solo Strings library. The violin family is already gifted with probably the most variable set of articulations possible in the orchestral instrument family. The Solo Strings library is wonderfully representative of a lot of that richness of timbral possibility. A set of add-on extended techniques suggest themselves in most of the areas that the libraries address in their current designs.

I made a first hack at some techniques that would fit into the existing sample library design and that would offer the same level of flexibility and level of detail in usage that the current library allows. I made the list while listening to a number of recordings of string solo pieces and string quartets from Bartok to Gervasoni. All of these techniques — and there are enough to fill out a "standard" and a PLUS extension set — are logical extensions of the existing Solo Strings library offerings and are pretty typical of a lot of the music that's been written for strings in the last hundred years. I'd be the first to sign on to these enhancements were made available, and I suspect there would be enough of a market out there to make it worth the production costs.

So, for what it's worth, here's a practical proposal.

Kenneth.



Solo Strings Extended Techniques


Extensions on “normal” Arco bowing articulations

special glissandi from the starting pitch to as high as possible on the string, and the reverse, a gliss down from as high as possible to a target pitch

tremolo harmonics

tremolo glissandi natural harmonics

trills on harmonics

exaggerated (wide) Vibrato (at several speeds and several interval widths)

harsh on as many articulation types as possible


Extensions on Ponticello

glissandi (at several speeds)

special glissandi from the starting pitch to as high as possible on the string, and the reverse, a gliss down from as high as possible to a target pitch

grace notes on arco ponticello

trills ponticello

harmonics artificial ponticello

harmonics natural ponticello (including harmonics glissandi)

harmonics tremolo (including tremolo harmonic glissandi)

trills on harmonics

runs and arpeggios ponticello

harsh arco, glissandi, grace notes and trills ponticello


Extensions on Pizzicato

harsh (not a Bartok snap, just significantly harder pull on the string)

glissandi up and down (various intervals and speeds)


Smooth Transitions to and from:

from arco to ponticello; ponticello to arco (at several speeds)

from arco to tasto; tasto to arco (several speeds)

from ponticello to tasto; tasto to ponticello (several speeds)

as above but with tremolo

Posted on Sun, Sep 14 2014 00:30
by kenneth.newby
Joined on Wed, Mar 19 2014, Posts 114
Hey people, please ignore this grossly unformatted message. It had lots of useful white space in it, as I composed it, that made it readable. I'll try to figure out why the forum system mangled it into one unreadable block and repost a readable one.

K.
Posted on Sun, Sep 14 2014 02:19
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1631

in your user area there is a "community" or similar tab with an 'Enhanced' option as per posting on the forum. Then paragraph breaks are formatted more or less as you make them, as long as you double enter between paragraphs.

MacBook Pro 15,1: 2.9 GHz 6-core i9
32GB 2400MHz DDR4
OSX 10.14.5
VE Pro 7
Posted on Sun, Sep 14 2014 06:27
by johnstaf
Joined on Thu, Apr 21 2011, Dublin, Posts 189

I wonder how easy it would be to record extra content for the existing libraries, given that many of them were made several years ago. Using the same players and instruments for an entire library is a basic VSL requirement, so that might complicate matters. I'd love expanded dynamics patches more than anything else, and more vibrato options. I love some of the ideas behind the expanded Berlin Woodwinds, although I have no idea if they actually work as advertised.

Cubase (OS agnostic). Various VSL bits and pieces.

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