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Questions - All basic Orchestra Bowing Techniques
Last post Tue, Oct 24 2006 by PolarBear, 5 replies.
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Posted on Fri, Oct 20 2006 16:56
by Angelo Clematide
Joined on Thu, Sep 08 2005, Posts 1139
The following is a listing of all basic orchestra bowing techniques. I have difficulties to chose the right patches while composing.

My question:
What are the string section patches, respectively which patch is recommended to apply to perform the following listed orchestra string bowing technics?

On-String-Technic - Stricharten mit liegendem Bogen

1. Detaché
Changing bow direction with a connected bow and even sound.
Wechselnde Bogenrichtung mit verbundenem Strich mit Gleichmässigkeit im Ton..

2. Detaché Porté
Expressive accentuation of one note withhin a Detaché-Passage with bowing speed.
Betonung einer Note innerhalb einer Detaché-Passage mit Bogengeschwindigkeit.

3. Détaché Lancé
Soft bowing with a little space between each note.
Sanfter Strich mit etwas Raum zwischen jeder Note.

4. Betontes Détaché
Connected bowing with a emphasis on the beginn of each note.
Verbundener Strich mit Betonung am Beginn jeder Note.

5. Gruppenstaccato, Verbundenes Staccato and Abgesetzer Bogen
With slur connected staccato and stopbow.
Durch Bindebögen verbundenes Staccato und Stoppbogen.

6. Angehängte Strichart
Two non-equal notelenghts within one bow direction.
Zwei ungleiche Notenwerte in einer Bogenrichtung

7. Bindungen
Two or more notes in one bow direction.
Zwei oder mehrere Noten in einer Bogenrichtung.

8. Portato, Louré
Serie of piano notes withhin one bow direction.
Serie von piano Noten innerhalb eines Bogenstrichs.

9. Marcato
on-string marcato, as opposed to marcato with a off-string-technic flying bow.
Marcato mit liegendem Bogen.

10. Martelé
Bow technic from light unaccented to heavy accented.
Bogentechnik mit der Artikulation von leicht, unbetont bis schwer betont.

11. Staccato
Staccato with martelé-bowing-, spicatto-bowing and connected staccato-bowing etc..
Raum zwischen den Noten mit Strichtechniken Martelé, Spicatto, verbundenes Staccato usw.

12. Tremolo
Well, this one is clear.

Off-String-Technic - Stricharten mit fliegendem Bogen

13. Battutta
Vertical beating with the bow, no horizontal movement.
Vertikal ausgeführter Schlag mit dem Bogen, Springbogen.Ohne horizontale Bewegung.

14. Collé, Piqué
The bow is placed on the string, in the moment of touching the string it is light, but sharply bowed.
Der Bogen wird auf der Saite plaziert und im Augenblick der Berührung wird die Saite leicht aber scharf angestossen, nach Ausführung geht der Bogen sofort in die Ausgangslage zurück für weitere Collé’s.

13. Gruppenspiccato, Fliegendes Spiccato, Staccato Volante
A group of spicatto notes in one bowdirection
Eine Gruppe von Spiccatonoten in einer Bogenrichtung

14. Marcato
A hammered Bow for accentuated spicatto notes
Ein gehämmerter Bogestrich am Frosch für akzentuierte Spiccatonoten

15. Ricochet, Saltando, Jeté and Gettato
Up- and down-bow in the upper part of the string and where the bow jumps as many time as required.
Auf- und Abstrich im oberen Bereich der Saite, wobei der Bogen so oft wie erforderlich springt.

16. Sautillé
Short and fast détaché bowing in the middle of the string, where the bow leaves the string a tiny bit.
Kurze und schnelle Détachébogenstriche in der Mitte der Saite, die ein wenig hüpfen, die Saite ein wenig verlassen.

17. Spicatto
Jumping bowing technique executable from slow to fast tempi, and performed from pianissimo to fortissimo.
Springende Strichart von langsam bis schnell und ausführbar von pianissomo bis fortissimo.

Special Effects – Spezielle Effekte

18. Col Legno, Avec le Bois
More wood then hair of the bow is touching the string.
Mehr Holz als Haarbezug des Bogen berührt die Saite.

19. Battuta
Only the wood of the bow is beaten on the string.
Nur Holzseite des Bogen wird auf die Saite geschlagen

20. Ponticello
Bowing higher partials near the bridge.
Streichen nahe am Steg mit Anregung der hohen Partialtöne.

21. Sul Ponticello Tremolo
Same as 20. but executed in tremolo.
Das gleich wie unter 20. aber in tremolo ausgeführt.

22. Sul Tasto, Sulla Tastiere
Light bowing of the string on the “tasteria”.
Leichter und schneller Bogenstrich über dem Griffbrett.

23. Pizzicato with the right

24. Pizzicato with the left hand


I’m aware that this are a lot of questions, and I don’t expect from anyone to give an answer on all bowing technic, but it would be nice if you give me a hint about one, or two of the technics. The completness of the list was made on purpose. I know about the perf-leg patches, and also the using of the sustain pedal on/off to achive portato or louré performance

My english description of the bowing technic can’t be too good, simply because I do not know all the musical terminology in this language. The german is short, but should be 100% accurate.

Posted on Sun, Oct 22 2006 13:27
by Angelo Clematide
Joined on Thu, Sep 08 2005, Posts 1139
I simplify my question. What patches would be applicable to the following orchestra composition?

Download movie "Hungarian Dance Nr. 1" (14 MB)

Especially, how would you achieve, or program the dynamic changes the violins and violas make thru bow speed and bow pressure?

Posted on Sun, Oct 22 2006 20:00
by PolarBear
Joined on Sun, Jul 20 2003, Germany, Posts 1206
Well, actually I don't look at it as putting notes on sheet with samples like grabbing a sample with certain length here and insert a volume there. There is much difference in using them as opposed to writing them down on the sheet - which also is a reason that a midi-mockup hardly can be used as printable score.

It's a good time here to plug VSL's instrument techniques sites, which are very informational and elaborate about the most common and even less common techniques:
http://vsl.co.at/en-us/70/3189/3190/5617.vsl (english, e.g. the violin here)
http://vsl.co.at/de-at/70/3189/3190/5617.vsl (same in german)

There you also can find some listening examples, that might give you more ideas what to use in a certain situation. I don't know how to write a guide in using samples, which is sometimes better labeled abusing samples. The following I wrote mostly with Opus 1 in mind, as this is what I use. There are a whole lot more possibilities with Pro Edition and Symphonic Cube, which I can only rarely point at, as they sometimes cover specialities.

As for writing for strings with samples, I rather put in down on the lengths of the notes: Sustains for the longest notes. Performance legatos, portamentos and espressivos are also suited, if you don't exceed the recorded length for a note - switch back or fade to sustains if needed. Longer Marcatos/detaches (with 0,5sec) can help accentuate the sustains (also layered on top of sustains) or build powerful detache lines, connected or not, dependant on how much overlap you give them. Legatos are hard to use with faster speeds than these detaches can do, though lowered in volume and with the detaches layered on top, they can give subtle and needed connecting character to a line. Sometimes longer diminuendos, despite their original intention, are also good for detache passages, helping in emphasizing things. Combination and variation of all these is killer if wisely used. Keep in mind variation also but not only includes the alternate recordings of a sample set.

For staccato I found out only in very slow passages the marcatos could be of help and nothing else could substitute these samples. Apart from those fancy repetitions... They are very effective if you need a strong accentuation fo a note also. There is also sforzatos which could be abused as staccatos. Though tremolo seems to be clear to you, one hint: the recorded tremolo speed is static for all passages, for emphasizing or slowing down it might be wise to throw in a few staccs or marcatos or even use the performance tremolos when needed... Don't forget about the recorded ponticellos here (e.g. stac, sfz played very close to the bridge). I'd take some of the medium notes for Spicattos and Sautille, whichever would fit the intention of the composer best.

For special effects you mostly have to rely on the effect being recorded, you can hardly emulate this effectively.

Hope this little impression of mine about putting the right notes to the table would help you a little bit in the realm of sampling... Last but not least, to quote Dietz on this: If it sounds good - it is good. Don't rely too hard on a fix labeling, be creative Smile

All the best,
A zero can decuple an existing problem.
Posted on Sun, Oct 22 2006 20:28
by Angelo Clematide
Joined on Thu, Sep 08 2005, Posts 1139
Thanks Polar Bear, that are some useful answers.

So for emphasizing the start of each note as in a "Betontes Détaché", I can layer an additional 0.5 second "Marcato" over it.

And for a "Détaché Porté" I layer a crescendo or decrescendo/diminuendo patch.

Did I get that right?

Aren't this crescendo and diminuendo patches a little to drastic in volume change for that?

Posted on Tue, Oct 24 2006 01:50
by PolarBear
Joined on Sun, Jul 20 2003, Germany, Posts 1206
Actually there is no single solution to a certain approach. Different MIDI-orchestrators perhaps would handle things differently. It's also a matter of time that's left to go into details here and there. If you layer, you usually put down one articulation in volume (or draw CC volume envelopes) and/or use a lower velocity sample. That way it doesn't get too drastic. Sometimes a 0.3s "Marcato" will fit better than a 0.5s "Marcato" or an alternation of these. It's also a matter of how well you know the samples and your possibilities with them, how much you can load onto your machines at a time or how willing you are to bounce certain things in order to be able to load more samples. As for Opus 1 there are more limited choices which sometimes makes things easier...

If it's too drastic there is also the alternativeto reprogram things if you have one of the sample libraries. I remember KingIdiot doing his on sustain attacks, which where shortened, x-faded attacks from the original samples. that way you could get some sharper attacks on the sustains eventually helping in emphasizing things. But we are talking about some programming time here in order to be able to do this.

Hope this helps,
A zero can decuple an existing problem.
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