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Please tell me what I'm doing wrong with these strings
Last post Wed, Jan 16 2008 by gusttsilis, 10 replies.
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Posted on Sat, Dec 29 2007 13:36
by vtimmerm
Joined on Thu, Mar 15 2007, Netherlands, Posts 33


I own Vienna Special edition and I'm having trouble getting my strings to sound naturally. I'm only a beginner for both symponic composition and Vienna instruments, so please forgive me if I'm being stupid... Confused


You here a certain line, in violins first and viola's afterwards. I'm using a legato for the quarter notes and a detache sample for the eighth notes  (using VSE there is not much else to choose from), alternating them with a key switch. But, for some reason, I don't think the eighth notes sound very natural.

Can I improve this by modifying the spaces between the notes and/or creating overlaps or something, or is detache just not the right sample for this and should I start saving money for a more comprehensive strings library?

Any suggestions are appreciated.


Posted on Sat, Dec 29 2007 15:10
by christof
Joined on Tue, Jun 19 2007, Vienna/Austria, Posts 195
Don't change your sample library, just change the patch, I would use legato (overlap) for the eighth notes, should sound much more natural.
Posted on Sat, Dec 29 2007 15:22
by PolarBear
Joined on Sun, Jul 20 2003, Germany, Posts 1206

In my opinion it would help already a lot to create small or even bigger overlaps (start small like the length of a 32th note and then make the bigger). 

A zero can decuple an existing problem.
Posted on Sat, Dec 29 2007 15:37
by vtimmerm
Joined on Thu, Mar 15 2007, Netherlands, Posts 33

Thanks guys. I'll try what happens if I drop the detache sample and just use legato with overlaps.


Posted on Sat, Dec 29 2007 16:57
by vtimmerm
Joined on Thu, Mar 15 2007, Netherlands, Posts 33


Much better this way. Thanks.

So, in what situations would one use detache? What emotion does it bring about?

Posted on Sat, Dec 29 2007 19:55
by PolarBear
Joined on Sun, Jul 20 2003, Germany, Posts 1206

Detache is the "standard" bowing technique when not playing legato or accented or shorter notes. Though one has to free one's mind a bit with samples and not use only what the score calls for, but those articulations that imitate the sound of a real recording in that special moment the best to come around technical restrictions by samples. Even though there is a wide choice of articulations availible with VSL products.

You can also find many interesting articles about the use of different articulations as well as contextual examples in the Instruments section of the VSL website for free, e.g. one like the Violin Detache article.

All the best,


A zero can decuple an existing problem.
Posted on Sun, Dec 30 2007 01:59
by Brian
Joined on Mon, Apr 23 2007, Posts 185

Hi Vince,

I noticed that you are a beginner with VSL like me and I thought I'd relay some of my experience with VSL.  I've discovered that the use of patches for mock-ups to get the most natural sound out of samples is not quite as straight forward as it appears.  Sometimes what I think should be used doesn't sound natural even though it is what I believe live performers would do.  I am discovering that my memory for what live natural sound sounds like is not as accurate as I'd like it to be.  I would recommend, if you have the time and since you're just starting out, to do mock-ups of a few pieces that you have recordings for (so that you know exactly what kind of sound your striving to get).  It may at first seem like a waist of time because you are not producing your own work, but through this process I've discovered some tools that would apply to live sound problems in my own work.  Here is an example (now this isn't strings, but the concept applies):

My most recent mock-up had a passage like this for the trumpets:


Looking at this, I thought well, legato patch should work in the slurs, slurs equals legato right? So I ended up with this (listen to the last 5 seconds):


Well, I thought that was fine until I listened to the recording of this piece again.  Wow was I wrong!  I actually ended up using staccato and marcato patches in the slurs for the Trumpets which actually sounds more natural (listen to the last 5 seconds):


Big Smile 


Posted on Sun, Dec 30 2007 14:52
by vtimmerm
Joined on Thu, Mar 15 2007, Netherlands, Posts 33

Interesting, the last mp3 sounds better. The legato samples begin to sound like a blur of notes as if it were badly played on an organ, while the added distinctiveness of the marcato and staccato samples set the notes apart just enough to prevent that.

So, it seems we have a lot to learn. But isn't it a fun journey though, discovering this VSL world?

Trying to recreate an existing piece is indeed a good idea. I'm a big fan of John Williams and I have recently bought one of almost 30 full orchestra scores, just to study it and learn from the master. It seems that they're highly recommended for this purpose, by conservatory students as well. So I went ahead and bought the score of this beautiful piece "Across the Stars", a love theme from Star Wars II. This is convenient because it is rather easy to buy the soundtrack as well, so you can listen while you study. So maybe I can try to recreate this piece and see how that goes.

(If someone else is interested in these scores, go to an internet site that sells sheet music and do a search for John Williams Signature Edition. Jut make sure you choose one that follows the soundtrack carefully).


Posted on Mon, Dec 31 2007 00:23
by Paul
Joined on Sat, Aug 03 2002, Vienna, Posts 11678

Hi Vincent,

did you check out the Special Edition Demo #1 already? Could be very helpful to see how Christian Kardeis works with the different articulations (the Project Files provide songs for all main sequencers).



Paul Kopf
Product Manager - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Wed, Jan 16 2008 23:48
by gusttsilis
Joined on Mon, Jun 26 2006, Los Angeles, Posts 17

 Use the release level around 70-75

Searching for the truth and honesty in sampled sounds for the Orchestra............
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