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VI Instruments and Logic articulation maps
Last post Sun, Nov 01 2020 by Thorny, 14 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Oct 27 2020 17:53
by Thorny
Joined on Tue, Jul 09 2019, Washington, DC, Posts 22

I am pretty new to VSL instruments, having been using Synchron lIbraries for about a year now. I really wanted the a basic quartet of saxophones, with lots of articulations, so I took advantage of the sale and bought all four of them today. Now I am looking through the documentation to try to figure out how to build Logic articulations for them and I am beginning to think I made a mistake!

The basic issue is that I am used to the way Synchron instruments use key switches. For all of the articulations I use, I can do so with one or two key switches for each one. When I look at the VI manual it sort of appears that I can do that same thing but then I don't see how. In the VI player I am seeing what seems like two levels of key-switches on the keyboard at the bottom but clicking around on the matrix isn't giving me any help to figure out what is possible. With the Sychron instruments it seems much more straight-forward.

I write music in Logic using the Score Editor directly with no midi input device. I use articulation maps to define each note. That way of working is really not how the VI player seems to be designed.

Am I missing something here or does it work the same way. I find the manual completely confusing.

Macbook Pro, OS 10.15.5
Logic Pro 10.5
Synchron SE 1, Solo Synchron Woodwinds, Solo Synchron Strings, VI Saxophones
Posted on Tue, Oct 27 2020 21:30
by plowman
Joined on Sat, Dec 13 2003, Posts 1120

Firstly, you didn't make a mistake with this purchase. There are thousands of VI users on Logic driving articulations with Articulation Maps, so be of good cheer. 

A common arrangement of a VI matrices involves three key switches. Happily, Logic allows each articulation map to send three keyswitches per articulation.

You may know this already, but to be safe: go to the Articulation Map editor in Logic, create an articulation and select Output. From there, at the left bottom of the screen, check "Activate Multiple Outputs." Now you can assign three keyswitches to one Art Map. In the following example, they would all be set to "Note On."

An example: you have two matrices selected by keyswitches -- A0 and B0.

Each Matrix has four squares: two on top of two. That's four cells:

C1/C2 top left

C#1/C2 top right

C1/C#2 bottom left

C#1/C#2 bottom right

So, to access any cell, you'd need the matrix keyswitch ( A0 or B0 ) and any of the four combinations listed above. To play the bottom right cell of the second matrix, the Art Map would send B0 / C#1 / C#2.

Note that VI allows this kind of complexity, but it does not require it. A channel set with nothing more than one matrix and one row of cells ( just an X-axis, no y-axis ) needs nothing more than one keyswitch on the correct MIDI channel. 

Consider X-DAW if you want to take Articulation Maps even deeper. There *is* a learning curve., but for those who go deep into MIDI orchestration, it's potent. 

Posted on Tue, Oct 27 2020 22:28
by Thorny
Joined on Tue, Jul 09 2019, Washington, DC, Posts 22

Thank you VERY much for replying! It is very encouraging to hear that what I want is possible.

I am still very much confused by how to figure out what set of key switches delivers each articulation. Your description seems to be based on what you see in the VI player. I bought the full library so I think that I select level two on the patches list, right?

When I click on level 2 of the baritone saxophone, I see what is clearly a list of articulation on the left and a matrix in the middle and towards the right I see Matrix control, with x and y axis and AB switch. When I click on one of the list on the left, the matrix changes, but there are different dimension matrices. I did click around on the keyboard and something I did changed the x-axis so that it shows a group of keyswitches, but I could not figure out what I did or how to use it predictably.

The manual for the saxophones shows matrices that show keyswitches on the x- axis and V1,V2, etc. along the y-axis that appear to be mod-wheel settings, which are useless to me. Nowhere in the whole damn manual do I see any way to decode the key switches. I tried the VI player manual a little and it, too, is incredibly obscure. I guess I will have to really dig into it.

I have a long history as an application programmer and I cannot believe how obscure both the software applications and the documentation are for VSL products can be. I know that they are very powerful and complex but jeez, I just want to do something simple. Grin!

Macbook Pro, OS 10.15.5
Logic Pro 10.5
Synchron SE 1, Solo Synchron Woodwinds, Solo Synchron Strings, VI Saxophones
Posted on Wed, Oct 28 2020 01:34
by plowman
Joined on Sat, Dec 13 2003, Posts 1120

" Your description seems to be based on what you see in the VI player. "

Yes. It was an example only, a hypothetical matrix on the simplest level requiring three keyswtiches. 

"...I see what is clearly a list of articulation on the left...."

Not quite. It's a list of matrices. It's not necessarily choosing articulations. The selected matrix is in the middle, as you note, and the controllers that choose the performing cell within the matrix are on the right. 

"...along the y-axis that appear to be mod-wheel settings, which are useless to me." 

Here's an important distinction: the X and Y axis can be controlled by a lot of things. One of them is the mod wheel. This allows real-time (or recorded MIDI) to shape the performance on the fly. But you're looking for keyswitches, so when you see CC1, it's confusing you.  

As a tutorial, do this: select the preset 73 Baritone Sax > SX-BR VSL Preset Level 2 ext.

Select the first matrix: C7 01 SX-Br Perf-Universal. You'll see a matrix with nine cells (3 x 3).

So where are the cell keyswitches you seek? There aren't any. ( Ignore AB-Switch for now.) That's because this matrix behaves according to the deft performance of the speed of your playing (X-Axis) and the movement of the mod wheel (Y-Axis). Stated simply, it's not designed to trigger sounds they way you want to trigger sounds. Note as well the shaded keyboard at the bottom -- just C7 to F7, which are matrix selections.

Now -- only as a tutorial -- click-hold the "Speed" drop-down in the X-Axis. Select Keyswitch. Now the X-Axis responds to your keyboard's C1 / C#1 / D1, and those keyswtches change the articulation. You can do the same thing with the Y-Axis, which will respond to C2 / C#2 / D2. See the keyboard again. Your new cell keyswitches are in blue and green.

"I just want to do something simple."

Indeed. Try this: from an empty VI, load matrix > Level 1 > L1 SX-Br Articulation Combi(nation). That's a 6 x 2 matrix. You could design an Articulation Set in Logic from C6 to F6 to get the general idea. ( There's only one matrix, so that doesn't need a keyawitch. And play with the mod wheel as a reminder that a lot of things can change the sound.)

Nothing is as complicated as it appears when we don't understand it. As an application programmer, you're going to breeze through this once things start clicking. 

Posted on Wed, Oct 28 2020 02:09
by Thorny
Joined on Tue, Jul 09 2019, Washington, DC, Posts 22

You are clearly a very patient person! I do appreciate your help very much. I think you have given me enough to work with to get started.

I do understand what can be done CCs. I have played a bit with them in the automation window. I don’t have a mod wheel or any other midi controller. I am determined to just use my laptop for all of it, to be truly portable.

so far, just using articulations, EQ and manipulation of velocity, I have been able to get what to me is a very good sound out of VSL instruments. I had gotten a bit cocky with my success with the Synchron solo instruments I have. That’s why buying the saxophones this morning, then running at full speed into what seem like brick walk was so frustrating. Your patient explanations are incredibly helpful. Thanks again.

Macbook Pro, OS 10.15.5
Logic Pro 10.5
Synchron SE 1, Solo Synchron Woodwinds, Solo Synchron Strings, VI Saxophones
Posted on Wed, Oct 28 2020 20:31
by Thorny
Joined on Tue, Jul 09 2019, Washington, DC, Posts 22

Okay, so I got myself working with the VI plugin the way you described and it is all making sense. And I found a set of articulations I wanted to get started with. When I put them into an articulation map in Logic, they didn't work the way that they did in the plugin. I think that I am still missing something.

Unfortunately, sense stopped being made. I was assuming that if I find a "staccato" articulation in a matrix, the combination of B0-C1-C2 would be the same articulation for staccato in any matrix. I find that combination in "01 SX-so-Perf Universal" maps to "Sx-so perf-leg sustain". I found it in "Sx-so Articulation Combi" where it clearly maps to staccato. These are both in level 2 of the soprano sax.

What am I missing now? In a logic articulation map I only have three key switches to work with, no other dimension to be added. I keep going back to documentation and tutorial video but I am not finding an answer. Sigh.

Macbook Pro, OS 10.15.5
Logic Pro 10.5
Synchron SE 1, Solo Synchron Woodwinds, Solo Synchron Strings, VI Saxophones
Posted on Wed, Oct 28 2020 22:13
by plowman
Joined on Sat, Dec 13 2003, Posts 1120

" I was assuming that if I find a "staccato" articulation in a matrix, the combination of B0-C1-C2 would be the same articulation for staccato in any matrix."

Not so, indeed. Each matrix is a world unto itself. The commonalities you found verge on coincidental. This is why I previously cautioned against seeing matrices as an articulation list. Some users parse the entire orchestra by matrices in one plug in. C1 equals flute fluttertongue in the first matrix -- the next C1, a col legno viola.  

I might encourage you to set aside presets in VI as you learn. Synchron out of the box does its best to coordinate common articulations between instruments. VI presets are variegated. Synchron's interface is more visually intuitive; VI is a bit obscure. ( Ironically, they do mostly the same thing.)

"When I put them into an articulation map in Logic, they didn't work the way that they did in the plugin. I think that I am still missing something."

You're not alone. I've been doing this for a while, and still -- even in my prep to respond to your post -- I found that my test Art Sets weren't working. It's three-dimensional chess. And yet, it's a dumb function -- that is, neither Logic nor VI knows what's in B0 / C1 / C2 -- it's just a location. Logic has its bugs, of course, but the Art ID is straight-forward data input. 

"...no other dimension to be added." Might you consider creating your own matrix and the associated Art Set from scratch? Forego the presets for now and make your own simple layout, just as a proof of concept? 

Don't worry. My patience is intact. I know you're going to solve this. To repeat: each matrix is its own universe, and designing a custom matrix limited to one axis -- and then writing the simplest of Art ID's for that specific matrix -- might be highly instructive. One brick (or cell) at a time. 

Posted on Wed, Oct 28 2020 23:09
by Thorny
Joined on Tue, Jul 09 2019, Washington, DC, Posts 22

Thanks agsin!

I think that there is something I am not grasping here, something basic. I am happy to make my own matrix and art set from scratch. I still just do not understand where to get the information to populate it. I am a big picture person and if I don’t understand that, I cannot find my way through the details.

is it possible to make one articulation set for each of four saxophones that contains about 20 of the articulations that are possible?

Do I make a custom matrix in the VI plugin and save it for each one?

What do I populate the matrix with?

how do I specify the instrument in Logic so that all that works together?

Edit to this post:

I have looked back and I see how to add a matrix. I think that the ArtID is the name below the matrix control box, that long string. I have a single cell labeled "A1" but I don't see any way to define it yet. Time for more manual!

Macbook Pro, OS 10.15.5
Logic Pro 10.5
Synchron SE 1, Solo Synchron Woodwinds, Solo Synchron Strings, VI Saxophones
Posted on Thu, Oct 29 2020 01:13
by plowman
Joined on Sat, Dec 13 2003, Posts 1120

There may be some basic oversights here. To correct them, allow me to risk telling you things you already know. Let's clarify some terms. 

"Articulation Set." This is purely a Logic term. Art Sets are created and edited in Logic alone. They don't exist in VI (or Synchron, for that matter). An Art Set in Logic is a list of ID's assigned to a keyswitch. Logic has no idea what sound it's selecting. It's just sending the keyswitches you tell it to send. 

"Populate a matrix."

Start with a completely empty VI plug-in on one track in Logic. On the right of the VI window, you see Preset / Matrix / Patch. Select Patch > Woodwind Patches > 70 Soprano Sax > 01 SHORT + LONG NOTES > 01 SX-So_staccato. Click-hold on it and drag it to the one and only cell in the middle of the screen that says A1.

Click-hold the lower right edge of that cell and extend it to the right to open up the next cell. It will say A2. Click-drag 11 SX_So_sus_Vib into A2. Now your matrix has a staccato and a sustained sound. 

Click-hold "None" on the X-Axis drop down menu and select Keyswitch. Now C1 will select the staccato, and C#1 will select the sustain. At this point, you would go into Logic and create a very straight-forward Articulation Set where ID 1 sends a C1 KS and ID 2 sends C#1. Create two notes in Logic Score and assign each an ID to verify playback. 

"Do I make a custom matrix in the VI plugin and save it for each one?" Important: only one matrix can play at a time per VI instrument. If I understand your question, you're asking if all four saxes can be assigned to one VI plug-in using four matrices. The short answer is no -- not if they are to play together. You can. of course, get a custom matrix and copy it to separate instruments. Then you would re-populate each cell with its specific saxophone. 

You would best assign each sax to its own track in Logic. This is covered in any ground-level tutorial on Logic's Main Window. You need a separate VI plug-in per track. 

Instead of the VI manual, have you watched VSL's videos? Consider Vienna Instruments Video Tutorials > Overview.

https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Software/Vienna_Instruments#!Video_Demos

Posted on Thu, Oct 29 2020 01:41
by Thorny
Joined on Tue, Jul 09 2019, Washington, DC, Posts 22

Thank you, yet again. I think you gave me enough to finish this. As an old friend used to say, you are a gentleman and a scholar, his high praise.

i understood that the articulation set was Logic’s construct but I was completely thrown by the difference in approach from Synchron. Am I correct that you would save and load the custom matrix with the links in the lower right of the plugin? I would definitely be creating a matrix for each instrument and loading each instance as a separate track. I do that routinely.

I started watching the video you refer to but it was all about performance, not about enabling the kind of editing I am doing. Now, with what you have taught me, I think I can interpret it better. I will admit to not being the most patient person!

Macbook Pro, OS 10.15.5
Logic Pro 10.5
Synchron SE 1, Solo Synchron Woodwinds, Solo Synchron Strings, VI Saxophones
Posted on Thu, Oct 29 2020 02:46
by plowman
Joined on Sat, Dec 13 2003, Posts 1120

Yes, a matrix can be saved that way, with the lower right save button. Once the instrument is assigned in Logic, it will be saved as well in the Logic file. As you parse out all saxophones, you could get one right, then in go Logic > Track > Other > New Track with Duplicate Settings, and drag the next saxophone's patches into their respective cells.

Be advised that, if the ranges of the actual instruments are too far apart, keyswitches have to be reassigned. For example, in strings, violins, violas and cellos are often keyswitched below the playing ranges, but contrabass keyswitches must be bumped above the playing range. I'm not sure if saxophones will require that adjustment. 

You had asked, "how do I specify the instrument in Logic so that all that works together?" That prompted my note on assigning an instrument. But if you have worked in Logic Score, and you have previously used Articulation Sets, you're well ahead there. Yes, it was the design of VI that confused the matter. 

Thank you for conferring on me both titles. May your saxes sing in harmony. 

Posted on Sat, Oct 31 2020 18:21
by Thorny
Joined on Tue, Jul 09 2019, Washington, DC, Posts 22

This is going much better now! I have successfully made a matrix that has everything I need for the soprano sax. In the VI plugin, I saved that matrix and saved a custom preset for the soprano with that matrix, which has its own articulation map in Logic.

I was hoping to reuse that matrix in a parallel preset for the alto, as all the keyswitches are in the clear. However, when I load the alto sax on a new track and try to load the soprano matrix for it, it appears to be changing the instrument to be a soprano. Are the matrices really tied to the instrument that tightly?  I am getting the sinking feeling that the articuation ids in VI are specific to the instrument.

I know I can reuse the logic map even if I change the instrument, but I was hoping to reuse that matrix as well. I could do the same thing for the tenor and baritone, using upper ranges of switches.

Macbook Pro, OS 10.15.5
Logic Pro 10.5
Synchron SE 1, Solo Synchron Woodwinds, Solo Synchron Strings, VI Saxophones
Posted on Sat, Oct 31 2020 21:16
by plowman
Joined on Sat, Dec 13 2003, Posts 1120

As noted above, you’ll need a separate track and a different VI. The soprano sax matrix can be copied and pasted to the new VI. From there, you’d drag the new (but corresponding) alto articulations into each cell. 

If you’re trying to do this within one instrument / track, it won’t work. Per previous note: “ Important: only one matrix can play at a time per VI instrument. If I understand your question, you're asking if all four saxes can be assigned to one VI plug-in using four matrices. The short answer is no -- not if they are to play together. You can. of course, get a custom matrix and copy it to separate instruments. Then you would re-populate each cell with its specific saxophone.”

But I think you knew that. Strictly speaking, when correctly assembled, you absolutely can use the same Logic Articulation Set for both. Art ID’s don’t know what sound they’re triggering — only specific cells. Indeed, I have very extended Art ID’s for strings, and the violins, violas and cellos are identical — I just copied and pasted the Art set. Basses needed small modifications to accommodate the C1 to C2 playing range.

If and when the alto cells are updated and set to a new VI and track, and assuming that new VI has only the alto sax matrix, there is no reason the same Art set cannot be used. It cannot fetch the soprano sax when no soprano sax is on that track. So to answer your question, matrices are not tied to one another at all. 

To be clear: you are separating saxes per track, correct?  If you wanted to drive all four saxes in one track, you’d best be served by Vienna Pro Ensemble, where each sax could have its own channel and one track could drive it all. But in my opinion, scoring that way in Logic would condense everything to a single region, and handling CC’s, polyphony, per channel legato, etc., would be, well, inelegant. 

Congrats on your progress. 

Posted on Sun, Nov 01 2020 15:36
by Thorny
Joined on Tue, Jul 09 2019, Washington, DC, Posts 22

I think I am in the clear now. Yes, I always use on track per instrument, each with it's own instance of appropriate VSL player. I started off trying to use Vienna Ensemble but found that complicated things too much. I pretty much just set the instruments and use Logic infrastructure for everything else.

The last piece to the puzzle was that each articulation in VI-land is specific to it’s instrument. I plan to approach VI by creating one matrix for each instrument and saving the level 2 version of that instrument with that matrix assumed as custom pre-set. To start with, I have two Logic articulation sets which seem to be working fine. Because of slight differences in articulations for alto and baritone, I will be creating a unique one for each instrument. The profusion of sets is better than trying to remember exceptions!

Than you very much for all your help!

Macbook Pro, OS 10.15.5
Logic Pro 10.5
Synchron SE 1, Solo Synchron Woodwinds, Solo Synchron Strings, VI Saxophones
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