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Composers, how about this?
Last post Thu, Sep 23 2021 by Macker, 4 replies.
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Posted on Wed, Sep 15 2021 12:24
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 354

I'm redesigning the generic Logic/VEP template in my forthcoming orchestral intonation subsystem ("Situater") for Logic. I'll be offering two variants of Situater: one for composing and one for production.

The composer's version will be smaller than the production version, being inherently limited by Logic to a maximum of 1000 instrument tracks, given that full access to Logic's new "Live Loops" creative facilities is required. The production version will be capable of having up to several thousand instrument tracks, but without access to "Live Loops" facilities. I'm focused on getting the composer's version out first.

I'm currently working on the "Patchbay" for the composer's version. This patchbay enables each group of 16 instrument MIDI channels to be user-assigned in Logic to a VEP instance and to a port in that instance, simply by means of a couple of popup menus.

What I don't know and would love to hear about from composers, is this:-

In actual practice when composing, in whatever DAW, what's the highest count of instrument MIDI channels you've ever used in any one VEP instance?

I'd guess it's less than about 100 for many if not most composers, but of course I'm prepared to be amazed!

Posted on Thu, Sep 16 2021 11:59
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 354

Nobody wants to stick their neck out. That's ok. I have a design in mind.

This template design would have a maximum of 10 VEP instances; 2 big ones with 10 ports each, and 8 small ones with 4 ports each; providing a total of 832 instrument MIDI channels.

Syz Dimension Strings is probably the most complex and yet flexible strings library on the market, and so it also serves as perhaps the most demanding and exacting case study for template strings configurations.

One of the big instances can easily accommodate a very comprehensive set of Syz Dimension Strings, including a mirrored set for size-doubling using the transpose trick. A 16:16:12:12:8 configuration in this case could be as follows-

  •  Permanent places for each of 4 divisi part subsections in each string section (Contrabasses usually would not go further than 2-part divisi, so some empty spaces would be left in the CB port).

  •  Permanent places for regular, sordino, tasto and ponticello parts in every section.

  •  Thus for example, one 'half-size' (8 players) 1st Violins port in VEPro would have places for these Synchron Players as follows:-

   Ch1: Regular (Ai);   Ch2: Regular (Aii);   Ch3: Regular (Aiii);   Ch4: Regular (Aiv);

   Ch5: Sordino (Ai);   Ch6: Sordino (Aii);   Ch7: Sordino (Aiii);   Ch8: Sordino (Aiv);

   Ch9: Tasto (Ai):       Ch10: Tasto (Aii):     Ch11: Tasto (Aiii);     Ch12: Tasto (Aiv);

   Ch13: Ponti' (Ai);    Ch14: Ponti' (Aii);     Ch15: Ponti' (Aiii);    Ch16: Ponti' (Aiv),

   where (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) are divisi-part subsections.

   There would be another port like this for the 1st Violins size-doubling section, having (Bi), (Bii), (Biii) and (Biv) for each main timbre as shown above.

Please keep in mind that this Situater template is aimed at composition, rather than production. As such, it has full access to Logic's new "Live Loops" creative facilities on every instrument channel, whilst still using Situater's orchestral intonation. Nevertheless the composer's version may also be used to produce highly presentable professional mockups, despite having far fewer instances and ports available for alternative libraries, compared to the production version.

Posted on Thu, Sep 23 2021 01:16
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2697

Good luck to print a score for the orchestra !

Why don't you use Keyswitches ? You will have one track per instrument.

With lasts version of Logic, key switching has been improved

Just hoping that key switching will be add to the score 

Originally Posted by: Macker Go to Quoted Post

Nobody wants to stick their neck out. That's ok. I have a design in mind.

This template design would have a maximum of 10 VEP instances; 2 big ones with 10 ports each, and 8 small ones with 4 ports each; providing a total of 832 instrument MIDI channels.

Syz Dimension Strings is probably the most complex and yet flexible strings library on the market, and so it also serves as perhaps the most demanding and exacting case study for template strings configurations.

One of the big instances can easily accommodate a very comprehensive set of Syz Dimension Strings, including a mirrored set for size-doubling using the transpose trick. A 16:16:12:12:8 configuration in this case could be as follows-

  •  Permanent places for each of 4 divisi part subsections in each string section (Contrabasses usually would not go further than 2-part divisi, so some empty spaces would be left in the CB port).

  •  Permanent places for regular, sordino, tasto and ponticello parts in every section.

  •  Thus for example, one 'half-size' (8 players) 1st Violins port in VEPro would have places for these Synchron Players as follows:-

   Ch1: Regular (Ai);   Ch2: Regular (Aii);   Ch3: Regular (Aiii);   Ch4: Regular (Aiv);

   Ch5: Sordino (Ai);   Ch6: Sordino (Aii);   Ch7: Sordino (Aiii);   Ch8: Sordino (Aiv);

   Ch9: Tasto (Ai):       Ch10: Tasto (Aii):     Ch11: Tasto (Aiii);     Ch12: Tasto (Aiv);

   Ch13: Ponti' (Ai);    Ch14: Ponti' (Aii);     Ch15: Ponti' (Aiii);    Ch16: Ponti' (Aiv),

   where (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) are divisi-part subsections.

   There would be another port like this for the 1st Violins size-doubling section, having (Bi), (Bii), (Biii) and (Biv) for each main timbre as shown above.

Please keep in mind that this Situater template is aimed at composition, rather than production. As such, it has full access to Logic's new "Live Loops" creative facilities on every instrument channel, whilst still using Situater's orchestral intonation. Nevertheless the composer's version may also be used to produce highly presentable professional mockups, despite having far fewer instances and ports available for alternative libraries, compared to the production version.

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Posted on Thu, Sep 23 2021 10:49
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 354

Thanks for your reply, Cyril.

Situater of course accommodates pretty much any of the usual combinations of keyswitches, articulation sets, MIDI CC automation and Logic's "fader message" automation. I'm currently using all of these in my work with Situater.

In the case of Syz Dimension Strings (complete), the template configuration example I've shown can cope with up to 4-part divisi, as I mentioned. In such a case, the user can either place two divisi parts in one staff, or keep each part in a separate staff, as I tend to do. Situater makes no difference in that respect. How would that be a problem?

When using Syz Dimension Strings, if there is never any divisi, and no changing between con sordino and sensa sordino, nor between regular, tasto and ponticello bowing styles, then of course one track, one channel, one Synchron Player and one staff can readily cope with everything that, say, the Violins 1 section is to play. However, where such changes are to be incorporated in a single piece, loading or changing sample-set presets in run-time is not, generally speaking, good practice - with or without Situater, nor indeed in any DAW or notation app. Hence all templates are configured to work around this problem in various ways. My template is no different in that regard.

There is of course the option - for those prepared to endure the tiresome clerical chores involved - of editing Synchron Player presets, in order to bring all required patches under the aegis of Dimension Controllers within one user-preset in one Synchron Player. Obviously the tradeoff here is between the work of editing VSL's library presets versus the work of editing a Logic-produced score that has some superfluous staves. That's for individual users to weigh up. My position is that I don't expect composers will want to risk wrecking their creative, intuitive, musical frame of mind by engaging in or worrying about IT-centric clerical chores. It might help if there was a respectable and trustworthy online repository for various user-edited VSL player presets of high quality and reliability.

I neglected to mention that Situater has a special feature for playing any instrument section polyphonically, such that the user can play keyboard reductions using, for example, horns, strings, or harp, etc, as desired - all properly intoned. For MPE synths and sample players, this facility is very simple to set up. But because VSL's sample players are not yet MPE, I have to set up 12 duplicates of one VSL player, then simply switch their Situater port to "Poly"; in this way the bank of 12 instruments can then be played as if one MPE instrument - keyswitches, articulation IDs, controllers and automation are automatically routed for all 12 instrument players.

But this special polyphony feature is intended primarily for sketching. Otherwise, the general rule (with a few exceptions such as harp and timps) in Situater is to treat each scored part as monophonic, just as they are in real life. Situater uses MIDI Pitchbend to produce orchestral intonation, so until VSL incorporates MPE, each VSL player can respond to only one pitchbend message at any one time, no matter how many notes may be sounding. Oh and of course pianos, organs and any other Equal Temperament instruments can also be used normally alongside Situater in Logic.

VSL's sophisticated sample set recordings, highly-skilled sample editing, and use of controllers/keyswitches, together with the relatively recent addition of articulation sets and maps in Logic and Cubase, have brought us beyond the old ways of scoring in a DAW. With that old method, a composer's original score in Cubase or Logic would be all over the place, pretty much with a separate track used for each and every individual articulation patch used in the composition. Then the orchestrater would sort out the mess and produce a proper full score and parts for the orchestra. And yet this old-school method lingers on here and there. For example it's still required by users who need negative track delays tailored to individual articulations, to compensate for inadequate coherence of individual voice-start and attack-development times throughout each library, or throughout their template of libraries.

Regardless of the quality of libraries in use, Logic's score editor is no match for Dorico, Sibelius, etc. For most if not all templates there will probably still be work to do before a presentable full score is produced from any non-trivial writing session in Logic. Situater and the template I've presented above certainly shouldn't make that situation any worse.

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