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Orchestra and keyboard vsts

Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2021 3:42 am
by jorri
Was trying to think of how my general process could change and came up with this idea- i dont even use a MIDI keyboard or any virtual instruments- i often play cello but its not quite enough especially as an 'ok' player, when 'ok' means quite out-of-tune when we talk difficulty of bowed instruments :(
In process of doing some contemporary classical and its still perhaps the most inaccessible genre for anyone to enter due to expertise of musicians, time to learn, venues etc etc.

Well anyway, i would be looking at some kind of orchestral vst. Even better if /didnt/ use too much of a scoring program. They will be overdubs, i like playing real-time to an extent, and i have no idea yet how articulations/extended-technique are added in this process.
But i am interested in the sounds of expressionism, impressionism, sonorism, spectralism etc....like Ligeti, Grisey, Stravinsky, Debussy and a lot of contemporary film music like Johanssen.

Prob wrong place to ask but does anyone have any suggestions.
My tech skills are ok, i just rarely use VST instruments, although reasonable experience with EZdrummer.

As a plus some mallets and keyboards like rhodes+organs would be amazing (different program if necessary)

Re: Orchestra and keyboard vsts

Posted: Sun Jul 18, 2021 8:56 pm
by stratoclutter
Spitfire Audio

Re: Orchestra and keyboard vsts

Posted: Sun Jul 18, 2021 9:57 pm
by mbene085
Orchestral VSTs can get expensive. Like....really expensive.

I'd recommend checking out Presonus Sphere, their subscription service, since you can pay for a month or two and only be out $20 or $40 instead of discovering that the $1500 orchestral sample library you just bought isn't meeting your needs.

You get Studio One 5, which is an amazing DAW, a ton of sample libraries and plugins (including orchestral ones), and Notion 6.

I know you said you didn't want to use notation software, but really, if this is a world you want to explore, keep an open mind about that. With S1/Notion, you can still enter all your notes in real-time via MIDI without knowing how to score, but you get a score generated for you which is an amazingly powerful learning tool. You can see your music come to life on staff notation, and you can choose whether to edit it on the staff of within the DAW since the two send MIDI back and forth (I.e. edit on the scorrz and Notion edits the MIDI data in S1, edit the MIDI data in S1 and Notion updates the score).

It's probably the most powerful DAW/scoring/orchestral sample combination you can get for the money.

Running orchestral sample libraries without any kind of scoring puts a ceiling on how far you can get with it IMO. Articulation manipulation is achievable through MIDI CC messages mapped to mod wheels and foot pedals and things like that for live playing/entry, but once a take is down, it's incredible simple and intuitive to change around which notes are staccato, pizzicato, etc on a score compared to opening the raw MIDI data and editing CC values (at least, IMO).

If you can't read staff notation, consider it a free theory tutor that's there if you want it. If you can (which I suspect is the case if you play the cello), then it opens up all sorts of creative and workflow options. Best of all, since it's all included under one subscription price, you neither have to feel pressured to use it, nor that you wasted money on something you didn't end up using.

If you don't want to go that route, two of the better bang for the buck options are Garritan Personal Orchestra and EastWest Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra. If you want to dive into deeper waters, Spitfire Audio would be the go-to, like stratoclutter said.

I'd have a hard time imagining someone taking full advantage of the detail and nuance Spitfire's sample libraries contain without using notation software, though.

Re: Orchestra and keyboard vsts

Posted: Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:31 am
by jorri
I know how to score, yes. Explaining the aversion to it is maybe...the relative time, integrating into reaper, or just the interfacing.
Live input is good, but there is a lot to control articulation and sound-wise beyond a score i suppose, and my sibelius days remind me of some factors like writing a score differently in order to create a better sound from program vs. how a performance would sound....can, er, easily go down a route of something strange an electronic that could make oboists pass out if they ever play but nonetheless sound good as MIDI. But true- it would be the easiest way to sequence it (aside from any glitches or hey maybe transpose those winds at concert pitch for me as its been a while). Single lines of cello need their bowing marks and all that...

Minimal/cheaper is probably good though. Probably, i would like to use these for embelishments of real tracked pieces on guitar and piano and not be too traditional with sounds in the end.

The other thought being a library of sampled full strung section textures may be a way forward. Building up something like Penderecki extended techniques or even a Steve Reich piece i fear is beyond a limitation of programs??? (Noting both flexible scores, and how a mass of untraditional sound comes together without obviously being a computer)
Then could more pre-packaged ensemble sounds work better? Pre-packaged 'film score' sounds perhaps...and going a more electronic producer style.

Re: Orchestra and keyboard vsts

Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2021 7:13 pm
by rhythmjones
Spitfire BBCSO Lite being free is a real game-changer, to my knowledge there has never been a free comprehensive symphony instrument available for free before. Oh, and Spitfire Labs has some really cool shit in there too.