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I recently created a strings section for my sample library by spreading the string instruments across the keyboard and then cross faded between them where the keys overlap. It seems to work well and is handy for sketching out ideas. I've done the same for the brass section and I'll be releasing this as an upgrade patch soon.

I don't see how it can work for the woodwinds. The instruments are just too different in tone and the instrument ranges  don't really overlap in the same way as the brass and strings instruments.

What do other libraries do? I know some of them provide entire section patches like I've done with strings and brass but what about the woodwinds?
Unfortunately, you're probably right.

Logic has a patch where it just switches instrument at arbitrary pitches, but it's unwieldy, and I never use it. As you said, the different woodwinds have very distinct timbres. When orchestrating, I for one can't think of "woodwind" as a general colour. Even variant woodwinds (e.g. bass clarinet) are so distinct that one does not simply let the voicing determine the instrument. Strings are definitely more interchangeable.

You could try a divisi unison type setup, i.e. a solo flute, solo clarinet, solo oboe, and solo bassoon in unison/octaves. There's a fancy word for that type of arranging, but I can't find what it is. Not sure how useful that would be for sketching, though. Generally, it can still be a pretty neat orchestral colour when used in the right place. Smile
I had good luck making a preset for VSCO 2 that has flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon all together. It creates a nice enough section sound! I should see about recording something from it at some point- unfortunately I learned aria presets use absolute paths so I can't easily share them with others, but I put them in the release anyway with some instructions on how to edit the files manually.
(11-11-2016, 09:11 PM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]I had good luck making a preset for VSCO 2 that has flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon all together.

VSCO2 or VSCO2-CE?

How did you layer the instruments? Did you do it the way Otto suggested? I can't think of a way I'd get any use out of a woodwinds section patch. I think of the woodwind instruments as more individuals than as a group. When I compose for strings or brass, I sometimes record myself playing chords, then I break each line up for the individual instruments and tweak each part. That makes a "section" patch useful, but I can't see myself playing chords like that for woodwinds which makes me question the value of a full woodwinds section patch. So I'm curious how you decided to spread the instruments across the keyboard.
(11-11-2016, 10:18 PM)Paul Battersby Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-11-2016, 09:11 PM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]I had good luck making a preset for VSCO 2 that has flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon all together.

VSCO2 or VSCO2-CE?

How did you layer the instruments? Did you do it the way Otto suggested? I can't think of a way I'd get any use out of a woodwinds section patch. I think of the woodwind instruments as more individuals than as a group. When I compose for strings or brass, I sometimes record myself playing chords, then I break each line up for the individual instruments and tweak each part. That makes a "section" patch useful, but I can't see myself playing chords like that for woodwinds which makes me question the value of a full woodwinds section patch. So I'm curious how you decided to spread the instruments across the keyboard.

CE. I just loaded up four solo instruments in ARIA slots, panned them out, added nice reverb, and set the MIDI input to the same for all four. Typically in a full orchestra, you have 2-3 of each instrument, so getting repeated notes on the same instruments is okay (although admittedly the goal for me wasn't realism but rather a nice texture). It's quick and dirty, but sounds ok if you're not after perfect realism.
(11-11-2016, 10:18 PM)Paul Battersby Wrote: [ -> ]VSCO2 or VSCO2-CE?

How did you layer the instruments? Did you do it the way Otto suggested? I can't think of a way I'd get any use out of a woodwinds section patch. I think of the woodwind instruments as more individuals than as a group. When I compose for strings or brass, I sometimes record myself playing chords, then I break each line up for the individual instruments and tweak each part. That makes a "section" patch useful, but I can't see myself playing chords like that for woodwinds which makes me question the value of a full woodwinds section patch. So I'm curious how you decided to spread the instruments across the keyboard.

I definitely agree with this. Playing chords with a catch-all woodwinds patch will sound like an accordion or pipe organ, whereas strings are more easily roughed out on a keyboard and split up into individual voices. Brass is somewhere inbetween, it kind of depends on the arrangement and the density of notes. I have come across this "keyboardist mockup full-range orchestra" thing in various libraries over the years and for the most part I find them unusable. If I want something generic that that covers all octaves and lets me just work on the chords, I'll use a piano or some warm synth pad type of sound.
(11-11-2016, 10:38 PM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]CE. I just loaded up four solo instruments in ARIA slots, panned them out, [...] and set the MIDI input to the same for all four.

Did you deal with the volume differences across the keyboard? When I made the strings and brass section patches it was easy. I just cross faded where there was overlap, ensured only 2 instruments ever overlap in any one area so the cross fade automatically takes care of the volume. With a woodwinds section patch, if I just let instruments play and overlap wherever they happen to overlap, I'm sometimes going to have 1, 2 or even 3 instruments playing the same note depending where I am on the keyboard so I'd imagine various areas of the keyboard would have different volumes given the same midi note velocity.

(11-11-2016, 10:41 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ] If I want something generic that that covers all octaves and lets me just work on the chords, I'll use a piano or some warm synth pad type of sound.

When I was composing with Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, I had made myself a patch that consisted of cello and 1st violins. For brass, I'd just simply use a French Horn patch, play any chords and then split that up into other brass tracks.

When I discovered the sfz key range cross fade opcodes, I realized I could make a proper section patch like I've seen used in some Youtube videos of quick orchestration using section patches. I'll have to go back and try to find that video to see if some sort of woodwinds section patch was used.
(11-11-2016, 11:08 PM)Paul Battersby Wrote: [ -> ]Did you deal with the volume differences across the keyboard? When I made the strings and brass section patches it was easy. I just cross faded where there was overlap, ensured only 2 instruments ever overlap in any one area so the cross fade automatically takes care of the volume. With a woodwinds section patch, if I just let instruments play and overlap wherever they happen to overlap, I'm sometimes going to have 1, 2 or even 3 instruments playing the same note depending where I am on the keyboard so I'd imagine various areas of the keyboard would have different volumes given the same midi note velocity.

This is where my famous laissez-faire policy of sample library development comes into play: I just left the natural volume differences as-is and allowed instruments to blend. The idea is, you might have a flute and an oboe play the same note together. It isn't fancy nor altogether that professional, but it sounds like a woodwind section to my ears.
https://instaud.io/C9m

Here's what the section sounds like with "Just Intonation", meaning intervals are pure, as they would be played by real musicians in the absence of keyboard or other 'tempered' instruments-
https://instaud.io/C9k
(11-12-2016, 01:54 AM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]It isn't fancy nor altogether that professional, but it sounds like a woodwind section to my ears.

Yea, actually it sounds ok to me too. Having heard what you've created, I might go ahead and  create my own woodwinds section patch, then at least I've been consistent by providing a full instruments patch for each orchestral section. Maybe some people will find it useful for quickly throwing together orchestration ideas.