tips on Symphonic Choirs: Portamento
This tutorial was made using Cubase 4 Studio and Kontakt 3
My name is Piotr Musia³ and I welcome You to my next tutorial!
Symphonic Choirs is a great instrument. Despites the fantastic
Wordbuilder plugin, that makes our choirs sing phrases, we want them
to sing, it has very nice sound and variety of articulations. It also
has solo voices, such as soprano, alto and a boy soloist, which would
be more helpfull, if they were more playable.
might appear missing in this library is – portamento. An
effect, highly requested in new orchestral and choir libraries. In
real life it's produced by quick legato transitions from one note to
another by a voice, or an instrument. Check for yourself – try
singing C2 and then quickly change it to C3 (or an octave lower, if
you are a bass:). Notice the short slide between the two. It's
not a surprise, that most of us would give more than warm welcome to
such a feature in EWQL Symphonic Choirs. Such an effect could be very
musical, and could increse realism on some passages. Unfortunatelly,
trying to program it into phrases with text, would take a lot of time
and effort. However, one of the most popular forms in which choirs
are used in film and even classical music are „oh's” and
„ah's” („mm's” as well). That we can do, in a
very easy way! And we can make it now, before there even is a release
date for SC PLAY version. (I hope it will actually include this
see what we need:
Symphonic Choirs NI/Kompakt version.
2 or above (sorry, if this dissapoints You)
SIPS 2.05 scripts by
certainly know, where to get 1 and 2 from. For the scripts, let's
are free! Let's download and install them into your Kontakt scripts
folder, which, most probably is something like this:
and Settings\YouUserName\My Documents\Native
you are having troubles here, refer to SIPS's User's Guide.
I love the sound and recording of solo soprano voice in EWQLSC. It
could totally use legato with portamento. Nothing easier than that
we need to decide which mic position to use. My opinion is, that it
sounds best with Close mic, because F and S mics have more room
ambience and release trails, which do not work well with synthetic
portamento, produced by the script. (As you will soon hear, it's not
that synthetic in effect at all)
so let's load into Kontakt Close mic of Soprano Solo voice and assign
a midi channel to it. Now, first thing to do, is to click on „Script
Editor” button and load SIPS scripts. Go to „Presets”
and look for SIPS folder (it's probably under „User”
scripts) and load SIPS Starter. This one doesn't do much, but
initiates SIPS. Big Bob (author of SIPS) recommends we put it into
the first script slot.
next one to load (into the second slot) should be „SIPS –
Ledato”. Once it will open, it will probably prompt you to move
midi controller before it can start working. Simply, move mod wheel
or any other CC on this channel, and the interface will appear.
good to get familiar with the interface and all the functions, using
reference SIPS Guide. If you want quick results, just change sript
mode from Legato to Portamento.
a couple of notes to hear the results. Sounds a bity synthy? Let's
cover this with a reverb. I used SIR 1011 fed with a free impulse
response sample of a real hall, downloaded from noisevault:
may as well use reverb of your choice. Tweak the settings as you
is basically the whole idea. Sounds good to me!
TRICKS & THINGS TO KNOW
a couple of things to know about the script and tips to make a better
use of it.
thing to know is that SIPS Legato script, does only do solo. You can
however add one or more voices, by loading and seting up another
patches in an exactly the same way, then assigning them to another
midi channels. It may be a bit time consuming (and channel-hungry),
but the final effect, will most probably be rewarding.
STYLE & PORTAMENTO
you don't know already, while recording or playing the portamento
parts, to make the script work, you should take care of time between
two sounds. If there's a break, the two will not be legatoed. The
first note should slightly overdub the beginning of the second note.
Just like on the picture below:
should also be aware, that changing keyswitches between two sounds,
that are connected, is not possible, because SIPS will not
understand, that the lowest keys are not actually sounds you want it
to legato to.
generally is true, unless you turn SIPS off, before you change
articulations, and then turn it on again. You CAN do it, using custom
CC parameter, which can be assigned by clicking two times on: „Mode
MC=None” button and selecting CC parameter you want to use.
This way, to change keyswitches during a legato phrase, for example,
to do a transition from „oh's” to „mm's” –
simply turn SIPS off, by feeding the CC with 0, then put the
keyswitch key, and feed the CC back with 127 (it's Portamento). As
thing, that you might want to do with this or other patches, is to
automate the time of portamento effect. It's very easy to assign CC
parameter to control it. Click on „PTime MC=None” button
and select CC of your choice (for example ModWheel - CC1). Now, feed
the CC with 0 – set up the Portamento Time knob to zero. Then,
feed the CC with max value, set the knob to the highest value, you
want to use. For example 1000ms. We can set minimum and maximum time
while you play, use the CC to control the portamento time. Short
passages will sound better with low time, and high jumps, like by an
octave, can use more time. Also, check for yourself by singing –
a jump by and octave up will probably take you more time, than going
the octave back down.
ADVANTAGE OF REAL VIBRATO
also have one more tip for you regarding this particular patch –
use vibrato articulations rather than nonvibrato. They sound more
natural (overall, and with the script), especially when making
transition in the very moment, when the voice is vibrating.
not. It's only a beginning :). This techniques can be used with more
than just soprano solo. Take bass choirs for example. Take soprano
choirs. VSL has it's own real portamento-capable Soprano Choirs, we
can have our own „synthesized”, yet maybe even better
sounding wtih EWQLSC. We can even have full choirs singing „oh”
with portamento. Check for yourself. It can quickly make you
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