I’ve been asked to explain a bit about the really groovy looking window that appears on the right-hand side of my REAPER orchestral template. What is it, why is it there, how do I get it and so forth?
Well, one of the old problems for MIDI musicians concerns what is known as “chasing”. You’ve long been able to send samplers messages to change from pizz to marcato to “stick your bows in your ears and fart quizzically”, or whatever else. Traditionally these are included in sound libraries as keyswitches – so you play a note that’s out of range of the instrument and it triggers the change. So far, so funky.
But if you’ve just been playing back a section with the string sampler set to pizz then move elsewhere to a bit in the music where it’s supposed to be tremolo, it often won’t work correctly – if the sampler didn’t get the memo, the strings will still be plucking about. This can get really plucking annoying.
Hence MIDI “chasing”. When you hit play, the DAW software can look back through every MIDI track for the last change instruction and retrigger it. However, it has no way of knowing whether a note is an actual note or an instruction to change sounds, so you have to convert the keyswitches to another type of MIDI event that it can clearly identify.
There are lots of ways of handling this process, but the solution I use is Jason Tackaberry’s Reaticulate. You can still use the articulation switches as usual, but they will be converted into MIDI cc (continuous controller) messages and displayed in the MIDI Editor window as little labelled needles and in the pretty interface window, updating in real time.
As I said, there are other ways of implementing this*, but personally I find Reaticulate convenient and attractive. Don’t underestimate the latter issue – when you do this kind of work, you’ll be spending many hours peering at a screen, so aesthetics are important. I also appreciate seeing some friendly symbols that look like good old fashioned music, since the rest of the interface is slabby chunks of coloured data, faders, buttons, etc. The sight of a few dotted quavers cheers up my bleary eyes…
The bank files I’ve written for Reaticulate (containing info for Garritan Personal Orchestra 5, Kirk Hunter Concert Brass and Cinewinds Core) are here. Tackaberry’s “factory” banks already contain the necessary info for Cinematic Studio Strings and Spitfire.
(If you’re interested in such things, here are the MIDI note name files for the libraries used in the template.)
* See also Blake Robinson’s BRSO. Blake is the guy who did most of the programming for the Spitfire series. Which are beautiful and one day I might be able to afford them…
PS Tackaberry goes by the nom de youtube of anothercrappypianist. I can identify…