Halion SO contrabass range

My contrabass in HSO extends down to only C3 as written (sounding an octave lower) but should extend a sixth lower to E2 as written. I’m probably out of luck but the variation is large and I’m hoping there might be a work-around that will allow me to use the instrument’s normal full range.

I’m not sure I follow, Mike, but it’s quite possible I’m getting confused with octave numbering. HALion labels middle C, which I think of as C4, as C3. By HALion’s numbering, the contrabass patches (e.g. Double Basses Combi) go down to C1 (HALion) or C2 (Dorico), and they sound an octave lower than the note you actually play, so E2 should be comfortably within range. As I say, I am probably making a mess of this somehow.

Thanks for your response, Daniel. My numbers here and in my previous entry relate to middle C as C4 so that the lowest C within the bass stave with no ledger lines is C3. This note is the lowest one playable by the Contrabass in Halion SO. However, the range of the Contrabass should extend down to the E on the first ledger line below the bass stave or to the C on the second ledger line with a bass extension. I wonder if the reduced range might stem from confusion relating to Halion SO’s use of different octave numbers.

Some double-checking suggests my understanding of octave-naming conventions is mistaken in that A4 isn’t a third below C4 as I was thinking but rather, a sixth above. Regardless, my concern is that the lowest contrabass note I can get Halion SO to play is the C completely within a bass-clef stave. Granted, this note sounds an octave lower than written (as do all contrabass notes) but the range should still extend much lower, down to the E on the first ledger line below the bass staff or, in the case of a contrabass with bass extension, to the C on the second ledger line below the bass-clef stave.

It goes down to the C of the extended double bass. Are you adding an extra transposition somewhere?

If it goes down to the C of the extended double bass for some users then I want to know how to make it do the same for me. I am working on the first measures of Debussy’s “Pelleas et Melisande” which I opened as a musicxml file produced in Sibelius and plays back fine in that program. The first four measures involve the lower contrabass part moving from the D to the C that are both contained wholly within the bass stave and these play back fine in Dorico. However, the fifth measure moves to the Ab in the bottom space of the bass-clef stave and neither this note nor any others below the noted C will play back. I have tried moving the lower contrabass part up an octave and this results in playback but the sound is silly and not at all what Debussy wrote.

Did you check that Halion SE is loading the correct patch? Double Basses Combi and Double Bass Solo Combi work for me.

I am both pleased and frustrated - after receiving your feedback, I checked again and again with no change in playback behaviour. Then, in preparing a small excerpt I could attach, I found that although both the patches you mentioned (and which had been what I was using up to that point) remained silent below the noted C, the General Midi contrabass played back fine. I then reloaded the Halion SO patches and found that the Halion SO patches now play back fine as well, going a full octave lower than before. I don’t understand what was happening but am happy to have resolved the playback problem. Thanks for taking the time to respond - I might not have tried further and resolved the problem otherwise.

The problem here is that the GM patches and the HSO patches for contrabass have a different transposition. It’s quite common for sample libraries to use the lowest octave of the keyboard for keyswitches (to switch between pizz, stacc, etc). This would clash with the range of bass instruments, so they are shifted up an octave (which also means that they can be played with a 61 key keyboard).

If you use orchestral libraries in (eg) Cubase then you get to know about these quirks. Dorico has to be told about this case, which we do automatically via an expression map. However if you change this manually to a GM instrument then these don’t have this octave transposition, so you have to tell Dorico that, otherwise it will sound the GM page an octave too low.

Thanks, Paul. You and other members of the Dorico team are the best!

Despite my luck for a period last evening, I am now continuing to find the Halion SO samples fail to playback in their lowest octave and assume this is because the relevant expression map to initiate transposition is something that will come in a later update. Is this correct?

It should be already in the version you have. Remember that if you select Apply Default Playback Template in Play mode then that will get you back to a known good state.

Thanks again for your help. I am using version 1.0.10.4054 but selecting Apply Default Playback Template doesn’t give me playback of any Halion SO double bass notes below the C in the third space down in the bass clef. I can get by using the general midi patch but if there is anything else to try, would love to be able to use the one from Halion SO, i.e. Double Basses Combi.

If this is outside of the range of samples in the HSO patch then unfortunately there’s no simple solution. I believe that you may be able to edit this if you have the full HALion (but I don’t know for definite).

Mike, did this score start in V1.0, not V1.0.10? There was certainly a bug with the contrabass playback V1.10.

I just tried adding a solo contrabass staff and a section contrabass to a new project in V1.0.10.

I set the patches in Halion to “Double bass solo combi” and “Double basses combi”.

Both play written notes from middle C to two octaves below, sounding an octave lower than written - i.e what I would expect.

If that doesn’t work for you in a new project, maybe it’s a strange Windows/Mac bug (I’m on Windows 10).

With Halion SE in Dorico: If there is some reason you need to ‘extend’ the range of an instrument it is possible to stack Presets (Such as HSO Clarinet with GM Clarinet), set them to the same channel, and use the MIDI Tab in Halion SE to split the keyboard among the patches.

While it’s not as thorough as Halion 5, where one can actually edit the HSO sample zones, filters, etc. of a preset, it might be useful for such occasions where you just need to extend the range of an instrument a bit, but still keep the bulk of the instrument’s range using HSO.

Here is a thread discussing the technique.
https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=105305

Thankfully, I finally have it sorted. The biggest factor was that the musicxml file generated two electric bass instruments rather than contrabasses. I reset the instruments to contrabass but something went wrong and when I tried to fix it by resetting to the Default Playback Template, Dorico quite naturally changed the instruments back to electric basses and nothing was resolved. I eventually added two new contrabass instruments in Setup mode and copied the music to them before deleting the electric basses and everything is now working fine. Thanks to all for your help on this exceptional forum!

Regarding previous posts, I believe there was some confusion over contrabass (strings) vs. contrabass clarinet.

In any event…

I don’t believe BBb Contrabass Clarinet is working properly in Dorico. The lowest sound I hear is C4 written. Contrabass should at a minimum go all the way down to Eb3 (transposed written), and in professional orchestras C3 (transposed written). I noticed that HALion Sonic SE uses the Bass Clarinet Combi, but this has shifted the range up by one octave. Is there a way to get a true Contrabass Clarinet sound with the appropriate range?

In the posted attachment, C4 written is the lowest sound I get (correctly sounding Bb1 Concert Pitch) , but I should get sound for the following notes (E3 and C3 written / sounding respectively D1 and Bb0 Concert Pitch).
Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.42.50 PM.png

Unfortunately HSO doesn’t include a true contrabass clarinet patch, and perhaps in practice it’s not much use to substitute the bass clarinet patch, because of course its range doesn’t cover the lower part of the contrabass clarinet range. If you open the HALion Sonic SE window in Play mode and load the ‘[GM 072] Clarinet’ patch instead of the ‘Bass Clarinet Combi’ patch, is that a reasonable substitute?

Thanks Daniel. I tried your suggestion of using GM Clarinet 072 and it works. Thanks again.