Intrigued - Using Percent PT-PBT's To Replace Many Manual Playback Adjustments

I’m working on a mockup of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, Movement 2, and trying to get the right sound requires note length variants beyond just using Staccato, Staccato-Tenuto, and Tenuto. Implementing them requires a lot of manual playback note length adjustments.

To address this problem I experimented with Expression Maps’ note length percentages, but the same length wouldn’t work in all situations. I needed something that could be hard-wired in Expression Maps yet still flexible enough to call up at will.

I was pondering this when an idea struck me. What if I created Playing Techniques and Playback Techniques for various percentages of note lengths? That way for certain useful techniques like Tenuto, or Natural I could introduce combinations that might give me the ease and flexibility I’m looking for. I would simply set up an Expression Map entry for each that contains the desired note length percentage.

Tenuto, for example. I could set a Tenuto + 70% in one place, in another Tenuto + 80%, etc. so long as each combination was in my Expression Map. This would greatly reduce the need for manual playback adjustment.

I intend to fool around with this tomorrow, but it makes me wonder if anyone else has pursued a similar course.

I have not tried this specifically, but in theory it should work. The only question is tempo…will the length of a Marcato sample set to 80% in the expression map have a different length depending on the tempo of the piece? I’m thinking it probably will, but if the movement stays at pretty much one tempo you could successfully set this up, but it may not work the same way on a faster or slower movement. Please report back!

Are you using VSL VI instruments? If so, you could add customized length samples (via the ADSL editor) into empty cells and then trigger them as needed via the EM. That’s more the approach I use with the current state of EM conditions etc.

Thanks for an accurate description of a potential problem.

The beauty of the idea, if I am thinking about it correctly, is that I can add any percentage I want. If because of tempo 80% doesn’t work but some other percentage is needed I can create whatever percentage I need and at any given point in a piece choose the one that works. Eventually I’d have a collection of percentages that give me flexibility. Tenuto + 70% doesn’t work? I can have Tenuto + 50%, or 80% or whatever. The options are limited only by the multiplication of combinations.

I’ll check on it tomorrow if I can.

That’s an interesting point, I’ve never done that.

I am mainly using Synchron Player libraries. A have the VI Symphonic Cube, but I really only use it for percussion I don’t have in Synchron.

interesting discussion. I must say that for the more sophisticated VSL Synchron libraries, I’ve so far just used all five note length divisions which gives the right articulation about 95% of the time but there may be ways to improve on this yet further. It’s true that the VI libraries have options not yet present in Synchron but, unlike @Grainger2001 , I never really learned how to use them and all current VSL projects use Synchron

Yeah, not sure how the idea might play out in real life. It was in response to a real-life issue while trying to get note lengths in the opening part of Beethoven’s 7th Movement 2 to sound at all right. Staccato, Staccato-Tenuto, Tenuto didn’t sound right. I was able to do a lot of manual playback adjustments to get it right, but it seemed to me that it would be easier to automate the process. Instead of adjusting, re-adjusting, fiddling, etc. I could zero in on the right sound using percentages. That was the genesis of it. Won’t know how practical it is until I try it. Thanks for chipping in.

Unsurprisingly it does in fact work.

I did the following:
created PT “length 70 pct” with “70 pct” to display in score
created PBT “length 70 pct”
duplicated “Tenuto” in Expression Map and created “Tenuto + length 70 pct”
kept existing Tenuto mapping but added note length of 70 percent.
added PT “length 70 pct” to existing tenuto note.

The playback percentage was indeed reflected in the Key Editor. It was nice that the note retained it’s original Tenuto marking with “70 pct” above it.

It remains to be seen how this will work out in actual workflow, but for me it could be a valuable tool. You can actually see your adjustments in the notated score without reference to the piano roll editor and change them out for another percentage at will.

Edited to add:
So far I am loving this. I can test out various percentage lengths (so far 60, 70, 80 and 90 pct) quickly until I find the one I like best, then I can copy and paste the Playing Technique to any selected notes. I can group select and paste, which helps a lot in this particular passage which involves each section of the strings to play the same repeated rhythm, dash…dot-dot…dash…dash. Playback requires nuance, thought, because all dots and all dashes are not equal. I cannot imagine how long it would take me to experiment using the piano roll playback length, getting confused along the way just what I had done, if I was being consistent, etc. Now I can see it all laid out in notation and experiment with comparative ease.

AND, I can always override manually if needed, I just won’t need to do it in most cases.

Again, I am not prejudging how I will feel about it in the long run, but it looks promising right now. My case may not be applicable to everybody, though, because I don’t have to worry about how my scores look. They’re not going to be seen by anyone else.

An initial attempt to see if percentages above 100 work does not appear to succeed. The playback length in the Key Editor does not appear to change. Just a one-off try, but I wanted to note this.

I attempted to make either a Staccato-Tenuto or a Staccato 120% longer. No discernable change.