These days it is becoming very typical for Cubase users who use their own templates to have templates that contain hundreds even thousands or over of tracks.
Imagine if one could create a template with the same number of tracks as there are instruments in General MIDI 1 or GM2.
One could then pick and assign one’s own choice of plugin or sample library for each GM instrument.
Each of these special template tracks would be assigned a UNIQUE PC value ( or PC+BANK ) and whenever a MIDI file containing GM ( or even GS/XG) standard PC messages embedded at the front of a track was dragged in and processed by Cubase - Cubase would automatically check if a special template track exists that has been set up for the GM instrument specified by the PC data.
So for example Imagine I set up three of these special GM/PC template tracks :-
PC 5 - GM Electric Piano
PC 33 - GM Double Bass
PC 25 - GM Nylon Guitar
One could then put the Lounge Lizard electric Piano plugin on track PC 5. and use KONTAKT to load a sample library of ones choosing for the double bass and guitar parts. These three plugins and tracks would serve as substitute tracks to the standard HALION SE GM instruments that would normally get used by default whenever one imports a general midi file.
In effect by means of such GM/PC linked special template tracks one gets to build one’s own General Midi ( or GM2 or XG in principle ) sound module inside Cubase - but with the advantage that whenever a GM MIDI file gets imported there’s already a track set up ready to go for that instrument.
In addition - taking the sound module metaphor a little further, by means of residing to incoming PC messages cubase could also be used as something similar to MainStage where someone using a keyboard MIDI controller with buttons able to be configured to send out different program change messages - such a keyboard controller could tell Cubase to switch its track-ARM status to different PC-assigned-tracks. So PC1 would automatically select the template track with Grand Piano on it, another button with PC5 would tell Cubase Ito switch to the template track Wirth an electric piano on it - PC19 would switch to the Rock Organ track.
Now maybe using Cubase instead of MainStage etc would be overkill or non-ideal - but back in the composer-studio - having just one system -Cubase - able to be used as a DAW when needed but also much more like a keyboard workstation - would be handy.
Now I do realise that there are already many scripts and options in cubase to have the track-arm move to a particular template track. But adding this PC assigned ability as an option might still be preferable just in that it allows one to use keyboard controllers etc that put out PC messages.
So for example One could have a Vienna ensemble pro based system where many common instruments and orchestral sections are always present - and then - in addition to normal use in composition - if one wanted to import - say a classical General MIDI file containing a classical string score - instead of the default (and low authenticity) Halion SE GM sound set being used - any GM instrument for which an a corresponding template track existed - already assigned for a specific GM PC number - would automatically - on import. get its MIDI data rerouted through to that template track.
By this means one could have a much much more authentic playback of General MIDI files - with one’s own favourite plugins being used - for example Ivory for the pianos, Lounge lizard or 3rd party Kontakt libraries for many of the other instruments. And with HALION SE instruments only being used as fall-back defaults for those cases where a template track does not already exist with an assigned PC number for it.
Such a system could have special value in interchange of orchestral compositions if a future GM3 were to become adopted - one which has special focus on all the typical instruments and articulations common among the top grade sample libraries used by composers these days. If one had composed a string orchestra piece in ones own template a while ago - designed for sample library A - but then down the line wants to redo the same piece using some latest state of the art orchestral library - the fact that each of the tracks has an assigned Program-Change number ( or PC+Bank Change info for a standard that goes way beyond GM1 ) would mean that on importing an old Cubase piece into a new template using these special tracks - all the MIDi would automatically get routed to the right track. So double basses in the old project automatically get remapped or rerouted to wherever the double-bass track happens to sit in the new template.
This would minimise the amount of draggging around fo midi data etc. to get instruments to play correctly.