Using Arpache SX without sounding "robotic"?

STACCATISIMO BEGINNING- CTW - - Output - Stereo Out.mp3 (652 KB)
Hey guys, I am using the ArpacheSX to play a chord in a repeated rhythm so that I don’t have to play each chord six times… I just press the keys down, let the Arpache SX play the chord six times, and then move to the next chord, let the Arpache SX play that chord six times, and so on, until I am done playing the chord progression. Here is my question:

Is there a way to just SLIGHTLY adjust the Arpache SX so that it doesn’t sound so perfect and “robotic” but, more like a human playing the chords while still keeping an almost perfect rhythm? I know you can adjust the tempo and beat but, it will still sound “robotic”. I need some of the chords or notes to be off just a tiny bit so that it sounds more “human”.

I am using the Arpache SX insert with a Hollywood Strings viola staccatissimo instrument and I want it to sound like a violinist playing quick chords repeatedly and not a machine playing the quick chords repeatedly. Is this possible?

I have attached the wav file of what I recorded using the Arpache SX and the viola staccatissimo instrument so you can see what I am talking about when I say “too robotic”.

Via the menu MIDI you can Freeze MIDI modifiers. Cubase then transforms your midifile into the notes that Arpache is playing. Then you can make small adjustments directly into your midifile, shifting notes and so on.

A good question, and posting the audio is very helpful.
First I will give the answer to your question. Use the sequence mode of Arpache SX. Record a single-note line of the rhythm and velocity that you want the strings to play. Then drop it into the Arpache MIDI Drop window and use the Repeat mode. I think the interest you are going for will come in changing the velocity (accenting certain notes), and keeping the timing straight.
But if you don’t mind I’d like to consider another approach. If you are going for a “real” sounding string section, that is different from a “real” keyboard player playing a string sound. You have an incredible library. I would do this:
Record each line separately, not as a chord. Violas don’t usually divide 3 notes amongst the section. Give cello the lower part. If you like playing chords as you are writing the part, Cubase will even break the notes apart onto different tracks in the score editor. It’s called “explode”. Explore the articulations and bowing options, and think like a string section, not a keyboard player.

Thanks, guys. Both replies were very helpful.

Philskeys, I am still exploring my Hollywood Strings Diamond edition and it is almost overwhelming. I bought it so that I can record a realistic sounding film score for my ultra low budget feature film. I am a writer/director first and a film score composer last but, I have a great passion for both. In terms of making a realistic sounding string section with Hollywwod Strings, do you know of any in depth tutorials or books I could pick up to help me do this? I don’t have any classical music training so, I don’t really know where the violas, cellos, violins, and basses should be placed. Also, I have never used a score editor like the one in Cubase. I have always just picked the instrument I needed, played it on a track, and then went on to the next instrument and then adjusted the level for each instrument when I was finished. That is how I built a “virtual orchestra” in Cubase.

Thanks guys!


I recall a small remark by John Paul Jones when asked about arranging Kashmir:
Two voices for violins, one for viola’s, one for celli and one for double basses.

Thanks, ThePresent. That is interesting. I love Kashmir. The Rolling Stones are one of my favorite rock bands. I’m kidding. Jimmy Paige and the rest of Led Zep were rock geniuses and still are… except for Bonham, of course. When he said there should be two violins, is that because they are supposed to be louder and stand out more than the other three string instruments? Or are the two violins supposed to be playing different melodies at the same time?

He meant one melody for first violins and another one for the second violins.
When you have the voices done for every category, you will hear a very full sound.