Volume level of HSO instruments

Please, if the volume of HSO instruments is controlled by the Modulation level, does that mean the velocity setting (from the input keyboard velocity) has no effect at all on the sound of HSO instruments? Many tx for any help.

It has some effect, but its kind of a fine adjust, if modulation is considered a coarse adjust. I’m not sure why that is. Possibly it has to do with the dynamics lane (ff, ppp, …) which is filled when you input via the score editor. (Although it can be done manually in the key editor.) Since most of the instruments are monophonic IRL, many people play keys with the right hand while moving the mod wheel with the left hand. I haven’t got used to that yet, so I often record a second pass with just mod wheel. Then I tweak the mod wheel in the key editor if necessary.

Thomas Goss http://orchestrationonline.com/ says that classical instruments are not meant to be played at middling volume, that f doesn’t mean loud and p doesn’t mean quiet. They mean “forceful” and “subtle” respectively. I’m not sure how many samples go into modelling a cello (for example), but it should sound differently depending on the bow pressure and speed. Based on my laughably paltry experience with the violin, it seems that greater bow speed make the note more stable, brighter, and a bit louder, while greater pressure gives it more body, makes it louder, and gives the attack more bite. This pressure factor is reflected in the “punta d’arco” instruction, which directs the player to use only the tip end of the bow. Being farther from the hand, there’s less pressure on the strings, making for a more delicate sound. A similar analysis applies to brass and winds, which have air pressure and embouchure details, among others.

How does HSO model these techniques? I don’t know. Perhaps key velocity controls the attack and mod wheel controls the volume. Volume is especially important during the sustain, but it seems to apply to attack as well. Another theory: The mod wheel sets up restricted range of samples that might be played back, and velocity controls the selection of samples within that range, cross-fading them as necessary. Another theory: Key velocity alone is used to select and cross-fade the samples, then the result is scaled according to mod wheel postion.

Whatever the case may be, I have noticed a difference when it comes to key velocity in HSO. It’s just more subtle than the mod wheel. Sometimes I’m not interested in playing with the mod wheel, and I just increase the master volume on the VSTi so my fader has more to work with. It’s probably not a best practice, though.