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Using JABB in DAW software: A MIDI 101 Tutorial

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Using JABB in DAW software: A MIDI 101 Tutorial

Postby rbowser » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:25 pm

EDIT: 1/4/14 - This tute covers the basics of using ANY Garritan Library in DAW software such as Sonar or Cubase. It specifically uses a JABB solo sax for demonstration purposes, but all of the information applies in the same way to using GPO instruments, or those in any of the other Libraries.
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On another thread, Forum member "dcuny" talked about what he'd like to see in a tutorial:

"Jabb Brass Tutorial"

Here's a simple, step-by-step Tutorial for using JABB (Jazz and Big Band - the Garritan Library featuring jazz instruments) in DAW software (recording programs used in a Digital Audio Workstation environment)*, using dcuny's outline and responding to his specific requests:
* thank you djg33 for pointing out the need to explain the terms "JABB" and "DAW"
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1) First, our raw material. 8 bars using Alto Sax 1 from JABB. The first measure is silent and used as a count in. If we enter the notes with the mouse, Snap To Grid is turned OFF. There's no reason to be stuck with quantized notes. With the Grid ON, notes would be automatically quantized. With the Grid OFF, we can see where the beats are, and place the notes close to, but not necessarily right on the beat.

Entering the notes by hand will result in the velocities all being the same.

Here's what the raw material looks like, and below the screenshot is an MP3 of what it sounds like. For the recording, in ARIA's Effects window, Ambience was turned off, Convolution was turned on and Small Orchestra Hall was turned on. Pre Delay was bumped up a tiny amount, Level was set to 10:00, and in ARIA's Mixer, the Sax's Send knob was pushed up a tiny bit to the second notch (the first notch being Off).

Image

Raw material MP3

2) Here are the same 8 bars, but this time there is a constant variety in the Velocities. If the passage is played on a MIDI keyboard, those varieties will occur naturally. If we are editing the Velocities by hand, the theory is simple: Higher Velocity values result in faster Attacks/On-set of notes, with a brighter timbre. Lower Velocity values result in slower Attacks, and a darker timbre. When there are runs of fast notes, higher velocities are logical to use. When a passage is more legato, lower values are logical to use.

Image

3) Now we record or draw in the Expressive Volume performance of our 8 bars. If we have a MIDI keyboard or control surface, it doesn't matter if we can actually play the passage or not. MIDI data is recorded in multiple passes. We can play back the track of our instrument and do nothing but use the Mod Wheel to record the fluctuating volume, without erasing the notes. We're adding another layer of MIDI data to the track.

What's seen in the screenshot could be drawn in by hand, but without the benefit of instant aural feedback to hear what we're doing. What's seen in the screenshot is a typical example of what we can call an "organic" stream of MIDI data, the way it undulates in hills and valleys.

The logic of how to vary the volume is exactly the same as when any musician plays his instrument. We feel the passage out, sometimes playing louder, sometimes swelling on notes - we're simply using our musical intuition to perform on the instrument.

Here's the Piano Roll View screenshot which now shows our volume performance. Below it is the MP3 which plainly demonstrates an improvement over the first MP3.

Image

Volume control MP3

Here's another screenshot from the Track View, with the layers of data exploded so we can see that there's a clip with just notes, and a superimposed layer of just volume data. Usually there's no need to see the separate layers, but here's what it looks like, to illustrate how MIDI tracks are built up from multiple layers:

Image

One more thing to note about volume control: Garritan instruments in ARIA interpret CC1 (Mod Wheel) and CC11 (Expression Pedal) in exactly the same way. They are completely interchangeable. We've used an Expression Pedal here so that on the MIDI keyboard used, the "Mod Wheel" could be re-programmed to send out AfterTouch instead of CC1. The reason for that will become clear in the next step.

4) Next we record Vibrato which is controlled by AfterTouch. Vibrato is an essential ingredient when playing JABB's Trumpets, Flugelhorns, Saxes, and Trombones. Without Vibrato, the samples will sound flat-line and unreal, since real world instruments are played with vibrato.

The theory of when to engage Vibrato is simple: When a note is held of noticeable duration, Vibrato will be introduced after the pitch has been established. As with all our choices of using MIDI controllers, listening to reference tracks recorded by professional Jazz musicians will help us determine what sorts of performance techniques to emulate.

Image

With Vibrato MP3

5) Every Garritan instrument has its available controls displayed in ARIA's Controls window:

Image

To spice up our 8 bars even more, and using the ARIA Controls window as a reference guide, we can record or draw more controls. What MIDI CC is in charge of each parameter is listed right there on that Controls page.

Notice Auto-Legato is ON. Without this control on, trills aren't possible. MEASURE 8 shows an example of how trills are handled with AL on. The first note is played, the second note is touched on while the first is sustained. The result is a true trill.

Notice also that KeyNoise (CC13) has its knob turned up to 27%. I pushed the knob to that position, and let it stay there for the whole recording. But I could have recorded CC13 in varying amounts throughout the track, as I did with the other CCs.

In the final recording (below), the following additional controls were used. Below the list is the PRV screenshot showing where and in what amount each control was added:

--Velocity - Already discussed. If there isn't enough variety, values can be edited by hand either singly or in groups.

--Pitch Bend has been used sparingly to scoop into some notes, and to vary the pitch slightly on the last note.

--AfterTouch has been used on only two notes, the longest ones. Notice that the AT doesn't swoop in until after the notes start. Notice on the longest, final note, AT swoops up, down, and back up a bit again - simply varying the depth of the Vibrato.

--CC11 was used for volume control, as already discussed.

--CC12 controls the level of Air Noise. I have it on throughout the passage, coming up and volume here and there.

--CC17 controls Vibrato Speed - You can see that on the two notes with Vibrato, I changed the speed a bit, since a musician invariably changes the speed at least a bit while playing. It's impossible to maintain one absolute speed, and a musician also varies the speed for expressive effect.

--CC18 controls the Growl effect. It's used sparingly here at low levels on the two longest notes.

--CC22 controls "Var1" which introduces slight variations in tuning. This is emulating how no musician ever stays completely, absolutely pitch perfect while performing. Notice the level never gets very high. Beyond what's seen here, and your track will start sounding like a not very proficient amateur musician.

--CC26 controls the level of EQ (Equalization) - I've used it on the two long notes to momentarily make the tone of the instrument darker.

NOTE: It makes no difference in what order you record your MIDI controllers. The sound will be the same no matter the order. Simply work with the controllers you want, as the spirit moves you.

Image

--In the very highest octaves, JABB has samples of musicians taking breaths. In this last screenshot, you can see four breath notes added in-between notes in the melody line. The highest octave has short breaths, the next octave down has longer breaths.

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Here's what it sounds like with all the above applied:

Final version MP3

Wrap up: Using software synths cannot be reduced to a science. You do need to understand what the available controls do, and practice using them. As you experiment, you'll acquire a feel for how they all work in combination to control your instruments. Then, as you work on your music, you can start making informed choices as you play the instruments in whatever way you're most comfortable with - using a MIDI keyboard, a mouse, or combination of the two.

Randy
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Last edited by rbowser on Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Garritan Organs demos of all 75 stops

"Dorian Gray"

Hardware:

Roland A-800 MIDI keyboard controller
Alesis i|O2 interface
Gigabyte Technology-AMD Phenom II @ 3 GHz
8 Gb RAM 6 Core Windows 7 Home Premium x64
with dual monitors
User avatar
rbowser
 
Posts: 494
Joined: December, 2013
Software Owned:
ARIA Player v1.626
ARIA Engine 1.665
GPO4
JABB 3
COMB 2
Instant Orchestra
Garritan World
Garritan Classic Pipe Organs
Garritan Harps
Garritan Authorized Steinway
Garritan Stradivari solo violin
Garritan Gofriller solo cello

Sundry soft synths:
Dimension Pro, EZDrummer, over 50 others

Sonar 8.5 (have but don't use Sonar X1)
Sony Sound Forge 10
Sibelius 7

Video editing: Cyberlink Power Director 11

Re: Using JABB in DAW software: A MIDI 101 Tutorial

Postby dcuny » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:49 am

Thanks, Randy! This is exactly what I was looking for - something that clearly explains the thinking behind when and why to use various effects, and demonstrates them effectively. :D
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dcuny
 
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Joined: December, 2013

Re: Using JABB in DAW software: A MIDI 101 Tutorial

Postby rbowser » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:49 pm

dcuny wrote:Thanks, Randy! This is exactly what I was looking for...

Well good, I'm glad you find the tute helpful. I appreciate you letting me know that.

Randy
  • 0

Garritan Organs demos of all 75 stops

"Dorian Gray"

Hardware:

Roland A-800 MIDI keyboard controller
Alesis i|O2 interface
Gigabyte Technology-AMD Phenom II @ 3 GHz
8 Gb RAM 6 Core Windows 7 Home Premium x64
with dual monitors
User avatar
rbowser
 
Posts: 494
Joined: December, 2013
Software Owned:
ARIA Player v1.626
ARIA Engine 1.665
GPO4
JABB 3
COMB 2
Instant Orchestra
Garritan World
Garritan Classic Pipe Organs
Garritan Harps
Garritan Authorized Steinway
Garritan Stradivari solo violin
Garritan Gofriller solo cello

Sundry soft synths:
Dimension Pro, EZDrummer, over 50 others

Sonar 8.5 (have but don't use Sonar X1)
Sony Sound Forge 10
Sibelius 7

Video editing: Cyberlink Power Director 11

Re: Using JABB in DAW software: A MIDI 101 Tutorial

Postby djg33 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:13 pm

sorry for being uneducated with the acronyms, but please define JABB and DAW.
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Joined: December, 2013

Re: Using JABB in DAW software: A MIDI 101 Tutorial

Postby rbowser » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:20 pm

djg33 wrote:sorry for being uneducated with the acronyms, but please define JABB and DAW.

An excellent question which makes me realize I could have started the tutorial by spelling those out - in fact, I'll edit the post to include them.

JABB=Jazz and Big Band - The Garritan Library which features all the instruments needed for jazz ensembles of various sizes.

DAW=Digital Audio Workstation - That term alone actually refers to the computer and other hardware for a digital recording studio. When we're talking about recording programs such as Sonar and Cubase, those are examples of DAW software - the programs used in a DAW environment.

Randy
  • 0

Garritan Organs demos of all 75 stops

"Dorian Gray"

Hardware:

Roland A-800 MIDI keyboard controller
Alesis i|O2 interface
Gigabyte Technology-AMD Phenom II @ 3 GHz
8 Gb RAM 6 Core Windows 7 Home Premium x64
with dual monitors
User avatar
rbowser
 
Posts: 494
Joined: December, 2013
Software Owned:
ARIA Player v1.626
ARIA Engine 1.665
GPO4
JABB 3
COMB 2
Instant Orchestra
Garritan World
Garritan Classic Pipe Organs
Garritan Harps
Garritan Authorized Steinway
Garritan Stradivari solo violin
Garritan Gofriller solo cello

Sundry soft synths:
Dimension Pro, EZDrummer, over 50 others

Sonar 8.5 (have but don't use Sonar X1)
Sony Sound Forge 10
Sibelius 7

Video editing: Cyberlink Power Director 11

Re: Using JABB in DAW software: A MIDI 101 Tutorial

Postby rbowser » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:18 pm

This tutorial I put together focuses on getting the most out of JABB (or any Garritan) instruments by using the available MIDI Controllers. The result is a MIDI track which is more of a performance that emulates a "real world" performance, rather than just a track with note data that triggers the samples.

Another recent thread takes the question of "how to use JABB?" back even farther, to square one. Here's the link to that thread where the first task was to get JABB activated properly- the solution was simple: update to the current ARIA, and then after quite a number of posts back and forth, the issue of not getting any sound was solved: The MIDI Channel being sent by a MIDI keyboard wasn't matching the MIDI Channel of the instrument in JABB.

Setting up ARIA and JABB

Randy
  • 0

Garritan Organs demos of all 75 stops

"Dorian Gray"

Hardware:

Roland A-800 MIDI keyboard controller
Alesis i|O2 interface
Gigabyte Technology-AMD Phenom II @ 3 GHz
8 Gb RAM 6 Core Windows 7 Home Premium x64
with dual monitors
User avatar
rbowser
 
Posts: 494
Joined: December, 2013
Software Owned:
ARIA Player v1.626
ARIA Engine 1.665
GPO4
JABB 3
COMB 2
Instant Orchestra
Garritan World
Garritan Classic Pipe Organs
Garritan Harps
Garritan Authorized Steinway
Garritan Stradivari solo violin
Garritan Gofriller solo cello

Sundry soft synths:
Dimension Pro, EZDrummer, over 50 others

Sonar 8.5 (have but don't use Sonar X1)
Sony Sound Forge 10
Sibelius 7

Video editing: Cyberlink Power Director 11

Re: Using JABB in DAW software: A MIDI 101 Tutorial

Postby CSharpDude » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:06 pm

This is an excellent tutorial rbowser! Thanks for taking the time to put it together. I like the way you used the CCs on the control window to really humanize the part. I like to use Expression CC11 for volume as you did. That leaves the midi volume message for mixing.

Thanks again for a great tutorial!
  • 0

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Dave Ranck

What turns me on about the digital age, ... it used to be that if you wanted to make a record of a song, you needed a studio and a producer. Now, you need a laptop.
- Bono
CSharpDude
 
Posts: 1
Joined: February, 2014

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