Virtual Playing Orchestra is a free orchestra sample library, in sfz format, that attempts to emulate multiple articulations of the solo and section instruments from a full orchestra using the best free samples from Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, No Budget Orchestra, VSCO2 Community Edition, University of Iowa, Philharmonia Orchestra and extra free samples from Mattias Westlund, author of Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra.
The plan was to start with Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, add new samples from Mattias Westlund and samples from newly available sources that have recently become available to create what I would like to see from a Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra 2.0.
I’ve listened to every single sample that made it’s way into this library, and have done my best to replace any noisy samples, ensure each sample plays in tune, each note peaks at about the same volume and is panned in the center of the stereo field. I’m hoping this scrutiny will result in me being able to provide the best, most complete, free orchestral sample library.
- ALL sustain samples are looped. Use this power responsibly! These samples were not looped to create musicians with infinite lung capacity but instead were created because many of the samples were too short.
- Section and solo instruments
- Sustain, normal, staccato, accented articulations for all strings, brass, woodwinds
- Pizzicato for all strings
- Tremolo for all strings sections (plus tremolo for solo violin)
- Articulations can be loaded individually or as part of a key switch patch (in the standard orchestra)
- Articulations are selected based on how you play a note (in the performance orchestra)
- Round robin for staccato strings to simulate up and down strokes of the bow
- 2 velocity layers for trumpets, french horns, trombones
- A light randomization of pitch and volume when repeating notes, like real players
- All samples have been checked (and corrected if necessary) for tuning, panning issues
- All samples volumes have been equalized so max volume is approximately the same value
- All instruments are set to only play within their proper note range
- All instruments (in the standard orchestra) include a general purpose articulation called “Normal-mod-wheel”. This is effectively a sustain patch with a fast attack, but the mod wheel reduces the rate of the attack, for the times when you don’t want the slower crescendo of the sustain patch, but you still want a sustained note.
- General purpose patch for full string section (violins, violas, cello, bass in a single patch)
- General purpose patch for full brass section (trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba a single patch)
- General purpose patch for full woodwinds section (piccolo flute, flute, oboe, clarinet, english horn, bassoon)
- REVERB! – These instruments are from multiple sources. To make them sound like they belong in the same room, and to make them sound more like real orchestral instruments, REVERB IS ESSENTIAL.
- An sfz player. You load .sfz files (these control how the sound samples are to be used) into an sfz player (listed below), in order to play the chosen instrument.
- Suspension of disbelief. With free orchestra samples, there are limitations. I tried to do the best, with the best samples that were available to me.
[ Download (603 MB) ]
The Standard Orchestra uses key velocity (how fast you hit a key on your MIDI controller) to control the volume. Articulations (sustain, staccato etc) are placed in different tracks or are selected via key switches. Version 2.x was a standard orchestra.
[ Download (418 KB) ]
The Performance Orchestra uses the MOD wheel to control volume. Key velocity (how fast you hit a key on your MIDI controller) selects the articulation (sustain, staccato etc) while still slightly affecting the volume. The performance .sfz file names contain the string “-PERF”.
[ Download (221 KB) ]
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