A bit more on MIDI note articulations.

More from our good friend Aaron on midi implementation of note articulations.  This is all wind-synth centric, but there is stuff to be learned by everyone.


Here's a bit more on the issue of note articulations for those who may
be interested. I talked last time about how sample based synths
handled them and the problems that ensue.

Akai in one or more of their synths took a different approach and got
some very realistic results. Here's what they did: When a legato note
followed another note, the synth did a pitch bend of the previous note
to the new pitch. And the bend was implemented with a glide of some
milliseconds. The effect is quite realistic and is the best of any
sample synth I've heard. Again, a legato note is defined by its "note
on" coming before the previous note's "note off."

After learning about this I wrote some MIDI processing routines to
experiment with other synths and found it worked well with any sample
synth. The routines are in C and anyone is welcome to them if they
want to experiment, if I can find them.

One limitation is that if you play a very long legato passage and
shift more than a 4th or 5th you start to get a "chipmonk" tone. That
is, extreme pitch bends start to make an unrealistic sound. However
most phrases in most music are short with new articulations frequently
so the result is usually very realistic. A stepwise passage of ta ya
ya ya ta ya ya ya for example sounds fine.

One interesting thing about processing MIDI is that it takes very
little processing power. I could play my WX thru my routines on an
original IBM PC and still have it play a combo thru cakewalk without
any latency. With a modern PC a MIDI stream takes less than .01% of
the processing power.

It might even be possible to use CAL in Cakewalk/Sonar to implement
this effect and play sequences into a softsynth. I've never used CAL
but perhaps someone can comment.

I hope at least a few find this topic of interest.

Best regards, Aaron
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