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 Post subject: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:44 am 
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Overture 5.6.1-2, Windows 7

Many authorities suggest that MIDI controller 7 (volume - "CC7") be used to set the "base" volume of a channel (and thus, in Overture, of a track/voice) and that controller 11 (expression - "CC11") be used for relative volume changes for dynamic marks, hairpins, and the like.

The object of this approach is that, to "volume balance" the different instrument parts in the score, we can vary the (initial) values of CC7 among them, without that being overtaken by the first dynamic mark we hit. The dynamic marks will then continue to cause a "proportional" change in the track volume (since the values of CC7 and CC11 are "concatenated" by the synthesizer).

I myself prefer this practice.

But in current Overture, we cannot in any convenient way follow this practice. There is a nice control, in Inspector>Expressions:Edit Dynamics, by which we can choose from among several MIDI controllers (including CC7 and CC11) to be used for "Volume". But the controller we set there is used not only for the volume of dynamic marks but also for the "base" volume of the track. (Its name of course allows that!)

Ideally, there would be somewhere a separate control by which we can choose the controller to be used for the base volume of the track. (There was, for a brief time within recent memory, such a control, but then there was no control for the controller to be used for dynamics.)

Lacking that, the base volume should uniformly use CC7.

Cheers

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:10 pm 
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I have also encountered this problem. Using GPO as well. I wish there was a "default" (as you say "base") volume for each instrument. (Maybe I just haven't discovered it?) I have been able to circumvent these dynamic issues by exporting my finished tracks individually into Pro Tools and making adjustments where needed, the mixing down to stereo.
But I have not found a way to have all balances satisfactorily in Overture by itself, especially when mixing more than one library as the different libraries often have different default volumes.


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:31 pm 
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Greetings, Pete,
PeteFine wrote:
I have also encountered this problem. Using GPO as well. I wish there was a "default" (as you say "base") volume for each instrument.

Well, there can be, but . . .. You can see it in the "voice table" (Inspector>Track>Playback:Output Device in the Vol column (you may have to scroll the table horizontally to see it. If no value is shown, or if we wish to change it, that is easily done with the slider in the little mixer at the top of the Tools>Symbols panel with the track of interest selected.

The problem is that, for whichever MIDI controller we choose to enact our "volume" wishes, as soon as a dynamic mark comes along, Overture sends its appointed volume value via that same controller, regardless of the "base" volume we have set. At this juncture, any effect of the base volume setting is lost, for the rest of the score.

So all the "base" volume setting does is establish the dynamic state until the first dynamic mark comes along.

Cheers,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:15 pm 
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A complication in Overture supporting distinct choice of the controller to be used for the "base" volume of a track and the controller to be used to execute dynamics (as I recommend) is how these might be established by the sound map file for a certain synthesizer.

It appears that today the single controller nominated for both these uses is inferred from, in the applicable sound map file, the "ControllerNames" list. This gives a list of names (e.g., "Volume", "Expression") with the MIDI controller number for each. Among other things, in various dialogs on which one can choose a controller to be used to enact, for example, an articulation mark (and if we have in Preferences not checked "Show all controller and key switch names"), it is that list of controllers that will be offered.

But, more to the point of this note, it seems as if (today) the controller defined for the controller name "Volume" is set as the singular default controller for both base volume control and for volume control.

Now, if we subsequently have separate settings in Overture for the controllers to be used for base volume and dynamics (as I recommend), how will these be "preset" by the sound map file? One possibility would be to preset the "base volume" controller choice to the controller defined for the name "Volume" and the "dynamics" controller to the one defined for the name "Expression".

But that would "bake in" the practice that is often suggested but is far from universal. And that does not seem appropriate.

So I suggest that both the controller choice for "base volume" and the controller choice for "dynamics" be initially set to the controller defined in the sound map file for the controller name "Volume". Then everything would actually work as it does today. But then, the scorist could change either setting to suit the practice to be used.

I would presume that in the absence of a sound map file, or of a table of controller names in the sound map file, these choices be initially set to controller 7 ("Volume").

Cheers,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:39 pm 
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A question for other users who use other than ASO (or GPO since I use both and have not found a way to do this)... is there a library where the default (relative) volume of the instruments can be set independently from the dynamic marks which affect the respective volume changes within the score?


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:16 pm 
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Greetings, Pete,
PeteFine wrote:
A question for other users who use other than ASO (or GPO since I use both and have not found a way to do this)... is there a library where the default (relative) volume of the instruments can be set independently from the dynamic marks which affect the respective volume changes within the score?

At the present time, Overture does not allow the controller to be used for "base"volume and the controller to be used for dynamics (as they are deposited) to be different (even by setting by the user).

Thus there is no way for the sound map file for a certain "library" to put into effect different controllers for those two purposes.

Hopefully that will change.

Cheers,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:06 pm 
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Greetings, Pete,

There is a quite practical workaround. Suppose, for example, we want to use controller 7 ("CC7") for the "base" volume of a track and controller 11 ("CC11") for dynamics.

Then, when actually making the score, on Inspector>Expressions:Edit Dynamics, select controller 11. Deposit any kind of dynamics. They will all be set to use controller 11 in play, and that will not change once they are deposited (unless of course we change it for a particular instance of the mark), even if the controller setting on Inspector>Expressions:Edit Dynamics is changed.

Then, when all dynamic markings are (for now) deposited, on Inspector>Expressions:Edit Dynamics set the volume to controller 7. Set the desired initial base volume for the track with the "little mixer" on Tools>Symbols.

Then, when playback begins, CC7 will be sent with the value you set on the little mixer, establishing for the track the base volume you chose, As each expression mark comes along, its value is sent via CC11, increasing or decreasing the effective volume with respect to the base volume (the behavior we want).

Then. if you find that you want to decrease the base volume for a certain track (as part of balancing the various instrument parts), change the slider on the little mixer. (The volume controller should still be set to CC7.) Then, at the commencement of play, CC7 will be sent with this new lower value. But the relative volume differences from the various dynamic marks will still happen, now with respect to this new lower base volume.

If you want to deposit further dynamic marks, set the controller back to 11 and deposit them, then set the controller back to 7.

The situation you have created (with all dynamic marks set to execute via CC11 and the track base volume determined with CC7) will be saved with the score.

Cheers,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:14 pm 
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Greetings, Pete,

By the way, we do not in general know how a particular synthesizer will combine the current value of CC7 (volume) and the current value of CC11 (expression) to get the "effective volume" used in rendering the notes. Will a base volume (CC7) of 100 and an expression (CC11) of 50 give the same loudness of the instrument as CC7=50 and CC11=100? We generally don't know.

There is built into the synthesizer some algebraic function by which the two values are combined. But it would be rare for we civilans to know of it.

Actually, we don't even know how different parameter values (0-127) for, say, CC7 affect the volume. How many dB is CC7=127 above CC7=100, etc.

This is a subtlety we probably in general can ignore. But it is important to know of it.

Cheers,

Alan


Last edited by TenorAlan on Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:21 pm 
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Greetings, Pete,

I note from examination of the various sound map files that for some synthesizers, CC1 (modulation wheel) is apparently the controller it wants Overture to use for all volume controlling.

There is no unique definition in the MIDI specification of what property of the synthesizer CC1 is supposed to affect. In some performance synthesizers (where it is an actual wheel that is involved), it may control the depth of vibrato or some such (often changeable by the user).

Cheers,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:24 pm 
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In my recent post in this thread that began "A complication", I said:

Quote:
But, more to the point of this note, it seems as if (today) the controller defined for the controller name "Volume" is set as the singular default controller for both base volume control and for volume control.

That last was intended to be "volume control for dynamics".

But after further investigation I find that this is not quite so.

Rather, it seems that is is always controller 7 (whatever name it is given in the sound map file) that is initially set as the singular default controller for both base volume control and for volume control for dynamics. All the soundmap file list does is to determine the name shown in Overture for controller 7.

If the sound map file does not define a name for controller 7, then in Overture the actual MIDI name for controller 7 - "Volume (coarse)" - appears.

Cheers,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:56 am 
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I struggled like you for some time to work out how to balance the volume of different instruments (as it can't be done with the volume sliders if you use dynamic markings) and finally realised that it can be done in the mixer (with Audio selected not midi).
Cheers,
David

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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:39 pm 
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Greetings, David,
crossbow wrote:
I struggled like you for some time to work out how to balance the volume of different instruments (as it can't be done with the volume sliders if you use dynamic markings) and finally realized that it can be done in the mixer (with Audio selected not midi).

A good point.

Note that this will not be effective in the situation in which playback is via an actual synthesizer external to Overture, or the admittedly more specialized case in which a MIDI file is to be created for play elsewhere.

Cheers,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Volume control
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:36 pm 
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It is perhaps worthwhile noting that when the output device is a MIDI device (including the inbuilt synthesizer, GM Player 1 and 2), in the Audio mode of the mixer, the track mixer strips (which in this case should probably not appear at all) are just alter egos of the strips in the MIDi mode. The slider affects the controller used for track "base volume".

A good "clue" as to whether the mixer strip actually controls audio volume or MIDI base volume is that in the Audio mode, the scale of the slider is in dB, with +6 at the top, while for the MIDI mode, the scale is in terms of MIDI volume units, running from 0 to 127.

Cheers,

Alan


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