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Expression control

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I am pretty much a noob at Logic and I hope nobody gets angry at me for asking this, but I don't know how to control expression of an orchestral sample in logic. For example, what do I have to do, if I want to be able to play a note of a french horn (standard sample library) with a midi keyboard and want the note to intensify by using a knob. When I assign a knob to CC 11 in the editor of my midi keyboard (Alesis V25) then it pretty much changes the volume of the note, but I doesn't change the expression like it would if I play a note piano or forte on the MIDI keyboard. I've seen people who could play note and then use a slide and it would go from piano to fortissimo. Is this possible, and if so how does one do it? Does this work with the ESX24? 


Thank you for any answer! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It seems that what your are referring to is called articulation (modulation). 

Expresion is usually relating to loudness (i.e. piano vs fortissimo), which is linked to volume. Besides volume, other aspect of an instrument sound also change when played more heavily. If that is what you are looking for, then articulation modulation could be your ticket. Not every sampler instrument has such articulatiion implemented. The EXS24 parameter window could however be used to alter some other aspect of the samples sound (beside volume), and using its modulator section to program the desired controller (i.e.CC11).

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The following does not yield very convincing results, but it will be instructive. 


Load EXS > Brass > French Horn Solo  


Double-Click the EXS button in the channel strip to open the EXS Main Window. Per the picture below, bypass the first mod matrix slot (see the red b/p) and set the second to [Dest. S. Select] [via (open)] and [src Ctrl #1]. Now crank up the green arrow to the top. Here's what it should look like. 




This tells EXS to select the sample based on the modulation wheel.


Hold a note and move your mod wheel (we assume it's sending CC #1). You'll hear a somewhat softer French Horn, and then it will jump to a forte. 


Now click on Edit. In groups, you're going to see two groups named HO-L-oV_nA_sus_f and _mf. That's old school VSL speak for a single HOrn Looped withOut Vibrato with no Attack which is sustained at mezzo-forte and forte. And that's a lot more than you wanted to know. 




But the point is, when you move the mod wheel, you're switching from one group of samples (softer) to the other (louder). Both are actually being played together, but the mod wheel controls which one you hear. 


And that's called velocity sampling, which is at the heart of your search. 


However, you want to CROSS-FADE those groups, not have them jump. So go back to the EXS main screen and set Xfade to +/- 127. 




Hold the same note and move the mod wheel. They should cross-fade. As the setting is 127, the mod wheel fully down plays only mf, and fully up, there's only f. All points in between are crossing from one to the other. 


I hope you can hear the difference. It is NOT a very satisfying result because there's not much difference between the sample groups, just mf to f. For this reason, higher end sample patches crossfade four or more groups, from a true pianissimo to double forte. 


So, again, this is an instructive if not musically satisfying experiment with the first principle of changing timbre with a CC. That it is CC1 or CC 11 or any other controller is incidental. 


My hope for new users interested in MIDI orchestras is that they get into third-party instruments soon, as these tend to build more under the hood and present options  more simply. If you love to tweak and explore, EXS is really powerful. But the interface is advanced, and if your goal is orchestral music-making, there's just a lot in EXS you don't have to learn. 

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  • 2 years later...

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