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BBC SO DiscoverStation - Thoughts & suggestions for a V2.0 version of DiscoverStation after comparing EW Opus Orchestrator with DiscoverStation.


nonchai
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I own UNIFY and DISCOVERSTATION and for a month subscribed to the EW Opus and Hollywood Orchestra Orchestrator.

There are similarities in intent between the two  - both play patterns across ensembles - but with significant differences as to how and in flexibility. 

DISCOVERSTATION relies on collections of MIDI files which get triggered by notes on the keyboard. 

Hollywood Orchestra Orchestrator on the other hand uses its built on arpeggiators to play the patterns. 

The benefit with the EW Orchestrator approach is that one can change the key and harmony type on the fly simply by playing a two note interval or a simple triad to make the orchestrator play the patterns in not only the original intended key and chord type but also different ones. So motifs and patterns can morph from major to minor to dominant or diminished.

DISCOVERSTATION on the other hand is fixed in the harmony that gets played. Only the key ( ie the ROOT ) can be altered. In some cases the creator of Discoverstation has provided two  alternate versions of midi file- typically one for MAJOR and another for MINOR and these are triggered in different octaves on the keyboard. 

The patterns in DISCOVERSTATION are useful and inspirational but so far just limited - constrained by the "hard-coded" nature of how it was set up.

But here's the thing- from what I can gather - the arpeggiator built into UNIFY is much more sophisticated than the arpeggiator that comes with the EW Orchestrator plugin. This means that theres no reason in my mind why a v2.0 release of DISCOVERSTATION couldn't come with an updated repurposed version of all the patterns - where instead of MIDI files - all the patterns etc in DISCOVERSTATION are re-done as arpeggiator patterns whose harmony can be controlled by keyboard - similar to EW Orchestrator and also similar to many hardware arranger keyboards. 

This would of course involve a lot of work by the original creator of DISCOVERSTATION but maybe a simply utility could be written and built into UNIFY - that turns MIDI phrases into the corresponding arpeggio.

( I'm thinking chiefly monophonic ones that are found in EW Opus orchestrator and some of DISCOVERSTATION) 

Currently DISCOVERSTATION is not really fulfilling its true promise - because of this. EW Opus Orchestrator does what it does really well. DISCOVERSTATION could do the same and even go further. 

The whole aspect of transforming harmonies of MIDI phrases on the fly by means of keyboard control  ( ie transforming an original Major phrase or chord into minor., m7b5 , diminished etc etc ) is something that if incorporated into UNIFY's MIDI playback engine - would really boost the potential for UNIFY to be useful in live or  improv situations and inspiring composers. 

One other aspect to consider when doing on-the-fly transformation of MIDI data ( like hardware arranger keyboards and arranger apps like BandInABox and iRealPro do ) is the issue of how to transform - ie whether to use voice-leading or doing block parallel type transforms.

 

POSTSCRIPT: 

Actually on reflection - another way this could be achieved could be to instead add the ability to transform MIDI file phrases harmonically before playback. This would avoid entirely having to convert the MIDI data to the form required for the UNIFY arpeggiator. And instead just incorporate algorithms that do the necessary transformations there.

This topic was modified 4 days ago 10 times by nonchai

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Robert.P
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I had similar thoughts after playing with Sonuscore Orchestra Complete and some other NI Libraries. The BlueARP provided with UNIFY also can do that beautifully!

PS. Recently I experimented with Amadeus Symphonic Orchestra for Kontakt (nice, well optimized library). With addition of some free 3rd party plugins the results can be mind-blowing.

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Robert.P
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PS.2

NI Maschine users can get even more of it by adding and editing all sorts of automation/modulations/envelopes in real time:

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getdunne
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Posted by: @nonchai

This would of course involve a lot of work by the original creator of DISCOVERSTATION

...

but maybe a simply utility could be written and built into UNIFY - that turns MIDI phrases into the corresponding arpeggio.

...

Currently DISCOVERSTATION is not really fulfilling its true promise - because of this. EW Opus Orchestrator does what it does really well. DISCOVERSTATION could do the same and even go further.

...

add the ability to transform MIDI file phrases harmonically ... just incorporate algorithms that do the necessary transformations

All this is technically possible, but only with substantial investment, which is beyond our means.

Skippy has said, again and again in his videos, that he tries never to compete directly with multi-gigabyte sample-library products, but instead to do something more creative with limited resources.

If you have Unify and the East West products, you already have the best of both worlds.


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nonchai
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@robert-p 

 

wow!  maschine inside unify - the mind boggles!


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nonchai
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@getdunne re <Skippy has said, ... that he tries never to compete directly with multi-gigabyte sample-library products, but instead to do something more creative with limited resources.>

This isnt about multi-gigabyte sample library products. Its about MIDI and patterns. 

<If you have Unify and the East West products, you already have the best of both worlds>

Well thats the thing - I didnt end up going with the EW products because the current orchestra patterns were so clearly focused on their core user base - composers writign for film-  and thus most of the patterns were "huge" blockbuster ish affairs. And rarely served as inspiration for non-media based orchestral composition - whereas I found a lot to like and be inspired by in DiscoverStation - but it just isnt useful enough as explained already. 

NI also has a range of libraries - the SESSION range - which play patterns ( for example guitars in many styles and modes ) which mould to the keyboard chord being played. 

Often these are large recordings of phrases though. But for BBC SO - its all individual notes so suited to midi pattern transformation ( or using arpeggiators - whichever is easier ) 


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getdunne
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@nonchai

I understand what you're saying. These are all wonderful ideas, but just not practical/affordable for us at the moment.


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nonchai
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@getdunne if you're ok with giving me access to the relevant source code I'll gladly write and integrate the midi harmony transformation code for free in JUCE as discussed in PM etc a few month ago. A lot of it already exists in a past C++ project of mine as I think we discussed privately. 


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nonchai
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isnt it also worth maybe contacting Geoff Strandling to see if he would be interested in repurposing his DISCOVERSTATION to work in the arpeggiator instead? 

 

And then put this out as DISCOVERSTATION 2.0 ?     and with an upgrade path etc? 

 

This route might even not require any changes to the code... ( i'm going to check out the blue arpeggiator   in detail now ) 

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Robert.P
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Posted by: @nonchai

( i'm going to check out the blue arpeggiator   in detail now ) 

You won't be disappointed - the BlueARP should give you great results. MIDI files are good for drum grooves or CC Messages - not for harmonies.


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Robert.P
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Posted by: @nonchai

@robert-p 

 

wow!  maschine inside unify - the mind boggles!

I tried the other way around (Unify inside Maschine) - not as flexible as 1st option, however, you can use multi-output capability (which Unify doesn't have yet) 


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Robert.P
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Posted by: @getdunne

Skippy has said, again and again in his videos, that he tries never to compete directly with multi-gigabyte sample-library products, but instead to do something more creative with limited resources.

It's not about competing with multi-gigabyte sample-library products - it's about how the MIDI data can be processed to give us something even more creative (no matter what library/instrument we use).


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glenjdiamond
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From what I understood... the original BBC discovery is limited, whereas discoverstation within Unify opens up the palette and allows string sections to blend across the keyboard etc (rather than selecting one string part with a limited amount of key range).    I see the included MIDI file patches as "flavours" especially those with built in drum patterns.    I see it as a springboard for ideas.    Maybe some of the patches can be re-written with macro controls that change the key modes.   BlueARP looks like it can predict some chords (even with only two notes being played), so you could replace MIDIBOX with BlueARP and make your own patches???   The present unify discoverstation is an amazing transformation from the original BBC discovery and it must have taken a lot of effort to produce it as it stands.


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PlugInGuruForums
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@glenjdiamond - Thank you, that is exactly right. I simply wanted to make working with the BBC orchestra libraries more flexible. Cheers!

Life is Sound / Sound is Divine
www.pluginguru.com


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