I’m Paul Battersby, creator of the free Virtual Playing Orchestra. A free orchestral sample library which contains modified versions of what I felt were the best free orchestra samples currently available. I built this orchestral sample library because I needed it for myself, and I decided to share it with anyone who wanted it.

My musical history began when I took percussion lessons (drums, timpani, xylophone) from the age of 10 until I was in high school. In my first year of high school I taught myself to play keyboards. After my last year of high school a friend lent me his guitar, which fortunately for me was in tune because to begin learning, I first had to figure out what note was played by each string by plucking the string and finding that note on a piano.

Throughout high school I played in the orchestra and in a couple of rock bands as well. Since then, I’ve been in a few bands either as a drummer, or keyboardist or guitarist. Over the years, I realized that I’d rather arrange and compose music than perform it.

In my spare time I study orchestration and mixing. I’m working on composing more of my own music but I’ve also enjoyed adding drums, bass, strings or even full orchestration to original songs written by others. When I’m creating a track for a song, I try to make each virtual instrument as realistic as I can. I never use drum loops or sampled song fragments. When I work on a song, everything I do is custom created for that song.

31 comments on “About
  1. Haha yes, Paul, auto-generated YT subtitles is one of my best sources of fun too!
    Anyway in the video I’ve given the VPS 3 top-1 spot in free orchestral software for being lightweight, snappy (so even the oldest PCs can become orchestral music stations), having every single instrument needed, having good midi-controlled dynamics modulation and for sounding decent. Also I’ve thanked the author of the library and said that the world needs more people like him 😉

    Top-5 spot was another full-orchestra instrument, BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover. But even though it’s much newer and has a very beautiful and convenient interface, in my opinion it loses to VPS 3 in almost every way, including no way to reduce notes release, shallow dynamic modulation range and overall less clean sound, which is why it’s top-5 and VPS is top-1 🙂

    P.S.: Sorry for spamming out your about section haha, but really wanted to share this with you

    • Alex, This isn’t spam at all. I very much appreciate your comments and your video. Thanks again for sharing. 🙂

    • Using google auto translate on the auto generated transcript I was able to get a basic understanding of what you were saying in your video. Thanks for reviewing Virtual Playing Orchestra and thanks for letting me know!

      I had to laugh at what google translate did to my name (which you did pronounce correctly) because the auto transcript plus the auto translate, instead of something like “the library author is Paul Battersby”, it came up with “the library is a half butter knock man down full” 🙂

  2. Hi Paul,
    thanks a lot for your great work and that your’re giving it for free! I’m playing around with it nearly every day and get a feeling for orchestral instruments and music.
    I travelled the web for alternative free orchestral libraries, but I didn’t find anything that comes near to your work.
    All the best!

    • You are free to use my Virtual Playing Orchestra library to compose any music you like and do anything you want with that music – sell it, or use it in a competition etc. For more information, see the licensing section of the download page.

  3. Wow, thanks a lot, I’m using these instrument for my music and i don’t know what I would do without them. You are awesome!

  4. Thank you Paul for your work on making the library. Enjoying it. It’s good for this low budget musician to practice my music hobby.
    Here’s a sample “level/balance” check song I made with it.
    [instaud.io/1jat] (NOTE-: this link no longer works -admin)

  5. Hello, just checkin’ out the sounds you sampled, as I need a harp sound to write for a real harp, and to feel the reality of this instrument (what is or not possible to write, haw does it sounds, etc). There is several samples for a single instrument. In this particular case, the sound with sustain, dampered, etc…Did you organize it in one patch/sound? And if you did, where I can find it? How to load it in Sforzando, or in Linuxsampler?
    Best regards

    • You can load the dampened (harp-dampened.sfz) and sustain versions (harp-dampened.sfz) onto individual tracks, or you can load (harp-KS-C0.sfz) onto a single track and press the C0 key when you want the sustain sound and press the D0 key when you want the dampened sound.

      To load an instrument into sforzando, simply drag and drop an .sfz file into sforzando. I don’t use linuxsampler so I can’t help you but maybe the people at linuxmusicians.com can help

  6. Hi, Paul!
    Haven’t you heard about “Fortissimo Trumpet Ensemble” by Jasper Blunk? Free high quality trumpet samples.
    Perhaps you’d like to integrate it in Virtual Playing Orchestra (I’d be very grateful).

      • Hello Paul,

        did you ever make a decision on whether to include the Jasper Blunk samples (if permitted)? They are supposed to sound quite good.

        • I did download them back in 2017 but I don’t recall what I thought about them at the time. Maybe someday but for now, I’m not looking to make any big changes like replacing an instrument with new samples.

  7. If you are interested, I can provide you with a repackaged version of all your SFZ files as SF2 Soundfonts if you like. Let me know

    • Sure. If you want to create an sf2 version, I’d be happy to link to it but I don’t have the bandwidth to host other versions.

    • I don’t know anything about Logic Pro X. Perhaps there is a Logic Pro X forum where you’ll find someone there using SSO that can help.

    • You download and install the sforzando sampler plugin ( free ) and then you download the sonatina library according to instructions with updates etc.. and then you can load the library in that plugin and it works fine in logic x.

      I made a short track in Logic x. 99% sonatina,sforzando. [soundcloud.com/user-232196391/orchestral-grand-2017-1-27052017-1449] (NOTE: this link no longer works – admin)

      Highly recommend you get this setup and the library.

  8. Just want to reserve a spot with you for “KGB Cover Girl” at some point when I get around to recording it. P.S. Love the new website!!

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