Virtual Playing Orchestra FAQ

Virtual Playing Orchestra is a free orchestra sample library, in sfz format, that attempts to emulate multiple articulations of the solo and section instruments from a full orchestra.

To load an instrument to use on a track in your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), you first need an sfz player. I use and recommend Sforzando. It works with both Windows and a MAC.

After installing Sforzando for use in your DAW, load Sforzando onto your track, you can drag and drop the .sfz file corresponding to the desired instrument into Sforzando.

File names contain text like "SOLO", "SEC", "KS", "sustain", "staccato" etc. See the "How To Use" section under the "Description / Demo" title on the download page for an explanation.

Each instrument in the orchestral sample library consists of two parts: wave files and the sfz scripts that configure how the wave files are to be used. Since there are now 2 versions of the sfz script files (Standard, Performance) that both share the same wave files, it makes sense to allow people to choose which version of the sfz scripts they want and optionally to download both versions of the sfz scripts without needing to download the wave files twice if the wave files were included in each version of the library. Also, since sfz script files are updated more often than the wave files, it makes sense to keep them separate.

Some have commented that the mod wheel doesn’t work or doesn’t do anything. I suspect it’s mostly that I haven’t explained it well enough.

The mod wheel, in the samples labelled “normal-mod-wheel”, (found in the Standard Orchestra edition) adjusts the attack of the samples. When the mod wheel is at it’s lowest setting and a note is played, you will hear the note right away. When the mod wheel is at its highest setting, the note will “slowly” build. It may seem like a subtle difference but the instrument will not sound realistic if the note builds any more slowly than at the maximum mod wheel setting.

To hear the effect, try the following test:

Load the “flute-SEC-normal-mod-wheel.sfz” file, rapidly play a note and as you are doing that, move the mod wheel from it’s lowest to highest setting. Do you hear the note’s volume decrease as you move the mod wheel up? The volume should decrease simply because as you move the mod wheel up, it takes longer for the sound to reach it’s maximum volume.

The idea behind the mod wheel enabled patches was really to provide a note that is a little quicker than the sustain patches, but is not really a staccato note. I call such a note “normal”. It then occurred to me that perhaps from a performance perspective, it might be useful to be able to dynamically adjust the attack of the note so that with a single patch, you could go from a quick note to a slow building sustained note and anything in between by adjusting the mod wheel while playing.

There is a page explaining the dynamic cross faded brass patches including a sample to demonstrate the effect. Click the link below.

Dynamic Cross Faded Brass

It's easy for a piano library to exceed the size of my whole orchestra, and it isn't difficult to find free piano libraries, each sounding very different from the others so rather than picking one and perhaps greatly increasing the download size of my orchestra as a result of a single instrument, I intentionally did not include a piano.

Yes. This link may help, but if this link doesn’t help:

Aria Player External SFZ libraries

… you could try this forum:

ARIA Engine Forum

If you can load an sfz player like sforzando as a 3rd party plugin, then you should be able to use Virtual Playing Orchestra with Cakewalk. Here's a video that shows how to set up Cakewalk to load 3rd party plugins:

Cakewalk by BandLab Tutorial (Part 6) – Effects & Plugins

I think Virtual Playing Orchestra can be used with GarageBand. See this video but unlike in the video, drag a .sfz file not a .wav file into Sforzando.

Using Sforzando in GarageBand

Basically you need a sample player (like Sforzando or Alchemy). You’d load an instance of the chosen sample player on to a track, then you’d load a chosen .sfz file into the sample player.

Apparently it does. My research tells me the following, "Download the free Sforzando plugin. Open it in LMMS using the built-in Vestige". You will find a link to the free Sforzando plugin just below the requirements link at the top of the download page. After that you would drag and drop the desired .sfz file into Sforzando.

There is a topic dedicated to that question on the Musescore forum. It has something to do with the "Zerberus" portion of the synthesizer. Folllow the link below:

Virtual Playing Orchestra and SFZ files (in Musescore)

I think it does. This page may help:

How to use soundfonts in Sibelius

… which explains how to install and load the rgc:audio sfz player into Sibelius. You will need something like that to use my orchestral library. Instead of rgc:audio sfz, I’d recommend using Sforzando.

Once you have installed Sforzando, you should be able to drag and drop .sfz files from my sample library into Sforzando and then use the chosen sound.

Yes. If you use this library in a song and you wish to sell that song, you are free to do so.

Since my library and the source material is free, I feel it would be wrong for me or anyone else to profit from repackaging or redistributing any of the source material in whole or in part. You may repackage and give away any part of this library for free under a Creative Commons license provided you give appropriate credit to this library as your source of the samples.

You can read more detailed information about licensing here:

Virtual Playing Orchestra licensing information