Virtual Playing Orchestra

Virtual Playing Orchestra: “It covers all the needs” – vitalker

[Downloaded 86,956 times since version 1.0 – Nov 3, 2016]

This is a full, free orchestral sample library featuring section and solo instruments for woodwinds, brass, strings and percussion. Click the buttons below to learn more, to download the library and to hear a few compositions using the free sounds that are available.

Download Virtual Playing Orchestra 3.2.2

* Fixed phasing issue with some Performance patches *

Virtual Playing Orchestra consists of 2 parts: wave files and scripts. These two things work together. The scripts configure the use of the wave files. You need to download the “Wave Files” plus at least one of the “Standard Orchestra” sfz scripts or the “Performance Orchestra” sfz scripts (depending on how you want to control the sounds) then unzip each zip file in the same place and in the same way as you did with the wave files, or wherever your DAW (digital audio workstation) can find the files you unzip. Either way, all .zip files need to be unzipped in the same place and in the same way (i.e. extract the .zip files into the same sub-directory, “Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3” for example).



Wave Files

[ Version 3.1 – June 12, 2018 ]
(works with sfz scripts version 3.1 -> 3.2.2)
download virtual playing orchestra wave filesThe Wave Files download contains the raw sound of each instrument.

[ Download (603 MB) ] [ Change Log ]


Sfz Scripts

Sfz scripts map the raw sounds from the wave files to MIDI notes and also shape and enhance the sounds.

Standard Orchestra

[ Version 3.2.2 – Oct 31, 2020 ]
(still works with wave files version 3.1)
download virtual playing orchestra standard scriptsThe Standard Orchestra uses key velocity (how fast you hit a key on your MIDI controller) to control the volume. Articulations (sustain, staccato etc) are placed in different tracks or are selected via key switches. Most virtual instruments work this way.

[ Download (547 KB) ] [ Documentation ] [ Change Log ]

Performance Orchestra

[ Version 3.2.2 – Oct 31, 2020 ]
(still works with wave files version 3.1)
download virtual playing orchestra performance scriptsThe Performance Orchestra uses the MOD wheel to control volume (some professional sample libraries work this way). Key velocity (how fast you hit a key on your MIDI controller) selects the articulation (sustain, staccato etc) while still slightly affecting the volume. The performance .sfz file names contain the string “-PERF”.

Video Demo of how to use the Performance Orchestra

[ Download (360 KB) ] [ Documentation ] [ Change Log ]



[Comments and questions down below]

What Is Virtual Playing Orchestra?

Virtual Playing Orchestra is a free orchestral sample library, in sfz format, that attempts to emulate multiple articulations of the solo and section instruments from a full orchestra using the best free samples from Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, No Budget Orchestra, VSCO2 Community Edition, University of Iowa, Philharmonia Orchestra and extra free samples from Mattias Westlund, author of Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra.

The plan was to start with Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, add new samples from Mattias Westlund and samples from newly available sources that have recently become available to create what I would like to see from a Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra 2.0.

I’ve listened to every single sample that made it’s way into this library, and have done my best to replace any noisy samples, ensure each sample plays in tune, each note peaks at about the same volume and is panned in the center of the stereo field. I’m hoping this scrutiny will result in me being able to provide the best, most complete, free orchestral sample library.

Hear Virtual Playing Orchestra Perform

Morning of the Battle (by Battersby) *piano, taiko drums not included
Better Days (by Hennessey, Battersby) *piano, drum set not included
When I Get Over You (by Klassen, Battersby) *piano not included
>>> More music, blog posts on the home page <<<


Mod wheel doesn’t work? DAW support? How to use? Licensing? Cross Faded Brass? See the Frequently Asked Questions page:

Virtual Playing Orchestra FAQ

To install updates, just unzip the files in the same place and in the same way as your previous version, to upgrade to a new release. When asked if you want to overwrite or replace files, say yes. It is what you need to do to install a new version.


  • ALL sustain samples are looped. Use this power responsibly! These samples were not looped to create musicians with infinite lung capacity but instead were created because many of the samples were too short.
  • Section and solo instruments
  • Sustain, normal, staccato, accented articulations for all strings, brass, woodwinds
  • Pizzicato for all strings
  • Tremolo for all strings sections (plus tremolo for solo violin)
  • Articulations can be loaded individually or as part of a key switch patch (in the standard orchestra)
  • Articulations are selected based on how you play a note (in the performance orchestra)
  • Round robin for staccato strings to simulate up and down strokes of the bow
  • 2 velocity layers for trumpets, french horns, trombones
  • A light randomization of pitch and volume when repeating notes, like real players
  • All samples have been checked (and corrected if necessary) for tuning, panning issues
  • All samples volumes have been equalized so max volume is approximately the same value
  • All instruments are set to only play within their proper note range
  • All instruments (in the standard orchestra) include a general purpose articulation called “Normal-mod-wheel”. This is effectively a sustain patch with a fast attack, but the mod wheel reduces the rate of the attack, for the times when you don’t want the slower crescendo of the sustain patch, but you still want a sustained note.
  • General purpose patch for full string section (violins + violas + cello + bass in a single patch spread across the keyboard)
  • General purpose patch for full brass section (trumpet + french horn + trombone + tuba in a single patch spread across the keyboard)
  • General purpose patch for full woodwinds section (piccolo + flute + oboe + clarinet + english horn + bassoon in a single patch spread across the keyboard)


  • REVERB! – These instruments are from multiple sources. To make them sound like they belong in the same room, and to make them sound more like real orchestral instruments, REVERB IS ESSENTIAL.
  • An sfz player. You load .sfz files (these control how the sound samples are to be used) into an sfz player (listed below), in order to play the chosen instrument.
  • Suspension of disbelief. With free orchestra samples, there are limitations. I tried to do the best, with the best samples that were available to me.

Supported Sfz Players

This library is known to work with the following .sfz players. It may work with others, but I don’t know. If I’m told it works with others, I’ll list them here.

Sforzando, Garritan Aria Player, LinuxSampler*, MuseScore, sfizz

* with LinuxSampler, in key switch patches, default selection of a sound (typically “sustain”) doesn’t automatically work. A key switch key must be pressed before any sound will play. Also, patches that use the MOD wheel (.sfz files with MOD or PERF in the name) may not work properly since linuxsampler apparently doesn’t permit any controller to control more than one parameter at a time however, I’ve been told that editing the .sfz files and replacing “gain_cc1” with “volume_oncc1” solves the problem. (thanks to Kevin Haines).


Unzip the downloaded files somewhere that your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) can find them, then load whichever instrument .sfz file you want into your sfz player (like Sforzando) within your DAW.

You must unzip both the zip file for the .sfz scripts and the zip file for the .wav files to the same destination and in the same way (i.e. extract the .zip files into the same sub-directory, “Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3” for example). If you are asked to overwrite files, say yes. This library requires both downloads (one of the .sfz script downloads and the .wav download) to function.

If you have installed and unzipped the files correctly, you should have a sub directory called “Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3” containing folders like this:

Virtual Playing Orchestra - install directory

*** The “libs” directory must be present as shown in the picture above ***

The “libs” directory contains all the .wav sample files (the actual sounds of each instrument). The other directories contain the various scripts (which use the .wav files) for each orchestra section.

How to use

To use the instruments in this orchestral sample library, it’s necessary to have an sfz player. This is a plugin for your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that can read the .sfz files, load the .wav samples and play back a sound when a key is pressed on your MIDI controller. You will have to explore the .sfz player to understand how to load the .sfz files but one way, at least with the free Sforzando sfz player, is to simply drag and drop a .sfz file into Sforzando.

I’ve provided a few different .sfz variations for each instrument. There are SOLO files, where it’s the sound of a single player, there are SEC files for the sound of multiple players playing in unison. There are a few articulations (methods of playing) such as:

  • sustain – long held notes that start slowly
  • staccato – short choppy notes
  • normal MOD wheel – long held notes that start quickly but the MOD wheel can adjust how quickly the note starts
  • accent – an initial quick sound followed by a slightly delayed sustain
  • tremolo – for the strings only, this is similar to the sustain but the player shakes the bow back and forth while playing the note
  • pizzicato – for strings only, the player plucks the string
  • DXF – only available for trumpet, french horn and trombone in the standard orchestra, these patches use the mod wheel to control the dynamic cross fade between quiet and loud samples for a given note as the volume increases with the movement of the mod wheel.
  • KS – these are key switched patches. Rather than needing to load each of the above into a separate instance of a .sfz player, load a KS patch instead and use a special MIDI note to change which articulation will be used. Key switched .sfz file names are in the form KS-XX. The XX indicates where on a MIDI keyboard the key switches start. KS-C2 for example, indicates that pressing C2 will cause the sustain articulation to be used. See the documentation for the Standard or Performance libraries (links in the download area) to learn which keys select which articulation for each instrument

Special thanks to those who listened to the pre-releases and offered feedback: Mattias Westlund (from Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra), Otto Halmén (see his Youtube channel), Sam Gossner (from Versilian Studios) Michael Willis (responsible for debugging for LinuxSampler), bigcat1969, Robin, and I also want to thank those who help spread the word and recommend Virtual Playing Orchestra to people looking for a free orchestra sample library.

If you like this free orchestral sample library and you compose something with it, feel free to leave a comment down below with a link to your composition for others to hear.


If you're using this free orchestral sample library to make music, then licensing is easy. You can do whatever you want with the music you make, even sell it commercially.

If you want to modify, repackage or redistribute the library, licensing is a little complicated since different licenses apply to different parts of the library (see the source sfz files and see below) but generally, you can safely copy, redistribute, modify whatever you want provided appropriate credit is given to creators of the content used or at the very least, link back to my site which gives credit to the creators of the various content of this sample library and that any derived samples or library is kept for personal use only or is given away for free.

I do not feel it is right to repackage and sell this library in part or in whole for profit. This library is free. The source material is free. Let's keep it that way.

For more complete licensing information see the Creative Commons licenses that apply to this library and the sources used to create this library. If there is any conflict between the license as found on the web site and what is included as part of the distribution files, the license on the Virtual Playing web site should be considered the most recent.

Here are the licenses for the individual libraries that were used as source material

Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra
Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 license.

Mattias Westlund additional samples
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license

No Budget Orchestra
Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

VSCO 2 Community Edition
CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication License

University of Iowa Electronic Music
"freely available"

Creative Commons 0

Philharmonia Orchestra
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

* Special Note: for anyone concerned about licensing of Philharmonia Orchestra samples, note the following clause in the Creative Commons License:

"No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits."

Which means this statement from the Philharmonia web site:

"The only restriction is they must not be sold or made available 'as is' (i.e. as samples or as a sampler instrument)."

... is nullified by their use of the Creative Commons License, although I'd argue that I'm not giving away any Philharmonia Orchestra content as samples nor as a sampler instrument. I'm giving them away as part of an orchestral sample library and I've processed all the samples anyway so they're not being given away "as is"

* UPDATE: It seems the Philharmonia Orchestra web site no longer shows the Creative Commons License, however quoting the license terms "The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms"

Here's an older version of the Philharmonia web site where the Creative Commons license was shown (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Philharmonia Orchestra from the Wayback Machine

281 comments on “Virtual Playing Orchestra
  1. I had used these before and got them working, but now that I had to get files back now they aren’t working anymore, FL Studio keeps saying the folders are empty except the libs and documentation folders.

    Idk what to do

    • It’s likely the directory structure is not correct and the files are not where they are supposed to be. See the picture in the installation instructions that shows where all the files need to go. Ensure your directories match those in the picture.

    • A few people have had this same problem. There are 2 solutions. When unzipping, explicitly tell the unzip tool to use the same unzip target directory for the wav and sfz files rather than letting it choose the directory. Or let the unzip tool unzip the things wherever it wants and then just move the wav files directory into the sfz subdirectory to make it match the picture in the install instructions.

  2. I have only played around with VPO a little in Reaper but so far I am delightedly impressed. This orchestral library seems to be state of the art and free! I plan to try and use it for a music video project that I have just started working on and need some really nice violins for. I will post a link here to the completed mv when it goes online.
    Thank you so much and well done.

    • I’m glad to know my library will help you with your project. And yes please do post a link to the video when you are done. I’m interested in seeing it.

  3. Hello! Thanks for this great tool! I’m curious, is it possible to apply this VPO to a score in Musescore that I have already written? Or does it need to be used in a new document?

    • Can i add as a musescore user. In musescore i create my score. Once completed I export either as a midi file or an xml file (musescore seems to have a fee problems with this format). Import the midi file into your favourite DAW. I use Cubase. I then create a new instrument lane below the midi file. In the drop down box (cubase 10.5) select Sforzando or plogue. Load the instrument that you wish to you use eg virtual Playing Orchestra Brass Trombone. Next cut the midi file from above and paste into the instrument lane that you created. You can now use the instrument. You can apparently import sfz into musescore but why would you do that because your DAW either paid for or free has more editing tools than musescore hence i export it.

  4. Dear Sir.

    I don’t like to look a wonderful gift horse in the mouth – but is there any way of NOT needing about 40 instances of Plogue Sforzando to do the whole orchestra? I don’t know if it’s possible to combine scripts, or if there’s something similar to Plogue that lets you use more than one SFz at once so you don’t need a ton of instances of it?

    Sorry for 2 questions but they are related. Found something at RGC Audio called SFZ+ which DOES look like it lets you load more than one instrument at once – but I can’t make it load SFZ files, only soundfonts. What am I missing here? (Apart from a brain – that fell out my ear years ago when I forgot to put the cotton wool in!) Anyway, do you know anything that can load several SFZs in one instance of it?

    Yours hopefully


    • As far as I know you must load one instance of Sforzando per .sfz file that you want to load. I recommend loading up all the instruments you want to use with one instance of Sforzando per track, then saving that as a template in your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Then you can load the template and everything will be automatically set up for you next time.

      With Virtual Playing Orchestra, if you want a combination of instruments on a single track, try the “all-brass” “all-woodwinds”, “all-strings” patches.

      As for sfz+, yes it’s different. It loads soundfonts, which is not the same thing and my understanding is that sfz+ doesn’t support all the features of sfz.

  5. hi Paul, very thanks for this free orchestra. I use this with musescore, but some instruments have a sound elongation problem. the sound suddenly cuts out, how can I solve this? Thanks

  6. Is it possible to use these sounds with Qtractor? I have midi files generated by Lilypond (music-typesetting software) which I would like to edit in Qtractor. At the moment I only have fluidsynth and freepats soundfonts, and some of the orchestral sounds are poor. But I simply don’t understand what I would need to do to use VPO in this environment, or even if it’s possible. I am currently running Ubuntu 18.04.

    • I don’t know anything about Qtractor but after a quick search I found a couple of links that might lead you in the right direction.

      SFZ Player for Linux

      Linux system set up

      Both of the above links are from people trying to use Virtual Playing Orchestra with Linux. The second link specifically mentions Qtractor.

  7. Dear Paul,

    Thank you so much for providing this sound library. I’m a newbie and have no experience with either notation software or DAWs, although I do read music and play several instruments. I’m trying to convert my grandfather’s handwritten string-quintet compositions from the 1950’s into music files. I’ve copied them into Finale, outputting them as MIDI files into Reaper, and am using your strings samples as VST’s. With any luck I should be able to produce some lovely and sentimental music for my family this Christmas.

    Thank you and Cheers!
    Christine 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your story. Always glad to know how someone is using the sample library. Also, you might have been able to save yourself a step as Reaper has a music notation interface. Although I can read music, I’ve only just glanced at the music notation interface a little bit in Reaper (I’ve grown very accustomed to the piano roll) but it might be useful to you.

  8. Hello. I have confirmed that Virtual Playing Orchestra 3 works with TX16Wx 3 Free Ver. I can report here. The keyswitches and velocity layers are visually apparent. The round robin and crossfade were unknown.
    Unlike Sforzando, the sound quality was good. I was surprised. Thank you.

  9. Hi, many thanks from me as well for putting this together.
    I must admit that I was a bit daunted as well by trying to get this all work, because it involves making several different applications work together.
    For what it’s worth, here’s how I set up Virtual Playing Orchestra to work in Logic Pro (on a mac), maybe it’s of some use to someone:

    – downloaded the wave files and the .sfz packages from this site and unzipped them as described above (together in one directory)

    – downloaded and installed the Sforzando plug-in from the plogue website

    – after restarting Logic, it recognised Sforzando as an .au (Audio Unit) instrument

    – I could then create a track with Sforzando as instrument, and import one of the .sfz files in the Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3 directory.

    However, it felt a bit clunky to have to import, browse to, and open a .sfz file every time I want to create a track (or change it). I figured it should be much nicer to have them listed inside the Sforzando “Instrument” menu. It turns out that that’s very easy:

    – move the Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3 directory to a suitable place (I used ~/Library/Audio/Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3)
    – open the Sforzando plugin (or standalone app)
    – click on settings
    – look for the box labelled “User files path”, click the “set” button to the right of it
    – navigate to the place where you moved the Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3 directory

    After that, they all show up in the menu if you click on “Instrument” (top left), under “user”, and in the proper categories too 🙂

    • I completely agree that getting this to work can seem daunting but not so unusual for .sfz based instruments. For anyone wanting more info on why there are multiple downloads, see the “Why are there multiple downloads” on the FAQ page. Thanks for explaining about the “user files path” within Sforzando. I would also recommend, creating a template so that when you start a new project, you can load the template and all the instruments are automatically loaded onto their tracks and ready to go.

      • I suppose it’s indeed not harder than any other .sfz instrument to set up; but this also happened to be the first time I ever dit that 🙂

        Great idea re. the template: I actually found two such templates yesterday for Spitfire Audio’s BBC SO Discover and it looks like a huge time saver indeed.

  10. Thank you for your prompt reply. I was able today to read it and tried opening the script files with a text editor, which my Mac had not been doing on its own. Everything seems to work correctly now. Thank you so much!

  11. I have exactly the same problem as Phoenix above. I also have a Mac.

    I installed the wav files successfully, but when I unzipped the scripts, all of the folders labeled for each instrument group contained sfz files that had the black-square icon with the word exec on it. My free sforzando player will read and play the wav files but will not read any of the scripts. I unzipped both right on the desktop, and had to move the “libs” and the “Documentation” folders to match the picture in the installation directions. I tried downloading them again and unzipping them in a directory where I have other sound libraries stored, but the same thing happened.
    However, I notice that, although it looks as though I unzipped the scripts correctly judging from the folders that appeared and their (unreadable) contents; still, the original zip file is still on the desktop, looking unzipped–as if I only unzipped a type of copy rather than the original. I was not prompted as to whether I wanted to overwrite existing files, either.
    I can still use the wav files in the sforzando player, but I find it very difficult to use an instrument that plays only one note at a time, and I have to load another to play a higher or lower tone on the same instrument. This is not, I hope, the way it is meant to work.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    • A couple of things. First, the .sfz files are text files. If your Mac is treating them as something else, I don’t know enough about the Mac to help with that. Also, when unzipping, the scripts and the wav files, tell whatever tool you are using to unzip them, to place the files in a directory called Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3, or some other name of your choice but ensure you specify the exact same target directory name when unzipping both files. After that, you should be able to drag and drop a .sfz file into Sforzando and have each key on your MIDI controller play a different note from the chosen instrument. You should never need to load up any .wav files yourself. One more thing, are you able to open an .sfz file with a text editor? You should be able to do that and see a bunch of text, otherwise something bizarre has happened during the unzipping process.

      • An ‘exec’ label on a Mac means it is (or the Mac thinks it is) a Windows file. Make sure you download this to a location where the Mac expects to find a document file (ie, not in Applications or directly into the System Library folder). For organizational purposes, make a new folder and download your zips into there – then when you unzip you will have both the zip file and the unzipped folders in the same place. (Mine unzipped to identical folder names, so note the contents.) Copy these into a place where you can connect them to your notation program or DAW. Here’s where I put mine.

  12. Hello.
    Thank you for the wonderful sound source.

    I am a beginner. I used to use SC-88 Pro and a Recomposer in the old days.
    I checked the operation of VSCO 2, but it did not work in my environment, and it worked with the combination of SoundFont version and sforzando.
    At that time, I learned about the existence of Virtual Playing Orchestra. And there are some reports.

    The volume for each articulation is not the same in cello and viola sections and solos.
    “Sustain” sounds small, “Staccato” or “Tremolo” sounds loud.
    Since the tremolo playing method moves the hand in small steps, it cannot produce a loud sound.
    The “Sustain” of strings is like Slow Strings. I was a little confused.
    The “Normal Mod Wheel” sounds like Sustain.

    I wantthe volume to be the same even if the playing style is different.
    In this regard, VSCO 2 seems to be a good example of volume balance.
    Strings “Staccato” sound like “Spiccart”. The sound is too intense.
    It may be better to separate this sound from the staccato playing style and install a new spicart articulation.
    VIOLINO-detaché, legato, portato, staccato, martellato, spiccato, gettato e bariolage

    This does not have the vibrato technique that VSCO 2’s sfz has.

    Sounds like brass strings are included in brass instruments.
    Is this because it depends on the original sound source?

    I had be happy if you could reflect something close to nature like VSCO 2.
    Difference between “trumpet-SOLO-sustain.sfz” and VSCO 2 “Trumpet SusVib.sfz”.
    Difference between “cello-SEC-sustain.sfz” and VSCO2 “CelloEnsSusVib.sfz”.

    There is no key switch for “all-strings” and “all-brass”.
    Is it difficult to install the key switch?

    There is only a minimal amount of Control Change required.
    Is this a specification?
    I edited the SFZ file as a layman and it sounded like the attack time and release time were not working.

    Also, I would be happy if the Control Change number was not something like “CC01” but an easy-to-understand word. User friendly is important.

    The track envelope shows a large number of numbers.
    Is this a sforzando specification?

    Uploaded screenshots and comparison sounds.

    Virtual Playing Orchestra
    sforzando 1.845
    REAPER 6
    WindowsXP SP3
    And google translation

    • You have a lot of questions. Some I don’t quite understand. I’ll address some of your notes. I did the best I could with the free samples I was able to find. I tried to get the volumes to be the same between notes and between instruments and all playing styles. CC01 is the Mod Wheel. That’s it’s easy to understand word. Yes the sustain strings are like slow strings. The “normal mod wheel” strings are also sustain, but with a faster attack that can be adjusted by using the mod wheel. There are no key switches with the “all-strings” and “all-brass” for two reasons. I wanted all key switches to fit within a 61 key MIDI controller and the “all-strings” , “all-brass” use up the whole 61 key range and the “all-brass” , “all-strings” are meant for working out ideas to later be replaced by individual strings and brass instruments so I figure there is less of a need for key switches. Hope that helps.

  13. This web page is very long below. It occupies much in the comment area. If possible, create a web design that allows you to view only comments on a separate page.

    • You’re right. The comments are too long. I’ve reduced some of the space in the comments and I’ve added pagination so that only a reduced number of posts appear at one time.

  14. Big thanks for putting all this together!

    Back in 2018, I started a project to remaster midi files from the original Daggerfall game to create a music mod for the Daggerfall Unity project. It was a labor of love (but one I care not to repeat) involving about 80 midi files, and the better part of 6 months. Well, 81 was the final track count. Starting out, it was closer to 140 files, some being duplicates with more or less granular midi data, possibly used depending on which type of soundcard you had at the time, whether it was using FM synthesis or if it was an MPU-401 or SC-88 type card, or soundblaster, adlib, GS based card, etc. So I spent a lot of time weeding out duplicates and choosing the files I thought had the nicer sounding automations. I finished a little after New Year’s 2019.

    Primarily, I used VPO3 in addition to certain SFZ samples from VSCO2 and the Christmas release of some free orchestra bits that East West put out (I think it was back in 2012 or something) and the Best Service lite/demo version of Era II to help flesh things out a bit, or add flavor. I also used some synth elements from Alchemy Player and TyrellN6 for some of the more esoteric tracks in the midi scores.

    The mod is now incorporated into a larger mod pack (mostly graphical/UI updates and enhancements) for the game, involving several people from the community, and considered one of the essential mod packs to bring the game to a higher fidelity in both looks and sounds.

    I posted some select tracks from the remaster up on my soundcloud.

    While I basically “fed” the midi files to the orchestra samples, I did take some minor artistic liberties in places, using some of the key switches to change up articulations, but largely attempted to remain faithful to the original files. I also went back over to do a mixing pass to adjust levels, reverb wetness, check for consistency, panning, adjust velocity data, etc. And then I went back through to do a final “mastering” pass (not REALLY mastering, but just adjusting for consistency and cohesion, and overall loudness). The project was well received by the community, and I think possibly inspired some others to use their own orchestral libraries to take on the task, as there are a couple in-progress projects going on.

    I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Though I am a musician and in a pop/prog rock band, and have done some simple orchestral-ish tracks in the past, I’m not “really” an orchestrator. I don’t really consider myself a professional either. Though I do have a heavy interest in video game related music.

    Thanks again for putting this together!

    • Thanks for sharing your story of how you used Virtual Playing Orchestra. I listened to a few of those tracks. You made everything sound good. Well done.

      • Thanks for listening!

        I definitely think VPO is a great starting point. Even if/when I manage to get some other libraries, I can still see VPO being useful for mixing or layering timbres together. Now, adjusting reverb and ambience to get everything sounding like they’re in the same venue might be tricky, but that’s a different can of worms!

  15. …And by the way: please set up a donation button, so that people can “buy you a coffee” for the great editing work and public service you are providing here!

    • I appreciate that suggestion but even though I did a lot of work to change them, I started with samples from other free libraries and I don’t feel I should make money when those who did the original work don’t get any money. If you want to help, please spread the word about this library so more people can find it.

  16. Hello, thanks for curating and sharing VPO. I tried to install both versions of the script, but it seems the folder structure proposed in the installation guide does really only work with either one of the scripts, because the corresponding script folders are the same (installing both would create folder doublettes?).

    What would be a way to install both scripts? How would I have to change the directory structure so that a) both scripts with their corresponding folders are in place and b) all the samples can be found by the scripts / mappings?

    Thanks in advance

    • You should be able to install both versions of the scripts into the same directory. You will be asked if you want to overwrite duplicate folders. Say yes. The files have unique names. If they don’t have unique names, then they are identical files so overwriting doesn’t matter. The directories themselves will not get overwritten, just re-used.

      You could also install the performance library + wav files in one directory and the standard orchestra files + wav files into another directory. I’ve done that myself. I have a VPO-performance and a VPO-standard directory each with it’s own version of the scripts and each with it’s own copy of the wav files.

  17. Is there any other than downloading a .zip file of the performance Orchestra? I don’t have zip registered on my computer.

  18. * UPDATE: It seems the Philharmonia Orchestra web site no longer shows the Creative Commons License, however quoting the license terms “The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms”

    That’s valid for you (the VPO author), not for Philharmonia Orchestra authors. They can license it with as many licenses they want, and stop license it under the CC (in their website).

    It’s true that they can’t revoke the license they (virtually) delivered to you.
    CC-BY-SA costricts the composer to release their song under the CC-BY-SA. So it’s way better their new license.

    • Now the page has loaded to me and I seen that they seem to have licensed their work under the CC with additional terms.
      Considering that CC can only be applied without any other restrictions, that agreement is null! So it’s like you never received a CC-BY-SA license!
      You should upgrade the license with the new terms. Better, you should contact ’em and ask an explicit permission or else asking to clarify if their restrictions are valid for not-for-profit collections.

      • Never mind! I checked the CC-BY-SA and that “No additional restrictions” declared in the non-legal page is not mentioned in that way in the legal page. So the CC is still valid for you.
        They can change the license to their own work. You can still license it under the CC. You must not apply further restrictions to the CC itself. You could relicense it with the new terms (dropping the CC) or you can dual-license the samples (if identical) with CC or FO license at user’s own choice.

        • I’m going to stick with the original license because the terms of the Creative Commons license permit it and I don’t see how it stops anyone from freely using my changes to the Philharmonia Orchestra samples in a composition.

  19. I got the sound to play but there is a Ticking or clicking sound during playback for some reason.
    Is there a setting to make this stop.
    I am using the stand alone Sforzando Player 64Bit version.

    • The ticking or clicking don’t come from the orchestra sounds themselves (unless they’ve been corrupted when unzipping them) so the problem must be elsewhere. It could be your computer, sound card, perhaps a corrupt version of Sforzando, your speakers, something else running on your computer at the same time, your audio interface or some buffer setting. If you figure it out, let me know in case someone else has the same problem someday, but there is little I can do to help without sitting in front of your computer and trying to eliminate all the possible causes of the problem.

  20. Philharmonia’s samples are not CC-BY-SA Material.
    It completely prohibit distribution on any form, whatever the samples are modified or not, either in whole or in part of samples.
    Also, use those samples to make Sound Lib, such as SoundFonts, are forbidden, even the samples are processed. I wish there’ll be a replacement……

    • > Philharmonia’s samples are not CC-BY-SA Material

      They were, and once a CC license is used, it can not be revoked. See my addition to the licensing information for the Philharmonia samples.

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention so I could update the licensing information.

    • That ability will depend on your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). In my case, using Reaper, I load up all my instruments once, then save them as a template. After that all I have to do is load the template into a new project and all my instruments are automatically loaded and ready to be used.

        • As I understand it, you can’t. You need to place each instrument on a track, one at a time. Then you can save that project as a template. Next time, load the template and all your instruments will load all at once through the template. That’s what I do.

          • Ah, ok, I thought you were talking about a different way to load everything all at once in reaper. Thank you for clearing it up and all the work you put into that collection!

  21. What you are doing here deserves a Légion d’Honneur.

    I may be exaggerating, but all of your efforts in collecting, refining and making them freely and easily accessible truly deserves merit! I hope others in similar fields will follow you as an example.

  22. Just want to let you know that I really really appreciate the fact that this exists, been using it for quite a while now and it is my go-to for any orchestral work, especially for strings, and it will probably remain to be as long as I’m a poor student 🙂

    I’ve been recommending it to anyone that wants to have some solid free samples. Thank you for all your hard work!

    Here’s something I made with it a while ago, for someone else’s 3D asset showcase:

    All the non-drum sounds are from this library!

    • Glad you are enjoying my sample library. Thanks for recommending it to others. I listened to “The Encampment”. Well done. I like how well everything is blended together. I listened to some of your other orchestra pieces on your Soundcloud. I particularly liked “Orchestral improvisation”

  23. Hello,
    I’m using standard orchestra with musescore3. I would appreciate high quality of sound.

    When I set two whole tones and ties (total 8 beats length) with 1st-violin-SEC-sustain, and if I play it’s sound, it quits only 6 beats length.
    If I select 1st-violin-SEC-tremolo, it partially stops sound in 2 beats length and remaining sound stops 4 beats length.
    There are some other Sounds which cause such strange behavior.

    I would like to know if there is any wrong my setting/usage or not.
    Although I’m not sure this is known issue.
    If it is required, I can provide sample musescore file.

    • The sounds should last for as long as you hold the note. My guess is that Musescore is not recognizing the loop points in the .wav files. Each sound file (.wav file)indicates a point at which the playing of the sound should loop back and start again so that the sound lasts as long as you want it to.

      • Hi Paul,

        Thank you so much for your quick reply.
        I should mention that there are also some Sounds of Virtual Playing Orchestra which can keep tone length as I expected.
        So that means maybe musescore3 have an issue that there are cases it can read loop point information correctly and could not. Is that right?

        Thanks for your help.

        Best Regards,

        • Can you give me an example of a note from an instrument that does not work and a note from an instrument that does work so I can look for a difference? I would expect Musescore to either work for all notes or no notes.

          Also, you could try posting your question on the Musescore forum here:

          Musescore: Virtual Playing Orchestra and SFZ files

          I don’t use Musescore but maybe someone who does use it over at that forum can help you.

          • Here are examples.
            For C4 and G4 tone with 8 beats length,

            NG cases
            -> it become about 7 beats length
            -> C4 is about 3 beats length, G4 is 8 beats length
            -> C4 : partially about 5 beats length, remains is 8 beats length, G4 is 8 beats length

            OK cases

            I noticed that it seems behavior is different with its pitch so I wrote pitch and length of each instruments.

            I hope this helps your check. I also try to contact with the Musescore forum.
            Thanks for your great assistance.


          • On the Musescore forum, you mention that this problem does not occur with Musescore2 only Musescore3. That pretty much eliminates Virtual Playing Orchestra as the problem. Clearly Musescore3 broke something that was previously working in Musescore2.

            I looked for differences between working and failing notes. All the failing notes have loop points at the very end of the wave form, BUT some of the working notes also have loop points at the end of the wave form.

            There is one other thing that I can suggest that helped someone who found a single note that didn’t work. Apparently adding this to the proper region in the .sfz file, solved the problem for him.


            Hope that helps. I’m not sure what else I can do to track down the cause of this problem. If you get an answer from the Musescore forum or you solve the problem yourself, please let me know.

          • Hi Paul,
            I appreciate your great support. You also checked my post on the forum!

            I will try to write loop_mode in the scripts.

            Once I get any updates at the forum, I will let you know.

            Again, thank you so much for your assistance.

            Best Regards,

          • Hi Paul,
            It is not so good progress but I just want to provide update.
            Since I could not get reply from anyone so I re-post the same content to ‘Bug and supports’ category.
            Then I got reply that there are still lots of work left to support SFZ files.

            Also, I have tried to add loop_point description in the script but situation have not changed.

            If I can have any update, I will let you know here.

            Best Regards,

          • Using loop_mode=loop_continuous is not supposed to be necessary, but I thought there was a chance it would help. I can’t think of any other solution. Hopefully someone at Musescore will eventually test this to discover the cause of the problem.

  24. I use performance orchestra with musescore. I really appreciate the quality of sound provided by your library.

    I notice that while playing a note using violin section, I get a very slight echo which continues until the next note. This prevents me from getting a crisp end of the note before beginning the next note in the same measure.
    Iam not sure if this is related to virtual orchestra or musescore. Hence thought of posting this question to get your advice

    • It’s possible that what you are hearing is artificial legato which lasts longer for more low velocity (slowly played) notes. To test this, open up the .sfz file of the strings patch you are using and comment out, or remove these lines:


      and add this


  25. Hi Paul, many thanks for producing this library, I’ve been using it for several months now and it’s really impressive work.

    I want to switch my project over to using the performance library, but I can’t get the strings volume to change via the Mod Wheel. They are also very quiet, I presume because the mod wheel is supposed to raise the volume.

    Having looked into it, seems LinuxSampler doesn’t support the gain_cc1 message used in the SFZ files, so sadly this aspect won’t work for anyone using LinuxSampler. I thought it worth mentioning here in case someone encounters the same issue.

    If there’s a work-around I’d be interested to know, otherwise thanks again for your work.



  26. Hi Paul,

    how come there is no “all strings” SEC tremolo patch?

    I am thinking of writing my own but I thought I ask first if there was a reason for not having it in the first place.

    • The “all strings” was intended for quick sketching of ideas. I always expected to create an “all strings” track without tremolo and change to tremolo when replacing the “all strings” track with the individual string sections. I’ll have to consider creating “all strings” tremolo and pizzicato if I release another version of the library.

  27. Hello. I am thankful for this sample pack. But there was a .sfz,keys,piano when I downloaded the pack 1-2 years ago. But now which pack I download , I can’t find it.

  28. Thank you for putting all of these samples together! The library sounds amazing and the instructions were really clear, its obvious that you’ve put in a lot of work into this library. Glad I was able to come across this!

  29. Uhm, hello, can you help me?
    Everytime I load this bank, it always said “not sound asset loaded”. I’ve check the file and it’s all okay but sforzando always show the error box, I kinda confuse about this

    • It’s likely that you didn’t unzip all the files into the same directory. See the instructions here: “installation” and ensure your copy of the library looks exactly the same as the picture. Pay close attention to the “libs” directory.

      • I am also running into the same problem. Could you go into more detail than what is stated on the installation section. I am in no way tech savvy, and the instructions are not very clear to me. What is suppose to be in the folders in that picture? what folder are the folders in the picture found under? I am also on a mac, not a pc or windows, trying to run this on my DAW (pro tools).

        • Phoenix: Ensure, that when you unzip the files, you choose the same destination for where both the scripts (all the instrument directories = strings, woodwinds, brass etc) and the .wav files (the “lib” directory) will be placed. If they were not unzipped into the same directory, you will get an error when you try to load an instrument into Sforzando. If, when unzipping the files you are asked if you want to overwrite existing files, say yes. If you have installed the “lib” directory into one place and all the other directories somewhere else, you can still drag and drop the “lib” directory from wherever it was installed to wherever the instrument directories are installed to match the picture in the installation section of this page. Hope that helps clear things up for you.

  30. Just wanted to take the time to say a quick “thank you”, that’s really awesome work here! Very very much appreciated!

    • Inside the .zip file that you can download when you click the link near the top of the page that says “download (603 MB)” (it’s right beside a picture of a sound wave) in the white box under the text “download wave files”

      After you unzip that file, the .wav files can be found in various sub directories under the path “Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3/libs”

  31. I’m confused. Where did I get this file from? ‘Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3-1-2-standard-scripts’ I downloaded this when I pressed the download button for the wav files.. 🙂

    • I’m assuming that’s a .zip file? I have no idea how it’s possible to get that file by clicking on the download button for .wav files. When I try the link for the .wav files, I’m always presented with a prompt to download “”. All I can suggest is to try again. I can’t currently see any way for it to be failing so there is nothing I can fix.

  32. Hi Paul,

    Musescore will be soon officially supporting dynamics on single notes, however it requires the support of the CC11 MIDI controller.
    I did a quick test with some SFZ soundfonds on their alpha release and it seems it’s not working.
    Do you have some inputs?

    Thanks a lot

    • All I can suggest is contacting the users or makers of Musescore. I don’t use it and I don’t know much about it.

      Sorry I can’t be helpful.

      • In the Musescore forum it was explained that Zerberus (their own SFZ synthesizer) doesn’t support the xfin_loccN and xfout_loccN opcodes, so you are correct… the ball is on their side…

  33. Just realized that the note G4 sharp for the “Cello SOLO sustain” does not last for 3/4. Can I fix it by myself in the sfz files?

    • I just tried the G#4 and all the other G# notes in “Cello SOLO sustain” and I heard them all last for as long as I held a key but I don’t know what “does not last for 3/4” means.

      • I meant for a half note with a dot. It seems to last only for a half note (tempo 50 BPM). I tried with other notes and each of them lasted for the whole duration.
        If you cannot reproduce it, is there a place in the sfz file where I can try some workarounds / fixes?

          • I just tried G#4 (and all the G# notes) in 1st violin SOLO sustain and it plays for as long as I hold the note. I don’t think anything in the sfz file will have any effect on this unless the .sfz file has been modified, for that note, to no longer recognize the loop point in the .wav file. This would mean that a “loop_mode=” statement had been added.

            What version of Virtual Playing Orchestra are you using? Can you also try this with a .sfz player instead of Musescore?

            There is one thing you might be able to try in order to fix this problem for yourself within the .sfz file. That’s to comment out the lines in the .sfz file that use the problematic sample (.wav file) and extend the range of an adjacent note (<region>) to cover the commented out note. When commenting out a <region> line in the .sfz file, be sure to comment out everything from the start of a <region> line you want to remove and the beginning of the next <region> line.

          • Thanks for your suggestions. ( I cannot see the reply button on your comment, so I do it here)

            Version 3.1 – June 12, 2018

            I will download Sforzando and give a try but it will take some time.

            I’ve commented out this line:
            // sample=..\libs\NoBudgetOrch\SoloViolin\Vibrato\4_Ab-PB.wav key=68

            and modified the previous one:
            sample=..\libs\NoBudgetOrch\SoloViolin\Vibrato\4_G-PB.wav key=67 hikey=68 lokey=67

            but the sound stops before the end. I guess it lasts for its own sample duration (3 seconds) but not more.

          • the full lines in the sfz file:

            sample=..\libs\NoBudgetOrch\SoloViolin\Vibrato\4_G-PB.wav key=67 hikey=68 lokey=67
            // sample=..\libs\NoBudgetOrch\SoloViolin\Vibrato\4_Ab-PB.wav key=68

          • AH ok, I guess the “region” tag is removed while I insert the comment maybe for security reasons… I thought I missed it in the C&P.

          • This:

            // sample=..\libs\NoBudgetOrch\SoloViolin\Vibrato\4_Ab-PB.wav key=68

            … isn’t enough. It needs to look like this:

            // sample=..\libs\NoBudgetOrch\SoloViolin\Vibrato\4_Ab-PB.wav key=68
            // tune=5
            // volume=-1

          • Done as you suggested… I guess in the textbox there is a sort of carriage return.
            This change seems finally working:

            sample=..\libs\NoBudgetOrch\SoloViolin\Vibrato\4_G-PB.wav key=67 hikey=68 lokey=67 loop_mode=loop_continuous

          • I don’t understand why that one note was causing trouble for you, but I’m glad we were able to find a way to fix it.

  34. It seems that the new instruments, like bass trombone and contrabassoon are not working properly, at least for me. The old ones work just fine but these give following errors in Qsamples

    16:55:12.674 Channel 0 Instrument: “/opt/Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3/Brass/bass-trombone-SOLO-normal-mod-wheel.sfz” (0).
    16:55:12.683 Channel 0 MIDI map: 0.
    16:55:16.540 Channel 0 lscp_edit_channel_instrument: No instrument loaded to sampler channel (errno=100)
    16:55:16.545 Channel 0 Could not launch an appropriate instrument editor for the given instrument! Make sure you have an appropriate instrument editor like ‘gigedit’ installed and that it placed its mandatory DLL file into the sampler’s plugin directory.
    16:55:37.887 Channel 0 lscp_edit_channel_instrument: No instrument loaded to sampler channel (errno=100)
    16:55:37.892 Channel 0 Could not launch an appropriate instrument editor for the given instrument! Make sure you have an appropriate instrument editor like ‘gigedit’ installed and that it placed its mandatory DLL file into the sampler’s plugin directory.
    16:56:17.029 Channel 0 lscp_edit_channel_instrument: No instrument loaded to sampler channel (errno=100)
    16:56:17.040 Channel 0 Could not launch an appropriate instrument editor for the given instrument! Make sure you have an appropriate instrument editor like ‘gigedit’ installed and that it placed its mandatory DLL file into the sampler’s plugin directory.
    16:56:17.745 Channel 0 lscp_edit_channel_instrument: No instrument loaded to sampler channel (errno=100)
    16:56:17.753 Channel 0 Could not launch an appropriate instrument editor for the given instrument! Make sure you have an appropriate instrument editor like ‘gigedit’ installed and that it placed its mandatory DLL file into the sampler’s plugin directory.
    16:56:29.495 Channel 0 setup…

    • I’ll need a little more information. What version of the Virtual Playing Orchestra library are you using? Do the following work properly?


      I see that Qsamples is BETA software. Is there any chance you could try this with a different sampler to see if the new instruments work for you with a different sampler?

  35. For those having trouble with installation cause the instructions don’t help:

    extract the two main folders to your sforzando folder. Cut and paste the libs folder of the main folder containing the wav files INTO the main folder the folder with the sfz files to get it to look like the installation picture in the Installation section of the manual Paul made.

    This is if you followed the instructions and still getting an asset not found error.

  36. How can I use it with LMMS? It doesn’t support .sfz files, but I saw that other people connected LMMS with Virtual Plaxing Orchestra. What do I have to do to get this as a VST Plugin and use it like this?
    Thanks for everything!

    • I don’t have any experience with LMMS, but perhaps this quote I found will put you on the right path? “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 this page. After that you would drag and drop the desired .sfz file into Sforzando.

  37. Whats your final pricing on the full orchestra going to be. A poor-musician *affordable* orchestra with proper articulations and a better quality than those nasty garritan plugins would be a market smasher.

  38. Hello,
    I downloaded the files as instructed and unzipped them into the same folder, however it did not tell me that it was going to overwrite anything. When opened up sforzando and dropped in one of the .sfz files into it it was telling me that that it could not load the assets and it gave me a long description of what I’m guessing could not be loading. What should I do from here in order to get it to work ?

    Thank you,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *