Virtual Playing Orchestra


Download Virtual Playing Orchestra


Patch v1.0 to v1.11 – (Nov 16, 2016) – 375 KB

Change Log
V1.11 Patch includes:
– adjustments to cymbal crashes in bassdrum-snare-cymbals.sfz
– added “all-woodwinds”, “all-strings”, “all-brass” patches
– cello-SOLO-sustain note 3_A, was cut short. It has now been re-looped

[Comments and questions down below]

Hear Virtual Playing Orchestra Perform

When I Get Over You (by Klassen, Battersby) *piano not included
Red Nose (by Lopez, Battersby) *piano, drum set not included
More music from me, blog posts on my home page …


What Is Virtual Playing Orchestra?

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

My intent was to start with Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, add some 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 most complete library with best free orchestra samples.

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)

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.

Installation

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

For “patch” downloads (when/if they exist), just unzip the patch in the same place and in the same way as the full version to upgrade to the new release.

Requirements

  • 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*

* with LinuxSampler, in keyswitch patches, default selection of a sound (typically “sustain”) doesn’t work. A keyswitch key must be pressed before any sound will play.

Notes:

  • All instruments are set to only play within their proper range
  • All instruments are mapped to appear in the proper place on a musical score so in some cases, to reach all the notes on a MIDI controller, it might be necessary to set the midi controller to transpose the notes or set your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to transpose the MIDI
  • All brass instruments have 2 velocity layers
  • All string staccato samples have round robin so you can hear alternating bow strokes
  • All instruments 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. With this single patch, you can get a sustain note with a "normal" attack and by adjusting the mod wheel you can also get a longer attack and anything in between.
  • Each articulation, Sustain, Normal Mod Wheel, Staccato, Accent can be loaded individually, but is also part of a key switch patch
  • Generally, (harp, timpani are the exceptions) key switches are assigned to the following notes, with "n" representing where the key switches start

    Cn = Sustain
    C#n = Tremolo (only for string section)
    Dn = Normal / General Purpose (mod wheel changes length of note attack)
    D#n = Accent (an accented sustain)
    En = Staccato
    Fn = Pizzicato (only for strings, of course)

    For Harp, C0 = Sustain, D0 = dampened or B7 = Sustain, C8 = dampened
    For Timpani, C5 = Hit, D5 = roll

Instruments

Woodwinds

Instruments Range Articulations Notes
Piccolo Solo D5 - C8Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato Key switches start at C2 or C3
Flute Solo, Section C4 - D7 Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato Key switches start at C2
Oboe Solo, Section Bb3 - A6 Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato Key switches start at C2 or C3
English Horn Solo E3 - Bb5 Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato Key switches start at C2
Clarinet Solo, Section D3 - Bb6 Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato Key switches start at C2
Bassoon Solo, Section Bb1 - Eb5 Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato To reach all notes, may need to transpose keyboard down an octave
- before transpose, key switches start at F5,
- after transpose, Key switches start at F6
All Woodwinds Solo, Section Bb1 - C8 Normal-mod-wheel Woodwinds cross faded, spread across the keyboard.
2 versions:
- centered in the stereo field
- panned to orchestra seating positions

Strings

Instruments Range Articulations Notes
1st Violins Solo, Section G3 - A7 Sustain, Tremolo*, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato, Pizzicato Key switches start at C2
2nd Violins Solo, Section G3 - A7 Sustain, Tremolo*, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato, Pizzicato Key switches start at C2
Viola Solo, Section C3 - A6 Sustain, Tremolo*, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato, Pizzicato Key switches start at C2
Cello Solo, Section C2 - A5 Sustain, Tremolo*, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato, Pizzicato Key switches start at C6
String Bass Solo, Section C1 - G4 Sustain, Tremolo*, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato, Pizzicato To reach all notes, may need to transpose keyboard down an octave
- before transpose, key switches start at C5,
- after transpose, key switches start at C6
All Strings Solo, Section C1 - A7 Normal-mod-wheel, Pizzicato Strings cross faded, spread across the keyboard.
2 versions:
- centered in the stereo field
- panned to orchestra seating positions
Harp Solo B0 - G#7 Sustain, Dampened Key switches start at C0 or B7. May need to transpose up or down to reach Key switches

* Tremolo for sections only, not available for solo instruments

Brass

Instruments Range Articulations Notes
Trumpet Solo, Section F#3 - C6 Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato Key switches start at C2
French Horn Solo, Section B1 - F5 Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato Key switches start at C6
Trombone Solo, Section E2 - F5 Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato Key switches start at C6
Tuba Solo D1 - D4 Sustain, Normal-mod-wheel, Accent, Staccato To reach all notes, may need to transpose keyboard down an octave
- before transpose, key switches start at C5,
- after transpose Key switches start at C6
All Brass Solo, Section D1 - C6 Normal-mod-wheel Brass cross faded, spread across the keyboard.
2 versions:
- centered in the stereo field
- panned to orchestra seating positions

Vocals

Instruments Range Articulations Notes
Choir Male G2 - F#4
Choir Female G4 - C6
Choir Mixed G2 - C6 Simply, male + female choir together

Percussion

Instruments Range Articulations Notes
Glockenspiel F5 - C8
Timpani C2 - C4 Round Robin Hit, Roll Key switches start at C5
Tubular Bells C4 - G5 A3 silences the last note
Snare Drum
-
Left Hand, Right Hand, Round Robin Hit, Roll
Xylophone C4 - C8

Key Mapping for Percussion

Bass drum, Snare, Cymbals

Note # Note Name Instrument
36C2Bass Drum 1
38D2Bass Drum 2
 
48C3Snare Drum 1 Hit - Left Hand
49C#3Snare Drum 1 Hit - Round Robin
50D3Snare Drum 1 Hit - Right Hand
 
52E3Snare Drum 1 Roll
53F3Snare Drum 2 Hit - Left Hand
54F#3Snare Drum 2 Hit - Round Robin
55G3Snare Drum 2 Hit - Right Hand
56G#3Snare Drum 2 Tap (stick, on rim of drum)
57A3Snare Drum 2 Roll
 
60C4Cymbals 1 Roll A
61C#4Cymbals 1 Crash
62D4Cymbals 1 Roll B
 
65F4Cymbals 2 Short Roll
66F#4Cymbals 2 Crash
67G4Cymbals 2 Medium Roll
69A4Cymbals 2 Long Roll

Miscellaneous Percussion

Note # Note Name Instrument
46Bb2Gong Hit
47B2 TamTam A
48C3 TamTam B
49C#3TamTam C
50D3
51Eb3Finger Cymbals - Hi
52E3 Finger Cymbals - Lo
53F3 Tambourine Shake
54F#3Tambourine Hit
55G3 Tambourine Roll
56Ab3Cowbell
57A3
58Bb3Vibra slap
59B3
60C4 Quinto Hit (or high conga)
61C#4Quinto Tap
62D4 Conga Hit (or mid conga)
63Eb4Conga Tap
64E4 Tumba Hit (or low conga)
65F4 Tumba Tap1
66F#4
67G4
68Ab4
69A4 Cabasa
70Bb4Shaker
71B4 Ratchet Crank
72C5 Ratchet Fast
73C#5Ratchet Slow
74D5 Castanets
75Eb5Claves
76E5 Wood-block-hi
77F5 Wood-block-lo
78F#5
79G5 Triangle roll
80Ab5Muted Triangle
81A5 Open triangle
82Bb5Sleighbells
83C6 Bell Tree 1 Stroke 1
84C#6Bell Tree 1 Stroke 2
86D6 Bell Tree 1 Stroke 3
87Eb6Bell Tree 1 Stroke 4
88E6 Bell Tree 2
89F6 Bar Chimes A
90F#6Bar Chimes B
91G6 Bar Chimes C

Licensing

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.

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


Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra http://sso.mattiaswestlund.net/
Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 license.


Mattias Westlund additional samples http://mattiaswestlund.net/samples/
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license


No Budget Orchestra https://nobudgetorchestra.net/
Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)


VSCO 2 Community Edition http://vis.versilstudios.net/vsco-2.html
CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication License


University of Iowa Electronic Music http://theremin.music.uiowa.edu/
"freely available"


Philharmonia Orchestra http://www.philharmonia.co.uk/explore/make_music
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 given 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".


36 comments on “Virtual Playing Orchestra
    • How exactly are you trying to load an instrument into Sforzando and what is the exact word for word error message? Once you’ve added Sforzando as a plugin to a particular track, you should be able to open Sforzando and then drag and drop an .sfz file into it.

  1. Hi there, very excited to use this! I’m curious, how do you load these patches into Garageband? I’m very new at arranging music this way. I have the midi keyboard all ready to go. Just not sure how to go about putting these samples in garageband and then accessing them. Thanks!

    • I’ve never used Garageband but one of the following 2 links might help.

      This: Sforzando with Garageband shows how to use Sforzando (a free sample player) in Garage band. The video shows someone dragging and dropping a .wav file but you’d want to drag and drop an .sfz file.

      This web page Alchemy with Garage Bank shows how to load .sfz files into Alchemy which apparently is another free sample player.

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

  2. Hey Paul! This sample collection is just incredible, I have been looking for good free orchestral samples for a few days and finally I found this 🙂
    I have a question though: I don’t own a MIDI controller, and I read that in the “Normal-mod-wheel” articulation you can use it to change the attack velocity. I’ve been struggling to do this just with FL studio but I can’t find the option for this. Any hints?

    Thank you very much for your work.

    • I hope my sample library serves you well. As for using the mod wheel in flstudio without a physical mod wheel, in this case the mod wheel is programmed to transmit a cc1 message (cc1 = continuous controller 1) So, if you set the cc1 value in your DAW, it will have the same effect as moving the mod wheel. I did a quick search for “flstudio cc1” and I found this forum post where someone has asked a similar question to yours.

      [Solved] FL Studio Piano Roll and using Mod CC#1

  3. Hi Paul,

    Thanks so much for making this.

    I’m hoping to use VPO with my android tablet. There are various android apps which support sfz instruments (Audio Evolution Mobile, G Stomper Studio, Caustic (I think, though may only be sf2)) but VPO won’t work with any of them. SSO always worked fine.

    Any ideas? By any chance have you tried to use VPO in such a way and had any success? Would really love to be able to use the VPO if there’s anything you can suggest.

    Many thanks again.

    • I haven’t used any of the apps you mentioned but I would imagine they’d still require a sample player to be loaded. Something that can handle .sfz files. I recall someone created a .sf2 version of Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra. Were you using the .sf2 version? If Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, in it’s original .sfz format worked, then Virtual Playing Orchestra should work too.

      What exactly happens when you try to use VPO?

      • Hi Paul,

        Thanks for taking the time to respond, really appreciate it.

        Well, as it turns out, I’ve also been in touch with the developer of Audio Evolution Mobile regarding this matter and I can confirm that he has got it working! The necessary update hasn’t been released yet so I shall post here again when it has to let you and others know that Android users can also benefit from your hard work – thanks.

        Finally, a silly question perhaps – what do I need to do to apply the 1.11 patch? Apologies for my ignorance.

        Sincere thanks again for all of your hard work on VPO. Best wishes.

        • Robin,

          I’m happy to help. Good news about Audio Evolution Mobile. Yes please post here again when the update is released so I can add it to my list of supported sfz players.

          To get the patch to work, do exactly the same thing you did to get the 1.0 version to work. Copy the zip file to the same location as version 1.0, unzip the patch file it in exactly the same way as 1.0. The updated files in the patch will then replace some of the older files.

  4. I just used the VPO for a short film cue and I’m generally very happy with the results. In particular, you’ve avoided the flaw in a lot of sampled string libraries­­­: those dreadful “espressivo” patches where every note has a crescendo.

    One comment on the clarinet: it’s been my understanding, since my undergrad days, that orchestral clarinet is traditionally played without vibrato (or minimal vibrato) — e.g. Richard Stoltzman’s vibrato is the exception, not the rule. To get an acceptable sound from the VPO clarinet, I had to hack the .sfz file:

    old:
    group=1 pitchlfo_delay=.8 pitchlfo_fade=.3 pitchlfo_depth=-10 pitchlfo_freq=5

    new:
    group=1 pitchlfo_delay=.8 pitchlfo_fade=.3 pitchlfo_depth=-1 pitchlfo_freq=5

    Fortunately sfz is an open format, so the fix was easy. Perhaps something to incorporate into a future version.

    Thanks again for the extraordinary work. It blows my mind that a library of this caliber is freely available.

    • James,

      Thanks for the tip about clarinet vibrato. I’ll look into that for the next release. If and when you can, feel free to post a link to your short film cue. I’d like to hear it.

      > Thanks again for the extraordinary work. It blows my mind that a library of this caliber is freely available.

      You’re welcome. That’s how I felt about Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra (a major source for my library) when it first came out and for years afterwards.

  5. Hi Paul,

    I’ve just been experimenting with this, and you’ve done a fantastic job. I can tell you’ve put a ton of work into QC. All the note volumes are very even, much better than in some commercial libraries. And you’ve done a great job of combining samples to create the different articulations.

    The one part I think could be improved is the winds section. I’m not too fond of the NBO winds. I think the SSO and VSCO ones both sound a lot better. The clarinets especially have an unpleasant, buzzy sound that sticks out in any texture. And most of the higher notes in the flutes (from F# up) include a loud squeak about half a second after the note starts. I was wondering why you chose to use them instead of one of the other options?

    • Thanks Peter. I put a lot of work in to balancing the volumes and the panning on each individual note of every instrument. A very tedious process. I also set a goal of creating the same articulations for every instrument. That wasn’t always so easy to achieve.

      As for the winds, I took a second listen to the clarinets and flutes and I’m not sure I’m hearing what you are hearing. I’ll send you a private email so that perhaps you can record and send me some specific examples. I don’t notice a buzzy sound from the clarinet patch nor do I hear a squeak from the high flute notes but perhaps with a recording of specific notes as recorded by you, we can figure this out.

  6. Great job Paul. I’ll have to check out which samples you picked from each orchestra. I’m really loving all the orchestral free stuff that is available. When I started messing about a few years ago there was really only the Sonatina, now there are enough to make great curated compilation orchestras like yours! Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks. Which samples came from which library should be easy to discover. I wanted to keep it transparent so I kept the samples in their original library directories. Even when playing a sample, if your sample player shows the path to the sample, you’ll see the original library name.

      Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra served me well from the time it was first released. Fortunately, it’s recently been possible to expand on it with the help of some other newly available free libraries.

  7. The demos sound great. I wonder how many velocity layers these instruments include, since the whole library is actually quite small? Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks Ike!

      All the brass have 2 velocity layers. That’s where I thought it mattered the most. I was lucky to find 2 velocity layers for the brass from freely available samples. Everything else is just a single layer but all the strings have round robin on the staccato samples so you can hear alternating bow strokes.

  8. Thanks for making a free library to try! 2 questions:
    1. I plan to try this with Auria iPad app using their Lyra sampler. Heard of that being done or any advice before I try it? I have downloaded and tried the SSO library in Auria and it works well. I had to remove the low pass filters from the brass sfz files though.
    2. I am quite new to software instruments, so what is a key switched patch and how is it used?

    Thanks!
    Jon

    • Jon,

      1. If SSO works, then this library should work in the same way. Some of SSO is included in this library.

      2. A key switch allows you to change from one articulation to another by hitting a key. For example, if you are using the 1st-violin-SEC-KS-C2.sfz patch, by default, if you just play any key in the normal violin range you’ll get a sustained sound with a slow attack. Press the E2 key on your keyboard then your violins will play short staccato notes. Pressing F2, makes the violins play pizzicato. You can return to the sustain sound by pressing C2. See the documentation above to see which notes select which articulation for the other instruments.

      • I loaded this into Auria Pro’s Lyra, but when I played some of the sounds – cello sect staccato for example- it would only play back on the left side. Then some patches played all in stereo. I also noticed on some of the instruments within the same patch, certain notes were only left or right, and other notes were stereo.

        Is this a function of the samples or patches, or is this a bug in Auria Pro’s Lyra?

        • That’s definitely not the way the sounds are supposed to be. I just tested cello sect staccato and for me (using Reaper and Sforzando), I hear the sound from both speakers. Maybe there is a problem with Auria Pro’s Lyra and the “pan” opcode in the .sfz files?

          If you remove the pan setting for a few notes in the cello sec staccato .sfz files, can you then hear those from both speakers?

          • Thanks for the quick reply! I played the samples themselves and they are stereo so it’s in the SFZ code. I checked the Cello SECT Staccato code and there are pan opcodes with varing negative numbers, so I think thats why it pans left or right. Not sure how to fix the code except to remove pan codes or change the values to 0.

    • I have no idea. You haven’t given me enough information. For example, what exactly happens when you try to load the .sfz files? Is there some error message? I also use sforzando by Plogue and I have no trouble so it certainly should work. Knowing why it doesn’t work for you, will require more information. I’ll help if I can.

  9. Thank You!

    I am using this as part of a Kontakt and Omnisphere 2 project that makes a certain old genre of music modern. I will be editing and manipulating the samples to some extent as well. Then they will be manipulated even more in the software as patches\presets. This was a major help. Again Thank You.

    Upon or After release… My partner and I will be donating to you as another Thank You. Can’t say when. I hope in less than a year. Shouldn’t take that long tho. A few months maybe.

    • One more thing. If you happen to have Kontakt Full version and Omnisphere 2.2 or higher.. I will talk to my partner of also giving you a free copy of the library as well.

    • Glad my library will be useful. Note that some of the samples require re-use of their Creative Commons license and attribution to the source of the samples. Not sure how that effects commercial use in case you’re going to repackage, modify and then sell the result. Good luck with your project. The more options out there for composers the better!

      p.s. No, I don’t have Kontakt.

  10. hi paul,

    I’m the guy who inflicted “no budget orchestra” upon innocent, impoverished musicians/engineers (electrical tech here, later seduced by microprocessor programming to become a software “bug creator”).

    I’ll be kicking the tires on your creation. Hopefully unlike my nephews, it won’t kick back. Maybe add it to my free symphony shootout on soundcloud.

    Come on over to linuxmusicians.com where even geeks think “these guys are total geeks”.

    • Jeff,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting and thanks for sharing “No Budget Orchestra”. Your library was a valuable resource as I was assembling my own collection of instruments. Keep up the good work on your own library.

  11. Dear Paul,

    Currently sitting in my engineering lab right now working on homework, but I’m going to try working with this as soon as I get home tonight. From someone who’s messed with SSO and other orchestral soundfonts, my deepest thanks for your work. I’ll let you know more as I try it out.

    Very much appreciated sir. Thank you!

    • Hey Rohan, I’m an engineer too. Hope you’ll find this library helpful. I’ve been a user of SSO since it first came out and I wanted to see if I could take it a little further. Let me know what you think when you’ve had time to try this out.

  12. Great work!

    I just listened to the two demo songs – and woa – they’re sounding right good. At some parts it’s obvious that here is a “virtual” orchestra playing. But all in all it sounds great!

    It’s a lot of work to arrange so many samples.
    Very appreciated! Thanx!

    • Thanks for your comment! I appreciate it. There will always be room for improvement but I hope that this library will be useful despite limitations that are necessarily part of this and any other virtual orchestras.

Leave a Reply

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