Demystifying Music Technology: Let's talk Sforzando!

Demystifying Music Technology: Let's talk Sforzando!

Finding your Sforzando.

Christopher Steller
Melbourne, Australia

Demystifying Music Technology: Let's talk Sforzando!

Finding your Sforzando.

Warning: there will be nothing Italian or particularly emphasised in the following text.

In my ongoing search for sounds that suit my music (and also my budget), I constantly visit sites and blogs that specialise in software plug-ins, sound samples and general hints and tips for creativity. One of my favourite blogs is called ‘Bedroom Producers’, which specialises in news about free stuff.  

Bedroom Producers is created by Tomislav Zlatic, a musician and a blogger, based in Belgrade. He writes about free and affordable music production tools on a daily basis in his Blog, and you can sign up for the newsletter here:http://bedroomproducersblog.com/

An interesting aside to the commercial world of music software, there exists a community of developers and beta-testers working to create software for the fun of it.

One of my recent discoveries is a sample player called Sforzando (you knew I'd get to it sooner or later). It was created by the people behind Garritan's (amazing orchestral library) sample player. Sforzando uses a file format (.sfz) for storing information about a collection of audio samples and how they will be played. A script can be written to allow velocity switching or even assignable keys to switch between, staccato, legato or pizzicato sample layers of an instrument. 

Image 1. Sforzando setup page and the keyboard showing a layer switch key (in red)

Image 1. Sforzando setup page and the keyboard showing a layer switch key (in red)

You'll need to visit the downloads section of www.plogue.com to download the appropriate items (including a free sound set and setup manual). Sforzando works as a standalone application or as a plugin for most DAW software such as Logic, Cubase, Studio One, etcetera.

More sfz format sounds here:

http://ariaengine.com/free-sfz-sounds/

Recently, Bedroom Producers posted about a free orchestral sample library of nearly 2GB of orchestral instrument samples. Versilian Studios has created several paid versions of their orchestral collection, but is offering a ‘community’ version of the download, which is just the raw samples of the instruments. These are available from:

http://vis.versilstudios.net/vsco-community.html 

Read the page carefully to make sure you are downloading the correct items. You need the raw community edition of the library and any sfz files that utilise the samples. If you are a Mac user make sure to download the sfz presets for the Mac version.

There are even videos  on using the format and creating scripts for your collection.

This is a great supplement to your current DAW sound selection.

For more great sfz format sound sets visit www.patcharena.com and click on the sfz instruments link. Cello sample from: http://www.karoryfer.com/karoryfer-samples

Have fun!

Image 2. A great cello sample set (yes, you can add images with the script)

Image 2. A great cello sample set (yes, you can add images with the script)