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#3178069 12/17/21 12:04 AM
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The "what's the best VST" thread somehow prompts me to ask this.

I'm curious about one specific capability.

And no, it's not the presence of true una corda samples, the absence of which for me vastly diminishes the value of the Synchron pianos. frown

No, this question is about the emulation of the function of the sostenuto pedal. Normally you play something and catch it with the sostenuto, which enables you to change the damper pedal thereafter without disturbing the notes you're already holding.

I came across this performance trick, which works without issue on an acoustic piano.

The beginning of the second Rachmaninoff piano concerto consists of alternating between chords and an F1 pedal tone.

The trick is - silently depress the F1 before beginning the piece.
Catch it with the sostenuto pedal while holding the key down.
Then as you go back and forth between the chords and the low F, the F will hold as a pedal tone.

It's a neat effect.

But... can a VST do this?

I've only experimented with a few, but would be interested to hear of others.

My experiments:
  • Pianoteq - yes
  • VSL VI - no
  • VSL Synchron - no
  • Ivory ACD - no
  • Modern U - no
  • Ravenscroft - no
  • Garritan CFX - no


If anyone cares to try, what do you find?


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JaneF #3178093 12/17/21 03:53 AM
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Hello,

Now this is a nice, interesting, original question, @JaneF!

From the top of my head, I'd say Modern U should be able to do this. I'll test it later today or over the weekend, and report back.

Cheers and happy sostenuto,

HZ

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Not being specific to Rach2, are you saying that the sostenuto never works, or that it only works when playing an AUDIBLE note? It may be that your midi keyboard sends a message that is incorrectly interpreted by the VST engine as being a note off instead of being inaudible note-on ...

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Hello,

@JaneF, I just did the test with Modern U. It performs your sostenuto "trick" with ease and does it well, I am happy to report.

As an 'encore', I also intended to do the same test with NI Noire, but discovered it only seems to recognize Sustain. So that one is a definite No.

Cheers and happy playing,

HZ

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Hi Jane,

I also did it with Garritan CFX, and it played the opening of Rachmaninoff second perfectly, so did American Concert D, Ravenscroft, and Modern U. VSL Synchron Concert D 274 didn't do so well, especially if I depress the sustain pedal as I release the chords.

Hope this helps!

David

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Originally Posted by David Lai
Hi Jane,

I also did it with Garritan CFX, and it played the opening of Rachmaninoff second perfectly, so did American Concert D, Ravenscroft, and Modern U.

David

Hello,

Wonderful results, David, great to know!

Cheers and happy playing,

HZ

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Just as an aside my Roland DP will do this but I can only play about half of those chords 😀


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JaneF #3178309 12/17/21 09:20 PM
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Interesting.
Thanks for the input, guys.

Looking deeper and switching on the keyboard display in the various plugins, I see that Pianoteq displays the key (in red) when I depress it silently.

The keyboard for the Modern U does not show key activity.
The keyboard for the Garritan CFX also does not.
The Ivory keyboard graphic never shows key activity regardless of keystroke, but the little MIDI light comes on briefly when I silently depress a key.

Having no clue what I'm doing, I tried using MIDI OX. It seems that my "silent" keypresses are transmitting as Key Aftertouch 7F and Key Aftertouch 00. Whereas the softest note I can play transmits as Note On and Note Off.

So it's my keyboard after all. But still interesting that Pianoteq has programmed their system so it recognizes silent keypress whereas none of the other guys seem to.

This is the only keyboard I have (N3 Avant Grand) so I've nothing to compare it to. I'm guessing the keyboards you're using actually transmit a Note On at maybe velocity 0 or 1. ???

As for the opening of the Rach Second... @David Lai - I think you're one guy who could actually play that! FWIW, I've been disappointed with some aspects of VSL's playability - beginning with the lack of una corda. I have to guess that their major market is gigging musicians and people using pianos in instrumental mixes, rather than the few "odd" amateurs who obsess over exposed solo classical performance.

Cheers,

Jane

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JaneF #3178347 12/18/21 05:07 AM
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Hello,

It strikes me as odd that a beefy hybrid like your N3 is troubly in how it handles such a natural thing as a silent key press.

My Roland FP-10 indeed does send a note-on with velocity 1, and my main piano (Modern U) has the option to interpret that as a silent key press. A note-on with velocity 0 is usually interpreted as actually being a note-off, this inherits from older keyboards/pianos that didn't use the separate note-off command.

Now some good news for you is that software like MIDI-OX can translate MIDI messages. So, for each aftertouch command that comes in, it can send a note-on with velocity 1 to your VSTi. Same for aftertouch-off to a note-off with velocity 0.

This takes some fiddling and familiarizing with that software and the routing of the MIDI stream, but should be doable!

Cheers and happy MIDI interventions,

HZ

JaneF #3178386 12/18/21 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JaneF
Interesting.
Thanks for the input, guys.

Looking deeper and switching on the keyboard display in the various plugins, I see that Pianoteq displays the key (in red) when I depress it silently.

The keyboard for the Modern U does not show key activity.
The keyboard for the Garritan CFX also does not.
The Ivory keyboard graphic never shows key activity regardless of keystroke, but the little MIDI light comes on briefly when I silently depress a key.

Having no clue what I'm doing, I tried using MIDI OX. It seems that my "silent" keypresses are transmitting as Key Aftertouch 7F and Key Aftertouch 00. Whereas the softest note I can play transmits as Note On and Note Off.

So it's my keyboard after all. But still interesting that Pianoteq has programmed their system so it recognizes silent keypress whereas none of the other guys seem to.

This is the only keyboard I have (N3 Avant Grand) so I've nothing to compare it to. I'm guessing the keyboards you're using actually transmit a Note On at maybe velocity 0 or 1. ???

As for the opening of the Rach Second... @David Lai - I think you're one guy who could actually play that! FWIW, I've been disappointed with some aspects of VSL's playability - beginning with the lack of una corda. I have to guess that their major market is gigging musicians and people using pianos in instrumental mixes, rather than the few "odd" amateurs who obsess over exposed solo classical performance.

Cheers,

Jane
Hi Jane!

Thanks for your comment. As context, I'm on a Kawai VPC1, which is a midi keyboard to begin with. I don't know how it interprets silent key presses, but I can surely play the opening of Rach 2nd and technically fake it to sound realistically on an acoustic instrument.

Well, I guess now I have one VST I regret buying, and that's the VSL Concert D 274. Love the sound, but its piano-like design is far from perfect compared with Garritan CFX, ACD or Modern U. I have to confess that these other libraries give me far more enjoyment and I practice a lot with them compared with the VSL Synchron Concert D 274.

Thanks for the experiment!!!

David

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Originally Posted by HZPiano
A note-on with velocity 0 is usually interpreted as actually being a note-off
Always. It's part of the MIDI spec. Note On velocity 0 must be interpreted as Note Off.

A "silent keypress" should be Note On velocity 1.

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Originally Posted by David Lai
VSL Concert D 274. Love the sound, but its piano-like design is far from perfect compared with Garritan CFX, ACD or Modern U.

Hi David. Would you care to ellaborate on what makes these other VSTs better than the VSL D-274? I don't have the technical skills to push a VST and find its limitations, but would live to know what those are? Pedalling? Resonances while pedalling? Stacattisimos? Or simply the stacking of the notes?

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Originally Posted by vagfilm
Hi David. Would you care to ellaborate on what makes these other VSTs better than the VSL D-274? I don't have the technical skills to push a VST and find its limitations, but would live to know what those are? Pedalling? Resonances while pedalling? Stacattisimos? Or simply the stacking of the notes?
Hi vagfilm!

So far, there are 2 key functions the Synchron D can't do:

1. True una corda (soft pedal on the left) samples. The Synchron D doesn't have them, and the whole Synchron Pianos line in fact.

2. sustain and sostenuto pedals not be effected by one another. This means when you are using both pedals together, despite the changing of the sustain pedal, the sostenuto note will continue to hold, and the sustain pedal also functions as so, no matter how you change the pedal.

All the other libraries I have can do this, except Synchron D. But I still keep it in my computer because of its sound, and because, of course, I bought it...

Hope this helps.

David

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David: thanks for your comment. I was aware of the lack of una corda, but not aware of the pedal problems. As I am at the stage of "both hands playing is a challenge" and not yet at "both pedals challenge", I will keep that information but it does not affect me. If it was something touch related that VILabs could do well but VSL no, I would be more worried...

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Well, I think the Pianoteq mystery is solve-ed (as Inspector Clouseau would have said.)

When I bought and installed Pianoteq, I took some forum advice and set the MIDI dialect to "Disklavier XP".

Pianoteq has its own MIDI monitor window, and with MIDI dialect set to "Standard MIDI" the messages received are
Note 077 Aftertouch (F4) value:127
Note 077 Aftertouch (F4) value:0

Set to "Disklavier XP" the messages become
Damper 077 POS (F4) value1:127
Damper 077 POS (F4) value1:0

Much of the time I use Cantabile rather than the VSTi standalone versions. I posted on their forum to ask whether there's an easy way to do that mapping of Aftertouch to Damper.

Anyway, thanks for your help. Otherwise I would have continued thinking the differences were in the VSTi rather than a peculiarity of my N3.

@David Lai - not sure I'm reading your description of the VSL sostenuto issue correctly. I have the VSL Bluethner and 280VC and hadn't noticed the sostenuto and sustain pedals interacting. Can you give me an example?
I just tried the first bars of the Barcarolle with the 280VC and kept the sostenuto pedal through to the end while changing damper pedal throughout. (Sorry the recording is so bass-heavy and my playing so clunky):
https://soundcloud.com/user-203045683/barcarollesostenuto280vc

Jane

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JaneF #3178500 12/18/21 08:48 PM
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And... discussed in a different context in this thread: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...and-midi-dialect-same-as-disklavier.html


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Hello,

@JaneF, It looks like we've all learned some things from your case.

If Cantabile offers functionality for doing the MIDI mapping (which I referred to as 'translation' in my earlier response), that'd make your life easier than when using MIDI-OX for that task.

In creating such mapping for the sake of your sostenuto method used with your sample-based VSTis, I suggest you forget about the 'damper' term, which is highly likely to put you on a dead end.

Instead, create the mapping as I described earlier:

Originally Posted by HZPiano
Now some good news for you is that software like MIDI-OX can translate MIDI messages. So, for each aftertouch command that comes in, it can send a note-on with velocity 1 to your VSTi. Same for aftertouch-off to a note-off with velocity 0.

Cheers and happy mapping,

HZ

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Originally Posted by JaneF
Well, I think the Pianoteq mystery is solve-ed (as Inspector Clouseau would have said.)

When I bought and installed Pianoteq, I took some forum advice and set the MIDI dialect to "Disklavier XP".

Pianoteq has its own MIDI monitor window, and with MIDI dialect set to "Standard MIDI" the messages received are
Note 077 Aftertouch (F4) value:127
Note 077 Aftertouch (F4) value:0

Set to "Disklavier XP" the messages become
Damper 077 POS (F4) value1:127
Damper 077 POS (F4) value1:0

Much of the time I use Cantabile rather than the VSTi standalone versions. I posted on their forum to ask whether there's an easy way to do that mapping of Aftertouch to Damper.

Anyway, thanks for your help. Otherwise I would have continued thinking the differences were in the VSTi rather than a peculiarity of my N3.

@David Lai - not sure I'm reading your description of the VSL sostenuto issue correctly. I have the VSL Bluethner and 280VC and hadn't noticed the sostenuto and sustain pedals interacting. Can you give me an example?
I just tried the first bars of the Barcarolle with the 280VC and kept the sostenuto pedal through to the end while changing damper pedal throughout. (Sorry the recording is so bass-heavy and my playing so clunky):
https://soundcloud.com/user-203045683/barcarollesostenuto280vc

Jane

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Hi.

I just discovered that in the new Pianoteq 7.5 update, this have changed in. If you set the MIDI dialect to Disklavier XP and press the key slowly so you produce value "damper position 127" there is now a soft note and not a silent keypress. This might be a bug and I will contact Modartt about it. If I get an answer I'll let you know.


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Thanks, HZ.

So far I've gotten a few responses on Cantabile's user forum, but nothing that's worked.

I also downloaded a trial version of Bome MIDI Translator but in 45 minutes (punctuated by the demo timing out every 20 minutes) wasn't able to come up with a translation that works (trying the mapping to note-on velocity 1).

It's not a big deal. I was more curious about the different VST behavior, although it would be kind of nice to get it to work. Maybe someday whistle

BTW, I couldn't stand how hard I'd hit the opening octave in the VSL sostenuto pedal demo I posted yesterday for David Lai, so I killed that one and replaced with this:
https://soundcloud.com/user-203045683/barcarollesostenuto280vctake2 (still my clunky playing but not entirely drowned by that octave. And I don't think I'd particularly want to play the Barcarolle on the VSL 280VC anyway...)


Cheers,


Jane


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Jane: do you use windows or macs? I have a custom tool that I programmed that may help you. It is windows only, though...

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