Instrument - Velocity and Keyswitch

  • In addition to the 12 Key Instruments, FingerpickPro includes a number of other instruments laid out like a keyboard. That is, instead of being chord-based they have all the notes of the guitar laid out so you can play it as if you were playing a piano.

The Velocity Instrument

  • The 'velocity' instrument has three different articulations of the guitar sound (sustained, muted and harmonics) organised in velocity layers. This is explained below.

The Keyswitch Instrument

  • The 'keyswitch' instrument has three different articulations of the guitar sound (sustained, muted and harmonics) organised by keyswitches. This means that the three articulations are triggered by the same playable keys but you choose which of the three kinds of sound you want by triggering one of three keyswitches.

Sustained Notes are enabled by pressing the keyswitch on the F0 key

Muted Notes are enabled by pressing the keyswitch on the G0 key

Harmonic Notes are enabled by pressing the keyswitch on the A0 key

  • This means the three different articulations of the guitar sound are mutually exclusive. Only one type of sound can be played at any one time.
  • Note that you only need to trigger a keyswitch briefly and it will remain in force until replaced by another keyswitch selection.
  • The default keyswitch is F0, for the Sustained Notes. This means that when you first open the Keyswitch Instrument you do not have to select any keyswitch as it will automatically play the sustained notes.

What is a velocity layer?

  • In case you are new to this, let's begin with some background. Sampled instruments are typically made by 'mapping' audio files (samples) on to a virtual keyboard. In the simplest case each key would trigger one sample. So by pressing say, a C3 note, the sample of a sound with a pitch of C3 would sound.
  • Most sample players are not restricted to one sample per key, but may have several more 'stacked' on top of each other. For example, you could map four or five samples onto one key, each sample being a different note in a chord. Then when you pressed that key all the notes would play at once to produce a chord.
  • However, there is a specialised way of 'stacking' multiple samples onto one key so that they do not all play at once but only if a further condition is met. In the case of velocity layered samples a different sample will be triggered depending on the midi velocity of the note.

Velocity Layers in FingerpickPro

  • This brings us to the case of FingerpickPro. The keys in the Velocity Instrument (and in the Chromatic Keys section of each Key Instrument) have three types of samples 'stacked' on them, the normal sustained note, a lightly muted note, and a harmonic note. There is a sustained note on every key, but the muted notes and harmonic notes do not sound on every key. This is explained below.
  • The three kinds of sounds are velocity-layered, so that when you trigger a key it will only play one or other of these three sounds. They will not play simultaneously. So how do you get the particular sound you want?

Sustained Notes will sound at midi velocity range 40 - 114 (between 40 and 114 inclusive)

Muted Notes will sound at midi velocity range 0 - 39 (i.e. below 40)

Harmonic Notes will sound at midi velocity range 115-127 (i.e. above 114)

  • So when you are creating a midi track, you simply need to adjust the midi velocity to the required level to get one of these sounds to play. Obviously the sustained notes are the most commonly used and you don't really need to worry about setting levels, because the default midi velocity in most DAWs would be around 100. It's really only when you want to use a muted or harmonic note that you would need to pay attention to this.

MIDI Velocity vs. Volume

  • You also need to be aware that midi velocity is not the same thing as volume. This might not be immediately apparent in normal use because in most cases there will be a close correlation between them. However, the presence of different velocity layered samples brings this issue to the fore.
  • The volume of the sound played within each velocity layer will vary with change in velocity, but not necessarily as much. If you take a velocity of 100 for the sustained notes as the measure, the volume of the muted and harmonic notes will be roughly the same at about 37-39 for muted and 115-117 for harmonics. You just need to adjust the levels depending on the circumstance.

The Range of the Muted and Harmonic Notes

  • In the Velocity and Keyswitch Instruments the different sample types are arranged as follows:

The Sustained notes cover the full range of keys from C1 - C5.

The Muted notes go from key C1 - C4.

The Harmonic notes go from key E2 - C5.

  • The muted notes are provided mainly for use in the bass range. It would be fairly obvious why the harmonic notes are in the upper section.
  • Note that the range of notes in the Velocity and Keyswitch Instruments goes five notes higher than in the Chromatic Keys section of each Key Instrument.

Sundry Sounds

  • The Velocity and Keyswitch Instruments each contains a section of Sundry Sounds, which are percussive sounds made by knocks and slaps on the body of the guitar. The Sundry Sounds cover the range of keys from F5 - B5. They are laid out as follows:

B5 - Thumb Top Hit

A#5 - Thumb Knock

A5 - Knuckle Knock

G#5 - Sharp Finger Slap

G5 - Palm Slap

F#5 - Palm Bridge Slap

F5 - Dead Strum Thumb


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