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1 <html>
2 <head>
3 <meta name="author" content="Christian Schoenebeck">
4 <title>Instrument Scripts</title>
5 <meta name="description" content="Introduction to real-time instrument scripts.">
6 <link rel="stylesheet" href="http://doc.linuxsampler.org/css/preview.css">
7 <script type="text/javascript" src="http://doc.linuxsampler.org/js/preview.js"></script>
8 </head>
9 <body>
10 <h1>Real-Time Instrument Scripts</h1>
11 <p>
12 The sampler technology is constantly evolving to satisfy new feature
13 requirements of sound designer in order to allow them creating more and
14 more realistic sounds. As an example you might look at state of the art
15 orchestra libraries. They not only allow you pick one of the individual
16 instrument sounds of an orchestra, they also allow you to control the
17 articulation of the respective orchestra instrument while playing them
18 live with your keyboard. So you might start playing an interesting intro
19 with a string ensemble in
20 <i title="Technique that uses a bowing style that leaves the string clearly to produce a light 'bouncing' sound.">spiccato</i>
21 playing style, then you might go over into a slow bridge part where the
22 string ensemble is resembling a
23 <i title="Of successive notes in performance, connected without any intervening silence of articulation.">legato</i>
24 articulation or even
25 <i title="Portamento is a continous pitch sliding from one note to another.">portamento</i>
26 in between, which makes that part of the song very calm and
27 relaxed, and then you shock your audience all of a sudden with a loud
28 <i title="Staccato signifies a note of shortened duration, separated from the note that may follow by silence.">staccato</i>,
29 automatically supported by kettledrum and brass sounds, that wakes up even
30 the last one in the back row. And the best thing: you did not switch to
31 another instrument during that entire song.
32 </p>
33
34 <h3>Technical Challenge</h3>
35 <p>
36 Adding these kinds of features to a sampler had long been a challenge for
37 software developers. On one hand you need to provide the musician
38 additional controls to let him switch between such kind of orchestra
39 articulations. Sound designers came up with various ideas to let the
40 keyboard player do this. For example by
41 <ul>
42 <li>using continous controllers like the keyboard's modulation wheel</li>
43 <li>using a dedicated keys section on the keyboard where each key selects another playing style</li>
44 <li>utilizing aftertouch support of keyboards</li>
45 </ul>
46 and some more. And on the other hand developers needed to extend the
47 sampler software and the instrument file format to deal with all those
48 extensions. Thinking about <i>portamento</i> for example, the sampler not
49 only has to pick the right sample for the first key the keyboard player
50 hits, the sampler also has to detect the next note and needs to pick a
51 special dedicated portamento sample that goes specifically from that one
52 note to that other note. If the sampler would do that synthetically
53 instead, then it would sound synthetically.
54 </p>
55 <p>
56 And if that was not enough, sound designers started even to ask for very
57 exotic features, specifically for just a bunch of sounds or even for just
58 one single sound of
59 theirs, for example
60 a specific note pattern that shall automatically be added by the sampler
61 to each note being played by the keyboard player.
62 The requested feature set became such large, that sampler developers
63 failed to put all this into their stock sampler software package.
64 A completely new solution was required.
65 </p>
66
67 <h3>Scripts as Solution</h3>
68 <p>
69 Instead of bloating the sampler engine with more and more suboptimal
70 features that not really suited anybody, the sampler developers turned the
71 way around and opened the sampler engine for sound designers, so that they
72 could add their own custom software components and bundle them with their
73 sounds. These kinds of software plugins that are directly glued and
74 shipped with sounds are called <i>Instrument Scripts</i>, they extend
75 the sampler software with new software features required by the
76 respective sound.
77 </p>
78 <p>
79 Sound designers were finally free to add their own features to the sampler
80 and used <i>Instrument Scripts</i> extensively to create stunning new
81 sounds. For example they came up with a feature called
82 <i title="Sympathetic resonance is a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formerly passive string responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness.">
83 symphatetic resonance
84 </i> for their piano sound libraries, which brought piano sounds another
85 great leap forward to match their real, physical counter parts.
86 </p>
87
88 <h2>Using Scripts with LinuxSampler</h2>
89 <p>
90 LinuxSampler allows you to write and use such <i>Instrument Scripts</i>
91 as well. At this point however, support for instrument scripts is limited
92 to the GigaStudio format engine of LinuxSampler yet. The script engine was
93 developed in a very modular design, where most of the script engine's
94 software is independent from the actual sampler format and the
95 respective sampler format engine is just adding its format specific
96 extensions to the script language. For example the GigaStudio format
97 engine adds scripting functions to allow the sound designer to control the
98 dimension region by scripts.
99 </p>
100 <p>
101 In other words: adding script support to the SFZ format engine for
102 example would not be much work. Simply nobody so far had time and
103 passion to add the scripting feature to the SFZ engine yet.
104 </p>
105
106 <h3>Bundling Scripts with Sounds</h3>
107 <p>
108 Our graphical instrument editor for the GigaStudio format - <i>gigedit</i> -
109 includes an instrument script editor and allows you to attach
110 instrument scripts to individual GigaStudio format sounds. Refer to the
111 gigedit manual for <a href="gigedit_scripts.html">how to manage instrument scripts with gigedit.</a>
112 </p>
113
114 <h3>Learning the Script Language</h3>
115 <p>
116 You certainly find some instrument scripts ready to be used on the
117 Internet. So you can simply download and attach them to your sounds with
118 <i>gigedit</i>. In order to write your own custom instrument scripts though, you
119 need to get in touch with the scripting language. Refer to the
120 <a href="nksp.html">NKSP Language Tour</a>
121 for learning how to write your own scripts.
122 </p>
123
124 <h3>Script Language Reference</h3>
125 <p>
126 If you are already familiar with the instrument script language basics,
127 and just need details and examples to the individual built-in functions
128 and built-in variables, then refer to the
129 <a href="nksp_reference.html">NKSP Reference Manual</a>.
130 </p>
131
132 </body>
133 </html>

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