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Practice with MIDI-based orchestration
#2999038 07/05/20 12:35 PM
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kimby Online Content OP
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Does anybody do this?

If you're practicing something that is meant to be played with an orchestra, and you can find a good MIDI of said orchestration, you could practice at sub-tempo and start/top where necessary as a form of practice while hearing what the other parts sound like with you.

I have a computer that is running my VST - VSL or Pianoteq or some other piano. I assume I'd want to synthesize the MIDI on the same machine and combine the output. I mean in a live/practice format, not for recording or performance purposes.

Does anyone have a good "this is how I do it" that he or she would share? Poor synthesis is fine since it's not for anything performance-related.

I assume I'd need a VST host, but besides the piano plugin, what else would I need?

This may be a very elementary question, but I'm still new to the world of sound mixing/etc!

I know that for some pieces, there are YouTube accompaniments available. But they're at full tempo, and I'm not that accomplished when I'm still learning a piece.


Previous long-time owner of a Yahama P-120 (and love it) - now has new life with a student
Brand new owner of a Kawai CA79 (and love it!)
Re: Practice with MIDI-based orchestration
kimby #2999042 07/05/20 12:50 PM
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You need a DAW where you can import the orchestra MIDI file. Cubase Elements is cheap, provides orchestra instruments and map automatically the program numbers of your MIDI file to its instruments.

There are other DAW (Reaper, Cakewalk Sonar...) but you would need to purchase an orchestra virtual instrument set and assign manually the first track to the corresponding instrument (lets say the violin), the second track to its instrument and so on. You may have better result, depending of your orchestra virtual instrument, but is not straightforward.

With the DAW, you will be able to record the piano on a dedicated track. You have multiple option :
- an audio record,
- a MIDI record with a virtual instrument,
- a MIDI record with your piano too play back.

The last one can’t be exported to a WAV or MP3 file excepted by replaying the MIDI track to your piano and record it on an audio track.


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Practice with MIDI-based orchestration
Frédéric L #2999072 07/05/20 01:47 PM
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kimby Online Content OP
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
You need a DAW where you can import the orchestra MIDI file. Cubase Elements is cheap, provides orchestra instruments and map automatically the program numbers of your MIDI file to its instruments.

Thanks, Frédéric! Let us say that I obtain Cubase Elements. Would I be able to load a VST (in my case, NI Noire or VSL BI) alongside the "built-in" MIDI renderer (with orchestra instruments that Cubase provides)?

Originally Posted by Frédéric L
The last one can’t be exported to a WAV or MP3 file excepted by replaying the MIDI track to your piano and record it on an audio track.

I could maybe render the MIDI, then take my piano recording (whether MIDI->rendered or whether it is rendered by the piano) and marry them up in Audacity, if I wanted a recording.

Anyway I am not so concerned about a finished WAV or MP3 recording, so much as being to "practice with the orchestra."

This is really good information - thank you!


Previous long-time owner of a Yahama P-120 (and love it) - now has new life with a student
Brand new owner of a Kawai CA79 (and love it!)
Re: Practice with MIDI-based orchestration
kimby #2999077 07/05/20 01:56 PM
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Yes : you import the MIDI file, Cubase automatically create tracks assigned to the right instrument. Then, you create a new instrument track assigned to your VST. You arm this piano track to make Cubase know that it should not be played back (there is nothing to play back!), but render what you play.

Then the play or the rec button play back all the tracks which are not armed. The Rec record the armed track.


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Practice with MIDI-based orchestration
Frédéric L #2999086 07/05/20 02:08 PM
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kimby Online Content OP
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Ok - this all sounds like an exciting adventure!

You have given me a solid starting point. I will try this out and see how far I get with it.

Thank you again!


Previous long-time owner of a Yahama P-120 (and love it) - now has new life with a student
Brand new owner of a Kawai CA79 (and love it!)
Re: Practice with MIDI-based orchestration
Frédéric L #2999088 07/05/20 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
Cubase Elements is cheap, provides orchestra instruments and map automatically the program numbers of your MIDI file to its instruments.

One more question Frédéric - it looks like Cubase requires a hardware eLicenser key. I have the Vienna Key for use with VSL. Will this same USB key work with licenses for Cubase? Do you know?


Previous long-time owner of a Yahama P-120 (and love it) - now has new life with a student
Brand new owner of a Kawai CA79 (and love it!)
Re: Practice with MIDI-based orchestration
kimby #2999092 07/05/20 02:16 PM
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It is the same model than Vienna. (I have purchased one for Vienna Imperial and now use it with Cubase too).

According to https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=158082 a soft activation is possible, but I suppose that if your PC crash you will lost the license, this is why I prefer a dongle.

Note : with Cubase, you can mute the piano track or move a piano content to the virtual piano track in order to enhance the piano sound.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 07/05/20 02:22 PM.

Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq

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