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How To Make My Sample Library Sound Good - Part 1 Staccato Strings

Peer Reviewed by jjd, Servant of the Lord, achild

sample library strings staccato how to
This is a brief explanatory tutorial to demonstrate how to get the most realistic sounds from a sample library and dealing with almost subconscious slight accents which most players make.

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When real life instrumentalists are playing their instrument they naturally make their own subtle accents. This video is demonstrating how you can replicate this to make music which further involves your audience. Furthermore this video will demonstrate the basics of MIDI editing for shorter notes and how to start the creation of a piece of music in a DAW. Basically it will enhance the way you use a sample library.

Software Used:
  • DAW: Cockos Reaper
  • Sample Library: EWQL Hollywood Strings

Attached Image: ccs-197647-0-68390500-1384690046.png

The image above is the music contained in the video and it has been colour coded according to strength of accent on the 4 beats of each bar. The first beat is almost always accented slightly unless the real life player has been told otherwise. We also see this in the 3rd beat of each bar (in 4/4) and this then happens on the 2nd and 4th beat when there are quavers (8ths).
  • Red = Strongest Accent
  • Yellow = Medium Accent
  • Green = Weakest Accent
Why Does This Happen?

This happens because of the way players count. In 4/4 time players count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and.
Whereas in 6/8 time players count 1 2 3 4 5 6 with the accents placed accordingly.

It is essential that you understand the counting and the slight stresses players put on the notes to successfully mimic the way real life musicians play.

Bear in mind that these accents are actually not very strong relative to an actual accent on printed music.

Note:  The patches used in this tutorial are 'Round Robin Patches' which means that there are multiple samples per note per velocity group. Therefore this example may sound better than non-round robin patches however this technique can still be used with those patches.

The Video


This video is part of a series which is currently in the process of being made so keep your eye out for the next article! Thank you for watching the video/reading the article!

Article Update Log

17 Nov 2013: Initial release

About the Author(s)

Caleb has been composing for the last 5 years and has been involved in the creation of music in games for the last 2 years.


GDOL (Gamedev.net Open License)


Nov 19 2013 12:38 PM

Great tutorial!  Velocity is the main key to make realistic sounds

Nov 30 2013 11:49 PM

Thanks for this! Never thought about beat accents before.

Keep it up... I'd love to see more tutorials from you.

Feb 02 2014 10:32 AM

Nice tutorial Caleb. Succinct, informative and useful. Thanks for contributing!

Feb 26 2014 05:00 PM

This is most useful for percussion samples, as it adds a lot of variety to the sound.

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