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Online Guide to MIDI Programming for Orchestral Mockups

The following were created for the Tools of New Media class at Peabody.
These are still works in progress. There will be bugs, sloppy language, and errors!

Grand Orchestra



When you are working with virtual instruments - you are the composer, performer, and conductor!


Start here for an overview.

Click the images below to view each chapter.


Dynamics: Velocity

In my opinion, the most important element to get right in your mockup is dynamics. We will start our journey by looking at one way of handling dynamics: velocity.

We will also look at Holst's "Mercury" from The Planets and use an excerpt as an exercise.

piano keys_edited.jpg
Image by Joel Wyncott


Dynamics: Continuous Controller

Velocity is an intuitive way to handle dynamics, especially considering that is the way you naturally play on a piano.

For instruments that are capable of sustaining a sound, continuous controllers ("MIDI CCs") provide a powerful way to add life and musicianship to mockups.


MIDI Timing: Offsets, Legatos, and Overlaps


Image by Bryan Goff
Image by Anna Zakharova


Articulation management

Along with dynamics, using a variety of articulations is one of the most significant ways of improving your compositions and mockups.

Here we will look at a few different strategies for handling multiples articulations in our DAW.


Ensemble Sizes

How most sample libraries pose a problem right out of the box.

What is the "Transposition T rick"?

Image by Joah Legg
Image by Anna Zakharova


Coming Soon: Routing and Stems

How to set up your DAW so you can quickly and easily print stems or individual tracks, with or without FX.


Coming Soon: Basic Spatialization and Mix

Handling instruments recorded in a different space - especially those that were recorded in a smaller space (such as your home!)

Getting overall levels in the right ballpark.

Image by Bryan Goff
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