Question: Cello Programming

Hey everyone! Brand new to the forum, but loving all the information so far!

I have a question: I’m using CH Solo Cello for the solo section in this new piece (I’m doing a trailer-style Christmas EP). The piece is finished, but I’d love to get any tips/tricks/advice on how to make the cello at the beginning sound a bit more “real.”

Here’s a link:

To me it sounds like lots of vibrato but not a lot of dynamic movement in the bowing. For example for the start of a new phrase (first note after silence) you can start really low, to make sure you have room to build the dynamics curve. Also, variation in legato timings vs non legato can be very important for realism.


May be this video can be usefull


I’m not familiar with CH Solo Cello, so I’m not sure what you can do with it, but I can offer some observations from the perspective of having used various other libs, and playing the real thing as of a few months.

First thing I notice is that there are no legato transitions. Each new note has a sharp attack (marcato), as if played in a very distinct manner, from silence. While that’s possible to do to if desired, one would more likely play a phrase like that in a more flowing manner, with a mix of fingering (which results in an “instant” pitch change with minimal artifacts), string changes (much like what you have now, though the timbre differs slightly between the strings), and shifts/slides (“pitch bend” as the finger/hand moves, often in conjunction with fingering, so it will be “slide-jump,” “jump-slide,” or even “slide-jump-slide”).

The shift/slide thing is quite essential to the sound and feel of these instruments in legato passages, and it’s the one big features of legato patches in sample libraries. It pretty much has to be deep-sampled (as in, actual recordings of all possible intervals) and scripted for any chance of realistic results, so I don’t think there’s much point in trying to program it if it’s not supported by the library.


As @olofson said, I think the biggest thing making it sound less “real” is the attack of each note.

If CH has a “legato” patch, try using than and overlapping the notes slightly (so the note before carries on a tiny bit after the next note starts - that should trigger the legato articulation).

If there’s no legato patch, it’ll take a little more tweaking, but you basically want to make sure the beginning of each note doesn’t hit so hard.

Same goes for the full string section a little later on - soften the attacks a little to get them sounding a bit more authentic.

P.S. it’s a lovely arrangement!

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Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the feedback. Here’s the updated version, and my wife (a violist) helped with the bowing, which I believe enhanced the performance greatly.

The EP is available now, for a “pay what you want” price (including free), if you’d like to hear the others as well!

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