Tokyo Scoring Strings features five independently recorded sections (Violins 1, Violins 2, Viola, Cello, Bass) in a typical Japanese ensemble size (8/6/4/4/3) suitable for small and large productions alike.
As well as filling gaps in the instrumental ranks, the VSL PE features new playing styles and adds more variations and dynamic layers to the existing instruments' repertoire. One great advance is that all the ensembles' and solo instruments' sustained notes have been looped, with the solo instruments presented in a choice of looped or non-looped versions (the solo strings are currently unlooped, though one presumes VSL will rectify that in a future edition). The labour involved in seamlessly looping thousands of stereo recordings is back-breaking, so full marks to the company for making the effort.
Unlike other orchestral libraries, VSL's PE contains no woodwind ensembles, but with 10 lavishly sampled solo woodwinds at your disposal, each of which can be played chordally from a MIDI keyboard, you should have no trouble using the library to produce a rich, convincing orchestral woodwind ensemble sound.
As well as adding solo strings, the PE also substantially updates the existing string ensembles, supplying a host of new articulations which include no-vibrato versions. There's a new sustain category called flautando, a hushed, breathy and expectant sound which resembles a quiet tremolando. The violins' menu of crescendo and diminuendo performances is enlarged, and their trills now take in minor and major third intervals and accelerating versions, the latter a very arresting effect when played on 14 violins! Muted (con sordino) and metallic-sounding sul ponticello versions of most of the main playing styles appear for the first time, along with tight and loose col legno hits and the Bartok 'snap pizzicato' noise.
The PE's seven new brass instruments add considerable depth and colour to the library's brass ranks. Each one offers straight notes with a choice of different note lengths, attacks and vibrato styles, plus a wide range of changing-dynamic performances (fp, sfz, sffz, pfp, crescendo and diminuendo) of different lengths and intensities. Three of the new instruments (piccolo trumpet, bass trumpet and contrabass tuba) play tone and semitone trills, and all but one of the PE's 14 brass instrument categories (including the ensembles) now offer VSL's beloved flutter tongue performances. Only the Wagner tuba fails to flutter.
As with the Orchestral Cube, the Performance Set Pro Edition contains an upgraded version of the Performance Set First Edition. VSL's new woodwind, brass and solo string instruments are all extensively represented, and many of the PS FE's instruments' performances have been expanded. There are 42 instrumental categories in all, comprising both solo instruments and ensembles.
The four string ensembles each get a new category of repeated 60bpm quarter notes, and all but the basses get a new set of fast repetitions (16th notes at 150-190bpm), which include crescendo and diminuendo versions. New performances for the violin and viola sections include 120bpm note repetitions played with vibrato, 'performance tremolos' (much the same as normal tremolos, but benefiting from the Legato Tool's smoothing effect), grace notes in a choice of tone or semitone intervals, and 'performance legato grace notes' in which the tool automatically selects an up or down grace note of a semitone, tone or minor third interval, depending on the previous note played (note: on this particular patch, intervals wider than a minor third played with legato fingering result in no sound at all!).
The violins', violas' and cellos' performance legatos expand to include a new set of forte intervals played across different strings, giving a cleaner, slightly more articulated legato effect. In the FE, all the string ensemble performance legato intervals are played on one string only. The aforementioned ensembles also gain a comprehensive set of con sordino (muted) performances, comprising performance legatos and note repetitions. Although the Performance Set upgrade gives few new performance categories to the double bass ensemble, the basses' upper range has been extended in places, and chromatic and whole-tone scales have been added to their repertoire of octave runs.
When it comes to brass ensembles, VSL's Pro Edition adds comparatively little to the performances supplied in the PS FE. The three-trumpet, three-trombone and four-French horn ensembles all get some extra note repetition categories and the horns get an extra mf velocity level for their note repetitions, but the only truly notable change is that the trombone ensemble now joins the four horns in playing glissandi and performance glissandi, covering six semitones in range. No new categories are provided for the PS FE solo brass instruments.
Raza, Haider and Rathee, Dheeraj and Zhou, Shang-Ming and Cecotti, Hubert and Prasad, Girijesh (2019)Covariate shift estimation based adaptive ensemble learning for handling non-stationarity in motor imagery related EEG-based brain-computer interface. Neurocomputing, 343. pp. 154-166. DOI 1e1e36bf2d