I'm a full-time pianist/violinist and producer. A stage piano or electric piano is based on a real piano where a hammer must be thrown at a string & there is a click to the feel of the key, which in a real piano is the escapement mechanism resetting. When I use my electric piano (Kawai MP5) I get too much attack with my sampled strings, so they are not evenly flowing like a real orchestra. It then takes me a while to even this out to get a 'real orchestra' string section for the customer. Do I need a cheap MIDI controller which doesn't have the action of a piano to get better smoother string playing? Many thanks, and I'm new here so looking forward to meeting people :)
Experiment with ADSR envelope setting.
Here are some excerpts from the manual that might help:
36 6.2.14 Velocity Switch
Velocity switching is an extremely useful and creative tool for customizing a performance. Using Velocity Switching, it is possible to have either one sound switch to another sound at a set velocity, or even for a second sound to be added in once a certain velocity has been reached, or to have a sound drop out above or below a set velocity level.
This parameter sets the velocity switch type.
No effect. The sound plays normally.
The selected sound plays only when the key is struck harder than the Vel SW Val. (See next parameter)
The selected sound plays only when the key is struck softer than the Vel SW Val. (See next parameter)
The "next parameter" they're referring to is the "Velocity Switch Value". Then you have "Velocity compression" which is your regular keyboard response curve.
Then there's "Velocity Offset":
For example to get a “No-Velocity” Organ type of playing feeling, set Velocity Compression to 0 and adjust the velocity level with this parameter to 127 or any other wanted level of velocity
You might get even better results by experimenting with the tuning options.
The tuning is flat without stretching.
The tuning is always stretched.
The tuning is stretched only when piano sounds are selected.
Same as “On” but the stretching is wider.
Piano W: Same as “Piano” but the stretching is wider
You also have the choice of following temperaments:
- Pure Maj/Min (for choral music)
- Manual per-key tuning
The enveloping controls are activated with the "Tone Modify" button. And the "SW" button can be programmed to easily switch on the response curve, so you can quickly press it according to the passage you're playing.
The only thing about the MP series is it's implementation of zoning and layers, which adds unnecessary programming burden to all of the above, but it's a standard feature on digital keyboards. Maybe on the MP a little unintuitive.
Maybe try a Midi accordion? Strings have continuous notes and continuous expression, and the bellows action of an accordion maps pretty well to that, assuming that the controller messages will cooperate well with your expander.
Wind controllers are likely similar regarding expressivity but would require single-voice recording and working with a significantly different "keyboard".
The basic attack action of a weighted piano keyboard just isn't all that suitable for continuous notes: an unweighted (or "semi") keyboard like you'd use for organ/harmonium sounds likely makes for a better tactile result. However, this should more affect the playing feel/action than the results: either way you'll get a note-on event with velocity. So if it's more the results than the feel that is disturbing to you, you might want to look at settings and/or velocity curves of your expander first.