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Native Instruments Kontakt
Custom designed interface with real time score display
Time Machine Pro capability
Custom chord recognition and Harmonic Shift capabilities
3 recorded orchestral sections
- Strings 50 players
- Woodwinds 12 players
- Brass 10 players
4 recorded microphone positions
- Decca tree
Ostinato Noir Cinematic
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About Ostinato Noir
Multi-section Ostinato with a film noir feel
Ostinato Noir is designed to play rhythmic Ostinato chordal patterns for Strings, Woodwinds and Brass that work particularly in a Noir setting. With muted trumpets and horns, extended chords, warm woodwinds and velvety strings it has everything you need to add a Noir vibe to any composition.
If you’re familiar with the sister Ostinato libraries and our approach to ostinato recording then you’ll feel right at home with Ostinato Noir. The entire approach is different from our regular phrase instruments in that we recorded separate intervals for various rhythmic building blocks. After careful editing we combine these intervals through an intelligent script that builds them into chords in 5 different voicings and 4 inversions. The new inversion arpeggio controls create inversion patterns at the press of a key… a fast and easy way to build interesting sequences.
Ostinato Noir recognises and plays 12 different chord types, handling not only major and minor chords but also diminished, half-diminished, augmented chords and many more. There’s a full list documented within the user manual.
Not only does the engine build the chords based on the inversion you play in the chord area, but when you play in the harmonic shift area it will judge which inversion it plays based on the chord that came before it, the chord quality on the key you're in and the position of the chord you're triggering in that key. This ensures that transitions are smooth and harmonically correct, especially important to creating evolving motifs.
We have returned to the superb concert hall we employed for other Sonokinetic orchestral libraries and gathered a selection of some of the greatest (and most precise) players to perform for us. With three full orchestral sections at our disposal, we captured the full range of the instruments, allowing a wider palette of timbres within the Ostinato engine and playing up to 8 notes simultaneously. Although on the surface the interface looks the same as its sister libraries, Ostinato Noir has been completely rebuilt in the back-end to work more smoothly, allowing for multiple orchestral sections.
This library coexists alongside both our Orchestral Series and our Phrase-Based libraries, being recorded in the same hall, with identical mic positions and even utilising some of the same players. Our orchestral libraries blend seamlessly together.
We, at Sonokinetic BV, are very proud to introduce Ostinato Noir to you and can’t wait to hear the amazing things you, our valued customer base, will produce with it.
Sonokinetic has established a name as one of the best value & quality sample producers and with this product we’d like to underline that statement. We stick with our unbeatable pricing module and high quality sampling.
Left is the main interface for Ostinato Noir. Almost every aspect of the instrument can be changed either by clicking on the appropriate part of the interface, or by using the colored keyswitches. Pressing some of these keyswitches will have different effects depending on what velocity you use. More on that later.
Ostinato Noir is an instrument for playing rhythmic string, brass and woodwind motifs. In total there are 7 different types of patterns. Low patterns are only played by strings whereas high patterns are played by a combination of high strings, woodwinds and brass. These patterns are indicated by these graphics in the interface - shown on the white keys.
High and low keyboard sections can be assigned different patterns (more on that below). Choose patterns either by clicking the relevant white key in the interface, or with the yellow keyswitches shown below. These are white keys C3-B3 (low strings) and white keys C4-B4 (high strings, high woods and high brass).
By default the high and low patterns are linked, so that if you change the pattern in either high or low, the other pattern will change accordingly. These patterns can be unlinked by clicking this arrow graphic in the interface or using the velocity sensitive keyswitch at C#3. More information about this coming up.
Every time you play a chord in Ostinato Noir you are actually hearing 8 sampled phrases playing together. These comprise of two low string phrases, two high string phrases, two high woodwind phrases and two high brass phrases (each of two notes). The easiest way to see this in action is by looking at the notation shown on the left hand side of the interface;
Shown to the left is one of the variations of a C major chord. It is possible to mute and unmute these 8 phrases by using the interface mute buttons (shown on the right) or the keyswitches at C0 to G#0.
Brass are colored orange, woods are blue and strings green.
IMPORTANT NOTE RE MUTE KEYSWITCHES: The mute / unmute keyswitches in Ostinato Noir are in a different positions to our Ostinato Brass, Strings and Woodwinds libraries (C0 to G#0 this time around). This is due to the extended chord shaping possibilities of this library and the fact that there are up to 8 parts playing simultaneously. Bear this in mind if you wish to load multiple Ostinato sections into one instance of Kontakt and use the keyswitches to mute and unmute. In this respect Ostinato Noir will not operate in the same way as Ostinato Brass, Strings & Woodwinds.
It’s also possible to adjust the panning and volume level of the 8 phrases by using the controls shown here. These can be found in the options menu and will be covered later in the manual.
By default the MOD wheel of your MIDI keyboard will control the output volume of all of the pattern layers. As you lower the volume using the MOD wheel, subtle EQ adjustments are also introduced to soften the sound and give the impression of a greater dynamic range.
It is possible to deactivate the MOD wheel control of any of the layers by clicking the relevant MOD wheel icon. It will then become faded out to indicate that it is deactivated (shown here with woodwinds). Click again to activate.
You can use this function to add versatility to the layers, by fading one layer against another. You can also activate and deactivate these controls by using the pink keyswitches from C6 to D#6. Press with high velocity to activate and low velocity to deactivate.
Phrases in Ostinato Noir have been recorded at 100 BPM in 4/4 time. Regardless of the time signature and speed of your composition, the Ostinato engine will adjust the timing and playback of the phrases automatically so that they fit your project.
Click the buttons shown below to change the playback speed of the phrase, relative to your DAW’s BPM. The phrases will always sync to your host DAW tempo, being time-stretched within Kontakt to match the BPM. You can also use the keyswitch at D#3 to switch between playback speeds, with the 4 different speeds being assigned to 4 different velocity levels of that key. For example, press D#3 at high velocity to switch to ITM and at lowest velocity for half speed.
Playback at ½ speed, relative to DAW BPM
Original recorded speed, relative to DAW BPM
Playback at 2 x speed, relative to DAW BPM
Automatic - “Intelligent Tempo Mapping” - Playback at recorded speed, but at automatic half / double time at extreme tempi. This is generally the best speed setting. However, if your project has a tempo change mid-phrase, you may find that an alternative speed setting may be more useful. Also, when you are doing gradual tempo changes across a large range, it might be a good idea to opt for one of the fixed values instead of ITM.
It’s easy to purge patterns that you’re not using. Just click on the notes shown on the white keys in the interface. They will turn grey in color and the sample will be purged from memory. To reload, simply click the note again.
Link / Unlink Bass Layers
To get the maximum flexibility out of Ostinato Noir we’ve provided the ability to unlink the 2 low string layers from the other 6 high layers. This means that you can assign independent patterns to each. To unlink the bass layers simply click on the arrow shown here, or use the velocity sensitive keyswitch at C#3.
This will then allow you to choose different patterns for each of the two layers. An example of this is shown here:
Although Ostinato Noir plays the inversion it gets from chord detection, the bass layer will, by default, play root notes of the chord rather than the lowest note of the played inversion. If you want the bass layer to play inversion notes you can turn Bass Invert on. In that case the bass layer will play E in the first inversion of C, Bb in the 3rd inversion of C7, etc. The low strings bass layer has plenty of tonal material other than just the octave so can create some inspiring note combinations when Bass Invert is off. When Bass Invert is on it will always play an octave with the lowest two notes to avoid adding notes that don't belong.
Click the Sonokinetic icon at the bottom of the interface to open the options menu. From here you can control volume, panning, microphone mixing, arpeggiator keys, global tuning and Harmonic Shift.
Volume & Panning
Click the VOLUME / PAN legend at the bottom left of the options interface to display these controls.
In each field for the 8 phrase layers, drag the white overlay lines to adjust the volume and the small dials for panning. Ctrl / Cmd + click to reset these to default.
It’s easy to change the global pitch within Ostinato Noir. Just click the +/- controls shown here. Choose from either standard pitch (440Hz) or an alternative concert pitch (436 - 444Hz). Some live orchestras may be tuned to these alternative pitches so this function makes it easy to match the samples in Ostinato Noir to live recordings.
Setting tuning to “off” can be used if you want to set up your own bespoke tuning and will ensure that Ostinato Noir will not reset to a particular frequency next time you open the instrument.
Click the MIC POSITIONS legend at the bottom of the options interface to display the microphone mixing controls.
The samples for Ostinato Noir have been recorded in the same hall as sister libraries; Largo, Noir, Woodwind Ensembles, Tutti Vox, Expressivo, Maximo, Sotto, Capriccio, Grosso, Minimal, Da Capo, Tutti, Maximo, Vivace, Indie and all other Ostinato libraries. As such, Ostinato Noir has similar options for microphone mixing; Close, Decca Tree, Wide and Far (balcony). It is possible to use just one microphone position or mix between two different positions.
These different positions can be selected by clicking on the microphone position name.
Mixing is controlled by dragging the white slider line. The crossfade operates in such a way that the central position will play both microphone positions at full volume.
Microphone mixing options are global and apply to the entire instance of Ostinato Noir. Note that activating multiple microphone sections puts additional strain on CPU usage.
If you plan on using just one microphone position, set the other position to NONE to conserve CPU and RAM.
Like sister library Ostinato Woodwinds, Ostinato Noir has the ability to automate chord inversions. 3 different patterns are available, triggered on keyswitches F#3, G#3 and A#3.
Set up the inversion patterns with this sequencer page. Click the ‘reset’ button to reset the sequences to default.
Note that the changes are relative to the inversion you are in when you trigger the arpeggiator, and they will be inverted when you reach the limits of the recorded range.
If you’re familiar with previous phrase-based libraries from Sonokinetic then you may have used the Harmonic Shift function. Be aware that in Ostinato Noir the harmonic shift operates differently than before. In Ostinato Noir it’s more like a ‘one-key’ automatic voice leading tool. We will look more closely at how to play with harmonic shift later in this manual.
Access the Harmonic Shift window by clicking HARMONIC SHIFT in the options menu. This gives you the option to change the type of chord that is triggered when you play different combinations of chord types and press different harmonic shift keys from C5 to B5.
Here you can select which type of chords are played for each of the different harmonic shift keys and for each root chord. Simply click which type of root chord you want to change (major / minor / dominant etc) Then click the notes of the orange virtual keyboard where you can choose the type of chord that the particular interval will change the chord to.
We’ve included the ability to change the harmonic shift chords for the most common types of root chords: major, minor, diminished, half diminished, augmented, dominant, major 7th and minor 7th.
For suspended chords the harmonic shift keys simply transpose up the scale.
For minorMajor7th chords the harmonic shift keys cannot be changed and are set as follows:
Record & Drag MIDI
An update to all Ostinato products now comes with extended functionality and it’s possible to copy and paste MIDI information from the Ostinato engine to a DAW of your choice, to be used with your own virtual instruments
Firstly, ensure that you’ve updated your Ostinato library to the most recent versions via the Sonokinetic Manager and then you’ll see a new button towards the top left of the interface with the legend RECORD MIDI. Click this button and the engine will arm, listening for incoming MIDI once your DAW starts playing.
Press your DAW’s play button and let the MIDI part play through to the end. Once you’ve hit stop in your DAW you’ll see another button pop up named DRAG MIDI. Then all you need to do is click and drag from that button into your DAW and you’ll see the MIDI copy and pasted.
Multiple tracks will be created, one for each of the ostinato note parts. You can then combine and edit this MIDI however you want to. It’s not only rhythms and chords that can be dragged over. The Ostinato engine also recognises voicings, bass invert, harmonic shift, mute and unmute, time changes and even MOD wheel information which translates to note velocity.
Playing Ostinato Noir
The basic method of playing Ostinato Noir is to play three or four note chord combinations in the key range C1 to B2.
The chord recognition system will automatically detect inversions. The chord voicing that the engine depends on a number of factors, but is initially dictated by the voicing that you choose to play. However, this voicing can be changed using options within the interface / keyswitches.
Once you’ve played a chord it’s possible to sustain it by holding just one of the notes (voice leading). This enables easy switching to new chords without any gap in the playback. Chords can also be held by using a sustain pedal. Alternatively, a chord can be sustained by holding any key down in the playable area, thus allowing changes between chords. Be aware that if your new note creates a different type of chord which is recognised by the engine then this chord will be played immediately.
The Ostinato engine recognises many different types of chords, not just standard major and minor triads. Shown below are the recognised types of chords, and their inversions. These are shown in C but of course you can transpose these to whichever root key you’d like to. Note that we had to work a little bit with the sus2 chord since a regular inversion of that would clash with the input of a sus4 chord. Also note that 7th chords can be triggered by three note voicings or four note voicings.
|major||(CEG ECG GCE)|
|minor||(CEbG EbGC GCEb)|
|diminished||(CEbGb - for inversions use the force inversion keyswitch)|
|half dim||(CGbBb GbBbC BbCGb)||(CEbGbBb EbGbBbC GbBbCEb BbCEbGb)|
|dominant 7th||(CEBb EBbC BbCE)||(CEGBb EGBbC GBbCE BbCEG)|
|major 7th||(CEB EBC BCE)||(CEGB EGBC GBCE BCEG)|
|minor 7th||(CEbBb EbBbC BbCEb)||(CEbGBb EbGBbC GBbCEb BbCEbG)|
|minorMajor 7th||(CEbB EbBC BCEb)||(CEbGB EbGBC GBCEb BCEbG)|
|augmented||(CEG# - for inversions use the force inversion keyswitch)|
|sus2||(CDE DEC ECD)|
|sus4||(CFG FGC GCF)|
|7sus4||(CFGBb FGBbC GBbCF BbCFG)|
Ostinato Noir has the ability to output inversions. When playing chords in the left hand area the engine will recognise the inversion you play, and display it in the Inversion display area. When playing in the Harmonic shift area the inversion the instrument picks will be based on the relation of the chord to the last played chord and its inversion, choosing the inversion that will have the smoothest transition.
The current inversion will be shown in the interface in the inversion area next to the recognised chord in the bottom left, and by the blue key in the Inversion area of the virtual keyboard in Kontakt.
If you want to force the instrument to use a specific inversion you can use the 'Force Inversion' keyswitches, which are located at the very top of the keyboard - NOTE THIS IS A DIFFERENT POSITION TO OTHER OSTINATO PRODUCTS. These function as a one-time deal, meaning they will only influence the very next chord that is being played. You 'arm' an inversion by pressing one of the four keyswitches (G6 - root, A6 - 1st inv, B6 - 2nd inv and C6 - 3rd inv).
The key will turn red, and stay red until a new chord is recognised and forced to the inversion you set it to. Note that the 3rd inversion is only available for 7th chords, if you try putting a triad to the 3rd inversion it will default to the 1st inversion.
Like Ostinato Woodwinds, Ostinato Noir makes it possible to automate the chord inversions with an 8-step arpeggiator. Program your chosen inversion sequences in the ARPEGGIATOR KEYS section of the options menu and then use the keyswitches at F#3, G#3 and A#3 to trigger the sequences.
On the interface, these different sequences are marked a, b and c. Use these chord inversion automations to add movement to your woodwind parts.
5 different chord voicings are available, either by clicking within the interface or by using the black keyswitches from C#4 to A#4. These voicings are roughly the following, but be prepared for some surprises in the tradition of jazz voicings:
1 - closed 7th chords e.g. Cmaj7 -> b - c - e - g
2 - spaced 7th chords e.g. Cmaj7 -> e - b - c - g
3 - ninth chords e.g. Cmaj9 -> b - d - e - g
4 - thirteenth chords natural e.g. Cmaj13 -> e - b - d - a
5 - altered chords with flat and sharp additions e.g. Cmaj13#11 -> b - e - f# - a - d
You can switch between these voicings on the fly using the keyswitches.
Ostinato Noir’s extended chords
The chords produced by Ostinato Noir follow the jazz tradition - don't expect any basic triads. In chord preset 1 all chords will at least have an added 6th or 7th, and chords will become more exotic with alterations and additions when you move up to chord preset 5. This is intentional and is at the very heart of the Ostinato Noir concept
Harmonic Shift In Detail
Harmonic shift is a function we have introduced in our other phrase based libraries to make it possible to shift part of your instrument to a different key, making it possible to create extended chords. For Ostinato Noir we have completely rethought what harmonic shift does. In Ostinato Noir, Harmonic Shift always works for all the phrases, so it is more like a one finger instant harmonising and voice leading tool.
Unlike in our other instruments (apart from Ostinato Strings, Woodwinds & Brass), you can play the Harmonic shift area standalone in Ostinato Noir, in which case it will remember the last played chord in the chord area as Root Key and makes all the Harmonic shift chord types relative to that.
Also in Ostinato Noir we've added an additional mode for Harmonic Shift, you can now choose between Absolute and Relative by clicking the ABS or REL button in the bottom right corner of the interface.
Harmonic Shift can seem a bit daunting at first glance, and we think giving the option to do either Relative or Absolute should provide each type of composer with a way that works for them. For composers that work in a more functional approach (I IV bVI V etc) the relative mode will probably be the preferred method, and for composers who think more along the line of absolute chords (E A Chalf-dim B7 etc) the Absolute way would be better suited.
The easiest way to explain these methods and their difference is by giving some practical examples:
Let's say your last played chord in the blue keys chord area is D, this will be displayed just above the HS part of the interface. If you haven't played the HS area yet it will say 'I in D', 'I' being the function of the chord and since you haven't played anything yet that is just the root.
Now in Relative Mode, the Harmonic Shift area affects the part left of the 'in' directly, so if you go up the scale chromatically in the Harmonic shift area of the keyboard (the green keys between C5 and D5), that will directly correlate with the function part; C# plays the bII chord (Ebhalf-dim), D plays the II chord (Em), G plays the V chord (A7) etc
In Absolute Mode the notes you play in the Harmonic Shift area directly correlate with the root of the chord being triggered, which means if you play a C# it will play a C# chord, if you play a G it will play a G chord etc.
What type of chord will be triggered in either mode is dictated by the settings for the current root key (the chord on the right) in the harmonic shift options screen. We have set presets that should make chords conform to most keys, but if you want to change any of the behaviour you're more than welcome to do that.
The chord type selected for editing is displayed in the top bar. In this example you will set the chord types that will be triggered for the different related chords to a major base chord. If for example your last played root chord is D major and the HS area is triggering a G chord (either by a G being pressed in Absolute mode or an F being pressed in Relative mode) that G chord will be Major by default because the IV interval in major is set to MA.
If you want a minor chord on that interval you can do that by clicking on the 'MA', and in the popup that appears choose 'mi'. If a fourth interval is being triggered in any Major root chord the resulting chord will be a minor chord now.
You can reset to default by using the reset key and you can set custom behaviour for eight different root chord types. Sus chords will automatically default to playing sus chords across all intervals, you cannot change those.
Phrase Continue / Retrigger
When playing different chords or applying different Harmonic Shift intervals, you have the choice whether to retrigger the phrases or to simply continue the phrase but in the new key. This function is controlled by velocity sensitive keyswitch E6. High velocity (>84) will turn phrase continue on, low velocity (<83) will turn it off.
Another feature in Ostinato Noir is the ‘Bar Sync’ option. This is controlled by velocity sensitive keyswitch F6. High velocity (>84) will turn it on, low velocity (<83) will turn it off.
This feature works in conjunction with the ‘Phrase Continue’ function. When switched on, the scripting within the Ostinato engine will read the position of the bar in your host DAW and retain playback of the phrases in line with that bar. For example, if Bar Sync is turned on and you trigger a phrase on the second beat of a bar, the sample will play from its second beat too.
- Note that Bar Sync can only be used in Phrase Continue mode. If Phrase Retrigger is engaged instead, Bar Sync will automatically switch off.
- When Phrase Continue mode is switched on again, Bar Sync will return to whichever setting was being used previously, either on or off.
Sequencing Ostinato Noir
There are a number of different ways to play Ostinato Noir and change chords. You can either use the sustain pedal to hold chords, use voice leading on one or more notes or simply release and retrigger. These different modes become important when it comes to using Ostinato Noir in your chosen DAW.
Whether you play Ostinato Noir ‘live’ into your DAW and edit the MIDI afterwards, or if you sequence directly using your DAW’s piano roll, there a few things you should know which will help you get the best from the instrument.
If you are just triggering one simple chord and then releasing, it is normally best to quantise the start and end of the MIDI chords. We would also advise leaving the Phase Follow and Bar Sync keyswitches set to off.
Quantised blocks of MIDI chords as shown is the simplest way to create a chord change. We do however recommend you play the instrument rather than program it, since this usually renders the best results (see below for more pointers on that)
When you do program the notes, it is often best to quantise the very first chord, whilst ensuring that Phrase Follow is set to on. Subsequent chords can be triggered slightly before the beat so that the attack portions of a new chord are maintained. However, it is difficult the program blocks of chords in this manner as the end of one chord has to perfectly line up with the start of the next. This, in itself, is a challenge in most DAWs. It’s much easier to utilise the sustain pedal or voice leading…
Both voice leading and using the sustain pedal produce the same effect; a sustained chord which is held until 3 / 4 notes of a new chord are engaged. This is by far the best way to get great chord transitions with Ostinato Noir. Offset the MIDI notes of every chord except the first, slightly before the beat (in the same way as described above) to capture the new attack phase. Use the Phrase Follow so that the new chord plays the new phrase where the old one left off.
Managing CPU and RAM
Ostinato Noir is a pretty large instrument and pushes Kontakt hard in terms of size and processing. Therefore, it’s useful to know how to limit the memory and processor impact within your own system. Although we’ve covered some of these aspects already, the following processes will help to conserve RAM and CPU:
- Use the purge function for individual patterns to remove the samples from memory
- Use only one microphone position and set the other to NONE
Support and Manual Download
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