< Back to IRCAM Forum

Constrain instrumental ranges

Hi all,

Is there a way to filter out certain ranges when solving an orchestration, as one can do for playing styles or dynamics? For instance, in an orchestral solution I get super-high viola notes above the violins, so I would like to filter out all viola notes higher than F5.

By the way, I am using Per Bloland’s fabulous Orchidew patch but just saw that there is now MaxOrch, so please let me know if there is a way to apply this filter in either of those.


Hi Justin,

With your method, it’s not possible “directly”. I suggest you look at what you can do with a well-chosen orchestra…



Ok, thanks for letting me know. Part of the issue I’m trying to resolve is super-wide leaps from note to note within a single instrument, even on the “closest” connection policy. I was hoping that constraining range would keep the tessitura narrower. Are there any parameters that might yield more generally conjunct lines?

Everything is a story of context according to your target file and settings but Orchidea (so the engine of the patch) is first to create sound … the score is derived from the analysis and may seem hieratic. The goal is to process polyphony. If your target is monophonic, increasing the relaxed pursuit to 3, or even 5 (always integers) may be more satisfying. I understand your wishes but I’m not sure Orchidea can fulfill them.

Gotcha - I was wondering if the pursuit parameter would help with this, and it seems it does. Thanks!

Do you know the youtube channel ?


A tutorial is coming soon…

I invite you to try different settings… Because it is difficult to explain the parameters. This patch needs some experimentation…

Hi Justin,
Thanks for the kind words about Orchidew! Indeed MaxOrch doesn’t contain anything extra in it that would exactly allow for what you’re looking for. It is a bit more developed though, I recommend it!

One thing occurs to me: it is possible to create your own database rather than using the downloadable ones (such as OrchideaSOL2020). Check out the orchidea.db.gen object. I haven’t tried this, but theoretically you could start with the sound files from orchideaSOL, remove the pitches outside the range you want, then re-analyze with orchidea.db.gen. Then use your newly generated database to create the orchestration.
That might be too much effort though, depending on how many instruments you’re using…
It’s an interesting question, might make a good request for future versions.

Hi Per,

Thanks for the suggestion! Would you be able to provide more info on how I can use the orchidea.db.gen object in the patch? Do I simply delete the files out of the original folder, then drop it in? And this will generate the relevant .db files that I need?

BTW, I am an alum of your class from SPLICE :slight_smile:


I thought that was the case (about SPLICE)! Good to see you’re continuing to find this stuff useful!

At this point there is no mechanism for doing any of the stuff I mention in Orchidew or MaxOrch. The orchidea.db.gen Max object isn’t built in to either patch. It’s a feature I’ve never used, and Jerome and I haven’t really discussed it. But I don’t think it would be difficult to add that as a new feature to MaxOrch. I’ll add it to our list of possibilities for the next version.

It’s a really interesting feature for EA music - one can use any corpus of audio files as the base “orchestra” from which to create the resulting sound file. Orchidea is always at its core a concatenative synthesis engine, but this feature makes it a truly open and flexible one.

I’m very curious to see what the resulting scores look like…

Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know that I tried Per’s database idea and it worked perfectly! I simply duplicated the OrchideaSOL folder and removed all the samples of notes in extreme ranges, then dropped this “culled” database into the the orchidea.db.gen basic help patcher. This created a spectrum database which I loaded into MaxOrch. It’s a bit tedious to delete all the individual files but totally worth it for my project, and probably for many other users. Thanks for the great tip!


Oh wow, that’s great to hear! It does sound time consuming, but hey, if it works it’s worth it.

It sounds like you switched over to MaxOrch too. Let us know if you run into any issues. Feature requests are always welcome as well! (though of course it’s just a front end, so we can only do so much).


Hi Justin,

Very glad that you were able to get an efficient result.

A database generator will be included in the next release…