Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra
Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra (SSO) is a free library of sampled orchestral instruments. The original version was created by Mattias Westlund in 2011, and quickly earned a following for its excellent quality and wide selection of instruments. This repository hosts the ongoing development of the library. Mattias is no longer directly involved (although he has given his permission for continuing to develop it) and has not personally reviewed all of the changes. In other words, don't email him with questions about it!
SSO includes the following instruments and articulations:
|1st Violins||Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato, Tremolo|
|2nd Violins||Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato, Tremolo|
|Violas||Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato|
|Cellos||Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato|
|Basses||Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato|
|Solo Violin||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Violin 2||Sustain, Sustain non-vibrato, Marcato, Marcato non-vibrato, Spiccato, Pizzicato, Tremolo|
|Solo Cello||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Trumpets||Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato|
|French Horns||Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato|
|Trombones||Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato|
|Tuba||Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato|
|Solo Trumpet||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo French Horn||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Tenor Trombone||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Bass Trombone||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Flutes||Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato|
|Oboes||Sustain (looped, non-looped)|
|Clarinets||Sustain (looped, non-looped)|
|Bassoons||Sustain (looped, non-looped)|
|Solo Piccolo||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Flute||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Alto Flute||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Cor Anglais||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Oboe||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Clarinet||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Bass Clarinet||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Bassoon||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Solo Contrabassoon||Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)|
|Timpani||Right hand hits, Left hand hits, Rolls|
|Bass Drum||Soft hit, Hard hit|
|Snare Drum||Left hand hit, Right hand hit, Roll|
|Cymbals||Hit, 4 Rolls|
|Conga||Muffled, Open, Slap|
|Bar Chimes||3 Variations|
|Triangle||Mute, Half-open, Open, Roll|
|Tambourine||Soft hit, Hard hit, Shake, Roll|
|Wood Blocks||High, Low|
|Sleigh Bells||Soft hit, Hard hit|
|Chorus||Male (looped, non-looped), Female (looped, non-looped)|
Instruments with multiple articulations are packaged in two ways. Use whichever one is more convenient for your workflow.
- As a separate SFZ instrument for each articulation.
- As a keyswitched instrument with all articulations in a single file. You can switch between articulations by pressing keys outside the range of the instrument.
Most solo instruments have three versions:
- A non-looped version that simply plays each sample once. This gives the most natural sound, but sets a strict limit on how long any note can be held.
- A looped version that can be held indefinitely, but sounds less natural than the non-looped version.
- A looped version that adds a gradual decay and gentle modulation. This tries to give a more natural sound than the simple looped version, but still not place a strict limit on how long notes can be held.
There are two different solo violin instruments. One has the standard three versions listed above. The other has many more articulations, but does not offer a looped version. The sustained notes are held long enough that the lack of looping is usually not a problem.
Marcato articulations use the mod wheel (MIDI control channel 1) to adjust the strength of the initial attack. This lets you smoothly blend between a gentle sustain and a strong marcato.
All samples are stereo, 16 bit, 44 kHz. Most instruments are sampled in minor 3rds. Staccato and pizzicato articulations use 2x round robin.
Most samples have only a small amount of reverb baked into them, so adding a realistic reverb is important for producing a good overall sound. Given that the samples came from a variety of different sources, this is also important for making them sound like a unified orchestra.
SSO may be used and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 license.
Mattias Westlund included the following statement with SSO 1.0 regarding the sources and licensing of the samples:
SSO was created from the following free/CC-licensed/public domain instrument samples: The University of Iowa MIS, MSLP, Philharmonia samples, OLPC project, The Complete K2000, ldk1609 violin, stamperadam Kelon Xylophone, Corsica_S Cello Pizzicato, davidjwoll cymbal rolls, Satoration Castanets, Thores Triangle, Mystified timpani, Eddie's English Horn and a variety of classic soundfonts by Campbell Barton, Nando Florestan, and Ethan Winer.
In the case of a few very old soundfonts I have no idea who the original authors were or what licensing might apply. But as these files have been modified by different people and included in countless GM banks and other soundfont compilations over the last decade, I'm assuming that they are to be considered public domain or at least free to use for sampling projects.
I have done my very best to avoid samples of questionable legality, but as it is impossible for me to know the exact origin of everything (i.e. I have no way of knowing if a soundfont labeled as "public domain" isn't actually sampled from a proprietary source), I would appreciate if you let me know if you find anything fishy.
SSO was the first high quality, free orchestral library. More recently, a few others have become available. Each one has its own sound, so try them all out.