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Review: Sonokinetic Capriccio

Lynda Arnold on Mar 23, 2015 in REVIEW 0 comments

Capriccio from Sonokinetic is their largest cinematic sample library to


date. Lynda Arnold delves into this unique product that provides highquality orchestral sounds to composers of all levels.
Sonokinetic recently released their newest orchestral phrase-based cinematic sample library
called Capriccio. Capriccio builds on the success on Sonokinetics other phrase-based orchestral
libraries that include Grosso, Minimal, Vivace, Tutti and Sultan Strings. Capriccio is their largest
library release yet in terms of physical size and sound and includes new features and instrument
additions, Runs and Melodic Percussion. I was intrigued and impressed by the demo compositions
on their website and couldnt wait to jump in and try it out. What I found after a bit of a learning
curve, is a powerful composition tool for orchestral scoring that allows you to compose, edit, layer,
arrange and customize typical instrument parts found in many cinematic orchestral scores. Whether
you use a part here or there to add to an existing composition or arrange entire pieces using the
phrases in Capriccio, this is a useful tool for composers at all levels limited only by one s
imagination.

Figure 1The Six Instruments in Capriccio

Specs and Scope


Capriccio is a hefty, RAM heavy library, mostly due to the multiple microphone position options
included for each instrument and phrase, but well worth the option to create orchestral realism.
There is a Lite version of each instrument featuring a combined microphone position if your
computer cant keep up. Of course youll get more spatial realism if you use the full version, but the
Lite version is a nice option if you are using a phrase or two from the library to add to an existing
composition. For my demo, I used the Lite versions of all the instruments and did my arrangement
in Pro Tools 11.
Capriccio comes in both 16- and 24-bit versions adding up to 54 GB of uncompressed content. Both
16- and-24 bit versions include over 38,000 samples, an impressive feat for an orchestral library of
this kind. The sound quality of the phrases is wonderful too.

Using the Capriccio Interface


The Capriccio instrument interface in Kontakt 5 is clear, easy to use and well designed. The color
variants for each instrument section in the orchestra are a nice touch. There are three layered parts
for each instrument patch represented high to low pitch instruments with a variety of recorded
phrases to choose from. The phrases range from repeated ostinato type rhythms to arpeggios of all
kinds. Theres an option to mix together different phrases of the higher instruments, say violins, if
you dont need the cello or bass parts or vice versa. You can also create different instances of
Capriccio in one Kontakt player if you want to separate the string sections into high, middle and
low. I could go on, but I think you get the idea that Capriccio is highly customizable depending on
your preferred workflow.
I found the information section (picture below) vital for getting to know the various parameters in
the phrase windows and especially for learning the detailed key mapping setup for triggering mutes,
presets and parts. Sonokinetic did a great job organizing the keyboard. I needed to hunt around on
my controller for the mutes and presets initially, as the key mapped diagram does not have midi
markers like C0 C7 (this would be helpful in the future). I would suggest committing the
parameter mapping to memory so you can work more efficiently.

Figure 2Capriccio Information Section

Digging into the Phrases


There are 4 available phrase presets to choose from. Each Capriccio instrument is loaded with 4
presets with phrases that work well together as a template. You can easily swap phrases in and out
with the phrase picker and integrate the sounds phrases with the others by using the offset slider in
the global settings area at the bottom of the interface. Some combinations will work better than
others and its wonderful to be able to experiment with these professionally performed and recorded
bits.

Figure 3Engaging Offset Function in the Master Section

The recorded phrases fit well in a cinematic context, especially for creating suspense with minimal
ostinato type lines or for layering parts from multiple sections to create typical, but effective
polyrhythms for film sequences with more action. I loved working with the brass parts, especially
the powerful low brass phrases. The woodwind layers are also quite nice, and will add a sense of
whimsy and flight to any score.

Figure 4Audition Phrases in the Phrase Picker Window

Its important to note that major or minor triads and their inversions trigger Capriccio phrases only.
Also, it doesnt matter if you play a root position or inversion of a triad, the phrase will still sound
the same. The harmonic shift function in Capriccio allows you to mix and match major and minor
triads to create different progressions and build 7th chords over root ostinatos, but you wont find
diminished or augmented chords included or any intervallic relationship you may use to create
extreme harmonic tension. Still, there are so many permutations of the included material possible,
that you can use your musical creativity in other ways.

Drag and Drop MIDI

Figure 5Drag and Drop MIDI Area

One way to adapt instrument phrases and make them your own is by using the new Drag and Drop
MIDI feature included in Capriccio. Any phrase can be dragged onto a track in your DAW and
played by another instrument in your library. You can then edit the notes at will. Keep in mind that
Capriccio will not play these MIDI phrases back. Youll have to employ another orchestral
instrument library. The ability to use these phrases outside of Capriccio is worth owning this library
alone. The string and woodwind runs are a great example of how drag and drop MIDI can help save
time if you dont have great keyboard technique.

The ability to use these phrases outside of Capriccio is worth owning this
library alone.

Setting up in the DAW

Figure 6Capriccio Set-Up in Pro Tools

As I mentioned earlier, there are many ways to set up Capriccio in your DAW using the latest
version of Kontakt. In my first demo session, I started with six tracks, each with a different
instrument from Capriccio. As I started to build my arrangement, I programmed mutes and preset
changes in some tracks and in other cases duplicated the instrument to use a different preset phrase.
This helped ease my own workflow when mixing, compressing and editing the parts. The demo
below contains only sounds from Capriccio with minimal effects and mixing so you can hear the
basic sound of the library.

Round Up
Sonokinetic has a very unique product that will appeal to a variety of composers at all levels.
Capriccio would work wonderfully in an educational context. Many producers and composers buy
orchestral libraries, but lack the knowledge or experience to use all the instruments in an orchestra
correctly or effectively. Capriccio is a product that starts to bridge this educational gap while
offering a high quality orchestral sound at the same time. Composers can get to the task of working
on their arrangement skills faster, increasing their knowledge and workflow. Listen to the demos
and watch the informational videos to learn more about Capriccio and its many features.