Bernard Herrmann Tookit questions

Hello - I have a couple of questions about the Bernard Herrmann Toolkit. First, does it contain the slides string patch from the Psycho score? Specifically, from the murder scene. I've bee looking at extended techniques and cannot find it anywhere and to me, that is one of the crucial expanded techniques that I was expecting to be included - it is iconic!

Second, again, I am working with the Psycho score and want to duplicate the adding of strings to create that dense and terrible texture of the murder scene. The score has Violins I & II, Violas I & II, Cellos I & II, and Basses I & II. So far I have been working with the "High strings" patch and that only covers to the low G - where are the violas? I looked inside the "Low strings" patch and they are most definitely cellos with basses. Where are the violas?

And lastly, this has always bothered me - why aren't the instruments laid out AS the actual instruments? Why are they called High and Low strings? Sptifire does this with a number of their libraries. To me it makes no sense - does it bother anyone else?



  • Hi @Ross

    There are slides available in BHCT if you go to Advanced>Individual Articulations>Studio Orchestra

    There you will find a Studio Orchestra - FX 3 (Slides Up and Down).nki and a Studio Orchestra - FX 4 (Slides Up and Down Strings Only).nki - I think this is the effect you are after!

    As for the violas, these are part of the high strings (assuming you play a note in the playable range of the instrument).

    High Strings consists of:

    8x Violin 1

    6x Violin 2

    4x Viola

    Have a look at page 24 of the manual here for full instrumentation of each section. BHCT would be an 'ensemble' library, meaning the sections are within the same patch for ease and playability while scoring. Not all libraries are like this (BBC SO, for instance, has each instrument individually).

  • Ross
    edited August 2021

    Hi Andrew,

    I have searched through the library - checked every patch that is called "High Strings" including the individual articulations and there is nothing below the low 'G' string of a violin. These should cover the "C" string of the violas and I cannot find that anywhere. Can you please point me to the exact patch that I need to open to find this? And please be as specific as possible, tell me if I have to click: "Advanced" or "Extended Techniques" or "Individual Articulations" etc...

    I have not yet tried the slides - but thanks for the thorough and detailed response!



  • Hello again,

    I opened the patches that you referred me to: [Studio Orchestra - FX 3 (Slides Up and Down).nki and a Studio Orchestra - FX 4 (Slides Up and Down Strings Only).nki] and they are unfortunately not what I'm looking for. The strings are from the Murder in the shower scene in Psycho. They are these quick slide-ups on each and every instrument. I will try to use a slide wheel and play them as well.

    Looking forward to finding those violas.



  • I feel like choosing the high strings stabbing staccato (high octaves or half section etc) and just hitting two notes with the right timing/velocity gets close enough/simulates one note being played and bent

  • @Ross

    I'd have a look at this video which shows the sheet music of the score and explains the string stabbing sound you are after. It is essentially short upward glissandos of very high string notes on a dissonant chord. Note played very close to the bridge of the violin can have a bit of this glissando style effect as well.

    We don't have a patch in this toolkit that does specifically that function (i.e. short upward glissandos), but you could likely replicate it by automating Kontakt's tuning parameter on a short articulation.

    As for the range of the instruments, you won't find a section that is specifically just the violas range as the library is an ensemble library. However, there should still be sufficient overlap between the high and low string sections to cover the entire range.

  • Hi Andrew,

    To be clear - the high strings do not have the violas? The low strings are supposed to cover all the way from the contrabass up through the violas? If that's the case,it does not work very well at all. Theredoes not seem to be any violas that I can pick out when I listen the the low strings. To me, they sound just like the basses and the cellos. Iwould think that high strings would cover the violas ... would it be possible for you to please check to confirm exactly where the violas are included in this library? I do not hear any violas at all.



  • Hi @Ross

    Yes, High Strings contains the violas, its just the range of the ensemble does not extend below the violin range.

    High Strings instrumentation is:

    8x Violin 1

    6x Violin 2

    4x Viola

  • If I may throw my two cents in, I bought this library a long while ago, when I was newer to programming orchestral/media music. I have since learned a lot about that topic and spitfire products specifically, since I bought a ton of them.

    this library is what would be called a curated library. They analyze a lot of different scores by Herrmann and then formulate instrument groups that recur often in his orchestrations. Same goes for the techniques. It’s not going to cover 100% of every technique in every score he has ever done, nor the specific instrumentation, instrument by instrument. It’s a tool to get you in the ballpark of his sound, generally speaking.

    I think that trying to recreate a herrmann score with only this library MIGHT be unwise. You might want to write something BASED on it, where you can tinker with the patches and see how they respond to YOU and your writing, being influenced by a Herrmann score.

    I made a Herrmann strings template because of psycho. I then made a few cues with it to hear the capabilities and sound of the library and the Herrmann sound is definitely achievable with the tools provided.

    also, don’t forget to use the legatos, especially the portamento legatos on the high strings, which are SELECTABLE or KEY SWITCHABLE… they are super dope!! Sound great for middle eastern music too!!