Author Topic: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments  (Read 474 times)

Peter Anderson

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No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« on: June 21, 2012, 05:24:31 PM »
Organs have changed dramatically over the years and in my opinion they reached an amazing standard when the Yamaha AR entered the market.    The AR has wonderful classic and theatre organ registrations on it and if you don’t believe that, then explore the presets in the Registration Menu.   If you want more proof, listen to some of the member’s performances that are available to us elsewhere on this web site.

With the AR, and this is most certainly true of our organs, instead of just making a typical organ sound, we can also authentically recreate many different orchestral voices.

You might have listened to the demonstrator playing that ‘beautiful violin’, which persuaded you to purchase the instrument in the first place, only to discover when you got the organ home, that you could not find it anywhere.   So where did it go?  The answer is probably that the demonstrator knew the tricks of the trade, and therefore which buttons to press, but more to the point he also knew how to treat that voice as if it were a real violin.

It is important that when using orchestral sounds, we consider each instrument individually.   It helps to know how the sound is produced, the instrument’s range,..….

for more on this particularly important aspect, please click this link:

http://www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=1464.msg4293#msg4293


…the type of vibrato used, if any, and any other operation that is necessary to make each voice sound as authentic as possible.

The objective of this posting is to help us understand in simple and general terms how to use the very adequate condition attributes that are available to us on the AR.

For starters, when you are playing with orchestral voices, especially in the Lead section,  keep in mind the idea of phrasing.    For example, when we look at wind instruments, which means that normally air actually produces the sound that we hear, if you don’t allow the wind player to take a breath every few measures, they will probably pass out.  Allocating such regular breath pauses, increases the authenticity of that instrument when imitated on your AR.

What is subsequently presented here,  will help you to understand the instruments more clearly and, ultimately, to make the time you spend experimenting with different voices hopefully even more enjoyable.

A Simple Exercise and specific detail for individual instruments is given in the following Replies.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2012, 10:07:55 PM »
A Simple Exercise

To view this in a separate window that you can print out as a 2 x A4 page, pdf, click this link:

Authentic Instrument Exercise

You ought to carry out this simple exercise.    It is easy to do and will not take you very long, but it will help you to grasp something of the changes that different parameters can make to instrumental tones or sounds.    This exercise will not change any existing settings that you have placed on your Memory Buttons, but will help you to understand some of the built in attributes available on our instruments and enable you to benefit by using them to make the voices you select more authentic.

1    With the organ switched on, select Jazz Band from the Registration menu and with the appropriate button below the display screen select Solo Clari..

2    Now in the Lead section, press the illuminated button 1.   This shows that Dixie Cla. is darkened and therefore selected.

3   Press the button on the left of your screen to choose the Condition page.

4   At the top right of your screen you should see the box identified as Condtion highlighted.   If not then press the appropriate button to the right of the screen to select it.

5   At the bottom of the display you will notice that 8' is selected.

6   Now press the button at the right of your screen to select Vibrato.

7    You will see that the settings for Vibrato are as follows:
                       Delay     1
                       Depth     6
                       Speed     2


8   Press and hold any key on the Upper Keyboard to play the Clarinet.
             While holding it switch between Preset and User, with the buttons to the left, but below the display screen.   You will notice that one tone is plain and bland and the other, built in by Yamaha engineers, is rich and 'more authentic'.
             Also press the note harder, then release the pressure on the key and you will appreciate the variation available, because the Touch Tone is active.  If you check with the Condition Page, you will see that both Touch Tone values are set to 4.    This function reproduces the effect of the clarinettist blowing harder.  Something else those engineers have created for us.

9     In the Lead section, press 1 again.

10   Use the button to the right of the screen to move the Page to the left, until Trumpet appears to the left hand side.

11   Select Clas. Trumpet with the appropriate button at the bottom of the screen.

12    Now when you select Condition (to the left of the screen) and Vibrato (to the right of the screen) you will notice that the User settings are identical as for the Clarinet and nothing shows under Vibrato for the Preset setting.    Again, press and hold any key on the Upper Keyboard to play the Trumpet.
             While holding it switch between Preset and User, with the buttons to the left, and notice the variation in the sound produced.

13   One other thing.   In the Condition, from the Condition Page, change the setting to 16' and switch on the Slide and set it to maximum.   Play a few more notes if you wish.

14    Now, in a similar way as outlined above, select Piano, by moving farther left through the pages and then Grand Piano.    Then play a few more notes.
            If you check in the Condition page, you will see that all the Condition settings all remain the same.   

We have made significant alterations which sound dreadful for a piano, but this exercise demonstrates that when you make any changes like this, though not perhaps so dramatic, they are carried through.   So if you set your clarinet to 16', and then use another instrument in a different registration memory, it may sound odd, because it is an octave out.

This further short exercise will help you to discover what we already have built in to our instruments, and how we can inadvertently carry over adjustments that we make to other registrations.

1   Choose Organ Trumpet from Classic Organ in the Registration Menu.

2   Switch off all the Upper Keyboard Ensemble buttons except Lead.

3    Using the above process go to the Vibrato screen within the Condition page, and while playing and holding a note on the upper keyboard, switch between User and Preset, to hear the difference.

4    Select Oboe from the Lead section.   Again, go to the Vibrato screen within the Condition page, and while playing and holding a note on the upper keyboard, switch between User and Preset, to hear the difference.

5      You can do this with other registrations.     For instance, choose Fiddle Ballard from Country in the Registration Menu and listen to the differences there.

In the following replies we review different instruments and ensure that we set them up correctly and use them wisely in our performances to achieve better sound authenticity.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012, 11:36:38 AM »
The PIANO

Even if some of us cannot play a piano, we recognise this instrument and how it sounds, because it has been a very popular and familiar instrument for several centuries.

Its sounds are created when the struck key activates a hammer, which in turn strikes a string that subsequently vibrates.

No vibrato is used, so for us, any kind of ‘turning’ speaker should be avoided, as the piano will sound most realistic through a stationary speaker.

The piano sounds die away quite quickly, so don’t  play notes with long time values.    Sustain may be used to add length to a note, to replicate the effect the pianist produces with the sustain pedal, which lifts the ‘dampers’ from the strings in the piano.   Even then, strike the note and quickly let it go, allowing the note to ‘ring’.

Use sustain carefully, because too much will swamp the sound.   A pianist will appear to be pumping the sustain pedal, but we cannot easily switch the sustain effect on and off with the same speed.
We can, however, assign the sustain on/off setting to the knee lever (with either or both keyboards) if we wish, but many find the knee lever tricky to use.   This can allow the organist to play a very effective piano, especially if that organist is also a good pianist.

If you have no piano experience or ability, use the piano only for the melody, while keeping your accompaniment sounding like an organ.   The melody can be further enhanced if you are able to play Octaves.    If not, then remember that you can set up two pianos,  one on the Lead and one on an Upper Keyboard Voice, but with different settings of 8’ and 4’, to create the same effect, simply by playing one note on the AR. 

Adjust sustain to a medium setting for slow ballads but have the setting much less for pieces with faster tempos or songs that have a lot of movement.

You can also add piano arpeggios with the accompaniment program.

Advanced players may introduce a piano pedal rhythm or even use the piano as an accompaniment, in a variety of different ways.   However, remember that an 8’ flute is somewhat similar to a piano sound, so consider using a contrasting voice, like a horn or a string, for your accompaniment.

Peter


Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2012, 08:45:24 AM »
The FLUTE

The Flute is a long thin tube that is blanked off at one end.   It has been a significant orchestral member for over 200 years and though not a particularly loud instrument, it does have a pleasing tone.   It can play only one note at a time.

It is probably the most commonly used voice on the organ.   The 8’ pitch is the one that should be used for the solo flute.

The vibrato is actually more of a tremolo, i.e. a change in volume or tone, rather than the change in pitch that is vibrato.
So Vibrato, and with a delayed setting, works fine for the AR.   

It is best to switch off any turning speaker facility, as this is not the tremolo, necessary for an authentic sounding flute.

A 4’ flute, used with a slight vibrato, and played in the upper range of the Upper Keyboard, will sound like a whistle, while the 4’ flute, as it plays one octave higher, can also be used to sound like a piccolo.

Your accompaniment should provide a contrast, so try using an 8’ horn, or an 8’ string with the 8’ flute.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2012, 05:04:45 PM »
The CLARINET

The Clarinet is a cylindrical tube, much thicker than the Flute with a single vibrating reed.
It can play only one note at a time, but can be played either legato (a smooth flowing manner) or staccato (each note sharply detached or separated from the others).

It can easily jump from a low note to high one and back again, and smooth runs are no problem – for the experienced player, that is!
It can be played with or without vibrato.

If Vibrato is used, then use the Delay Vibrato, with the Depth and the Speed both set to a minimal level.

A bass clarinet is created by using a 16’ setting, or playing the 8’ in the lower range of the keyboard.   It can be very effective so do experiment with it.

The clarinet player can also glide from one note to the next.   We have a Glide feature on the AR, so we can include this.
When playing with the glide active, engage the glide function first, then hit the note and finally release the glide when it is appropriate.
Needless to say, this requires some practice in order to perfect it.

Hitting the note immediately below the one you are aiming at very briefly before you quickly hit the 'correct' note is another way of imitating a glide.  For an example of this listen to my rendition of Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore, where I also used a bass clarinet - mentioned - above.  You can find this at this link:

http://www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=992.0

and find the 6th Reply.

The accompaniment obviously will vary, depending on the type of music that you are playing.
For faster tempos, using an 8’ flute will emphasize the clarinet.
An effective accompaniment for a ballad would be an 8’ flute and an 8’ cello, especially if your accompaniment includes some good harmony or moving lines.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2012, 09:57:45 AM »
The OBOE

The oboe is one of the oldest wind instruments and consists of a long thin tube with a double reed.
These reeds are positioned ‘back to back’ and the player ‘pinches’ them between their lips.
As the player blows into the oboe, the reeds vibrate and create the haunting, but easily recognised sound, we are all familiar with.

An oboist uses a subtle and delayed vibrato.   So when setting your AR to play an oboe, use Vibrato with Delay.    The Depth and Speed are best when set at minimum levels.

As an oboe can only play one note at a time, the best use for the oboe is as a single note melody, so put it into the Lead section.    An “oboe choir” is extremely rare, so it is wise to refrain from playing full chords with the oboe.

The accompaniment must be fairly soft because the oboe has a soft sound.   Try using an 8’ flute by itself, or to be slightly more adventurous, an 8’ horn with that 8’ flute.
The accompaniment should provide a rich background for your oboe, but be careful not to overpower it.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2012, 11:43:39 AM »
The TRUMPET

The Trumpet has been around for several centuries and is basically a long brass tube with a mouthpiece at one end and a bell housing at the other.   To make it manageable the tube is coiled back on itself to make the overall size of the instrument compact.    Today’s common instruments have 3 valves that can be used either individually or in combination to effectively vary the overall length of the tube, in order to produce that very distinctive and bold sound.

The trumpet player creates a vibrato by moving their fingers on the valves, but his lips also have a great deal to with the tone that is produced.    Again the vibrato is delayed.   For best results,  use Vibrato  with the Delay set to a middle setting, with the Depth set to medium and the Speed set between slow to medium.

The trumpet can be used for both legato and staccato passages, as well as for wide jumps and runs, so it is a very flexible instrument that can accommodate all types of music.
Ballads, Big Band, Classics, Marches and even Country can all sound authentic when the trumpet is set up correctly.

Although the trumpet only sounds one note at a time, you can play full chords in the right hand with it, to replicate the sound of an entire trumpet section.

If  you want a simple musical accompaniment try an 8’ flute but maybe adding a touch of 4’ flute as well.
For a more interesting musical accompaniment then add an 8’ string or an 8’ cello.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 09:53:51 AM »
The TROMBONE

The Trombone is one of the larger brass instruments but it uses a slide to help create different pitches.

Trombonists are not always capable of playing very legato, because the slide might have to be moved longish distances, and sometimes, even from the closest position to that farthest away.

The vibrato is created when the player moves the slide slightly, but it is noticeably delayed.
So always use the Delay Vibrato with the Depth set at medium to full and the Speed set to medium.
The amount of delay used will depend on the melody being played, and your own personal preference, of course.
If you are playing melodies with many notes held for several beats, then increase the Delay setting.
Similarly, a short Delay is best for those melodies with few or no sustained notes.

The trombone is renowned for its glide effect.   So be prepared to use it.   Just as for the clarinet, be sure to engage the Glide first, strike the note and then allow the pitch to rise, by removing the glide effect.
Don’t overdo the glide.   Just 2 or 3 times per chorus can be very powerful.

If your melody includes half steps upwards, then the Glide can be incorporated in to the melody, but as it can be challenging to achieve, so you will need to practise this in order to reproduce that authentic trombone performance.    Whenever you reach a point in the melody with 2 affected half steps, then first engage the Glide and then play the higher note, which will sound like the half note below.   When the piece calls for the actual higher note to be played, then simply release the glide control.

Grace notes and fast runs are difficult for the trombonist, because of the need to move that slide rapidly and accurately.
For authenticity if they can’t play it like that, then neither should we.

Your accompaniment will vary on where you want the emphasis.
An 8’ flute by itself is preferential, if all the emphasis is to be on the trombone.
If the accompaniment includes counter melodies or interesting harmonies then try adding an 8’ cello or an 8’ string to the 8’ flute.

Peter


Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 09:18:16 AM »
The VIOLIN

The Violin is over 500 years old and can be used for a very wide variety of music styles.

It can be played either legato or staccato and beside obviously playing one note at a time, 2, 3 or even 4 strings can be made to function at the same time, to sound up to 4 different notes.  Sounding 2 strings at once is called ‘Double stopping’.   Playing more than one note at a time can create the illusion of hearing an entire string section.
These notes will not often be next to each other, as their pitch is generated by the physical position of the violinists fingers on their adjacent strings.

The vibrato is created by the violinist rapidly rolling their fingers on the strings.

By watching a violinist you will notice that the sound intensifies as they draw the bow over the strings, as opposed to when pushing the bow away from their body.   We can imitate this by backing off the pressure on the Expression pedal and gradually increasing the volume as the note is played.   This really only works for notes which are held for several beats.

The vibrato is delayed, because it always comes a fraction after the note is initially sounded.  As we have a Delay Vibrato then to generate authenticity with the violin, use it.   A medium setting for both Depth and Speed is therefore most suitable.
The most realistic vibrato can be achieved with the Touch Vibrato, where the vibrato effect is produced by varying pressure on the keys.   You can select this from the Condition/Vibrato page.

Whichever vibrato you choose to use, it will give your violin a much warmer tone and increase its use in different kinds of music that you play.

One of the most authentic settings that I use is with both touch settings down to 1 – you can’t actually switch it off completely, (a peculiarity of the Yamaha AR) and on Vibrato – User, Depth =1, Delay = 5 and Speed =3.   Also set Tune to 5/8.

The accompaniment should provide a contrast, unless you are duplicating an entire string ensemble.
Use 8’ flute by itself, or add an 8’ horn to the flute.

Peter




Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2012, 09:40:51 AM »
Final comment.

All the above has centred on achieving an authentic sound to your voice selections.

For the purists, to be as accurate as possible, set up each instrument according to the parameters given and play within the range of each specific instrument.

A reminder of those specific ranges can be found by clicking this link:

http://www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=1464.msg4293#msg4293

Sorry.  This link is not available to non-members.

However, also remember that you are making the choices to please you and give you a sense of satisfaction.     Experimenting is definitely allowed and you can generate some very interesting, albeit unusual sounds, so why not function outside these constraints, whenever you feel like it?

It is all about enjoying your AR and discovering more about its features.

Always relish the delights of these amazing organs!

Please feel free to add further comments relevant to either those specific instruments detailed above or fresh ones.   e.g. saxophone, accordian, harmonica, etc.

Peter

Laurie McFadden

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 11:37:47 PM »
What a tremendous series of explanation of " HOW TO " articles regarding the methods of bringing various Instrumental voices "To Life" so to speak.
Peter this is really fantastic writing and will make so many owners very pleased from reading and trying the easy-to-understand suggestions. I wish YOU had been commissioned  by manufacturers (Roland, to coin an example.....) to interpret their "all over the place, in glorious technospeak" instructions and put together their Owners Manuals!  Thanks mate, greatly appreciate the time and work you put-in ;) Cheers Laurie.

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 11:45:01 AM »
This is very gracious of you Laurie and very much appreciated.     All of us are glad when folk like you benefit fom the factual postings and even more gratified to know that at least someone is reading them and finding value in them.
It makes the effort worthwhile.
Kind regards,     Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__52___Authentic Sounds for Instruments
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2013, 02:58:02 PM »
When the Yamaha engineers assembled our AR organs they were very careful to pay attention to an amazing amount of detail.

One of these details is the Sustain availablilty.

You will notice that the Sustain controls (on the right hand side near the main on/off switch) allow for 3 broad areas, namely:   Upper,    Lower    and    Pedal.
There is no facility for Lead.

This is because most solo instruments that we would normally place into the Lead section are wind instruments, which have no sustain.   So, when the player stops blowing the sound stops.   Stringed instruments, including the piano, can allow the note to die away, giving a sustained effect.   Yamaha deliberately ensured that you could not put sustain on to the Lead section.    This is true of most of the more expensive organs that have been produced.   (Certainly the well known brands, that I have checked out.)    I suppose Yamaha and co were trying to help us create more authentic sounds when employing different instruments, so we should be grateful.

This is detailed in Starting from Scratch No 7 and you can go there directly by clicking this link:

http://www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=1377.0

If you really want to sustain your flute, etc., and why not if you like the sound of it, you will have to use it via Upper or Lower Voices 1 or 2 (or the pedal board if you are really capable of playing them) and apply the amount of sustain to the keyboard you select, but be aware that everything else you assign to that particular keyboard, will have the same sustain applied to it.
This is also true of the Lower manual if you split it.

Peter