Author Topic: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.  (Read 1122 times)

Hugh Wallington

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Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« on: December 03, 2019, 12:40:57 PM »
I suppose I could put some music up in front of me and just play something, but I prefer to work on something that really gets me inspired.  Maybe something I have heard on the radio, or something I have heard another Member play.  And recently I have heard a Member of TDP (Jon D) play Louis Armstrong's "What a wonderful world".  This reminded me of when I had first heard this song, and I thought then that it had some wonderful harmonies in it.

So first, to listen to how this tune had been recorded originally.  Then I could maybe get some idea as to what sort of backing (Style) to have.  With keyboard players, they probably have a Style ready and waiting for them to jump straight in and play it.  But not with the AR.  We do have Styles, but they are somewhat limited, and in this Topic I want to show you how I go about creating a suitable Style for me to play it on my AR.

Here's the original that came out as a 45rpm single.  Nearly 80 thousand views, so it must be good!

Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World (Lyrics)



Listening to this, I can hear an arpeggio in the background running right through it.  If I want a Style to suit this song it must have two basic ingredients:  (a)  it has to be in 6/8 time (which this is), and (b) it must have an arpeggio running in the background.

And then I found another version of this song.  Still Louis Armstrong, but this time with him on stage with his band, and singling it with that wonderful smile that he has.  If you listen to this, what do you hear?  No arpeggios this time!  What we have running right through is a 'repeating piano'.  They didn't have that in the original version; and they don't have any arpeggios in this version.

Louis Armstrong - What a wonderful world ( 1967 )



So now I'm thinking I want to have a Style with (a) 6/8 timing, and (b) it must have a 'repeating piano' running in the background.

Now, off to go looking for a STYLE with both the arpeggio and the repeating piano.
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Hugh Wallington

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2019, 12:00:17 AM »
So, not having any 'bespoke' Styles for What A Wonderful World (you keyboard players should be so lucky!) I will go through the default STYLES I have in my AR and see what I have got.  Looking on Google for the Time Signature for this piece, it says:
Quote
The time signature is 4:4 time therefore the count in each bar is |1 2 3 4| or |1& 2& 3& 4& | where 1 beat in this case is 1&, etc.

Not to my way of thinking.  Don't think so.  I reckon a 6/8 Style will fit this song admirably.  I have found two, in BALLAD: 6/8 Ballad 1, and 6/8 Ballad 2 .. and each of these has two variations, a MAIN A and a MAIN B.  I have sampled them with 6/8 Ballad 2 first (Variation A, then Variation B); and then 6/8 Ballad 1 (Variation A, then Variation B).  What we are looking for is a STYLE that will be suitable to use for this piece.

Listen to these Styles 'as is' by clicking on the below:

DEMO of 6/8 Ballad 2 & 6/8 Ballad 1.. in that order; MAIN A, then MAIN B for each one

Are there any there you fancy using to play What A Wonderful World?  Not as far as I am concerned.  Nothing remotely follows the patterns I am looking for.  They all have the right 'beat' to play the song, so I could just sit down and play it to fit.  But there's no way that would satisfy me as the backing PARTS are not what I was hoping to hear.

In the end, I am opting for the last one in that DEMO .. 6/8 Ballad 1 Variation B .. and will see what I can do with it.
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Hugh Wallington

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2019, 11:08:28 AM »
First, I get 6/8 Ballad 1 Variation B up on the screen.  The PARTS of the STYLE show, and are named:

RHYTHM 1, RHYTHM 2. BASS, CHORD 1, CHORD 2, PAD, PHRASE 1, PHRASE 2.

Apart from the two Rhythm ones and the Bass one, there is no real significance in the other names apart from giving you an indication of what type of backing may be in each slot.  If you are creating a PART yourself you can actually put any type of backing in any of those slots.

So for 6/8 Ballad 1 Variation B I'll have a listen as to what is actually in each PART.

You can turn each PART ON or OFF by pressing the corresponding Data Control Button under the screen.  Being able to do this means that you have control over which backing PARTS you want to have in the piece you are playing.  This is not true of all organs and keyboards .. although it is with all Yamaha keyboards.  With the Roland organ (apart from the last one) it's all the STYLE or none.  If you have a Roland please correct me if I'm wrong.

So in this DEMO below I have switched the Rhythm to OFF, played an F chord, and you hear the BASS Part (on it's own); followed by CHORD 1 (on it's own); then CHORD 2 (on it's own); and finally CHORD 1 and CHORD 2 together.  There are no other 'Parts' in this Style.

Click on the below to listen.
DEMO of BASS; then CHORD 1; then CHORD 2; and finally CHORD 1 and CHORD 2 together

Just out of interest, you can hear voices being 'panned' to both the left and the right (particularly if you have headphones on).  This is what gives the 'fullness' to the backing.

To be continued ...
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Roger Mardon

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2019, 05:51:54 PM »

You can turn each PART ON or OFF by pressing the corresponding Data Control Button under the screen.  Being able to do this means that you have control over which backing PARTS you want to have in the piece you are playing.  This is not true of all organs and keyboards .. although it is with all Yamaha keyboards.  With the Roland organ (apart from the last one) it's all the STYLE or none.  If you have a Roland please correct me if I'm wrong.


Donít know but am enquiring on a forum with many Roland users.

Hugh Wallington

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2019, 12:56:39 AM »
I know that on the Roland you have a Volume Control by both the RHYTHM and the STYLE.  You can adjust these to get a proper 'balance' between these two, and the melody you're playing on the upper.

Hugh
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Roger Mardon

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2019, 09:28:26 PM »
Hugh,

So far I am advised that on Wersi OAX it is possible to change the volume of or mute all the style parts, and also change the voices for each part.

And from an AR80 owner, the AR is quite unique insofar as you can create any pattern you like from each of the style parts. Even on the new Stagea you can only create two chord strum parts. The new ELS organs are the same as the old EL series where you can only create a 2-part strum. You can change voices and volumes for any style but when it comes to making up your own backing itís very limited and the AR is actually better in this respect.

I havenít heard from a Roland owner yet.

Roger

Hugh Wallington

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2019, 12:46:06 AM »
Hi Roger,

I was under the impression too that the AR is the one organ where you can create your own STYLE PARTS, and that is what I am about to do in this Topic.  You can do this in all Yamaha keyboards too, but then when you have 2,500 or more STYLES to choose from on a keyboard, and can even purchase 'bespoke' STYLES for a particular song, who is going to bother?

And the answer to that is people like me, because I can guarantee that none of the Styles on offer are going to be exactly what I am looking for in a backing.  How likely is it that someone else will have produced something that I have in my head?

This is the reason why I will never part with my AR.

And you say:
Quote
So far I am advised that on Wersi OAX it is possible to change the volume of or mute all the style parts, and also change the voices for each part.

Well, we can do this on the AR too, and I shall be talking about this later, because ...

We wouldn't dream of not having a proper 'balance' between the upper, the lower and the pedals; or having voices we are using to play the tune that are drowned out by the drums.  And eg. if we are playing the melody with two different voices, to make them stand out we would probably have them at different octaves, and also 'pan' one to the left and one to the right.  Yet nobody really bothers to sort out the volumes, or the 'balance', or the 'pan' of the various PARTS in a STYLE.  And this only takes a couple of minutes to do!

On the new Genos Keyboard one is able to control the volumes of the various PARTS 'live' as one is playing, as these can be allocated to the 'drawbars' (ie' the drawbars can have more than one function.  They are not just for 16', 8', 4' etc. flute sounds).

Hugh
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Roger Mardon

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2019, 10:16:30 AM »

I was under the impression too that the AR is the one organ where you can create your own parts, and that is what I am about to do in this Topic.

Excellent. Keep it simple; I canít follow it in the Ownerís Manual. Perhaps you could start with a straightforward change of voice.
Quote
And you say:
Quote
So far I am advised that on Wersi OAX it is possible to change the volume of or mute all the style parts, and also change the voices for each part.

Well, we can do this on the AR too, and I shall be talking about this later, because ...  We wouldn't dream of not having a proper 'balance' between ... ...

I think the Wersi has many drawbars to adjust Accompaniment volumes.

Iím looking forward to following this up.

Roger

Hugh Wallington

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2019, 01:38:56 PM »
Roger,

I think for the moment I shall just continue with what I have to say in this Topic, as this will give an overall picture of what I do.  I shall then start a New Topic explaining about what you can do with Styles.  You say, "Make it simple".  I think you mean , "Make the explanation simple" as adjusting Styles is not an easy process.  This is why they charge you an arm and a leg for purchasing Styles on floppy disks.  But I'll do my best.

And by the way, none of the things I will be describing are in the Owner's Manual.

Hugh
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Hugh Wallington

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2019, 08:55:23 PM »
Topic on Creating a STYLE continued ...

OK.  So I have listened to the PARTS in the Style I have chosen, Style 6/8 Ballad 1 Variation B.   I'll approach this by looking at one PART at a time and deciding what I can do with it.  But maybe first, I should explain how you get at the STYLE in order to make changes to it.

First, get the STYLE you are wanting to work with up on the screen.  So I have pressed the Tab in the STYLE section that says BALLAD:

             

.. and have chosen 6/8 Ballad 1 by pressing the top right Data Control Button under the screen.

             

This STYLE is now showing on the screen, with it's name at the top.  At this point I don't choose a MAIN A or MAIN B as this comes later. 

The Program (App?) for handling STYLES is called ACCOMPANIMENT PROGRAM (ACCOMP. PROGRAM for short) and this button is on the right of the screen.

Having got the Style you want showing, we now have to 'load' it into ACCOMP. PROGRAM.

Press and HOLD the ACCOMP. PROGRAM button, and whilst holding it down press the Style Tab BALLAD (ie. the one you set up to make adjustments to).  Let both buttons go. 

               

You will now have your STYLE up on the screen with the name at the top, but it will look different to what you had before as it now contains all the functions for adjusting the Style.

If you were to just press the ACCOMP. PROGRAM button and let go you will see this:
 
               

All the functions are there for you to do some adjustments to the Style, but it says No name at the top.  You've just missed out on loading your STYLE into ACCOMP. PROGRAM!

Assuming that you've got Style 6/8 Ballad 1 showing at the top, note that the screen you are looking at is the BASIC screen.  It's highlighted top right.  This is the 'default' screen when you load your Style in.  Now, if you remember, the Style Variation I was wanting to use was MAIN B.  I did say that this would be done later .. and now is the time to do it.  Look at the screen and you will see MAIN A is highlighted.  This is the 'default'.  By pressing the appropriate Data Control Button under the screen move the highlight down to MAIN B.

We can now take a serious look at all those PARTS.  We have already listened to these 'individually' so the next step is to hear them individually again, but from ACCOMP. PROGRAM this time.

We are in the wrong screen for doing this.  Press the button next to RECORD and you will see this (but with your Style Name showing at the top, not No name):

                 

You will see each of the PARTS running across the screen (RHYTHM 1 & 2; BASS; CHORD 1 & 2; PAD; PHRASE 1 & 2).  And using the Data Control Buttons under the screen we can switch each one between RECORD; PLAY; MUTE; and DELETE.

So move all the PARTS to MUTE.  Now, one at a time, move the highlight to PLAY (with all the other ones on MUTE).

To hear what is in these PARTS press the START on the left.

I'll say that again, press the START on the left.
 
               

The notes you hear will go through the 'measure' and then repeat themselves.  To stop it playing, press the START again.

I'll say that again.  To stop it playing, press the START again.  Then move the one you were listening to back to MUTE and get another of the Parts to PLAY.

To end your session, just press the ACCOMP. PROGRAM button again.  If you had made some changes you will see a message warning "If not SAVED the data will be lost.  Are you sure?" with options OK or Cancel.  Click OK to leave the program without changes.  But we haven't made any changes, so you won't see this message and will just leave the programme.

                 
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Roger Mardon

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2019, 11:15:06 PM »
OK, with you so far.

Roger

Hugh Wallington

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2019, 11:10:01 AM »
Please Note:  The START acts like an ON/OFF toggles switch.  Don't use the SYNCHRO START at all when in ACCOMP. PROGRAM.  This would involve having to 'play a note' to get it going .. and playing a note would RECORD it (if one of those PARTS is set to REC).  And when you load a Style into ACCOMP. PROGRAM the 'default' is set up to REC RHYTHM 1 .. so don't touch any of the notes or you may get extra drums you weren't expecting playing in your Rhythm!

I have put up the explanation above so you can actually get to see all the functions available to you in ACCOMP. PROGRAM, and familiarize yourselves with the process of loading a STYLE in.  I will endeavour to explain how to use each of these functions to 'adjust' a Style as this Topic progresses.
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Hugh Wallington

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2019, 06:10:33 PM »
Back to creating a STYLE for What A Wonderful World.  Or I should say, 'adjusting' a Style, as starting from scratch would involve putting in a drum rhythm to get it going.  I am not a drummer and I wouldn't have a clue what type of drum to hit, or when.  I shall now take a look at each of those PARTS in turn in Style 6/8 Ballad 1 Variation B.  In case you have forgotten what is in each PART, here is the DEMO I did again.

In the DEMO I had switched the Rhythm to OFF, played an F chord, and you hear the BASS Part (on it's own); followed by CHORD 1 (on it's own); then CHORD 2 (on it's own); and finally CHORD 1 and CHORD 2 together.  There are no other 'Parts' in this Style.

Click the below to listen
DEMO of BASS; then CHORD 1; then CHORD 2; and finally CHORD 1 and CHORD 2 together

Now to look at each PART in turn.

BASS PART

Here is the BASS PART again.  This what the STYLE plays, looping round again and again for the length of the 'measure'.  What you have to note is (a) the 'pattern' the notes follow, and (b) bear in mind that everything you hear is done in the key of C.

Of course when you are actually using the STYLE the chord you hear is the one you are playing with your left hand eg. C, or F, or G .. and the 'pattern' is the same as in the DEMO, but the notes are based on the chord you are actually playing ie. based on C as the root; or F; or G etc.

The original BASS PART .. no chords, of course, just the 'pattern' the bass is following.  And I have repeated it, so you hear it twice.

Click the below to listen
The 'pattern' the Bass is following

Perhaps this is a good place to point out that when adjusting a STYLE you have to have a pretty good idea in your head as to what you want to hear in your STYLE.  This is where 'playing by ear' is paramount.  You can't follow written sheet music to do what I am about to do.

With that BASS PART I have two issues. 
1.  For this song I don't like the VOICE chosen (by Yamaha).  Too 'plucky'.  I prefer a more 'rounded' and 'deeper' Bass Voice. 
2.  For this song I don't like the 'pattern' the bass player is following.  It's much too 'busy' and doesn't blend in with the tune.

Here's an example of a STYLE played on a Genos keyboard (by George of TDP).  Something a bit like this would fit in better with the tune.  I know it's not 6/8 time, but just listen to the nice deep bass, and the 'pattern' the bass is following.  This is a good example of KISS.  Keep It Simple See.

Click the below to listen
DEMO of a STYLE from a Genos keyboard.

That's a great Bass Pattern!  I shall remember that for using in another AR Style.

So what do I have in my head for the bass part?  Click on the below to find out.  First is the original Bass pattern with the 'Yamaha' Voice; and this is followed by my choice of Bass Voice and my 'pattern' for the bass .. and then I have repeated it.

Click the below to listen
The original voice and pattern; followed by my choice of voice and my pattern.

In my next post I'll explain how I did this in ACCOMP. PROGRAM.

Scroll down to continue reading about this ...
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Roger Mardon

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2019, 12:13:33 AM »
Hugh,

This from a former Roland Atelier AT900C owner -

Although I no longer have the Roland I spent eight very rewarding years with this superb instrument. Unfortunately I was unable to actually produce my own rhythm patterns. It is possible of course but I found the procedure rather impenetrable whereby you have to edit a preset pattern similar to what you want to achieve. The Ringway which I now have doesn't allow pattern writing either, only giving options of kit change, volume, reverb and chorus!? for parts one and two of the kit.

And from an Atelier AT900 owner, teacher and performer -

It's a pain creating new styles. That's true on any instrument.

1) The instrument has to support that feature. Not all do so and some are just plain awkward.
2) You have to have the knowledge and skills to push all the right buttons to get the instrument to do what you want.
3) You have to have the musical skills to arrange every part of the style. That includes writing the actual parts, thinking like each player would.
4) You have to have the keyboard skills to play those parts into the instrument.
5) You then need the skills of the producer, to mix everything properly.

Editing styles is easier, all most people will do is change the instrumentation and balance. If the instrument allows playing 'Lego Bricks' with styles you can play mix and match with parts from various styles.

I don't think style editing was high on Roland's list of priorities. You can of course look on line and find a lot of styles for Roland that should work OK on the AT900.


I think thatís about it. The Atelier AT800 or 900C is just about the only instrument I would consider changing my AR for but Iíve got my hands full with the AR for now 😃

Roger

Hugh Wallington

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Re: Analysing a piece of music .. creating Style PARTS.
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2019, 01:37:39 AM »
Roger,

It was the latest Roland organs (ie. the AT-800 and AT-900) that I had understood could make adjustments to Styles.  I have also heard before the comment you had up above:
Quote
I don't think style editing was high on Roland's list of priorities.

And that's it in a nutshell.  This is the thinking of other organ manufacturers too, like Ringway.  They reckon that if you are buying an organ, then you want to play it like an organ.  Using both hands, and feet.  And every note you hear is you playing it.  Theatre organ; Church organ; Hammond organ.  If you want to play with Style backings then you go for a keyboard.  And there are plenty of AR owners (I would say the majority) who play their organs 'as organs' and would never use the STYLE section .. apart from maybe using the Rhythm section of a Style to accompany their playing.  The organ I had previously was a Farfisa, and that had no Styles at all .. just drums.  And when I bought the AR it was because I liked the sound of it, not because it had all this technology within it.  But over the years I have come to realise that the AR can be used not only as an 'Arranger Keyboard' but also as a 'Creator Keyboard'.  For playing with STYLES it is so much better than a keyboard (apart from the 'dated' sounds of some of the solo instruments like Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet etc.).  Whey do I say that?

1.  On an organ you have the whole of the Upper to play the melody.
2.  On our AR organ you 'split' the Lower, and the Style plays by you 'holding' chords down to the left of the split. So far, this is the same as for a keyboard .. and a way of playing that is completely alien to an organist.  But with the Upper and the Lower (to the right of the split) set up with different sounding voices you can 'jump' between one and the other.  You can't do this on a keyboard

Here is an example of this ... a piece I have  played on my AR80 organ.  I haven't used a 'backing Style' as such ... just the Rhythm from it.  And am holding chords down with my left hand using 'organ drawbar' voices.  The 'jumping' between one manual and the other is in the second verse.

Rebel Rouser
Click the below to listen.
Rebel Rouser: 'jumping' between the Upper and the Lower

Also, if you stretch a thumb from the Upper to the Lower you can play a bit of counter-melody with the Voice on the Lower.  You can't do this on a keyboard by any stretch of the imagination!

3.  On a keyboard you can only have one Voice allocated to the left of the split (if you want one).  On the AR you can have three .. Lower Voice 1; Lower Voice 2; and the Organ Drawbars.  But if you use all three you won't have one available for the right of the split.

You can hear in the piece above that I have used a 'drawbar' organ sound to 'fill out' the background behind the Rhythm.  But this is not everybody's cup of tea .. to have a 'solid' harmony sounding behind the backing.  Clive Bishop (who lived in Jersey and is sadly no longer with us) used to say to me, "Hugh, for goodness sake, take your left hand off those keys!".  He was a Jazz player and played his AR100 'as an organ' .. often with drums.  Here are a couple of pieces he has played.

A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
In this piece he has no Style or Rhythm to begin with, but brings the Style in about half way through.  You can hear the Style PARTS quite clearly when he does this.
Click the below to listen.
Clive Bishop playing A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square on his AR100 organ

Makin' Whoopee
In this piece he is not 'holding chords down'.  You can clearly hear him 'playing the rhythmic chords' with his left hand.  And every time he takes his hand of the keys the 'Style' stops, so you only hear 'bits' of the Style.
Click the below to listen.
Clive Bishop playing Makin' whoopee on his AR100 organ

Now listening to that, I would say this is using the AR organ to it's full potential.  And proves to me that it's not the organ you have that makes a good player, but the person playing it.

Continued on Page 2 ...
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