Jump to content

Using digital keyboards for accompaniment


Don Taylor
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have recorded myself playing guitar to jam with 'tina over.

 

My keyboard skills are not strong enough to do the same.

I have no keyboard skills at all!

 

Quite cheap keyboards from Yamaha, for example, allow you to set up rhythm patterns and chord sequences for you to accompany on the keyboard. I was wondering if it would be worth while using a keyboard set up like this and playing the accompaniment on the concertina instead.

 

I suspect that you could do the same thing with software packages such as 'Garage Band' or 'Band in a Box'. Trouble is, these packages cost more than a mid-range keyboard!

 

Maybe I should have posted a much more general question: What do you do if you want to learn to play along with others and you are either not yet good enough to inflict yourself upon them (check) or live in the middle of concertina nowhere (check).

 

Don.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe I should have posted a much more general question: What do you do if you want to learn to play along with others and you are either not yet good enough to inflict yourself upon them (check) or live in the middle of concertina nowhere (check).

One thing you could do is play along with recordings, perhaps slowed down with The Amazing Slow Downer.

 

I have plugged "The Amazing Slow Downer" twice in the past 24 hours on two different threads here. I have no financial interest in the product.

Edited by David Barnert
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was first learning the concertina (20-button Anglo), I never missed having an accompaniment. I was too busy getting the right notes in the right sequence to worry about keeping up with some rhythm machine. Of course my tempo was ragged at first - easy bits played quickly, difficult bits played haltingly - but at the back of my mind there was always the goal of playing fluently, and with time and practice I eventually managed it.

This pattern repeated (and still repeats) itself when learning new pieces. I find it an advantage rather than a drawback to be able to slow down for a difficult phrase until I have all the notes. I've recently gone through all this again while learning the Crane duet.

 

 

IMO the time for "artificial backing" comes when you think you're playing (the instrument or a specific piece) fluently. Often, this is wishful thinking, and it's good to check it objectively. But for that, a metronome is quite sufficient.

Another aspect is that you'll want to play slowly at first (slow enough to master the difficult passages) and speed up as you get more familiar with the instrument or the piece. You can easily change a metronome setting, but speeding up a recorded backing is going to take some work, even if you have recording software that alters the tempo without altering the pitch.

 

My experience is with Anglo and duet, where the harmonies are part of the playing, so there's no need for extraneous chordal backing. Mileage may vary for the EC.

 

When you've learned the instrument, and are playing with a group, recordings can be useful. When you practice alone at home, you tend to do too much, because your part of the arrangement sounds incomplete without the others, and you instinctively try to fill it out. Playing along with a quick-and-dirty recording of a group practice on your portable recording device of choice is quite sufficient to counteract this effect.

 

Cheers,

John

Edited by Anglo-Irishman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe I should have posted a much more general question: What do you do if you want to learn to play along with others and you are either not yet good enough to inflict yourself upon them (check) or live in the middle of concertina nowhere (check).

One thing you could do is play along with recordings, perhaps slowed down with The Amazing Slow Downer.

 

I have plugged "The Amazing Slow Downer" twice in the past 24 hours on two different threads here. I have no financial interest in the product.

Yeah yeah yeah - that's what Madoff said.....after he chloroformed his clients!

Sidestepping the 15US dollar purchase issue, would you reckon the free ABC explorer

http://abc.stalikez.info/abce2.php?ex=140

does the same business?

 

I must say the ABC is pretty confusing when it comes to getting a file to play - just tried and given up after 10 minutes!!

:rolleyes: :blink: :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My experience is with Anglo and duet, where the harmonies are part of the playing, so there's no need for extraneous chordal backing. Mileage may vary for the EC.

Indeed it may.

I frequently play harmonies along with melody (or as song accompaniment, without melody) on the English.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

would you reckon the free ABC explorer

http://abc.stalikez.info/abce2.php?ex=140

does the same business?

 

I must say the ABC is pretty confusing when it comes to getting a file to play - just tried and given up after 10 minutes!!

:rolleyes: :blink: :blink:

 

I don't know about ABC explorer, but a couple of days ago I installed EasyABC, which is FOSS and available on Windows, Linux and OSx. I have never worked with ABC before but I had the score of a song and I wanted to get a new, transposed score.

 

I guess I spent a couple of hours fiddling with the software and reading about ABC on the web and I was able to enter my song, transpose it, play it in the built-in midi player and make a PDF of the transposed score (attached in the next post in this thread).

 

FWIW. This is what I was able to enter, transpose, play and print with almost no knowledge of ABC. I started from a score (dots) I found on the Innertubes:

 

X: 1

T: A Pilgrim's Way - in G

C: Rudyard Kipling(words)

C: Peter Bellamy (music)

K: G

L:1/4

Q:1/4=100

d/2c/2|B A G G|c/2d/2 e d d/2c/2|B B c A|G3 d/2/c/2|

w:I_ do not look for ho_ly saints to_ guide me on my way, Nor_

B A G G|c/2d/2 e d d/2c/2|B d d/2c/2 B|A3 d|

w:male nor fe-male de_vil-kins to_ lead my feet_ a-stray. If

e/2d/2 c/2d/2 e g|d/2c/2 B/2c/2 d B/2c/2|d3/2 e/2 d B|A3 D|

w:these_ are_ add-ed, I_ re_joice; If_ not, I shall not mind, So

G3/2 A/2 B G|ccdd/2c/2|B B c A|G3 d|

w:long as I have leave and choice to_ meet my fel-low kind. For

e/2d/2 c/2d/2 e g|d/2c/2 B/2c/2 dB/2c/2|d3/2 e/2 d B|A3 D|

w:as_we_come and as_ we_ go (and_ dead-ly soon go we!) The

G3/2 A/2 B G|c2 d d/2c/2|B B c A|G3|

w:peo-ple, Lord, Thy peo-ple are_ good e-nough for me!

 

I wanted it in C because G just sounds too high for this song. It was a piece of cake to do this and the resulting score looks really good.

 

EasyABC can transpose up and down by 1-12 semitones, and you can adjust the speed of the midi player with a slider. You can also select a section of the music and only play that rather than the whole score. It does not have a loop feature - which would be really nice for play-along learning, I might contact to author to ask about adding a loop feature.

 

You can select from over 100 instruments in the midi player. It defaults to a bright piano, but I like this this song on the Church Organ.

 

(I realize that I am now answering my own question :rolleyes:)

 

Don.

 

FOSS = Free Open Source Software

Edited by bufflehead
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have recorded myself playing guitar to jam with 'tina over.

 

My keyboard skills are not strong enough to do the same.

I have no keyboard skills at all!

 

Quite cheap keyboards from Yamaha, for example, allow you to set up rhythm patterns and chord sequences for you to accompany on the keyboard. I was wondering if it would be worth while using a keyboard set up like this and playing the accompaniment on the concertina instead.

 

I suspect that you could do the same thing with software packages such as 'Garage Band' or 'Band in a Box'. Trouble is, these packages cost more than a mid-range keyboard!

 

Maybe I should have posted a much more general question: What do you do if you want to learn to play along with others and you are either not yet good enough to inflict yourself upon them (check) or live in the middle of concertina nowhere (check).

 

Don.

 

Yeah why not.!

If you can get a metronome that will really help with your musical timing.

 

Some basics for keyboard chords, find the note C, miss a key, play next key along going upwards, miss next key, play next key along.

( I*I*I - it will look roughly like this on a keyboard )

 

This will give you a C chord and that one basic chord shape moved up and down will give you the whole key of C from its root notes :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those on this side of the Atlantic, a 'downer' on the other side of the Atlantic, partickerly around Texarse, is a cow which has died 'naturally' on the range. A slow-downer is one which has taken rather longer to die naturally on the range........
Sidestepping the 15US dollar purchase issue, would you reckon the free ABC explorer

http://abc.stalikez.info/abce2.php?ex=140

does the same business?

Again, I cannot speak for Windows software, but I think the free trial version of the one about the tardy dead cow will handle one tune at a time and may be all you need.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not used ABC Explorer though I have heard good things and it has a good following. I can, though, support what has already been said about EasyABC. It is really a solid program and just keeps getting better. It will produce somewhat more musical MIDI files thanks to the new stress programming that is in abc2MIDI, and I suppose could work well for something to practice with.

 

Oddly, no one has mentioned Band in a Box which is designed to produce backing files and does it very well indeed. Definitely not free but rather fine none the less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not used ABC Explorer though I have heard good things and it has a good following. I can, though, support what has already been said about EasyABC. It is really a solid program and just keeps getting better. It will produce somewhat more musical MIDI files thanks to the new stress programming that is in abc2MIDI, and I suppose could work well for something to practice with.

 

Oddly, no one has mentioned Band in a Box which is designed to produce backing files and does it very well indeed. Definitely not free but rather fine none the less.

I looked at Band in a Box and that is when it occurred to me that I could buy a pretty decent Yamaha keyboard for less money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ABC Explorer is my weapon of choice most of the time although Easy ABC is in regular use too. The Village Music Project specifies ABC Explorer as the default program for use by volunteer transcribers. I'm baffled by Kautilya's difficulty in playing tunes using Explorer! Open the .abc file, click on the file name to expand the titles, click on the tune title in the window on the left (you will see the staff notation displayed in the lower right panel on the screen), and press the (>) play button. Rocket Science it is not!

 

Kautilya, if this doesn't work for you, PM your telephone number to me and we'll set up a time for me to call and I'll talk you through it in real time, it's really very easy! !

 

Pete.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ABC Explorer is my weapon of choice most of the time although Easy ABC is in regular use................

and we'll set up a time for me to call and I'll talk you through it in real time, it's really very easy! !

 

Pete.

I will, I will - just need to organise some time (and energy).

This is a separate issue of course from opening and saving the midi files on PC, ref the comment I made with the Scotch toon book.

Tks and will not forget.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...