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Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards

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Lane 02 Dec 02 - 04:35 PM
Amos 02 Dec 02 - 06:24 PM
Lane 02 Dec 02 - 07:24 PM
Lane 03 Dec 02 - 09:30 AM
Amos 03 Dec 02 - 09:37 AM
pavane 03 Dec 02 - 01:01 PM
Lane 03 Dec 02 - 03:23 PM
M.Ted 03 Dec 02 - 08:13 PM
Bullfrog Jones 04 Dec 02 - 06:23 AM
pavane 04 Dec 02 - 07:38 AM
alison 04 Dec 02 - 08:00 AM
Lane 04 Dec 02 - 12:15 PM
M.Ted 04 Dec 02 - 02:42 PM
GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 02:59 PM
MMario 04 Dec 02 - 03:04 PM
Lane 04 Dec 02 - 04:02 PM
M.Ted 04 Dec 02 - 04:15 PM
Lane 04 Dec 02 - 04:17 PM
Lane 05 Dec 02 - 03:38 PM
Pied Piper 06 Dec 02 - 07:00 AM
Lane 07 Dec 02 - 12:10 AM
pavane 07 Dec 02 - 07:30 PM
Lane 07 Dec 02 - 08:01 PM
Brakn 07 Dec 02 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 07 Dec 02 - 09:41 PM
Lane 08 Dec 02 - 01:15 AM
JohnInKansas 08 Dec 02 - 04:26 PM
M.Ted 08 Dec 02 - 09:45 PM
JohnInKansas 09 Dec 02 - 03:21 AM
M.Ted 09 Dec 02 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,pavane 10 Dec 02 - 01:14 PM
pavane 11 Dec 02 - 01:47 PM
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Subject: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 04:35 PM

Exploring my way through computer recording, etc......   I have recording software and Band in a Box, which I am struggling to learn (find it pretty complicated) I'm looking for adivce on making backing tracks - all I want to do is generate some bass, maybe a little percussion, etc. over which I can play my own guitar and vocals... I'm thinking that I need a MIDI keyboard to do that, though I know a great deal of it can be done with Band in a Box... or maybe other, easier to learn programs?

Thanks in advance


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Amos
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 06:24 PM

Band in a Box is owrth the trouble to learn, i believe, although I haven't invested the time myself. You should be able to use one program to generate MIDI sounds on the computer AND also integrate MIDI keystrokes from a keyboard.

Dunno much about it, yet, 'cuz all my "home studio" plans have been deferred until my ship comes in...or whatever! :>)


A


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 07:24 PM

That ship's coming any day, Amos...... I'm sure of it......

I think Band in a Box will do what you're talking about.. IF I can figure out how to do it. I guess I'm trying to figure out 1) if I can learn the program and 2) if I need a keyboard or some other gizmos to be able to make a decent backing track without having to become a total computer wiz (which is not likely to happen)


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 09:30 AM


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Amos
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 09:37 AM

I am sure you can find one that is not too expensive on the second hand market, Lane. THey don't have to be all fancy.

a


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: pavane
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 01:01 PM

My program HARMONY will let you input simple bass lines using abc notation (Very easy) and can generate an entire percussion track by just coding one bar and repeating it (You can then adjust as you need).

You can then save the whole thing as a MIDI file.
You don't need a keyboard or to learn programming!
(But you do need to be able to read the dots)

The next version (coming soon) will let you add any MIDI effects to the individual notes.

Download from http://www.greenhedges.com


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 03:23 PM

Sounds great, Pavane.. I'll download it and give it a go. I guess that I was assuming that generating MIDI without a keyboard would mean some fancy programming knowledge and that using he piano keys would be much easier... mabye not, huh?

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 08:13 PM

Band-in-a-Box is about as simple a program as you can get--it is basically a programmable karaoke--you can open up a song file and just click and play, or choose musical style, tempo, and key from pull-down menus--you can also type in the chords to anything you like and do the same pull down arrangement, and enter the melody from whatever MIDI device you happen to have connected--it is easy to save the whole thing as a standard MIDI file by just pulling down the "File" menu and choosing "Save as a Standard MIDI file"--

What it doesn't do very well, and, most likely, what you are having trouble with, is let you enter the other parts--it really isn't mean't to do much more than let you choose from pre-programmed parts(you can enter parts, but it is basically a step entry system, like the old, old drum machines)--

Given the limitations, it is great to play along with, and even to create listenable demos of songs that you have written(as long as you are happy with the default arrangements)--I used to create "music minus one" type tapes for my guitar students to practice their leads and scales--But if you want to enter other parts, you will need a sequencer program of some type--


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 06:23 AM

Does anyone know of an entry-level, "Midi For Dummies" kind of thing that'll teach dummies like me how to use Midi?

BJ


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: pavane
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 07:38 AM

There are different aspects to MIDI depending on what you want to do!

MIDI was originally an interface to connect electronic instruments to sound modules. This allowed a keyboard to send commands which were interpreted as notes played on strings or brass, for example, or even a mixture.

Then someone realised that if you intercepted the commands coming from the instrument, you could save them in a data file and play them back later just through the sound module.

Next step was programs which produced the files WITHOUT the need for the instrument (Sequencers).

Now there are also programs which can

a) Scan sheet music and produce MIDI files
b) Scan MIDI files and produce scores and/or tablature.
c) Convert other notations (abc, Songwright, Noteworthy) to MIDI
d) Add words to create Karaoke files

If you want to CREATE MIDI files, you need appropriate software.
This will allow you to specify the notes you want, and the instruments and effects (e.g. echo, pitch bend, there are lots of them)

(My program uses MIDI to play back tunes, but that is not the program's main purpose.)





Only the writers of such programs really need to know the structure of the files themselves, which is quite complex.


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: alison
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 08:00 AM

band in a box is very simple to use.... just enter the guitar chords and pick a style... it'll do the rest for you....


slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:15 PM

Yeah... guess I have to spend more time with Band in a Box... I've figured out how to put the chords in, etc., but the intros, chorus/verse seperation, etc. has be boggled still. I also have a hard time finding styles that fit my "folky" taste, but I know some are there... so, you're suggesting that I don't really need a keyboard, etc. to build my own if I take advantage of what they alreday have in there? (which sounds easier, frankly, if I can figure it out)


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 02:42 PM

You really need a keyboard (an input device) if you are going to create sequenced MIDI music--these other things that Pavane mentioned are types of software that save the keyboard input information and allow you to edit it--(I grant that you will do most of your work with "cut and paste")
I wish that I knew of a book that satisfies Bullfrog's request--probably the best thing is to review the instruction manuals that come with the software and with your keyboard/sound module, then search the internet for information that isn't there--best to check the manufacturers sites, which can often link you to user groups--the upside is that MIDI programs and devices have been used professionally by musicians for a long time, so there are many people out there who have been through whatever you are trying to deal with, and, cyberspace being what it is, you can often find someone who will explain things to you--

Lane--In BIAB, pull down the "Songs" menu--there(at least in my version), you will find "Chorus begins at..." where you can set the measure that your chorus begins at, "Chorus ends at..." where you can
set where it ends--you can probably guess what "Tag begins at..." and "Tag ends at..." mean yourself---


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 02:59 PM

You really need a keyboard (an input device) if you are going to create sequenced MIDI music

Have to totally disagree with that. It's quite simply wrong. All the stuff on Lesley Nelson's Contemplator site is (or at least was) done with mouse and computer keyboard. All of my stuff is too.


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: MMario
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 03:04 PM

ditto here (granted - I just plug stuff in from sheet music - but...)


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 04:02 PM

M.Ted... I understand what you mean about a keyboard - if I want to put in music, "real time" so to speak.. the others are referring to computer keyboard/mouse input, which, I think I can do right in Band in a Box..... I suppose there are advantages both ways.

Thanks for the tip on doing the intros and tags.... big help! Do I recall that BIAB defines "chorus" as the whole song, verses included, or something like that?


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 04:15 PM

It is certainly a lot easier for the casual MIDI user to enter data using a keyboard, GUEST, and most of the people I know who do professional sequencing work make liberal use of it as well. If you want to create a jazz or blues sequence, it is particularly helpful to use a keyboard--


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 04:17 PM

I'm going for the simplest route here... quick, simple, easy is what I need. So, does a cheap MIDI keyboard suffice? What do I need to look for in these?


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 03:38 PM


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Pied Piper
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 07:00 AM

Hi Lane
Any cheap keyboard with a MIDI OUT socket will work (assuming your sound card has a MIDI IN socket).
I use a Yamaha PSS 790, which has small keys.
The only problem with the older cheap Keyboards is that they are not "touch sensitive" this means that they do not send velocity (volume) information, so it makes no difference how hard you hit the keys. If you're not a keyboard player the small keys are an advantage as you get a lot of octaves in a small space.
You should be able to get this type of keyboard for £30 or less second hand.
Dedicated MIDI keyboards aren't that expensive and most come with useful features such as the ability to control GM (General MIDI) GX (Yamaha) and GR (Roland) sound parameters with 10 or so knobs and usually come bundled with sequencing software such as "Cubasis".
I'm about to upgrade to one called the "Oxygen 8" which costs £95 and has a 24 note touch sensitive range (obviously you can change the octave).

Good look PP


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 12:10 AM

Thanks, PP.... some of what you say is over my head, but I think I get the idea. I'm not a keyboard player, though I do remember where the notes are, but all I want to do is to be able to input notes, again, just to create a rhythm backing, bass line, maybe some percussion. So, it sounds like a simple, small keyboard would do. Thanks for the tip on "touch sensitive", that sounds important...


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: pavane
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 07:30 PM

If you are not a keyboard player, then you will have a b*gg*r of a time inputting a whole bass track in tempo and with no mistakes!

In that case, it may be better to consider a software solution.
On your PC keybouard, you can easily correct mistakes, and the timing is never off.


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 08:01 PM

I see your point.. I know the keyboard, a little... but... Well, then, on the PC Keyboard, how do I do that? Sorry, I'm kinda dumb to this stuff.


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Brakn
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 08:20 PM

You don't have to be a good keyboard player if you have a reasonable ear. You can take as long as you want to get it the way you want it.

One of the hardest things I find is that a track might sound great at home in my cellar but not so good in a big venue. It's all trial an error. Drums especially can be difficult. I think that sometimes I have an extra drum in my head that nobody else hears. It'll swing at home but not live.


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 09:41 PM

Check the newsgroups - a lot of "modifications" are swapped there.

It is trantilzing to compare the tracks as they would sound "in Carnegie Hall" to how they sound "in The Grand Ol Opre," or even "Westminister Abby." You can change musical "venues" at will. This works especially well with vocal tracks and mediocre singers, who want to sound like.... say, "Tori Amos" or "Elton John." The vocal-prints have been reproduced and publicly traded...you then overlay, and stretch them on top of vocalists recording. Cakewake has a large following in this area.

Have FUN, Work HARD, Be SAFE,

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: Lane
Date: 08 Dec 02 - 01:15 AM

Gargoyle.... I don't follow you here... can you fill me in a little more? What newsgroups and what am I looking for? Sounds like you're talking about backtracks that have been made from the songs you mention or??


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Dec 02 - 04:26 PM

Lane -

You might (or might not) find some help at Midi FAQ

(http://www.faqs.org/faqs/music/netjam-faq/)

It's not a very pretty site, but does cover some basics.

The problems I've had with MIDI - in general - is that the MIDI spec is pretty specific, but the "how to midi" textbooks (web and other) "colloquialize" everything so that it's hard to relate the devices that they describe to what's in the spec. And then the manufacturers speak only in "trade names" without ever telling you what their box is supposed to do. It's almost like buying a new computer - all buzzwords and no hard specs.

My MIDI needs are pretty simple, so I just put everything into my notation program and save as .mid. I use PC keyboard, mouse, and MIDI keyboard entry at various times, and they're pretty much a matter of what you feel like doing at the time (for my simple stuff). I have found that for the minimally competent keyboardist, the keyboard velocity sensor can be almost a handicap, since it may be difficult when picking one note at a time to maintain a consistent "hit" from note to note. (Select all, edit note velocity, set all 60% later).

My method of "learning" about MIDI has been "flounder until it works," but I'm sure there is a better way.

John

John


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Dec 02 - 09:45 PM

Flounder til it works is about the norm, I think. One thing that I have done is to download MIDI files from here or there and then open them up to see how they work--you can usually learn something, even from the bad ones--


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Dec 02 - 03:21 AM

M. Ted -

I don't have much trouble with getting my .mid files put together so they work. The real confusion comes in trying to decide whether I really should try to get a better setup to work with. The hardware (and software plug-ins) is where the mystery resides. As stated above, there seem to be at least three separate and distinct "languages" that don't translate very readily. Sort of like a Brit trying tell an Americian how to fix a Canadian motorcyle made mostly in China.

Fortunately, my requirements are simple - but there are the dreams...

John


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Dec 02 - 06:16 PM

I was talking about looking at how the phrases of a performance appeared in musical notation--

I use my set-up for writing and notating, rather than for creating usable MIDI files, so I haven't mastered all the complexities that folks who perform and record with MIDI instruments know--I tend to have to re-learn certain functions every couple of years, because I use them so infrequently that I forget them--


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 01:14 PM

Lane,
I think there is a lot of unnecessary concentration on MIDI here, and what you want is to input NOTATION to a program, and let IT worry about the MIDI side of things.

As to which notation? I have found abc very quick and easy to input. You write it with a text editor, then feed it into a suitable program (of which there are many, including mine) for conversion to MIDI.

an abc file is VERY easy to understand and create

it just looks like a bit like this:
(a few header commands followed by lines of notes)

X:1
T: tune title
M:4/4
K:G
L:1/4

g b b g | a c c a | g b b g | c/2 c/2 a a z |

That is 4 bars of music written, and can be converted to MIDI.
You can find 1000's of examples on the net.

Later on, if you want to add MIDI effects, you can load it into a sequencer program.


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Subject: RE: Help w/ Backing tracks, MIDI, Keyboards
From: pavane
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 01:47 PM

I forgot to mention, details of abc notation and software are available at the abc home page, as well as LOADS of tunes

http://www.gre.ac.uk/~c.walshaw/abc/


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