Absolute Beginner

Discussion in 'General Sequencing' started by Hotpot, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. Hotpot

    Hotpot New Member

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    I've bought a music keyboard to midi up to my computer. The computer is pretty high spec 3.0Ghz Pentium etc and Audigy 2 soundcard. I am not a musician and cannot read music and have no musical experience but have tunes in my head that I want to translate to midi. I downloaded Anvil and had a good shot at laying down tracks but I find that my problem is always with the timing. It seems to get out of step with the metronome. This happens really with any riffs I create and enter a string of a certain riff, they suffer from accumulative error and eventually a minute timing problem is magnified by the 15th bar or so. If I quantize, it always seem to either alter the riff in an unfavourable way or sound totally ridiculous. How can I get these damn tunes down on computer? Would alternative software be more suitable for me? I don't want any pre-arranged stuff as I think that tends to limit your creativity. I just want to have a good dabble with some ideas. Anyone help?
  2. Graeme

    Graeme New Member

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    If you are having a problem keeping time, then you're going to have to resort to the quantisation feature. From your description of what happens when you use it, I'd hazard a guess that you have the resolution incorrectly set. You have to juggle with this a little.

    The downside of using quantisation is that it will make your music sound very 'mechanical', since it is the very slight variations in timing which mark the live performance. This might be OK for some genres of music, but certainly not for others.

    One trick you can use is to set the tempo to half speed and then record your part at this slower rate - should make it easier for you. Once you have the part down, set the tempo to normal and transpose the part down an ocatve. Doing it this way will disguise any small timing errors on your part, since they are, effectively, halved.

    Obviously, there's nothing better than to have the ability to keep time for yourself. You really should practice this aspect of playing. Start slowly, playing against the metronome and gradually increase the speed until you reach the correct one (or even more).
  3. Hotpot

    Hotpot New Member

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    Thanks for the help. I'll give it a go.
  4. Graeme

    Graeme New Member

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    I can't believe I said this - it's nonsense (too much late night working, I guess)!

    With midi, you have no need to transpose the pitch - it will play at the same pitch, no matter what speed you set the tempo at. Of course, this not the case with audio files, they will change pitch with tempo.
  5. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    I was wondering what you had meant. It may have had something to do with WAV audio work, but that would logically mean one would have to increase the octave, not decrease. Unless.. the user increased the octave after playing the piece at a lower sample rate, then after the composition was done, he would increase the tempo again, but THEN he would have to decrease the octave to play normally. This WAV is getting pretty distorted. *walks off semi-confused*
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2004
  6. Graeme

    Graeme New Member

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    Yes - I know - a minor brain fart :eek: .

    Of course, I was thinking in 'audio' mode when I wrote the original piece. However, I was right about the transposition. If you halve the tempo of the piece, play the part and then take tempo back to normal, the part will then play an octave above the pitch you played it at. Ergo, you need to transpose it down an octave to get back to where it ought to be.

    Of course, that sort of serious (electronic) pitch-shifting can totally screw the sound of the file, so you're much better off playing the part an octave lower when making the recording. Then it will be at the correct pitch when played at normal speed. Even so, one has to be careful with certain instruments, since this can change the timbre of the sound (when played at the correct speed) and give the game away.

    In the end, it's better to practise your chops than to cheat :) .
  7. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    I had thought that halving the tempo without preservating of pitch would -12 it. I guess that would only mess with the quality a little more.

    Yeah, all we're saying is that you'd be better off in the long run practising the file at the normal tempo.
  8. Graeme

    Graeme New Member

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    You're only halving the tempo of the backing track. The track you are overdubbing is at whatever pitch you record it. When you then take the whole thing back up to the correct tempo, the track you've just recorded is then raised by an octave - thus you need to take it back down again.

    This is why it's better to record this track an octave down from wherever you actually want it - with the understanding that it might still sound 'odd' when played back because it's now outside the range of the instrument or the timbre has changed, etc., etc.

    Indeed!
  9. Zandro

    Zandro New Member

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    I got it now. I was previously in the mindset that the person was playing to a slowed non-MIDI backing track, hence naturally negatively transposed. I think? :damn: I'm just not in that line of work.

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