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> Speed Of Inputting Music, If you can't play a real-time keyboard, how's the fastest way
Ricky Buchanan
post Wed 21 Nov 2007, 07:07
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I am experienced with both computers and music, but not so much with the mix of both. Because of my disability I can't use a regular music keyboard to compose, and putting the notes in one-by-one with the mouse is a bit like pulling teeth! I do have a small keyboard - eKeys 37 - which I use to do note pitches and then use a programmed XKeys Desktop device to specifiy the note length, but it's awkward and slow.

I think what frustrates me most is that music entered like this with a mouse or the XKeys/eKeys combination has no extra "live" midi stuff like note velocity/etc. (I'm not sure of the terminology - sorry). So playing it back is a bit like listening to a robot, and very frustrating.

Is there any decent way of getting this information in so the computer can play it back and have it closer to the way it sounds in my head???

At the moment I'm using Sibelius mostly and Garage Band a bit (haven't really mastered that). I started off clasically trained so I'm used to notes and staves and such, not the MIDI type stuff, but I am willing to learn!

Best Regards,
Ricky
ATMac - http://atmac.org/ - Assistive Technology for Mac OS X Users
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houstonmusic
post Wed 21 Nov 2007, 17:48
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Ricky,

the full version of Finale, and probably other notation software, has human performance interpretative parameters built in. In Finale there are a handful of performance curves, so to speak, that interpret dynamics, tempi, and various articulations as performance information. Finale will even output that continuous controller data in it's MIDI export. it makes the playback much more human. sort of.

cheers,
Chris
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randyman
post Thu 22 Nov 2007, 05:34
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Hey Ricky -

I really wish you all the best with getting your input situation to work for you smoothly.

If you're ambitious, and feel like doing a little symbolic coding, you could combine the power of Max -

http://www.cycling74.com/

with an interface like the monome -

http://monome.org/

to make your own input device. A range of buttons could be assigned to note values, some could be duration values, and some - say one through sixteen - could represent a range of velocity values. Once the buttons were laid out, it would provide an easy way to input these three values for each note.

The initial coding in Max might be tricky, but I'll bet you could draw on the community at Cycling '74 for assistance. Good luck!
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midiwife
post Thu 22 Nov 2007, 11:35
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Hi Ricky,

You say you're using the ekeys 37 which has mini keys. I've just done a search on it and come up with this:

The Evolution Ekeys comes in 2 sizes:

* Evolution eKeys 37 - A lightweight USB keyboard with 37 mini keys and will fit in with any computer setup due to its compact design.
* Evolution Ekeys 49 - The Evolution Ekeys 49 is a Velocity sensitive 49-note USB keyboard.

Which makes me wonder if your 37 mini key size version has velocity sensing. If it doesn't then you're really stuck with having to enter velocity (i.e., playing weight) information after the event which IS like pulling teeth I agree. No fun!

If you're able to hit the notes with a variety of strengths, then why not look at a more fully featured keyboard that has velocity sensitivity - also called 'touch sensitivity'? Most keyboards do feature this as standard. You can get mini key keyboards which have this.

Then, any sequencing program that recognises velocity will be able to take advantage of your playing style.

As to playing in musical ideas using a keyboard, I'm no keyboard player but I use Cubase and by slowing down the tempo considerably, I can execute quite tricky passages which I can then speed back up again to what I'd intended and the results need little editing.
Plus, if I record in cycle mode, I can add successive notes each time round to build up chords etc.
Most sequencing packages should let you do this and Garageband is a good example (and actually quite simple and very powerful once you understand how it works).

I'd not venture in to Max unless you are keen to explore programming and how it can relate to music. I'm taking a course in it myself at present and yes, it's fascinating but not really a quickstart and appropriate answer to your current question.

Good luck and kind regards.

Oh and I should have added, Garageband has the notes/staves option for viewing your parts so it's really well suited to your particular approach. It also has the more accessible 'piano roll' style of editing for those not used to classical notation.

All the best.
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Ricky Buchanan
post Mon 26 Nov 2007, 14:05
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You're right, midiwife, the keyboard I have doesn't have velocity sensitive keys. The trouble is, I need a keyboard that has keys that are smaller than piano size because then I can enter stuff with less arm movement - but I couldn't find a USB keyboard with small keys and velocity sensing and is small enough to have in my lap in bed and didn't need a power cord - it's a big ask!

Also, I'm not even sure that my playing would be decent enough that it would help at all angry.gif.

I am a programmer, so I am going to look into the Max idea - that was one that I didn't know.

Also I want to learn more about GarageBand, can people recommend tutorials or info that focusses specifically on using software instruments rather than live recording or loops? The loops are never exactly what I want!

One specific problem with GB is I want to enter a percussion sequence in software instruments then just have that repeat until I specify it to change... but there doesn't seem to be any way to turn software instrument sequences into loops except by exporting them as AIFF and going through all that crap. Did I miss something?

Thanks to everybody for the suggestions so far! I'm arranging Christmas carols at the moment *sheepish grin*

Ricky
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Thea Hardy
post Tue 27 Nov 2007, 06:20
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Ricky, when you find that keyboard, I will be interested, too - perfect travel gizmo. I'm a big GB user and would also like to do some of the same things you want to do. I spend some time editing the MIDI loops, but I do get frustrated. Where are the "hidden GB secrets"? :-)

Good luck with all of it.

Thea
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jimdubpram
post Tue 27 Nov 2007, 12:08
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One specific problem with GB is I want to enter a percussion sequence in software instruments then just have that repeat until I specify it to change... but there doesn't seem to be any way to turn software instrument sequences into loops except by exporting them as AIFF and going through all that crap. Did I miss something?



Record your percussion sequence. Then simply drag the created sequence out of the track and drop it onto your loop browser. GB will then create a loop of it and add it to your loop library.

One of the most useful "secrets' that I use is the keystroke ctrl/alt/g (then click your window), this will change loops that cannot be edited for pitch into ones that can.


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Asus32
post Tue 27 Nov 2007, 13:01
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QUOTE (Ricky Buchanan @ Mon 26 Nov 2007, 14:05) *
You're right, midiwife, the keyboard I have doesn't have velocity sensitive keys. The trouble is, I need a keyboard that has keys that are smaller than piano size because then I can enter stuff with less arm movement - but I couldn't find a USB keyboard with small keys and velocity sensing and is small enough to have in my lap in bed and didn't need a power cord - it's a big ask!

Ricky


I just want to mention the existence of the Edirol PCR-M1 keyboard.
I _think_ it fullfils your requirements for a keyboard, in case you were looking for a new one.

A few links:
http://www.rolandus.com/products/productde...mp;ParentId=114
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNkEjJp3v_U
http://createdigitalmusic.com/?p=623
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midiwife
post Wed 28 Nov 2007, 11:22
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Hi Asus 32, the Edirol keyboard looks nice but Ricky's after something with mini keys and the Edirol has standard size.
I have one of these little Yamaha keyboard which is exactly what you're after but with midi out not usb!

http://www.zzounds.com/item--YAMCBXK1

Aha, but the Korg MicroKontrol is what you're looking for these days. More bells and whistles than you may need right now but very tactile, mini keys and velocity sensitive plus drum hit pads - great for inputting percussive sounds even with little physical movement.

http://www.thomann.de/gb/search_dir.html?s...amp;x=0&y=0

Not so cheap but a pretty effective bit of kit and really entirely designed for your specific requirements!

Good luck Ricky,

Kind regards, Midiwife.
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jimdubpram
post Thu 29 Nov 2007, 04:17
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Another very useful trick in GB is to select a loop/region etc. that you want to duplicate. Then hold down the alt key and drag the portion to be copied to its new destination. GB will copy it for you. You can drag and copy loops between tracks this way. Use the editor in Time mode to fine adjust small movements.


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