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Hello,

Not a usual topic probably. Using a stand with 2-3 keyboards and 20-30 VSTi-s, what is the simplest way to organize playing them simultaneously by a single pianist, without keyboard splitting, using a DAW for MIDI recording?

Of course, we have only 2 hands and 2 legs. Soloing more than 2 voices is impossible, but other voices can be sustained using pedals and maybe some dubbing or arpeggio features. For pressing 3-4 pedals simultaneously one can use toes and heels, but using more than 2-3 pedals seems to be impractical. Special knobs or keyboard shortcuts should allow easy re-activation of solo voices without stopping the performance.

Currently I do this using on-board voices of the keyboards, and find the MULTI option of Yamaha MOTIF very convenient for this. Yamaha keyboards typically have special knobs for re-activating voices of the 16-voice MULTI set; the voices may sound simultaneously. The question is, what is the simplest way to extend this architecture for playing software instruments?

It would be interesting to know about any experience in organizing a live-playing on several keyboards simultaneously without stopping the performance for re-activating solo voices, using a DAW for MIDI recording.

Andrew

Last edited by Andrew_G; 11/24/17 05:01 AM.
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This is not what you are asking for but the Yamaha Electone is a good way of playing a lot of instruments live at the same time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aigOZ6dpXRM

The Yamaha Electone is sold across Asia, Mexico and in some other Latin American Markets. I don't know if it is sold in Europe or the US. It should be.

https://asia-latinamerica-mea.yamah...nstruments/keyboards/electone/index.html

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@ Andrew_G:

So, 20 to 30 VST simultaneously using 2-3 keyboards and no key-splitting...are you thinking along the lines of playing orchestral-type music live as a solo keyboardist using 2-3 keyboards? Is this a scenario wherein all 20 to 30 VST are constantly being played/used throughout the whole song, hence, keyboard-splitting is either not needed or not appropriate since there are no quick instrument solo/changes within the song...

You're probably looking at assigning each virtual instrument to its own MIDI Channel (in such a way that any slider/fader in your workstation keyboard or MIDI keyboard master controller acts as volume control to bring in the sound of that specific virtual instrument assigned to that MIDI channel and fader when needed; and configure maybe the toggle on/off switch typically located above or below each fader in MIDI-controllers to solo or mute that instrument if and when needed) assuming that you're using a multi-timbral keyboard (or workstation).

Your probably going to need a VST host like either Cantabile or Forte instead of a DAW (e.g. Studio One, Steinberg Cubase etc.), configure one of your pedals to shift/move from one "scene" to the next scene of a song your playing live and pre-configure other pedals to sustain one or a couple of virtual instruments...

Your theoretical 20-30 virtual instruments, assuming your PC/laptop has the necessary CPU power, memory/RAM, fast SSD to handle multi-gigabyte simultaneous sample streams of each sampled-based virtual instruments played live and a good audio interface with good driver (ASIO).

If you had to play that much 20 to 30 virtual instruments live, using to 2-3 keyboards as you said in your post, you'll definitely have to study the material/music and determine which instruments should go together in each part/segment of the song and which one(s) get solo or muted on which part of the song then create multiple scenes in Cantabile or Forte (VST hosts) and possibly "echo" a MIDI channel signal to specific MIDI channel(s) of the other 2 keyboards which are then assigned to any of the remaining virtual instruments...this type of MIDI routing may be possible in VST hosts like Forte.

I don't think I'll come close to using 20 to 30 virtual instruments live (all played simultaneously). I can see it maybe done when arranging orchestral music wherein a track for each articulation of, say, a string instrument can be created such that there will be several tracks wherein each track corresponds to a virtual instrument and/or its specific articulation (pizzicato, spiccato etc.) and the total count of virtual instruments may reach even more than 50 in a cinematic soundtrack music project.

I'm definitely not an expert and the music is definitely not perfect, but in this simple video, I did use several virtual instruments (some are layered) but I also did keyboard splits/zones based on how I wanted to "cover/interpret" the song/music:

Sara by Starship (Instrumental cover keyboards)

(I also used a backing track for drums - a track which I had recorded using Addictive Drums VST and additional string/brass virtual instruments)...


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These digital one-man-band performances are intriguing ... and puzzling.
How dey do dat?

On another note ... there's this, the old-fashioned way:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Onemanband.jpg

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
These digital one-man-band performances are intriguing ... and puzzling.
How dey do dat?


Just guessing, but I suppose the man with the array of keyboards with have recorded a multitrack piece in the normal way, on a DAW or other multi-tracking. Then he can leave a number of parts or overdubs to do 'live' when he records the video. I imagine a lot of keyboard players work in that way for concerts, having laid down the rhythm section and so on first.

The girl on the Electone. Well that's taking god-like control to another level. It's the digital version of the mighty Wurlitzer cinema organs. You could see the LED readout flashing through the bars, so again, the basic beat and some of the backing must be recorded beforehand. She's following a score to add the final tracks of the soundtrack. Obviously, that Electone machine is designed solely for this purpose. I wonder if it comes equipped with prerecorded soundtracks, ready to roll, or whether the player has to design the score herself.

In a word, what both those players are doing is sequencing, midi or otherwise.

Last edited by toddy; 11/25/17 02:23 PM.

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Originally Posted by toddy
The girl on the Electone. Well that's taking god-like control to another level. It's the digital version of the mighty Wurlitzer cinema organs. You could see the LED readout flashing through the bars, so again, the basic beat and some of the backing must be recorded beforehand. She's following a score to add the final tracks of the soundtrack. Obviously, that Electone machine is designed solely for this purpose. I wonder if it comes equipped with prerecorded soundtracks, ready to roll, or whether the player has to design the score herself.


She is very good. In an interview she said her father helped a lot with programming the Electone.

I think about importing one from Japan or Mexico. . .

An easy introduction to the Electone (for kids?!?):

https://usa.yamaha.com/files/download/other_assets/9/713419/elb02_en_tu_a0.pdf

In addition to the Yamaha MDR registration files, you can also use MIDI:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrFiZMrFfcY

There are music scores, magazines, MDR files availabe from yamaha and fans:

https://yamahamusicdata.jp/
http://dennis-yamaha.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-to-search-stagea-data.html
http://eldata.org/

Factory tour:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afxxd3yXCTQ

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Yes, the Electone type instrument, or, still better, what is demonstrated by BeowulfX, is what I am trying to build: a prepared multi-keyboard instrument for simultaneous playing 20-30 VSTi-s by a single performer. Thanks for the beautiful demos and for the explanation of the architecture. If I understand Cantabile well, it provides a tool for organizing and activating patches, but does not support MIDI recording, which I need for post-editing of the music.

>> How dey do dat?

BeowulfX, are you improvising, or you follow some previously created score?
The girl on the Electone probably follows some score but chooses the instruments on-the-fly. My method is based on experimenting with co-sounding patches from a large set (currently belonging to MOTIF) and improvising, that's why I usually apply post-editing.

Example with MOTIF portamento effects and controlled arpeggios:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC-VeR2t0RU


Last edited by Andrew_G; 11/25/17 05:42 PM.

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