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OK, now that the new year is underway I'm thinking about what I'd like to learn on piano during 2015.

One thing I thought of is how playing synths/keyboards is different than acoustic piano. The vast majority of what I've learned so far is acoustic piano stuff.

I read other on-line forums related to the Casio PX-5S stage piano. It was like a completely different world, with keys players talking about things you never think of as a pianist.

I've never played keys in a band situation so this is all unfamiliar and exciting. Things like:
- Keyboards being reviewed for having good "leads and basses" - presumably solo synth sounds and others that could stand in for electric bass. I also recently visited a church and saw they had a synth player covering the bass lines.
- Best uses of layered sounds in performances?
- Use of backing tracks - particularly drums. Some keyboard players know enough about drum patterns to program their own ... something I've never really thought about.
- Arpeggiators and sequencers, and when to use them
- Processing MIDI or audio input through the keyboard
- Working with digital audio workstations (DAWs)

Has anyone here done any of these things? Any advice for someone just starting out with some of these things?


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You can do some searching on the EP/synth forum here. I've been using a DAW for a long while (Acid by Sony which is a dead product, but they still have a home version that is current) and the first thing I'd do is down load Audacity (free) and see what a DAW is.

Do you have an EP or Synth? If so it probably hooks up to a computer (either USB or MIDI), and will act as a controller (think keyboard) for your DAW. There are many plugins (VSTs) which will add significant sound creation for a DAW. I recently got a pair of Eris 4.5" monitors for my PX-5S (wanted others but even the 5" Eris were too big for my space) and I got another DAW by Presonus for free.

In a DAW you can have tracks (most have an unlimited number) in which you can build your "score". From drums to pianos (many of the software piano's can function inside of many DAWs) or even something like the Garritan Personal Orchestra that has hundreds of instruments. The PX-5S is a combination of Synth, sequence (puts stuff in tracks), and piano.

Using built-in sounds is very easy, it's adding the effect's to each sound that can be intimidating (lots to learn).

Playing with Audacity will give you an idea (just youtube it for lots tutorials). I had use ACid and music pieces called loops to build music for video, but then I decided I wanted to learn about music and thought piano would be the best way. I recently just got the PX-5S and now can see how all of this stuff really works (sounds filters that do everything from reduce noise to allow keys to play one sound on strike and another on release), it just another trip into the land of music. Hope this helps.

Last edited by D7K; 01/20/15 01:12 PM.

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Originally Posted by Colin Dunn
The vast majority of what I've learned so far is acoustic piano stuff.

Wanna swap?
No, seriously, stay with the acoustic sound.
Toys are toys.
The piano is the piano.

If your curiosity wins, at least dedicate more time to the acoustic.

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Quote

The piano is the piano.

If your curiosity wins, at least dedicate more time to the acoustic.


I am by no means abandoning acoustic piano, but want to learn some new things in the digital / synth world. Both have their place...


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DP's can be a great aid in learning to adapt to different instruments. The range of things that happen when you press a key is vast. It'll help to protect you from Single Piano Syndrome.



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Originally Posted by Colin Dunn
I......want to learn some new things in the digital / synth world.

If you want ideas on using your synth, better post in the Digital - synths & keyboards forum rather than ABF, which is mainly for pianists playing piano (whether on acoustic or digital).

There're lots of experts there who know all there is to know about what to do with the fun things on keyboards and synths.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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I posted here instead of the DP forum for a reason, because my questions are about learning musicianship and instrument capabilities, rather than reviewing hardware, comparing DP technologies, etc. Most of the threads over there are about researching purchases, not how to get the most out of the instrument once it's in your hands...


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Originally Posted by Colin Dunn
Has anyone here done any of these things? Any advice for someone just starting out with some of these things?


Can help to learn how sound synthesis works, and one of the best teaching materials I've seen for this is a book called Welsh's Synthesizer Cookbook Welsh's Synthesizer Cookbook

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Originally Posted by 255
No, seriously, stay with the acoustic sound.
Toys are toys.


Really? Some of the great albums from the 80s were done on the Yamaha DX-7 or the Fairlight CMI, or other synths from that era.

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You are quite right, there is a whole other world out there when it comes to keyboards vs acoustic piano. One thing you might ask yourself is which direction you would like to explore. One possibility is to go in the direction of music composition. This involves laying down tracks in a DAW or workstation and building up your own songs. Doesn't require excellent keyboard technique, but does require a good ear and patience to convert that sound in your head to actual tracks in your DAW.

A second direction that might interest you is in sound design. Synthesizers come with hundreds and even thousands of presets. But these are only the starting point for synth heads who get their enjoyment from creating their own patches from combinations of oscillators, filters and effects. Again, takes a good ear and not necessarily keyboard skill.

A third option is live performance. Unlike acoustic piano which tends to be center stage, the keyboardist is almost always in the background. The really good keyboardists are almost invisible. They provide the wall of sound that is the backdrop for the featured vocalist and guitarists. Require you be able to fill in with chords, beat, bass, maybe some pads, organ and at certain points a riff or two to make the song and the sound more memorable. If you are a good keyboardist, the audience will almost never know your name, but the band leads and music producers most certainly will. For this talent and technique are a benefit, but most important is still a good ear so you can find your place in the overall sound of the band.


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You're an ideal candidate for:

Kovarsky -- Keyboards for Dummies

here on Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Keyboard-For-Dummies-Jerry-Kovarsky/dp/1118705491/

That's the paperback edition; the Kindle edition is less expensive.

. Charles

PS -- if you hang out on the "Digital Pianos and Synths" forum for a while, you'll get reasonable exposure to the concepts, but it'll be scattered.


. Charles
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Originally Posted by D7K
You can do some searching on the EP/synth forum here. I've been using a DAW for a long while (Acid by Sony which is a dead product, but they still have a home version that is current) and the first thing I'd do is down load Audacity (free) and see what a DAW is.


Audacity is _not_ a DAW (in the conventional sense). It doesn't accept MIDI data, it doesn't use VST (virtual instruments), and I don't think it knows what a "beat" or a "loop" is:

. . . It's a really nice multi-track record / edit program.

I use it and like it.

I suspect that starting with a DAW is really jumping into the deep end of the pool. Maybe that reflects my own lack of experience. But when I downloaded and started up "Reason" (which _is_ a DAW), I was overwhelmed by its complexity.

. Charles

PS -- there's a lot to explore, and no unique "best way" to explore it.


. Charles
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What you say about Audacity is true, if money is tight but you need MIDI Presonous StudioOne2 Artist is only $20 right now and that is a good deal with the additional stuff you get. You have to start somewhere and while I do like books, playing with the real thing is good also (different folks learn in different ways).


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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

Audacity is _not_ a DAW (in the conventional sense). It doesn't accept MIDI data, it doesn't use VST (virtual instruments), and I don't think it knows what a "beat" or a "loop" is:


Audacity is for editing audio waves.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/21/15 07:26 PM.

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