[linux-audio-user] recording keyboard works (e.g. rosegarden)

Steve D groups at xscd.com
Thu Dec 23 12:54:38 EST 2004

On Wed, Dec 22, 2004 at 12:20:58PM -0700, Hans Fugal wrote:
> I'm interested in rendering some organ works electronically. The first
> step of course is to get the music in the computer, e.g. in MIDI
> format.
> [...] music is in multiple voices, and I would like to instrument each voice
> differently. I have tried recording them one at a time, in an ensemble
> style, but even when I follow a metronome it ends up sounding like
> trash. I have decided that either I need to work on my ensemble
> playing or I am going about it the wrong way. Maybe I should just
> record the manuals and try to separate out the parts into separate
> tracks as a post-processing task. [...]
> What do you all do in this situation? The same issues naturally apply
> to other styles of music as well, e.g. choral or orchestral.
--- --- ---

For myself as a pianist, I have tried to use a metronome, and then
quantization later to move separately recorded parts into sync with each
other in time, but the result sounds very mechanical and unsatisfactory.

Now I don't use a metronome at all. Instead, I create my own
personalized, flexible and variable "metronome" by first recording a
"scratch" track via MIDI of the entire piece in at least skeletal,
rudimentary form, that I will later mute and eventually dispose of once
the other individual voices and tracks are recorded.

For that first track I play the entire piece without concern for
absolute note-perfect performance. Instead I'm just trying to get the
rhythm and "groove," interpretation and expression, the tempo and volume
variations of the piece
established. I begin the track
with a "count off," striking one key of the digital-piano as a drummer
would tap his sticks together to get all the performers into the same
tempo before everyone begins to play the piece.

Later, after I have recorded this crude but expressive scratch track, I
record each of its parts individually into separate tracks, one at a
time, by accompanying myself as I listen to the first "master" scratch
track. It becomes like playing along with another musician instead of
trying to follow a metronome, and it is much easier to get comfortable
and "in sync" with the tempo, beat and interpretive nuances of one's own
master track than with a sterile, overbearing metronome.

Then, after all voices and tracks are recorded separately, I mute the
first master/scratch track, do a little editing of the MIDI data of the
remaining tracks, then play back all of the tracks except the
first/master/scratch track and mix and record the digital-audio output.

-Steve D
Portales, NM US
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of
Congress. But I repeat myself. -Mark Twain

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