Author Topic: Arranging Songs  (Read 3455 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ed B

Arranging Songs
« on: March 20, 2010, 06:20:30 PM »
I am relatively new to the Yamaha PSR and as such have tried to come up with not just the technical side of the using the keyboard but how to arrange music that I personally like to listen to and that will appeal to others. It's a hobby with me. I have a little experience in generating computer based music but I am not a technically proficient pianist. I have been over the ďlesson sectionĒ in The PSR tutorial. Here is what I do. I would like comments or ideas from others on how they go about arranging.
1.   I select a song I want to play/arrange. I then find the music. Take a look at it to see what it looks like and may play the melody. I then create a lead sheet in Finale 2010 using a JAZZ script because I can see that easier than trying to play directly from a fake book.
2.   I then look for a fitting style using Music Finder (Joes listthanks Joe) or someone's style with the song name on it. If I cannot find a match and this happens then I'll look at genre and tempo to find a general style that might be suitable. I usually start with genre. ( I should also say that if the piece looks beyond my playing capability I will perhaps build it in Finale I've done this with many classics such as Chopin's Nocturne1 Op9 well beyond my keyboard skills to play at this time.  These are arranged on the computer and converted for keyboard using Michael Bedesems  Midiplayer 2,  PSruit from Heiko Plate and Mega Enhancer . My thank to Michael and Heiko these are great programs. I will then use these midis on the computer and play some form of accompaniment strings harp arpeggio etc on the keyboard )
3.   Once Iíve got this together, I then look at fingering for the melody and pedaling so that the song can be played- legato. Then decide how I will play the chords, what inversions to use and in what sequence to make it easy to play. I will note this on the lead sheet and also the style I am using.
4.   At this stage Iíll try the song a couple times to hear how it sounds using the Into 3, Main 1 ending 3 then I start to look at the OTS settings included in the style and analyze the song structure to see where they might fit, phrase, verse, bridge, chorus. If I am satisfied then Iíll mark on the lead sheet to indicate where I will introduce a new voice. If  I do not like  the arrangement -OTS I will work out my own.
5.   At this stage I now look at using multi-pads whatís in the style and where I want to use them based on music structure and emphasis . I mark this on the lead sheet. I may also opt to use some of my own multi-pad selections  (Note: I find Eileenís styles excellent thanks Eileen!).
6.   Once Iíve got everything together I'll play it a couple of times and then record a midi and listen to it. This may mean further changes in the arrangement perhaps to create more emotion or emphasis. Change the introduction or ending.
7.   Then I record another midi touch it up in song creator if needed and it usually does. Save it and and then record to audio. I have done this two ways, using the built in recorder or directly to the computer into Audacity . I have had a couple of problems with recording on the PSR but find that if I defrag the memory stick (Bill's recommendation's) it works. I sometimes use a Y audio cable to go direct to the computer and this is usually okay. However, I have had problems with being in the middle of recording and some function like search indexer plus virus protection starting up at the same time and putting a glitch in the sound. This if it's not too bad I edit out in Audacity using the pencil drawing function.
8.   I will edit audio further in Audacity. May run it through additional compression, touch up equalization or put in special effects. Then I will test it on my IPOD to hear what it sounds like or play it on the Stereo sound system.  If I am not satisfied I may end up back touching up the midi for individual volume on channels and stereo position to get fuller sounding recording. I have even copied a voice in the melody to another channel in midi and offset it a couple of tics to create a particular effect.
9.   Once I'm here, I am ready to put the song in the waiting list to be burned on a CD
10.   I find I can play the piece easier when I come back in a week or month as well because I have the marked up lead sheet outlining the arrangement and I being the age I am may not remember what I how the arrangement was put together.  To date I have not used the registration function. I wonder what else I am missing. I have also basically been just using the music whereas in listening to others compositions it appears to me that they have actually done their own arrangement of a song either by playing an accompaniment and singing and then adding in special parts for the pianist or they have done a fair amount of improvising. I would like to hear some thoughts on what others are doing.

Attached is a midi example of one I made starting with Finale. I hope this posting is not to lengthy
Ed B


[attachment deleted by admin]
Keep on learning
 

angelonyc

  • Guest
Re: Arranging Songs
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2010, 07:48:55 PM »
You have a thorough process here. Continue with it, trying slightly different approaches each time, until you find a process of working that really feels right.

When I start to work on a song.  I find sheet music if possible. Other times I google for the chords.. Check a couple of sites, cause sometimes people have interpreted them differently. I also check youtube for any versions, to give me more ideas.

Sometimes I know I want to start with a certain style, othertimes I just keep playing it trying out new styles, trying different VARS, multipads etc. I make notes, so that I know which styles contain aspects that I like. Chartsoul for brass, and organ, Easy pop for bass, and maybe HipPop for a guitar part.  I sometimes make use of T3 built in sequencer, to do a quick reference. Sometimes I might try to create some chord substitutions, if I can (sound smooth, but not to radical from original). Then I pick a primary style to use,

I then use LogicPro on a Mac.  I record just the upper and lower keyboards at first. (MIDI 1 melody, MIDI 2 - left hand chords).  If necessary I clean up the left hand chords, (get rid of glitches, notes too early etc).
I then patch up Logic to send these two tracks back to T3.  Set up T3 MIDI SETUP to receive an external clock, and detect left hand chords (to drive the style generator)

Now I can have Logic play back my performance and I can concentrate on selecting the VARS, Breaks, Multipads etc.  I record all of this into Logic Pro.  You have to make various changes MIDI setup to do this. 
Using this method I can also overdub additional parts with different styles.  Now you can do this on your machine by creating or modifying an existing style.

Eventually I have the whole song recorded into Logic as MIDI tracks.  I feed this to T3 and record it as a live 2 track recording.

I too, like to space the process out over time.. Cause invariably when I come back to it, I hear changes I want to make. Change one part, or change the styles used etc.  Change the key or tempo etc.  The advantage is since I have the raw midi data, I can always go back, and create a new style and arrangement very quickly. I also use this process to explore and become more familiar with the song.  I keep jamming with it, substituting by own bass playing instead of the generated.  I also might try hand played Epiano tracks, altering/supplementing the chords a bit too. All of this helps you to understand and interpret the song better.

I record the sys-ex data too, and separate it in Logic and can choose whether to use it or not for certain passes.  This allows a lot of options.  So you can lay down a horn part, but NOT use the same Intro VAR, Break order that you did in the first pass.  I've even gone back, and altered the "Chord Detect" part, so that when I overdubbed another instrument, it really was coming from a slight  different place than the rest of the 'players'. 

I first started with a procedure a bit more like yours.  Creating a chart of cheatsheet, to keep track of which VAR I was going to use, which Multipads, change multipads half way through to get 4 more effects etc.
However it started to take all the fun out of recording..

I eventually settled on above procedure, cause I can do all kind of things on the 'fly'.  But I have total access to everything. and can easily make changes or enhance things.

The nice part about having the file in a total midi format, is you can start changing instrumentation here/there.  Insert more program changes for certain instruments in the different sections of a song.

I don't always use this procedure, it may change depending on what I want to accomplish.. I took extensive notes as I went along, and refined the process with new song I tackled. I discovered several misconceptions I had about the T3. And I sometimes found an easier process to accomplish my tasks.

But also at the suggestion from some people I just put the on-board sequencer and 'jam'.. There are so many variables at your fingertips, it's almost impossible to do everything the same way twice. Find out which methods work for you, but also try out new ideas and processes too. There is a lot of stuff on this site,, good luck keep us informed.

These are very powerful machines, and you can use them in different ways.. They built in enough options into the MIDI SETUP pages to make work very well with an external DAW. Goodluck with your adventure.


 

Offline Ed B

Re: Arranging Songs
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2010, 12:55:23 PM »
Thanks Mark interesting approach. I use a sequencer as well Jazz plus plus which is open source and it will do many of the things in Logic pro. I surely agree that this is keyboard has a lot of capability. I find playing it is a little like patting your self on the head while you rub your tummy , scratch your nose and tap dance all at once. I am certainly amazed at the results. The sound quality is outstanding.
Once you have satisfied yourself with the arrangement how do you setup to play live?
Regards
Ed B
Keep on learning
 

angelonyc

  • Guest
Re: Arranging Songs
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2010, 01:32:44 PM »
As I build the song in Logic (individual midi tracks with programs, controller effects, etc). Each track (from Logic) is assigned to one of T3's port 1. In T3, MIDI SETUP RECEIVE page, I set the incoming midi signal to be routed to T3's SONG CHANNEL This allows you to adjust parameters from the T3 mixer console. However DSP effects are harder to deal with. If you look at the DSP's setup page, you will find not all DSPs can be assigned to the same Part. DSP's 2 - 6 can be assigned to MIDI channels 1 - 16.  So you must juggle with the DSP effects a bit. DSP's 8 and 9 can only be assigned to style generator parts.

So if you have a style, that is using an 'auto wah' effect on the Chrd 1 track of the style generator, you must manually set that up so the same auto wah effect is now being routed to MIDI channel 12 when the data is being returned to T3. Also it gets confusing here a bit, cause when you choose a new instrument, the DSPs get reassigned sometimes.  If the DSP effect is important to the patch, you must manually keep track of this.. Many a time, I have come back to the song on another day, and the effects are different, which of course, might totally change how the song sounds.

I am trying to figure out a way to capture the DSP assignment as a bulk sys-ex bulk dump and bulk receive, so the sound will always be exactly the same.. But haven't had much luck yet.  What I do for now, is keep notes, or create a 'user' dsp patch, and then call that up once I have reassigned the coming from Logic.

When I am satisfied with the arrangement, when I go to record the song, all MIDI data is coming from Logic. I am only using the T3 as a 'sound module'. I am using none of it's style generation powers at this point..  I really don't have to record each track separately in Logic (what I usually do, every part is realized as a separate stereo track, high-hat, kik, snare,  bass guitar, rhythm 1 etc).

Later on, I can easily remix it, by pulling up the Logic file.
 

Offline Ed B

Re: Arranging Songs
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2010, 12:02:30 PM »
Thanks Mark very interesting. I have not approached it that way. I usually use the controls in the programs I use rather than going direct.
Appreciate all the time you have given.
Ed B
Keep on learning
 

Offline Fred Smith

Re: Arranging Songs
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2010, 05:26:48 PM »
Mark,

I also use Finale to create lead sheets. What process do you use? Do you use Simple Entry (basically the mouse), Speedy Entry, or do you scan in the sheet music?

I use the same process as you, but create a registration bank for the song. Then I don't have to make as many notations on the sheet music. The registration memorizes which intro, mains and ending I want to use. After I've created the registration bank, I create a sequence which identifies the order I will play them in. I notate the sheet music with a delta (triangle) telling me when to change registrations.

I'm particularly interested in what features you use in Finale.

Fred
Fred Smith,
Saskatoon, SK
Sun Lakes, AZ
Tyros 4, Bose L1, Finale 2011
Check out my Registration Lessons
 

angelonyc

  • Guest
Re: Arranging Songs
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2010, 10:13:20 AM »
Hi Fred.   I use Logic Pro's built in Scoring.  It is not as elegant as Finale, but you can instantly jump to the score editing page. Logic Scoring is fairly decent, however, it is an amount of work to get everything exactly as you would want.

Here is an original song called "Let's Make Love"
Here is a link to a Logic score - http://www.box.net/shared/i4k767dqh7
Here is a link to the mp3 - http://www.box.net/shared/c1dq0tisk9

I have set Logic's score quantization to 16's.  So when I play a glissando, it comes out kind of 'blocky' cause I  don't want lower the quantization, otherwise the score would really be long.

Finale is an excellent program.  I did use it several years ago.  But returned to using Logic, cause it was much faster for me.
I usually start by using T3 to generate a style performance.  I will hand play the melody and string lines.  I will then use Logic's orchestral scoring to see all the parts played together. I will  edit the notes in various parts using the score editor.  I will also write in parts from the score page, drawing notes, cutting and pasting etc. I also use  the scoring page to  copy and augment phrases from one instrument to another.

 

Offline Ed B

Re: Arranging Songs
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2010, 10:55:44 AM »
Hi All
I use Finale and have for quite awhile. As far as entry goes I have used most them of them including importing xml music documents which are sometimes available for classical music  I find scanning works well and requires just a bit of editing. Generally I use simple entry from the computer keyboard Ive got pretty quick at it and the repetition in many pieces allows me to cut and paste and quickly move through a piece of music. I do a little arranging. Done some choral work for a senior choir and find it great particularly with the Garratin Orchestra voices which are very helpful to hear what  it will sound like. A year ago I came across a book Composing with Finale and it is excellent. Up until getting the book I had no idea the capability in this program so I now make a lot of use of the tools which are available. The scores are excellent and I I use a free program to convert to PDF to share with others who do no have Finale. ( PRIMO PDF)
Generally I will save in midi and then move to the keyboard and sequencers although I do use the mixer and instrument selection in the program. I particularly like it for producing lead sheets that I can read at the keyboard. Attached is an example in PDF of a hymn As The Deer
Ed

[attachment deleted by admin]
Keep on learning
 

alnart

  • Guest
Re: Arranging Songs
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 06:20:11 AM »
Hi, all - I've been a professional musician for 50 years, using the psr 3k for 4 yrs (great instrument).  I play all songs live.  I must have 5000 or more styles either in my computer or on the instrument.  What I do is listen to a style, determine what song would go best with it, copy and paste that style to my "Song" folder and rename. Put the Song folder on a 256k flash drive or 128 Smart Media Card. Not on the User section of the keyboard - it has limited memory.  When I see that tittle I now know what the style is and I can use it for that or any song.  I then make different folders in the Song folder (Latin, Jazz, Blues, Big Band, Dixie, Ethnic, Dance, etc.).  You could even group them in sets (say a dozen or more per grouping so you can go from one to the next without hunting around).  Art
 

Offline Ed B

Re: Arranging Songs
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2010, 05:54:09 AM »
Hi Art
Thanks for sharing. These arrangers offer many options to arrange songs. Sometimes in arranging a song an audience make expect to hear it played in the same style as they are used to hearing in the media so some folks will modify styles to get that type of intro or ending. On the other hand you have many choices to create a unique arrangement even taking it into a different genre. There are over 30,000 styles on the this site available to you if you wish to use them.
Welcome to the forum. maybe you will share some of your songs in the performers section. You sure have a lot of experience.
Regards
Ed B
Keep on learning