Author Topic: Playing Vocal accompaniment  (Read 1217 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline acparker

Playing Vocal accompaniment
« on: March 09, 2019, 01:10:46 PM »
(I'm not sure what forum this should be posted in, so please feel free to relocate it, as necessary)

I've been asked to provide music for an upcoming play at our local Little Theater.  But I've run into a bit of a problem.  For the group numbers, everything works quite well.  The styles/chords plus melody line fits perfectly, especially when used with some of the large harmony sections to fill out the band, as it were.  But I'm having problems coming up with something that works for the solo pieces.  The styles are fine, but I can't seem to find anything to do with my right hand, except maybe put it in my lap and only play left hand.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can hide the fact that I'm playing melody with the right hand, and let the vocals shine through?

Adam

(Man, I wish I knew how to play piano, not just fake book.)
 
The following users thanked this post: pchan

Offline DrakeM

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2019, 01:27:51 PM »
You can play about 3 notes when ever the singer isn't singing. The right hand in your lap is the correct spot for 90 percent of the time, if the style is set up properly (which you are saying it is).

Listen to the song on YouTube. See if you can hear any short riffs in the song that you can play when the singer isn't singing.

Here is example to watch my right hand:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1-QSxm8vkE

I have several videos at YouTube you can watch for more examples. Also in my MP3 Library link found in my Signature are hundreds of recordings you might want to listen to for even more examples if you need.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2019, 01:31:07 PM by DrakeM »
 
The following users thanked this post: pchan

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2019, 01:43:43 PM »
Hi Adam,

I think your topic is relevant for this forum. You're asking how to use the Genos "musically" versus "mechanically." It's refreshing to not have to address bugs, for a change :)!

When you are providing background music for a vocalist or vocalists. Ask yourself, "What would I play if the solo content was a clarinet, guitar, or sax?" When someone else solos, I use the following techniques:

1 - Stay out of the soloist's musical range. If someone is singing high, play low on the piano register. You can perfrom brief embellishments an octave above their range as well. Note the word brief.

2 - Play less notes, twice as long. That is, use half and whole notes to your advantage. There's nothing musical about someone who clutters up things, just because they feel they need to contribute to the song.

3 - Fill in the gaps. When someone takes a breath or a pause for even a half bar, there's your chance to insert a lick. You would be shocked at how long a half bar seems.

4 - Avoid full chords on the right hand. For example, if the person is singing the fifth of the scale, there's no need for you to play the same note, especially if you've crept into his or her range by mistake! I often play a passing note like a 6th or 9th, especially in a Jazz number. For a chord, I'll often use the third and octave notes only. The choice of notes depends on the musical genre. For Country, I'll throw in a Floyd Kramer type of lick during a singer's pause.

5 - Consider using an organ sound. I've always thought no matter what the musical genre, you can always play organ sounds using half and whole notes. Just because you played piano throughout the song, there's absolutely no reason you can't switch to an organ voice. Look how many pro players have two keyboards stacked on stage. A lot of the times, the lower is a weighted piano and the upper, a synth of some kind that has organ type keys. Musical hint about playing organ sounds as back-up: seldom play the third of the scale if you're also playing the root. It just clutters the organ sound :).

6 - Last but not least, this Golden Rule came from a local pro player with whom I talk often: "Three or four bars of rest for the piano, are considered as notes too. You just can't hear them."
That means, there is absolutely no reason you have to play Bar 1 to 144 in a 144 bar song. I believe a lot of players come from a soloist piano background and feel they have to do something in every bar. You're not playing a recital for your Grade 8 piano. You're only backing the soloist. It's not your turn! Sad to say, but most keyboard players reside very low in the pecking order :)! The guitarists and singers are the stars.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2019, 02:45:03 PM by Lee Batchelor »
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 
The following users thanked this post: StuartR, pchan

Offline pjd

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2019, 02:08:54 PM »
Super post, Lee!

-- pj
 
The following users thanked this post: Lee Batchelor

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2019, 02:41:45 PM »
Thanks PJD :)!
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 

Offline mikf

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2019, 05:38:17 PM »
Very good reply from Lee. As a long time vocal accompanist myself, I might add that far from wondering what to play over and above the keyboards accompaniment, it should be looked at as a great opportunity to produce a very non repetitive accompaniment, which can raise the level of the whole thing, and make the vocalist feel great.  The most important thing is  - can you play by ear?Frankly, if you do not, you will struggle with this. Ear players listen to the recordings by great arrangers and absorb ideas which they can create around when comping.
On a more mundane level, one thing Lee did not mention specifically, is the use of string lines, especially in ballads. They should be simple, but complimentary. Listen to things like Nat King Cole recordings and hear how great arrangers like Gordon Jenkins and Axel Stordhal use simple stringlines to make the whole thing lush. At the simplest level, using strings on very open chords like Lee describes works quite well. Use control of the volume to ‘float’ them in and out. For big band type listen to how a great arranger like Nelson Riddle (Sinatra’s favorite arranger) uses brass and saxes to accent or fill.
Most of us who are good at this do it instinctively from years of development and practice. If you are new to this, you might best best advised to come up with stuff off line, and write it down on a score.
Mike
 
The following users thanked this post: Lee Batchelor, StuartR, pchan

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2019, 10:02:17 PM »
Thanks, Mike! I just learned something from you :)!

One thing Mike mentions is, "Playing by ear." I'm a terrible reader, but my piano instructor tells me I'm the best ear trained musician he has ever met. I can detect intervals and chords just by their sound. That gives me a tremendous advantage when setting up Registrations. Ironically, I'm also a trumpet player and can read trumpet scores with no problem. Go figure...

I work with a guitarist who played for Nelson Riddle for about two years. He has taught me some great hints about soloing and playing rhythm piano.

Great discussion people. Keep the ideas flowing!
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 

Offline acparker

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2019, 10:21:37 PM »
Many thanks to all those who have responded, and especially DrakeM, Mikf, and Lee Batchelor.  There are some very good ideas in there.  I'm definitely outside my comfort zone on this, and so over my head, I can't see the surface anymore.  I appreciate the points suggested, and I see what you mean, Drake, with the little fill-in bits.  You have a great voice for that country style, too!  Lee, you make some great suggestions ... now I have to see if I can make them mine.  That is to say, can I execute them. Mikf, I don't play by ear.  I wish I did.  I wish I played piano, too, not just the fake book method.

So, the idea I had of just repeating the chords in the right hand in strings etc, isn't going to work well, I guess. How about if I used the apprgiator to create some basic movement right hand?

The show's at the beginning of May, and I've never really done much at composing.  But maybe I can figure out a harmony line from the piano scores in time.  I guess I'll have to give it a shot.  I'd really appreciate any further suggestions/techniques and it helps to hear about your experiences doing this.

And I guess one of the underlying principals of this is "Less is More", right?

Adam 

 

Offline mikf

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2019, 11:33:31 PM »
Unlikely you can master advanced comping in a short time, so your starting point should be similar to the physicians  - ‘first do no harm’.
You would be better to play only the LH chords than try to get clever in the RH and put people off. My advice, so you don’t look silly playing with one hand, is to turn down the volume of the RH, and just play RH chords using a quiet pad type sound  - strings, organ, sustained electric piano maybe even human type oohs or ahs. Pick what is appropriate. Play 2 or 3 note chords.
Mike

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2019, 12:04:27 AM »
More great suggestions, Mike!

Here's a long shot. Adam, can you disclose some examples of the tunes you're trying to tackle? Perhaps some of us could record some sample ideas for you.

And yes, you may have a steep learning curve ahead but never give up! Even if you learn one lick per day, that's one more trick up your sleeve you didn't have the day before. Try listening to the great players out there, and you'll be surprised at how little they do to make a song sound great. A prime example is David Foster. I've heard him play two or three notes in four or five bars. His choice of notes is what makes him great.

Here's a great hint for everyone. It comes from my guitarist friend who played for Nelson Riddle. It follows the "less is more" philosophy that Adam has concluded to: "Resist the urge to play a lot of notes. Only play what you must. After all, you're being paid by the note :)!"

EDIT Almost forgot to post one other technique. If you're unsure what to play on the right hand, choose an open chord (1, 5, and 8 ), and then play it using the same rhythm pattern as the high-hat cymbal in the drum kit. This technique is genre dependent, but it often works.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 12:07:21 AM by Lee Batchelor »
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 
The following users thanked this post: StuartR

Offline acparker

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2019, 12:27:48 AM »
Two that I'm grappling with at the moment, are "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows", and "Alice Blue Gown".  Those are the two that I have seen so far at rehearsals, and a good place to start.  Also, there's "What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry". I can see some incidental stuff in "Rainbows" that I could add in between the singing, as has been suggested above, but I'm wondering if it would be better to write out a harmony line incorporating those bits for myself. 

I think I will try that "Do No Harm" suggestion from Mike for the rehearsals -- at least until I get something better. Probably with the 1-5-8 idea from Lee.

Adam Parker 

I want to say I really appreciate all of the help and suggestions.  I'm feeling very downhearted and discouraged about my ability to do this music for the little theater, but getting suggestions like these is helping me find ways to attack the problem.
 

Offline andyg

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2019, 01:01:49 AM »
All good stuff so far! :)

1) Counter melodies - worked out from the chord being played, usually minus the bass note and usually minus the melody note (occasionally, they'll 'collide'). Simple, smooth and connected. Usually slow, not too many notes and out of the singer's way as far as possible. Strings can work well, low or high, but solos like sax, clarinet, flute etc can also work well. But the emphasis is on 'worked out', not just played on the fly.
2) Pads - if there's a pad in the style, mute it and play the pad yourself, but let it have the freedom that playing it manually gives, rather than it being a relatively static part of the style.
3) Obbligatos (obbligati?) - sometimes a song has a recognised little riff or two that you can add in - the piano figures in "I left my heart in San Francisco" come instantly to mind. Again, you can 'work out' what to do in advance and it will sound better than just making it up as you go along.
4) KISS principle rules!
It's not what you play, it's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

www.andrew-gilbert.com
 

Offline pjd

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2019, 01:05:31 AM »
If you're feeling a little more adventurous, you might try playing the chord tones in the right hand as a broken chord or anything that feels natural under the hand. Eventually, try other tones that are part of the scale defined by the chord.

When listening to music in the relevant genre, you'll hear fairly common cliches that are like words in a language. Try duplicating one or two cliches -- trust your hand to find the intervals between tones. Learn how to treat mistakes (!) as passing tones which lead to more comfortable sounding tones. It's amazing what a player can get away with...

All the best and encouragement -- pj

P.S. I'm not an ear player, but I try to think like a frustrated orchestrator.  :)
 

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2019, 03:11:19 AM »
I was hoping AndyG would chime in on this one :)! Thanks Andy...more great suggestions.
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2019, 03:19:40 AM »
Adam, those are fairly sophisticated tunes with some great chords. If you don't know those chords, then the K.I.S.S. formula must definitely apply. Another approach is, search YouTube for someone playing those songs. Often, they provide a breakdown of the licks and fills they play. I have learned a lot of techniques off YouTube that I would otherwise need to figure out over hours of listening, and trial and error.

How is your music theory? Do you have any formal musical training? Sounds like you know something about reading at least.
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 

Offline panos

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2019, 07:47:15 AM »
I don't have to play with a band or a singer likely for them of course  ;D
but may I ask what is a string line in music that Mike said
and also what  is KISS that Andy said? (It's not the '70's rock band,right?)

And a 3rd question.
Wellmade midi's let's say like Yamaha's have nice arrangements(that's why they are not for free :D)
so you can hear an organ playing the lead melody(the lyrics that the singer is singing,right?)
but you can hear other instruments playing just little phrases,a riff etc.

Would be also useful if maybe someone could find or create midi songs and practice with them by listening the melody and the chords and trying to figure out what he could play along with them?

My old DGX-305 has a harmony button and no matter if you play a wrong note out of the key with the right hand always correct it to the left hand's chord.
That was cool for not playing a melody but for playing little music phrases!
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 07:48:44 AM by panos »
 

Offline willem7397

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2019, 09:20:35 AM »



Very good topic, at some point everybody who just learned chords and right hand melody playing like myself will struggle with this.

I also find it difficult to come up with something interesting when playing with a singer.
Like suggested above listen to different versions of the song and you will sometimes hear a lick that you can easily replicate.
Also commercial midi's can be a great help as you can isolate the channel with the lick and watch the score.

This video is dedicated to the topic. It's in German but it speaks for itself.

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

It doesn't help for your upcoming gig but I found my musical capabilities that I got from keyboard lessons (left hand only chords, right hand melody) very limited so I started with piano lessons and it helps a lot. There are also a ton of YT videos that teach accompaniment piano techniques.
 

Offline mikf

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2019, 04:03:08 PM »
A string line in this context is just a simple counter melody played on strings.
KISS - keep it simple stupid. Just a colloquial way of saying don’t get complicated.
I don’t want to make Andy’s life even more difficult, but singing these kind of songs with styles for accompaniment might be problematic. These are amateur singers, can they stay in time, especially under stress. And these songs he mentions tend to be sung rubato which cannot be done with a style. I know I would probably not be using styles to accompany these. However, everyone has to stay within their comfort zone.
Mike
 
The following users thanked this post: panos

Offline Keynote31

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2019, 07:57:50 PM »
I play for a concert party where I live,most of the cast are over retirement age (several of the performers are 70 plus!)so are not always able to get timing or key right. Wherever I can, I play with left hand only,just doing a short right hand phrase in between verses. I mostly set my right hand to piano on the assumption that audience want to listen to the vocalist rather than me.  I also try and play in Freetime for slow numbers so that I can follow the vocalist instead of them trying to keep up with a rhythm. Big advantage is that I only play by ear so can adapt arrangements to suit the vocals. Unfortunately I can’t read a note of music and resort to learning tunes etc from YouTube.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 08:01:23 PM by Keynote31 »
 

Offline acparker

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2019, 12:59:32 PM »
How is your music theory? Do you have any formal musical training? Sounds like you know something about reading at least.

I would rate my Music Theory at about Intermediate, especially after all these years.  Formally, I had keyboard training as a child. (That's where I learned the fakebook method.)  I did music throughout High School (Alto Sax), and I did a Music Minor in University -- but I focused on History, as I was more interested in that at the time.  So, I can read a treble clef melody line at sight reading speeds.  Bass Clef is getting better, but still a long way from sight reading speed.  I'm pretty good at chords, the most commonly encountered ones I can do at sight reading speeds with the help of the AI fingering.  I can translate the dots back into chords, but not at speed.  Was there something particular I should study up on? 


There are a lot of good ideas in this thread, and I appreciate everyone who has chimed in.  I think my work load to get this done has just grown by several orders of magnitude.  But I'll have to see what I can do.

Adam
 

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2019, 01:54:30 PM »
Quote
I think my work load to get this done has just grown by several orders of magnitude.
Actually Adam, your work load just decreased ;). It's very helpful that you know some music theory. Now, when people tell you, "A good way to resolve from the 5 back to the 1, is to play the 5 in the left hand and the minor 2 with the 7th added, on the right hand." Translation: in the key of C, you would play the G chord with the left hand and a Dm7 with the right hand.

Another great example is when ending a Jazz song, play the the root in the right hand but play a ninth chord with the left. In C, you would end with a C chord, but play a D chord in root position with the right.

Similarly, with the Genos technology you can play slash chords. For example, in Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton) in the key of C, for the run down in the verses, you play C, G/B, F, G7. The second chord (G/B) is a G chord on the right, but the G chord on the left is played as B,G,B. The B note is the third in the key of G. In the original, Clapton's bass player plays it this way. Musically, very effective!

You want great tension notes? Play your chord in the left hand as usual, but using octaves, play a flattened fifth or flattened third on the right. In C, that's Gb or Eb on the right hand.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 01:56:15 PM by Lee Batchelor »
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 
The following users thanked this post: panos

Offline panos

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2019, 03:29:43 PM »
Thank you for sharing your knowledge my friends but I have a couple more questions,if you don't mind  :-[

I have tried to apply "string lines" to a midi song to see how it works and if I understood well what it is.
I picked  a Mozart's piano piece to be easier for me to repeat it and practice and not to get bored.
I haven't thought though that this guy is using every possible chord you could find on Google in just one piece. ;D Anyway...

One thing I found is that if you are not playing the "lead" instrument you got to keep your instrument's sound low,right?
Isn't that causing you trouble from not hearing well what you are playing?

Secondly, in some point I couldn't avoid playing similar melody as the brass so it didn't sound so nice.
So may I also ask:
Are you always preparing exactly what to play along with the singer and other members of the band for each song or always is "on the fly" and whatever comes to your mind at that time using knowledge,skills and experience?

I have recorded 2 minutes of my effort and (except if it is all wrong) at the end it needs more work it doesn't sound good at all. :(
I play the strings and I have increased their volume a little bit so you can hear it better.
All the rest are the midi file's organs playing along.

Is this the kind of playing what Mike is  calling "string lines" ?

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1kB5BFEAGO_OofaKIvsMzFqD3cMqR0BFY
 
The following users thanked this post: Lee Batchelor

Offline travlin-easy

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2019, 04:21:15 PM »
I've always looked at this subject this way. The vocals ARE your right hand lead. Sure, you can fill in with some neat riffs between words and phrases, but that's just fluff or filler to add a bit of fullness to the song.

Hope this helps,

Gary
Love Those Yammies...
 
The following users thanked this post: panos

Offline mikf

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2019, 05:59:14 PM »
Pano
 Kind of odd to lay it over Mozart, but that is the idea. You can mostly be a bit less busy though, doesn’t all have to be riffs and melody lines, sometimes just a sustained note and hardly moving.

On an arranger style there are often already pads, riffs and string lines. So Gary is correct, it can sound ok playing nothing in the rh. This thread really started with what to do with the rh though, so it doesn’t solve that. And it misses the opportunity to make the style more tailored, and less repetitive. But it certainly meets the ‘do no harm’ criteria.

Mike
 
The following users thanked this post: panos

Offline mikf

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2019, 09:32:37 PM »
Are you always preparing exactly what to play along with the singer and other members of the band for each song or always is "on the fly" and whatever comes to your mind at that time using knowledge,skills and experience?
Panos
The answer is all of the above depending on the the situation. If you are playing several times a week with a band, there is a chance to refine and repeat what works, although you might still occasionally go off script for the heck of it. But here is another scene familiar to most experienced pro keyboard players and something I have done many times. You get a call from a vocalist who says his keyboard player is sick, unavailable or whatever and he has a gig tonight - can you fill in? You go along, it might be a small band with a bass and drums, or maybe it is a solo accompaniment job. If you are lucky he will have a book of his 'stuff' usually lyrics and basic chords, essentially lead sheets. But sometimes its only lyrics and the key. There is no rehearsal, you are right in there live in front of an audience. Probably go through about 40 or 50 songs in a night, and you have to be able not just to cope, but make it sound to the audience as if you play together all the time. I would probably struggle with doing this now, since I have not played gigs for almost 30 years, but in my 'heyday' this was no big deal. Its a bit like juggling with three balls. People who can do it find it so easy, and people who cant think it's impossible. It's really hard to describe to someone in words how you do this, like trying to describe a painting in words. But the way it works is that I hear it all in my head in real time, and my hands just sort of do it.
At the other end of the scale I once played some cabaret dates with a vocalist who was a singer/ songwriter, recording artist, radio, TV performer. A top level, recognized in the street, type of artist. She insisted that everything be perfect and always the same - lots of rehearsal. She didn't mind you being a bit creative with your solos, but things like intros, you had to play exactly what was written down.
Mike

Offline panos

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2019, 11:00:03 PM »
Thank you for your time Mike,got it!  :)
Very interesting posts from all of you indeed!

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2019, 12:31:26 AM »
Quote
Its a bit like juggling with three balls.
...or trying to pick up three watermelons. The first two are easy :)!...

Mike struck upon a VERY important concept. How critical is the band about staying authentic to the original score? Are you required to play the exact notes as David Foster or Nelson Riddle wrote them? If so, then someone needs to supply charts. If not, take the safe road and play what Mike suggested - half and whole notes only. Panos did a great job but it would be even easier for you to simplify what he played.

Panos, thank you for taking the time to offer up the recording of your riffs and fills :)!
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 

Offline J. Larry

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2019, 02:25:44 AM »
Very informative discussion.  Much more so than unrepaired bugs in the Genos.

Offline acparker

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2019, 01:06:47 PM »
 Well, I had another Rehearsal last night, and I thought I would make a quick post with how it went.  The two pieces that I mentioned above, I had worked on to come up with a harmony line for one, and a few right hand licks for the other.  Both went pretty good.  I need to practice, definitely, but it worked.  The singers and director were happy with the effect. 

But ...

The director, who has a penchant for not following his schedule, had us work on another solo piece.  It wasn't on the list for last night, so I hadn't prepared any harmony line or anything.  So on a whim, I set the Right Hand for Ensemble --> Lush Strings, turned them way down, and also turned off the Left Voice (I had noticed earlier that the Left voice generally is the melody.)  As I sight-read the melody and the Chords.  And it didn't sound half bad.  I think with some tweaking, that could be a way of generating a backing harmony line, when needed.

Adam
 

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2019, 01:55:28 PM »
Good for you, Adam!

For the unrehearsed song, you used your instincts of keeping it simple with whole note chords. I'd wager that anyone here with (perhaps) more experience would have done the same thing.

I once asked my teacher an improvisation question. It was, "What if I run out of ideas during an improvisation solo?"
His answer, "Play the darn melody!" That's a simple solution too, and I've used it on numerous occasions. Sound familiar :)?
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 08:57:23 PM by Lee Batchelor »
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 

Offline panos

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2019, 02:20:00 PM »
Glad to hear your good news Adam!

Left hand is the melody? hm...
Left hand(usually) is playing chords and chords are always have the basic notes of the melody.
chords+melody are always going together no mater if it is a piano playing or a keyboard playing or whatever genre of music.

If you have the left voice ON,while someone is singing or if you play the melody with your right hand (pretty much the same thing),
then some notes which are contained in both the melody and in the chords they will sound more "emphasized" than the other notes which might not be a good thing when the left hand voice is at the same octave as the right hands melody.

I don't know if that is what you saw and if our fine musicians here agree with me but these are good news anyway   :D

Offline pjd

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2019, 03:04:40 PM »
And it didn't sound half bad.  I think with some tweaking, that could be a way of generating a backing harmony line, when needed.

Hi Adam --

I've been known to give the melody to the left hand, especially with cello. I've also been known to flip things the other way and to play bass clef ("left hand") whole or half notes with strings in the high octaves. The music we play has a lot of slow descending bass lines and that often creates some nice descending string lines in the high register, too. These tricks play off the acoustic piano and guitar which are the other instruments in the group.

Whatever gets you through the night, it's alright.  :)  -- pj
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 03:06:19 PM by pjd »
 

Offline mikf

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2019, 10:28:18 PM »
Adam
Seems like you are making progress. I am not sure what you mean by 'the lh voice was the melody'. I think that was either just coincidence or how it sounded to you. The left hand voice should be playing the chords that drive the accompaniment, not a melody line. I don't know what voice you are using in the LH, but I would normally make sure it was a voice that sounded good on chords, - piano, electric piano, organ etc,  - and also a voice that changes smoothly with an element of sustain, so the changes are not too abrupt. I tend to favor electric piano type voices in the LH for these reasons, although strings can also sound good, if not duplicated in the RH. You can also just silence the lh voice as you found out.
On playing the melody line in the RH, one little trick is to play some of the melody notes but hold them. You will start to hear how if you play the main melody notes as the vocal follows the exact melody, it sounds like a harmony line. What you are really doing is playing the melody note in that bar that happens to land on one of the notes of the chord. Sometimes even if the chord changes, the notes can be the same, eg in a chord sequence that goes-
 C -Am -F -C over 4 bars , the note C can be held over the 4 bars. Or more interestingly, you can hold it for the first 2 bars, then slide to F for a bar, and down to E. This works great for a string line.
Have fun.
Mike   

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2019, 12:27:29 AM »
Thanks for the free lesson, Mike! We need more topics like this. After all, this forum is about "all things Genos." That includes how to play the darn thing, not just pushing the right buttons, and designing styles and voices :)!!
Current Gear: Genos, SoundCraft mixer, two Bose L1 Compacts, 15 inch sub designed and built by myself, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, Cubase 8 Artist, Steinberg UR-44.
 

Offline mikf

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2019, 09:42:34 AM »
Not just a Genos Lee, all Yamaha arrangers, but your point is well made.
Mike
 

Offline acparker

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2019, 01:08:16 PM »
I think there is some confusion over what I did.  I played the cords with the left hand, and the melody with the right hand.  I used the 'ensemble' feature of the Genos (and on the Tyros 5), set on Lush Strings.  That's the feature where the Genos (or T5) takes the harmony, and splits it into 4 parts, based on the harmony settings.  In that mode,  the Genos uses all four voices -- Left, Right 1, 2 and 3 as Voice 1 - 4 in that order.  Voice 1 usually carries the melody, and the others are harmony lines.  I turned off Voice 1 by turning of the Left Voice, leaving just the harmony lines.  Does that make it clearer?

In other words, when using the 'Ensemble' Feature, Voice 1 is the melody, and that equates to "Left" on the Part ON/OFF section.

Adam
 

Offline mikf

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2019, 03:02:05 PM »
That makes sense.
Mike
 

Offline markstyles

Re: Playing Vocal accompaniment
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2019, 04:17:11 PM »
Some great comments here..  Yes, play 'open chords'. You want to complement, not compete with the singer.  sometimes slow ascending/descending notes can work.  When doing a cover songs, I ALWAYS go to Youtube, and listen to different versions of the song.  I make note of the strong/weak qualities of each person/band's upload.  If the voice has space in the melody/lyrics  you might consider a 'call-response'  don't get too mechanical with it.  Find singers/musicians you like (that have a similar quality to the song you're doing).. 

I sit and listen repeatedly, making as many notes as I can think of..  Sometimes you might  want a 'bland' sound to accompany the singer (so as not to get in the way)..  If the song is right, you might want a sound that does call attention to itself.  You might 'echo' the melody as a response a couple of time (You'll never find - Lou Rawls - piano responses) That was a perfect device of call-response.

Each song is different.. you might consider different techniques for melodic ad'libs. so as not to sound the same..  Remember the voice melody is the important factor.  so you don't want to outshine.   

If you have a full version of the song to practice on, (with the singer's voice), practice, ad-libbing, soloing etc. record it, and listen back..  That is one of the greatest teachers, plus your  ability to objective analyze what you have done.