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Topic: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

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  1. #1

    Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    I am using GPO and the Axiom 61 keyboard to realize a string quartet I have written recently. Basically, my plan is to perform and record each part. I plan to record directly into my hard drive recorder, not using a sequencer. This will be my first experience doing this, performing instrumental parts on the keyboard, but I plan to use the solo strings in the GPO. I use Finale 2006 for notation, and will use the metromone function as a click track (I can easily program in tempo changes, ritards, etc.) I welcome any suggestions about getting started (use of aftertouch, things to watch out for or avoid, how to get the best results from the keyboard). I also realize that I'll have to practice and play around to get the best results.

    Also, I imagine a thread or two on this or related topics has appeared previously, so I appreciate someone pointing me in the right direction, or giving me a few tips to save time and trouble. I'm not that young, after all.

    Thanks, John Newell

  2. #2

    Re: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    i have an axiom 25 that i use with gpo, so maybe i can give you a pointer or two. if you're using the solo strings in gpo then aftertouch won't really help you (i don't think). all you're really going to use is the mod wheel and a sustain pedal. the mod wheel will do the volume of the strings, whereas how hard you hit the key will control the attack, and the sustain will play legato.

    if you have strad and gof (which i definitely recommend), you need a mod wheel, expression pedal, sustain pedal and aftertouch, which the axiom has. the afterouch on the strad and gof controls the speed on the vibrato, the mod wheel does the volume of the vibrato, and the expression pedal does "volume" (what the mod wheel does with the solo GPO strings), and the sustain will do legato playing.

    other than that all i can say is practice, and maybe set the specific velocity curve (you can see what they are in the .pdf manual that ou can download online from m-audio.com). if you have any other questions ask me, and i might be able to help out. good luck.
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
    ---
    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  3. #3

    Re: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    Thank you Keith, very helpful advice (I'm new to the Axiom). I think, yes, a lot of practice will be needed, and we'll see how long it takes me to want to graduate to Stradivarius and the other solo string programs.

    Again, Thanks,

    John Newell

  4. #4

    Re: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    Great project you've set up for yourself, John.

    As someone who always uses a keyboard to play my music into software, let me suggest one thing--To not be too critical of yourself, insisting that what you keep is only what you were able to play live.

    To do editing, even extensive editing on what you capture live is the icing on the cake that will make your results all the better---it's not "cheating." If you missed the right timing for a sustain pedal, for instance--don't stop yourself to re-record--it's so easily fixed later.

    In other words--a combination of live playing and editing, that's the best of both worlds. As long as you don't stress yourself out thinking you Must get Everything perfect from an un-edited live take, then you'll have a great time, and will get better results than you ever have before.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  5. #5

    Re: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    Randy, thanks for your comments and encouragement. I'm beginning to get a feel for the keyboard and how to control the instruments. Started with the Vc. last night. Do you create & use a click track? How? And: What software are you using for editing? I'm not an expert on sequencers.

    John Newell

  6. #6
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    Re: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser-
    Great project you've set up for yourself, John.

    As someone who always uses a keyboard to play my music into software, let me suggest one thing--To not be too critical of yourself, insisting that what you keep is only what you were able to play live.

    To do editing, even extensive editing on what you capture live is the icing on the cake that will make your results all the better---it's not "cheating." If you missed the right timing for a sustain pedal, for instance--don't stop yourself to re-record--it's so easily fixed later.

    In other words--a combination of live playing and editing, that's the best of both worlds. As long as you don't stress yourself out thinking you Must get Everything perfect from an un-edited live take, then you'll have a great time, and will get better results than you ever have before.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)
    This is good advice which unfortunately took me much too long to figure out. Being a keyboard player I took it maybe a little too personally when I didn't get a perfect take and would record over and over and over. Then, when I did edit I hid away in a dark closet to do it so no one would see Randy is right, a combination of live playing and editing is A-OK and not cheating

    Having said that, I've thought of doing exactly what you are doing (record audio only and see how close I can get it). I'll be interested to see what direction you take it and how it works out. Also curious if anyone else out there takes this approach.

    As far as a click track, I think I would record one track on any instrument with all the tempo changes I required and create a tempo map from that. I use Sonar and in the past I've used "Fit Improvisation" to do this, but if you do it that way be aware that it's some work. If others have better ideas I'd love to hear them as well, maybe I'm doing things the hard way.

    Good luck John, hope we can hear the final result!

    Jon

  7. #7
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    Re: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    Quote Originally Posted by jcbryson1
    This is good advice which unfortunately took me much too long to figure out. Being a keyboard player I took it maybe a little too personally when I didn't get a perfect take and would record over and over and over. Then, when I did edit I hid away in a dark closet to do it so no one would see Randy is right, a combination of live playing and editing is A-OK and not cheating

    Having said that, I've thought of doing exactly what you are doing (record audio only and see how close I can get it). I'll be interested to see what direction you take it and how it works out. Also curious if anyone else out there takes this approach.

    As far as a click track, I think I would record one track on any instrument with all the tempo changes I required and create a tempo map from that. I use Sonar and in the past I've used "Fit Improvisation" to do this, but if you do it that way be aware that it's some work. If others have better ideas I'd love to hear them as well, maybe I'm doing things the hard way.

    Good luck John, hope we can hear the final result!

    Jon
    Whoops, I already see that I over-complicated it for your purposes. You would not need a "Fit Improvisation" command if all you need is a click for recording audio parts, that would be more applicable if you were editing MIDI tracks that you wanted aligned with your audio. I think all I would do in your case is manually tap in a MIDI track along with your one prerecorded track. In fact, you may not even need the MIDI track that you tap in to play through the whole piece if the first track you record has a good rhythmic pulse. Maybe just bring in the MIDI taps like conducting cues, to signal tempo changes or a new section, or to help get through a rubato section for instance.

    OK, I'll shut up and listen now Others will probably have better advice, you just got me to thinking how I would approach this.

    Jon

  8. #8

    Re: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    Hi, John

    I'ts great to hear that you're having such a good time diving into all this.

    You asked if I use a click track, how I do that, and what software I use.

    I do all but my final mastering work in Sonar--The Home Studio version which is stripped down some from the full Sonar 6 program, but which has plenty of tools to work with.

    When I'm starting a project, the first thing I do is figure out a starting tempo, time signature and key signature and insert them in the project. If a piece's structure is already completely figured out, I go through and insert all the appropriate changes as well as major tempo shifts. As I start recording the tracks, the tempo map gets more complex--Sometimes I place a temporary marker to indicate where I'll do even more tempo work after I've done more recording. And naturally it's easy to insert or delete time and key signatures when and if they change as I work on a piece.

    In Sonar, and I think all sequencers, one has the choice of using an internal computer sound for the metronome or it can be assigned to a MIDI note. I always use the internal sound--quick and easy to set up and quite sufficient.

    On rare occassions, I'll work without the metronome in some sections--but it's to be avoided, because while natural sounding Rubato is achieved that way, the results won't make any sense in reference to the measures.

    I've never worked in a Notation program, because to generate printed music is an extremely rare need for me. Sonar has a simple Staff View segment of the program which can produce printed music if needed--it's just not as pretty or detailed.

    My understanding of how Notation programs work isn't complete. I read posts here and there and get some idea of what people do, and the part that always sounds the least appealing to me is that playback is controlled by inserted dynamic marks, hairpins etc. I want complete control over all the MIDI data, so that a crescendo, for instance, isn't some mechanically perfect ramping from one level to another--it's something humanly created with any variation I want.

    That's the main point for me in working with a sequencer--The ability to have detailed control over everything while always maintaining imperfect, human input. Using a combination of playing a keyboard and doing hand editing is the only way I can imagine working--hand inserting every single note would probably have me end up in a strait jacket! But there's much detail work done with a mouse in the Piano Roll View where note detail and all MIDI controller data get some major tweaking.

    And so forth.

    Best of luck as you keep working on your music, John!

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  9. #9

    Re: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    I'm back again right after replying, because Jon's posts came in as I was writing, and he's talking about live audio recording.

    I was talking only about MIDI editing and then recording the resulting tracks--Is Jon right, that you're talking about recording audio straight into your program, completely bypassing all the MIDI possibilities that can't be done live?

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  10. #10

    Re: Performing my string quartet with GPO & Axiom 61 keyboard

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser-
    I'm back again right after replying, because Jon's posts came in as I was writing, and he's talking about live audio recording.

    I was talking only about MIDI editing and then recording the resulting tracks--Is Jon right, that you're talking about recording audio straight into your program, completely bypassing all the MIDI possibilities that can't be done live?

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)
    My idea is to record the parts directly into a standalone hard drive audio recorder (Boss BR1180) - and bypass going through yet another piece of software like Sonar Home Studio, which is something else to learn. Maybe I should rethink this given your and Jon's input. Actually, along with my Axiom keyboard came a disc with the Ableton Live (lite version) "audio and sequencing tool." So perhaps I should give it a try...

    I'm a fairly traditional composer in that I still right on paper, and notate using Finale. I'm also an accomplished keyboard player, and think recording the parts myself would give me a more realistic result certainly than using the Finale MIDI and playback features, which I find maddening and mechanical. I can begin to see the pitfalls of trying to get everything (almost) perfect in the "live" performance.

    thanks, John

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