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Author Topic: Picking The Best Style For A Song or a Piece of Music  (Read 3068 times)
 
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daidupso
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« on: June 19, 2014, 10:56:30 PM »

What a marvelous machine the Arranger is for solo performances!  I need your help to educate me on how to pick (or tweak) the right style for a piece of music. Cheesy

The sheet music should tell me.  But what if I cannot find the sheet?    A waltz is a waltz: 3/4 time.  Whoa!  The Bk-7m has 34 styles for a waltz!  Musicians incorporate styles in their performances that I would never thought would blend well with the music.  Surprise, surprise! Shocked

I saw a memory stick for sale with 100,000 styles for sale!  Are you kidding? Tongue

Thanks in advance for educating me.  I appreciate the club taking me under its wing.   Cheesy
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unsworth
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 12:29:01 AM »

You have not advised the instrument you own so this is a bit of guesswork. Not all styles allow the use of One Touch. This is why some of us who have enjoyed the benefit of 3 upper and 2 lower parts miss this feature on the newer instruments.

In every style I concentrate on the suitability of the BASS pattern to the song I am arranging. This is the most important factor in selecting a rhythm. You can always select the drum set, Bass and accompaniment tones to suit the tune. Imagine the band which would be playing this song.
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daidupso
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2014, 03:27:49 AM »

Thanks very much for your reply, unsworth.  I appreciate your sharing  your experience with me.

I have a cordovox with a wireless midi to my Bk-7m.  Would my accordion benefit the 3 upper and 2 lower parts?

You have given me a gold nugget by advising to concentrate on the Bass pattern.

If I may, would you go through the building of one of your styles for me?  I'm sure it will be very beneficial for me?

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unsworth
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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2014, 06:54:11 AM »

The 2 uppers and 1 lower will be sufficient as you are adding in your accordion. The BK7m is excellent for singers and artists using guitar accompaniment or yourself with the accordion. The need is different. At the moment I am pressed for time but I will go through two scenarios with you tomorrow.
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Diki
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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2014, 07:43:22 PM »

I tend to let the style suggest the song... But when you MUST find a style for a particular song, nothing honestly beats simply trying them all out..! Just a few bars of the verse, then into the chorus, that should quickly tell you if it is going to work.

But the bottom line is, if you want to sound JUST like the record, you are usually better served using an SMF, either commercial, off the web, or made yourself. The beauty of the arranger is, it can lead to you doing a song NOT 'just like the record', but just like you! There are so many happy accidents waiting for those willing to try all kinds of styles, not even close to the original. Try it as a Latin style. Try it as a simple pop style. Try it in a different meter (waltzes often get new life doing them in 4/4!). Change tempos, change feel.

And record everything... You often get a different impression of a song listening to it rather than listening to it while you are playing. Something that feels a bit odd while you are playing it often seems less odd when you relax and just let it wash over you!

An arranger is your own personal band, that never bitches when you want to try something 'out there', never complains that you have tried the song a dozen different ways, and want to try a dozen more! They never tell you 'You can't do it this way!' or 'This isn't like the record..' or 'It doesn't go like this!'. They happily let YOU try anything you want...

What more could you ask?  Cool
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unsworth
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2014, 04:12:31 AM »

Good evening Daidupso,
(1)   The BK7m is not an arranger.  (Although the difference in price is not that great and a techo might consider buying an arranger keyboard for the extra benefits it contains  despite not playing the keys). To me an accordion is a universal instrument and can adequately substitute for solo piano, organ, wind, brass and stringed instruments partnering with the BK7m rhythms.
(2)   There are more than 400 styles and 950 MA in the BK7m and a further 500+ Roland historical styles on BK-LB01 (which should be copied to a working USB stick). Available to you.
(3)    I am still firmly of the opinion that the BASS pattern is the best  means of selecting a suitable style. The Bass must compliment the melody otherwise there is a clash of content. Although as Diki points out if a particular style is liked then playing the melody pattern can be altered suit.
(4)   I personally am  not in favour of using SMF in general playing. There is a place for this in some circumstances.  But generally the public will recognise the music and think you are playing to a CD, and this destroys the credibility of your musicianship.
(5)   My primary pleasure comes from selecting the rhythm for my piece. And with more than 1000 rhythms to choose from this takes time. Lots of time. I try them out on variation 2 and 3. When I have found one I like I save it to the USB stick. The styles are in family groups but before saving it to My Styles, change the name to one you will recognise in future. Then bring it back up to work on it. (in the case of an arranger you can change the drum sets, bass and accompaniment instruments).
(6)   On page 48/49 of the BK7m manual it explains how Styles can be easily modified by using the cover function. In effect this means that with 30 covers a single style can become 29 different styles! You will be surprised how experimenting with these will change the sound and character of a style. I would VERY STRONGLY recommend your getting familiar with this function of the BK7m. You access this through MENU ? cover (style/smf) . Also see page 55 of the manual regarding MFX. No 7 enhancer is useful and experiment with some of the others for special effects.
(7)   You are looking for individuality, originality and authenticity. Save your work often because you can spend a lot of time and lose everything by the accidental push of a wrong button. Some compensation is that we all learn from our mistakes. It is impossible to break your machine by pushing buttons. Expect to spend time, lots of time. If at the end of the day you feel you are getting nowhere,  save what you have, switch the machine off, and go and have a coffee. Come back, switch the machine on and for some reason it will become easy. The pleasure you get from the time spent organising your styles is matched by the pleasure you will get playing them. This is called a justifiable reward.
I think Diki encourages us all, and summarises what it is all about, so very well in his final paragraphs.
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daidupso
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2014, 05:30:04 PM »

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience.  I'm copying your reply to my "Roland BK-7M" folder.  It's worthy for me to consider it as a philosophy as I learn and (hopefully) master the BK-7M.


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daidupso
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2014, 06:08:13 PM »

I tend to let the style suggest the song... But when you MUST find a style for a particular song, nothing honestly beats simply trying them all out..! Just a few bars of the verse, then into the chorus, that should quickly tell you if it is going to work.

But the bottom line is, if you want to sound JUST like the record, you are usually better served using an SMF, either commercial, off the web, or made yourself. The beauty of the arranger is, it can lead to you doing a song NOT 'just like the record', but just like you! There are so many happy accidents waiting for those willing to try all kinds of styles, not even close to the original. Try it as a Latin style. Try it as a simple pop style. Try it in a different meter (waltzes often get new life doing them in 4/4!). Change tempos, change feel.

And record everything... You often get a different impression of a song listening to it rather than listening to it while you are playing. Something that feels a bit odd while you are playing it often seems less odd when you relax and just let it wash over you!

An arranger is your own personal band, that never bitches when you want to try something 'out there', never complains that you have tried the song a dozen different ways, and want to try a dozen more! They never tell you 'You can't do it this way!' or 'This isn't like the record..' or 'It doesn't go like this!'. They happily let YOU try anything you want...

Hi Diki,

Thanks for the gem! Smiley  I did not think of "turning upside down" the problem.  I understand what you are saying.

May I ask you for your opinion of the collections of styles for sale?  THOUSANDS Styles packaged in various medium.  Huh

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Diki
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2014, 11:44:54 PM »

I have a couple of differences of opinion with unsworth's posts...

1) the BK-7m IS an arranger! Just because it comes without an attached keyboard, it is functionally pretty much the same as any other arranger. Perhaps unsworth is not an accordion player (or has never used one to trigger an arranger), but as far as I am concerned, what you trigger the arranger with is utterly unimportant. Perhaps he is thinking about the fewer front panel buttons, but may have forgotten how much you can program the FC-7 to do, or other MIDI controllers...

4) Using SMF's does NOT mean you are using 'just like the record' tracks. Sure, it can if that's all you use them for, but there's nothing wrong with taking a 3rd party SMF and editing it to be quite different in sound, feel, structure and orchestration from how you get it (TBH, most honestly NEED this, as far as I am concerned!). And, don't forget, you can (needs a computer sequencer on the BK-7m, though) record the output of the arranger itself as an SMF, and then edit it afterwards... This is where you can take a style that is close, but not close ENOUGH to what you are shooting for, and replace or edit certain Parts to be what you actually want. This is where you can put in MUCH better basslines (the primary drawback of an arranger is that the arranger never knows what the NEXT chord is going to be, so basslines never walk or move TOWARDS the next change, they just jump to it when you play it), passing chords, move a kick or snare pattern around to be closer to your vision for the tune (remember, nothing says you HAVE to have it just like the record!) and just generally create your own SMF...

For me as a 'player', the one thing SMF's offer as a huge advantage over style play is, you can play EXACTLY what you want to, without any regard for keeping up the rote input of chords into the arranger with either your LH or even both. TBH, the best players play outside the 'changes', and the rhythm section keeps the core of the song going, allowing you freedom to do far more than you can while having to input the correct chords all the time.

Unfortunately, the BK-7m doesn't offer something amazing for SMF's that the BK-9 does. TBH, it could be added quite simply with an update (the buttons for it are already on the module), but as we are all aware, with the turmoil going on at Roland right now, the odds of a major update are slim, IMHO... It is the Mark/Jump capability. You can place up to four 'Markers' anywhere in the SMF, and jump freely backwards and forwards between them, seamlessly while you play! This allows you to get away from the tyranny of having to start at the beginning, and go to the end every time you perform the song. It is an utterly fresh way of using SMF's, and (like the Chord Sequencer does to style play) completely blurs the line between arranger play and SMF play.

I strongly suggest you add your voice to this feature request on the Suggest New Features forum http://www.roland-arranger.com/smf/index.php?topic=1759.0 and contact Roland directly to request it. I would also add a request that, for the BK-7m, the four Markers be addressable with an FC-7 choice for hands off operation.

Odds are low that we will get it (been quite a while since the BK-7m got an update), but the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

I hope this will perhaps open your eyes to the strong possibilities of the SMF, and make you think of it as a lot more than a simple 'karaoke' track, but as an actual musical opportunity to put your OWN stamp on a performance.

In answer to your other question, I have been using Roland arrangers for decades (since the RA-90!) so have accumulated a large collection of Roland styles, so I've never really used any commercial third party style collections. I can definitely recommend the BK-LB01 stick, but be prepared (as usual!) to do some Makeup Tools editing to get it to sound its best (or sound like YOUR idea of 'best'! Tongue). Plus, troll the Style forum and download everything here and anywhere else you can find. You can never have too many styles, but remember, every one you get is probably at LEAST a few minutes or more of editing it (if you want it at its best)... that can add to a LOT of time, if you go grab the thousands of older styles and conversions floating around out there. Sometimes it's better to stick to a smaller number that have been tweaked by you to perfection than a thousand half baked styles!

Keep an open mind about how you make music. Nothing tires you faster than painting yourself into a corner by putting down differing ways of making it. Use what works, no matter what it is! Style play, SMF's, audio tracks (remember, you can make those yourself... they don't HAVE to be commercial karaoke tracks!), even turn off ALL the toys and play a few numbers old school, by yourself, no accompaniment. Use only the drum section and play the LH bass and chords entirely from the accordion... No rules but what each song says to you. Your audience will appreciate the diversity, and your soul will too...  Kiss
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daidupso
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2014, 08:37:12 PM »

Hi Diki,

Thanks for the gem!  Grin  I'm very happy to have found this user club!  Sooo much information.  Wink

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Diki
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2014, 12:21:06 AM »

Don't forget the 'front door' of the site too... http://roland-arranger.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

I usually just come to the bookmark of the forum section, but on the front page of the site, there's a link to our 'Tips and Tricks' section, where there is a TON of really useful stuff... and the Downloads, etc..
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