It's all in the chords .. or is it?

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It's all in the chords .. or is it?

Postby Hugh-AR » 30 Mar 2018 14:31

First, listen to JohnT's recording of Que Sera Sera, and read the comments (John did say he was looking forward to comments):

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viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6191

John's 'performance' of this song really got me thinking. Any piece you play has two major considerations. The STYLE you use; and the CHORDS you play. First, the STYLE. It's a Waltz. I have a few 'Waltzes' to choose from on my AR, so as I wanted to play this piece myself I chose one I felt would be suitable. A STYLE is made up of 8 'PARTS': Rhythm 1, Rhythm 2, Bass, Chord 1, Chord 2, Pad, Phrase 1 and Phrase 2. To me, the most important ones are the Rhythm and the Bass. The other 'PARTS' you can bring 'in' or 'out' depending on whether you want to hear them or not. But Rhythm and Bass ... ? You sort of need those!

On the STYLE I had chosen I found that the Bass PART had a little 'skip' in it; and based on a C chord, it played C and then C again, with a little 'skip' in between being the note of G (so if playing an F chord, it would play F, then F again, with the little 'skip' in between being the note of C). The STYLE John used does exactly the same .. staying on the 'root' and doing a little skip to the 5th. Staying on the 'root' with that little 'skip' drives me potty!, particularly when it continues for any length of time. What is wrong with a 'straight' C followed by G? It's what our bass player in the band would have done. I often think the manufacturers of organs and keyboards feel they have to do something that sounds 'different' so there is more variety when they want to sell their instruments.

So priority No: 1 was to change the Bass PART to something I would rather hear. I can do this quite easily on my AR. I LOAD the Style into the button marked ACCOMP. PROGRAM and you can then see how all the 'Parts' are made up on the screen. To change the Bass PART I first have to DELETE what is in there, go to the RECORD button, then press the START tab (which sets off the Style in a 'Loop') and play the notes I want to hear in the Bass. This all has to be done in the key of C (so I would play C, then the G below it). I can hear what is playing in the 'LOOP', and if I am not happy with it I can DELETE it and play it again. When I am happy, I SAVE the Style to a USER slot (Eg. USER 1) and access the 'changed' Style from there. There is more on STYLES in this posting here:

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viewtopic.php?f=343&t=5867&p=38281#p38279

I don't know how one would do this on a Keyboard. Is it the same? Further down in that post (above) Brian mentions about MIDI. Changing a 'Style PART' as MIDI looks a bit complicated to me! I would prefer just to play what I want it to be.

So I now have a STYLE to use, with a Bass PART I like, for playing Que Sera Sera. If you click the LINK below you can hear (a) a few bars of my original Waltz STYLE; followed by (b) the 'adjusted' STYLE with a 'straight' Bass. Either do a right-click to open this up in a New Tab; or press the 'back' button at the top when you have listened to it.

DEMO of Waltz STYLE with the original Bass PART, followed by the 'adjusted' STYLE
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Re: It's all in the chords .. or is it?

Postby Brian007 » 30 Mar 2018 14:57

Hi Hugh,

Interesting subject and what you have done is very impressive, not something I would attempt as I must admit to being rather lazy and find a
style that meets my needs and tend to stick with it.

Any instrument with auto accompaniment is going to have some limitations in that its usually a 8 beat bar repeated over and over. While there may be
several different ones of these ( variations ) its like using a template and making your music fit it, or doing what you are doing and modifying the template to suit your needs as opposed to tailoring the music to fit the Style (template)

Most keyboards and some workstations use some form of style, template, pattern to create the auto accompaniment and unless you create your own
or use some form of loops you are pretty much stuck with what's on offer. For a lot of people its enough and they just want to sit and play, while other like yourself will alter or create your own.

The real answer is to create your own loops and take it from there, I hope to have a few videos showing how this can be done using GarageBand on the Ipad later on in the year.


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Re: It's all in the chords .. or is it?

Postby Hugh-AR » 30 Mar 2018 15:36

Hi Brian,

Your comments have got me thinking again! You are quite right when you say you have to fit your music to the 'STYLE' you are using. And two things one can never change in a STYLE are the BEAT and the MEASURE ( ie. the number of beats in the bar; and the number of bars before the 'loop' repeats itself). This can be a nightmare if the composer of a piece doesn't stick to these two basic principles. Two composers that immediately come to mind are the Beatles and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Take All You Need Is Love, by the Beatles. First, listen to this YouTube clip and count "1, 2, 3, 4" as the song progresses (ignore the 'intro' of "God Save The Queen"!). You come unstuck pretty quickly. The first line, "Love, love, love" is fine ... but then the second "Love, love, love" comes in on the 4th beat of the bar! And very time you try to count your 'One, Two, Three, Four' at a point you reckon is the first beat of the bar, it all goes to pieces.



So here is a tune which, if you want to play it on your keyboard with a STYLE, you have to 'adjust' the melody to fit the 'rigid' four-beats-in-a-bar in our keyboards. Which is what I have done here.

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https://app.box.com/s/9ie79w5ohar9cao2xx0kvk0h1f04lq0q

If you count your "One, Two, Three Four" with my arrangement of this song you will find it fits all the way through.

Hugh
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Re: It's all in the chords .. or is it?

Postby Hugh-AR » 31 Mar 2018 21:53

Continued from above .. the CHORDS this time.

Having decided on a STYLE with a suitable Rhythm and Bass PART, the next question is, "What chords do we use?". If we have the music in front of us we can get the chords off that. Or just play the notes 'as written', in which case we may not get specific recognisable chords. Or if we have a good understanding of chord harmony we can just listen to the piece and put in some suitable chords we know and recognise as the ones used. And we can go a step further and put in some harmonies of our own. But to my mind, all this has to be within reason. Some music has too many chord changes for me, and I think I would draw the line at eg. Big Band or Frank Sinatra arrangements where the order of the day seems to be to have a different chord on every beat of the bar.

For "Que Sera Sera" I have come across four pieces of sheet music, all 'Busker' type (ie. showing only melody line and chords). Thanks Peter Slack for sending me these. Three were showing what I call a 'basic' version; and one seemed to follow the chord changes as in the video clip with Doris Day and James Stewart.

Basic Version

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Version with more chords

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So I now have two different versions of Que Sera Sera as sheet music, but don't like either of them as they are. Don't like the 'plain C chords' in the first. I much prefer the 'changing' chords in the first part of the tune from the second. That sounds more like the video clip. But also, I don't like the Fs in the second. Much prefer Dm7, which is the chord they use in the first. But I think the most important chord (and the one not to leave out!) is the C#dim7 which is in the second version.

So here now is my take on Que Sera Sera, which is a mix of both sheets of music.

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https://app.box.com/s/syzxxgro9evkd2twcm7vf0pppq2qswlu

Listen in particular to the 'plain' Bass PART (without a 'skip'); and that C#dim7 chord.

Hugh
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