"Free Play" .. playing without a fixed rhythm

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"Free Play" .. playing without a fixed rhythm

Postby Hugh-AR » 02 Nov 2019 01:13

When playing an organ it is fairly easy to play something without having a fixed rhythm to keep to. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that an organist seldom keeps to a fixed 'beat'. It's more a case of 'play as the mood takes you' as an organist has an upper manual, a lower manual and pedals to create sounds that 'flow' to the music.

Here is a YouTube clip of an orchestra playing a piece with no 'fixed' beat. It just flows as the song progresses. Something an organist could happily try his/her hand at.

MANTOVANI - THE SONG FROM "MOULIN ROUGE" (WHERE IS YOUR HEART)



But what about playing something like this on a keyboard? Usually with a keyboard one finds a suitable Style for the tune we want to play from the many available, and then plays the melody to fit the backing.

But on most keyboards there is an option not to play with a fixed 'beat'. This is called "Free Play". Watch this video which explains clearly how you find a 'free play' configuration.

David's Freeplay style settings on Yamaha Tyros 5



To be continued
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Re: "Free Play" .. playing without a fixed rhythm

Postby Rev Tony Newnham » 02 Nov 2019 08:48

Hi

Some of us rarely use backings & rhythm units! The fixed tempo can become restrictive at times. Anyway, such things were pretty rare when I started playing over 50 years ago!

Every Blessing

Tony
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Re: "Free Play" .. playing without a fixed rhythm

Postby Hugh-AR » 02 Nov 2019 10:59

Hi Tony,

Thanks for that. Is your comment referring to playing organs, or keyboards (or both)? What I am working up to here is to have our January Challenge as a "Free Play" Challenge. We aren't having a December Challenge as such. I have created a New Board, Christmas Carols and Festive Songs 2019 in Songs Of Christmas for Members to post any Christmas Music they might have for us to listen to. Do you have anything you can post in here for us?

Do a right-click to open this up in a New Tab
http://www.tierce-de-picardie.co.uk/viewforum.php?f=294

Back to having a Free Play January Challenge. Fine for organists, but I have heard from one or two keyboard players who have been saying that with a keyboard you have to have a Style with a "beat" going in order to play it. Not having a keyboard myself I am looking into how a keyboard player can play their keyboard without having a 'fixed tempo'.

One obvious way is to have the whole keyboard set up as a piano .. which is OK if you are a pianist, but may not be so easy to play if the way you play is to hold chords down with the left hand. A pianist will move fingers in both hands when they play. Take a look at this video below. His keyboard is set up as a piano, but from the way he plays his left hand he is more a keyboard player than a pianist. And then further on he has 'strings' to accompany his piano playing. That makes an amazing sound. I could listen to music like that any time! The STYLE he has chosen is Ethereal Movie which has the words Free Play written over the top.

Yamaha Tyros 5 - Piano Voice & Style Free Play

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Re: "Free Play" .. playing without a fixed rhythm

Postby Rev Tony Newnham » 03 Nov 2019 07:59

Hi

It is possible to play a keyboard without using styles - at least on all those I've come across. My first keyboard (as opposed to organ & piano) was a Casio CT101 which didn't even have any rhythms! I have frequently used my basic Yamaha arranger as a straight keyboard, either with just one voice set, or split and sometimes with layers (piano plus strings is a sound I use a lot).

I hope to record some Christmas music shortly, but things are rather difficult at present with my wife being very seriously ill (currently in hospital) and my ongoing health problems.

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Re: "Free Play" .. playing without a fixed rhythm

Postby JohnT » 04 Nov 2019 08:10

Hi Tony. Looking forward to your Christmas tunes. All the very best to you both. John
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Re: "Free Play" .. playing without a fixed rhythm

Postby Hugh-AR » 05 Nov 2019 13:17

I have had this message from jackoj:
If I may I would like to suggest a method of how to free play to our members:- 1st select any style, 2nd go to volumes and turn off bass, drums, and auto start button,3rd I prefer to add the lower voice and volume level to taste and of course any upper voices. Now you should be able to play in free hand. Hope I have given some help, Hugh.
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Re: "Free Play" .. playing without a fixed rhythm

Postby dentyr » 06 Nov 2019 06:09

Hello Hugh.

With reference to the video above:
Yamaha Tyros 5 - Piano Voice & Style Free Play

This fellow has set up the T5 very nicely for himself. Note, to start that there is NO registration setting. All the registration buttons and the accomp button is off.

When he plays the "Grand Piano" he has the accompaniment button off and that puts the whole kbd into playing R1 which is the Piano. When he goes to the Ambient Piano still no regs, just a change in instrument. At 2:37 he sets the Ethereal Movie style but the split point is at B2 not F#2 which allows him to have the Ethereal Movie free play style and play the chords further up the kbd. At the end he plays "Ending 2" which is the standard ending of the style.

Also note that in the first video that David has the split point way to the B2 (could be B3) up so that he can play the style chords. The light on the start button still flashed for the tempo. Very nice if you are an accomplished piano player. Must try it sometime.

Regards, Den.
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