Multitracking

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Have you ever tried Multitracking? Post any songs you have 'multitracked' in here .. and tell us how you did it.

Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 20 Jan 2019 00:58

MULTITRACKING

When we play something on our keyboards we have just 'two hands' to do it (and feet as well if you have an organ). But as musicians, there is probably a lot more we would like to put into our music .. and that's where "multitracking" comes in. This is the ability to add into what you have recorded after the event.

It is not always easy to tell if a piece has been 'multitracked', as when you hear several things going on at the same time there could be a number of reasons for it. For starters, what you are hearing could be a PART in a STYLE, and there are several of those .. Bass, Chord 1, Chord 2, Pad, Phrase 1 and Phrase 2. Then there are the Multipads on keyboards which are used to add a bit of 'spice' to what you are playing. If you are playing an organ, you may be able to play notes on the lower manual at the same time as playing the tune on the upper .. and the voices on the upper and lower can be set up differently making it sound as though some multitracking has taken place. I have an example of this. A piece played by Charles Hughes (ChuckH) called A Trumpeter's Lullaby, written by American composer Leroy Anderson in 1949.

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https://app.box.com/s/uiov301m57msxn4xtxkmqnjbasu0is7z

Listening to that, I made this comment to Charles:
Loved that combination of Trumpet and Horn. Tell me, as we can hear Trumpet (on the Upper?) and Horn and chord harmonies (on the Lower?) I presume that you do not actually have three hands, but did a 'double recording'? Multi-tracked it is the expression, I think.

Charles' reply was as follows:
Hugh .. I split the lower keyboard and put a horn on the right of the split which I occasionally brought into play by stretching my right hand between upper and lower keyboard; I've not tried doing a double recording as yet. Stretching to play two keyboards with one hand does take a lot of slow practice which, in the early days, seems to be getting nowhere, then one day it just sort of comes together. I had the solo Dixie Trumpet on the upper keyboad. I used the right foot switch to change the registrations.

... so no "Multitracking" going on here.
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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 20 Jan 2019 23:40

Of course there is no need to 'multitrack' a song. Just set your song up, use as much technology as your keyboard will let you and play your piece with two hands. The more technology you can get into your piece the better. But equally, don't make your piece too 'busy' or it will sound 'cluttered'. And this goes for when you are multitracking too. Take a leaf from Brian007's book and play your pieces the KISS way (Keep It Simple See).

There are not many of us who attempt to multitrack, and we only do that to achieve what we want to hear musically. And I want to include in further posts some examples of this.

But first, here is a track by Jon D who as far as I know just plays his keyboard 'as is' .. with no multitracking. Drum breaks; a few 'whees', slides and run-downs; and some great voices chosen. This is not the sort of 'performance' where you would even want to include any multi-tracking, as what he has played and the way he has played it is just perfect to listen to as it is. And it's a very good example of KISS.

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All I Ever Need Is You played by Jon D (MP3)
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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 01 Feb 2019 21:37

So what is 'multitracking'? It's adding counter melodies and musical 'bits and pieces' after you have done the recording. As I said, it is often difficult to tell if a piece has been multitracked or not as there are ways and means of adding things into the music without having to do what is effectively a 'double recording'. So, if you can play it with two hands and put the 'extras' into your music by using Multipads, or maybe playing on two manuals at the same time with one hand, then it is not Multitracking.

Listen carefully to this piece, played by Brian007 in 2016. You can hear those little counter melodies coming in at different places. To my way of thinking, this is Brian being creative and getting into his recording what he has in his head. It isn't something you will find written in the sheet music. But you will hear things that you may want to incorporate into your music when you listen to the original recordings on YouTube. Listening to a 'band' is like listening to an orchestra. Everyone has their own part to play, and if you did have sheet music for it then there would have to be a sheet for each person to follow individually. And it's these extra bits you can hear which, if you can put them in, gives a 'fullness' to the music you are creating.

Is This The Way To Amarillo

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https://app.box.com/s/2e6chu99d5ax30axd7rz95jcvs2ysluj

It is very satisfying to end up with a recording like this that you have put together yourself.
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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 01 Feb 2019 22:46

Here is a DEMO by me that is not multitracking. True Love. What I have done in this piece is to play my 'counter harmony' as 'harmony over-the-top' (as I call it), using the right hand to play both the melody and the 'counter harmony'. Rather like when you hear a 'descant' being sung by a choir. The rest of the choir are singing the main melody and the descant is a 'counter melody' sung 'over-the-top'. Note that in an example like this, the melody and 'counter melody' are played with the same instrument, as it is the right hand playing both in the same part of the keyboard.

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True Love DEMO (MP3)

... and below is a DEMO that is multitracking. I'd Do Anything (from Oliver). In this case the two instruments I have used are different. I have an Oboe playing the tune; and the multitracked counter melody (underneath) is played with a Horn.

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I'd Do Anything DEMO (MP3)
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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 05 Feb 2019 19:34

Now here's another great example of Multitracking, again by Brian (Brian007).

True Love Ways
Brian has played the main melody with Piano .. but then has 'added in' some strings. What a superb sound this makes, and completes the piece musically.

Click this LINK to listen (maybe do a right-click to open this up in a New Tab):
Demo of Multitracking with Piano and Strings by Brian007

If you want to hear the whole piece, it's here (again, do a right-click and choose Open in New Tab):
https://app.box.com/s/pms7sn3senn6ecqgukdqosry6kbdhdm1

What can be more satisfying than to come up with something like this? I asked Brian how he did this sort of thing, and he said using Audacity. I have never tried using Audacity for doing anything like this, but I shall be giving it a go.
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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 06 Feb 2019 11:55

I had put this comment where Brian had posted this song (in Instrumentals):
What a brilliant arrangement this is! Love the way you have multitracked it and put the STRINGS into the mix.

... and Brian had said he was glad I had enjoyed it. Below is my Reply:

Brian,

Enjoyed it? Really, really enjoyed it. As for your comment:
Multitracking this piece was easy as the strings in the song are easily distinguishable from the backing and vocal so not too hard to pick it out ..

.. well maybe not for you, but I have to really concentrate to pick things like this out. I remember a rep staying regularly at our Hotel, who was a keyboard player, brought his keyboard with him and hooked it up through the amp of my AR80 organ to get a better sound out of it. He did things like this and invited me to have a go. But with every song I played, I could never think of anything to 'add in', and my fingers always wanted to play just the tune. I suppose my brain was pre-programmed to do this. Maybe I would have got on better if we had had YouTube in those days and could have listened to some of the counter melodies in the songs I played.

To my way of thinking, this is a talent you have .. and I am very envious! Maybe with a bit of practice ... ?

Hugh
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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 12 Feb 2019 10:22

Here is another one that Brian (Brian007) has Multitracked. Listen carefully to the extra bits and counter-melodies he has put in. He says he has done this entirely on the keyboard. ie. he has not used Audacity to do it.

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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 12 Jun 2019 22:16

If you have an orchestra playing a 'classical' piece, then each instrument in the orchestra will have it's own music to follow, and all the instruments will be playing together at the same time. If we want to create a similar piece on a keyboard, we are a bit restricted by only having two hands. So here again is where 'multitracking' comes into its own. You could start with one of the instruments; then add another while you are listening to the first. You now have two instruments recorded. Whilst playing that back, you could add in a third. And you could do this a number of times. I'm sure you get the picture. You will end up with all those orchestral instruments playing together, but they weren't all playing at the same time. Here's an example of doing this.

G. Caccini - "Ave Maria"

The person who put this together (Mike N) says:
This is a 5 part score which I have arranged from a "free score" site. The voices are: top left - viola; top right - cello, bass & 3rd violin; bottom left - violin 2; and bottom right - violin 1.

For violin 1 (bottom right) I used my Roland electronic accordion connected via midi to my PSR S900. I used my accordion solely because I can create better dynamic volume increases/decreases with the bellows, far better than using a swell pedal. I had to record each part and then with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, edit the video and the audio so it all fitted together "as one".
.


Everything you hear/see is Mike playing. This must be the most innovative example of multitracking that I have ever come across, and illustrates brilliantly how to put together various instruments to make an orchestral piece.
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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 13 Jun 2019 17:57

I had an organist friend who had his own pop band in the 60s. He would say to me that 50s/60s music was brilliant because you could actually hear what each band member was doing. Once you had worked out exactly what they were doing you could do something similar yourself. Which is where some multitracking would come in.

Of course what I have said above depends on if you want to create a piece of music on the same lines as the original. If you don't, and just want to play the song in your own way, then great. It would probably end up sounding nothing like the original, and would be your own interpretation of the piece. We have examples of Members 'interpreting a piece of music' their own way in this topic:

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http://www.tierce-de-picardie.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=402&t=7591

When I was a teenager we had 'Top of the Pops' lists which were based on record sales. I loved to listen to the Top Ten each week, and would often rush out and buy the latest 45rpm record (no, not 78s. Those are what my Dad used to play). And to me, it wasn't just the song or the singer I was going for. It was the whole arrangement .. the chords and the in-between bits that did it for me. One such record I bought was Pat Boone singing Love Letters In The Sand. Loved it. This was a major hit in June and July 1957, spending 5 weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 100, with 34 weeks in total on the chart. Years later, when we were in the CD age, I saw a CD of 1950's hits .. and one of the tracks was Love Letters In The Sand sung by Pat Boone. So full of nostalgia, I bought the CD, took it home and played that track. I have never been so disappointed! It sounded awful! Then I looked closer at the CD sleeve and it said, "All the tracks on this CD are sung by the original artistes, but are not necessarily the versions that were in the hit parade". All I can say is that the version I was listening to would never have made the hit parade. There was no 'reverb' in it, for starters.

So I hope the above gives some insight into what I play, and why. I do like to get a song to sound like I remember it. Or maybe a more recent recent version that I liked the sound of.

Going back to Buddy Holly's True Love Ways, you can hear all the relevant parts of the arrangement. The strings, saxophone ...



.. and to remind you again how Brian has played it, multitracking the strings, here it is again. A YouTube version this time.



When you listen to the original, there are not only 'strings' one could add in, but a saxophone, harp ...
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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 14 Jun 2019 16:25

Similar to the "Ave Maria" put together by Mike N above, here is another example of a classical piece that has been Multitracked ie. the various melodies that make up the 'whole' piece have been played separately and then put together.

Johann Pachelbel - Canon in D | Keyboard multitrack



Thinking about what has been done here, and looking at what Brian007 has done (above), we could maybe describe what we do as "adding another 'layer' to what we have already recorded". Or in other words, rather than having each component of a song as a separate entity that is mixed together, we play as much of a piece as we can on our keyboards with two hands, and then whilst listening to the piece playing back we 'add in' another 'layer'. So Brian has added another 'layer' (the strings) to what he had recorded originally.

With the Yamaha AR Organ we can do a 'limited' amount of 'multitracking'. How this works is like this. We can record the Upper Manual, the Lower Manual, and the Bass Pedals separately. And with the AR we record to 'floppy disk' (yes, the AR is that old!).

We can split the Lower Manual on the AR at any point we choose. We then effectively have a lower manual that we can play 'as a keyboard', choosing a STYLE and forming chords to the left of the split, which will then play in the 'style' chosen. There is a Rhythm section, Bass PART .. and all the other PARTS one is familiar with on a Yamaha keyboard: CHORD 1, CHORD 2, PAD, PHRASE 1 and PHRASE 2. You can have these PARTS either ON or OFF. But whereas on a keyboard you would always play 'the tune' to the right of the split, on an organ you have two options as to where to play the tune .. either to the right of the split on the Lower (as with a keyboard), or on the Upper manual .. where you have every note available to play the tune.

So how this 'multitracking' works is, first record the Lower 'as a keyboard'. You could use the right of the split to play the melody .. but you probably wouldn't. You would play a 'counter melody', or other bits and pieces in that area to the right of the split. So you have to think ahead as to what it is you are trying to achieve. You then play your recording back, and whilst listening to it record the tune on the Upper. This will 'add' that second 'layer' to what you have already recorded.

Now theoretically, you could then do a 'third' layer .. with the bass pedals (you would have to not use the 'autobass' from the STYLE if you were to do this). Listen to what you have done so far on the Lower and the Upper .. and play the pedals along with it. Now any organist would not need to do this as they would play the pedals at the same time as playing the Lower, unless ..

.. as one of the AR Group Members put it:
You could do a final 'layer' with the PEDALS on REC and everything else on PLAY. Start the recording going, then kneel down on the floor and play a bass part with hands, wrists and elbows!

Here is a 'layered' recording Margaret Draper (MARGARETD) has done. 40 Miles of Bad Road. You can hear where Margaret has 'added in' her 'ditty'. From the way she has played it, this is clearly not one of the PARTS in her STYLE.

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https://app.box.com/s/z74u3cdc50igra7sl0cx3ff1fed682h2
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Re: Multitracking

Postby Hugh-AR » 16 Jun 2019 15:57

Here's another brilliant example of 'adding another layer' (strings again) to a piece, this time by Pete (peterwalkerS770).

The Wonder Of You - Elvis Presley, Extended Cover. Composer: Baker Knight, an American musician.

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