Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Piano cut-ups: Helping you sound like your favorite new artist

Want to get crazy remix-type piano into your sound? Here's a short tutorial on a quick 5 minute approach. I'll be using Logic 9 for mac.

First, create a new track using an EXS sampler piano. You can actually use this technique for any sort of sound, but I will be demonstrating on a piano, as the demo shows below. Next, play some long chords, preferably some that work together. You can mix it up. In this example, I wasn't sure what key I was playing in, just picking some mid to low range chords. After you're finished, make sure they're all quantized so they attack together neatly. It also helps to have each note the same length to get a nice long chord sound. I gave each chord 2 bars to ring out. Next, click this new region, and go up to file and select export region as audio file. This will bring up the export dialog box, and you can name the sound whatever you want and place it in the bounces folder of the current project's folder. Next, find this exported audio in your finder, and drag it into a new track.

Now, we have a couple of options of where to go next for this part. You can click the newly imported audio of the piano chords and go up to audio at the top of the arrangement window and select "Convert Regions to New Sampler Track", and select the transients instead of regions. This should automatically work to create a new sampler with the audio you just inserted, but you may find weird little silent bits that you don't want as part of your sample. You can also cut up this audio region just before each chord hits, and repeat the same "Convert Regions to New Sampler Track" but instead select regions. This should also create a new track with a sampler that you can play on your keyboard with the regions you cut as each note. Since logic wasn't working correctly for me, I simply created a new track with the EXS sampler, selected edit in its window, and dragged all the new cut up regions into the audio file list, and selected drums when it prompted how it should lay them out. This put all the sounds on one key, as seen above the keyboard in the EXS24 Instrument Editor window. Now, I moved all of the lumped lines above the one note above the keyboard image to the keys around that key, so each key only had one block. This meant each key would only play one sampled sound.

The other parameters here to make note of are the three checkboxes under "playback". Pitch changes the note's pitch depending on where it is on a keyboard. This is designed so that an actual sound or instrument could be sampled and played as its own sound. You really don't want this selected for the purpose here, even though I accidentally left it on and get some interesting results. The 1shot box determines if the sound will continue to ring out if you let go of the key if selected, or cut off immediately if not selected. Finally, reverse determines if the sound is played in reverse. You can close the editor box and save the sampled piano as its own instrument. Now, you have chords available at each key, and you can perform cool, quick rhythms that would be very difficult for most keyboardists. Awesome!

Here's a sound demo. Not the best thing (as I said before, I accidentally left them slightly pitched) but there could be a track idea in there or two.

Piano Cut Demo by The Synth Symp

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