The Lone Arrangers Keyboard Forum  
Home Register Blogs FAQ Members Calendar Map Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

  
Go Back   The Lone Arrangers Keyboard Forum > Sequencing / Multi-Track Recording / Software > Useful Sequencing Tips & Advice
Reload this Page How to sequence a popular tune
Notices

Useful Sequencing Tips & Advice Tips, advice and discussion on all flavours of squencing software, e.g. Cubase, Sonar, XGWorks etc. Have a useful tip? Please share it with others to enjoy.

Reply
 
LinkBack (11) Thread Tools Display Modes
How to sequence a popular tune
11 links from elsewhere to this Post. Click to view. (#1 (permalink))
Old
nozzmoking's Avatar
Sheriff
Yamaha Tyros 2
 
Status: Offline
Posts: 1,293
Threads: 110
Blog Entries: 21
Join Date: May 2008
Location: UK
Question How to sequence a popular tune - 21-05-2008, 10:21 PM

Hi all

This thread has been started in response to the following question:

"One thing that has been troubling me the most is, when trying to sequence a popular song and make it sound as close to original as possible, how does one create the backing tracks? Is this done by ear or is there a place where you can purchase the sheet music for all the different tracks? Also what is the best way to create drum tracks?"

I can only give you the way I would approach it, although others will have different ways of working so if there is anyone who would care to add something, please feel free as the more info we get, the better. I'll also try and answer the above questions as I go along.

Basically, there seem to be two main ways of approaching the task: (a) do as much of the song as possible in your 'Quick Record' section of the k/b then edit on the PC, or (b) put most of the song down directly into your external sequencer, basically starting from scratch.

The following scenario is based on us using the k/b to get our drum track (4 bars only) down in 'Quick Record', and then the rest of the tune built up in the external sequencer.

Ok, we've found a tune we wish to make a backing track of. First thing I would recommend is make a cup of tea, sit back and listen (through headphones) to the track over and over. 'Learn' as much about the tune as possible, mentally. The more you can 'set' the tune in your mind, the better. Try and mentally block out anything that you won't be using, like the vocals.


Drums
Now, concentrate on the drum beat and ask yourself if there is a similar beat in one of the styles on your keyboard. If the answer is an initial 'no', don't worry as there will definitely be something on the k/b that can be adpated to work. If you've ever experimented with speeding up/slowing down beats on the k/b you will know how this can dramatically change the whole feel of a beat.

With a little trial and error, you will soon find a beat that matches the one on the record.

The tempo isn't critical at this stage, as we can adjust this if necessary when the song is finished.

Ok, we have a satisfactory drum beat playing on our k/b. We now need to get this onto our PC which is very easy to achieve. Set your k/b up for doing a normal quick record and record at least 4 bars of the drums.

Tip! The human drummer on the record will probably be sticking in a few fills here and there, which we want to emulate the best way we can. Now, if you're attempting to match the original tune 'exactly', then some of these fills you will need to add manually in the sequencer, which is time-consuming, sometimes difficult and definitely not for the faint-hearted.

What I would recommend is this:

Instead of just recording 4 bars of the basic beat, use the variation button on your k/b to add in a suitable 'fill' that leads into bar 6. Add one of the other variations in to the start of bar 7 and so on.

We now have 4 bars of 'clean' drums (no fills), and we've also recorded some fills, which are easy to cut, paste and drop in just where we need them in the song. Make sure your fills lead into the beginning of a bar, this will make life easier when we need to cut and paste them in the sequencer.

You're probably now wondering, 'Hang on, we've only got 8 or so bars of drums?". Ok, save the midi file and load into your sequencer. You should now see your recorded drums on track 10. First things first, select the track and make a copy. To save confusion, copy it well out of the way, track 16 for instance.

Now, each sequencer on the PC has its own way of editing tracks so there's no point in me trying to explain how this is done, only what needs to be done.

For argument's sake, let's assume we want 8 bars of drums, with a fill-in leading into bar 9.

We position a 'marker' at the beginning of our first recorded bar. (A marker is just a visual reference point, a bit like guidelines in Publisher, Photoshop, In-Design, Illustrator etc.)

Ok we now have a marker at the start of bar 1. We now apply another marker to the start of bar 5. You should have a function similar to this: 'Split at Markers', or 'Cut at Markers' etc. Cakewalk users have another option that needs a tick in the box - 'non-destructive editing'. Make sure this is selected.

Ok, apply the Cut or Split function. This does not harm the data in any way. Now, if this has been done correctly, you should be able to select the 4 bars you have split. Remember, we had the markers set at the start of bar 1 and bar 5.

Deselect the 4 bars and delete all the other bars after it, the ones that hold our fills. (Don't forget, we have a copy on track 16!).

We are now left with 4 bars of 'clean' drums (no fills). We now need another 4 bars but we need the last bar to hold a fill. This we can get from our copy on track 16 using the same methods as we did on track 10.

Now, when we were first listening to the tune on our headphones, we may have noticed that the drummer was pretty consistent and put a fill in at logical positions in the song. If that is the case, then instead of just recording 4 bars to begin with, we could actually record 8 bars + fill, then another 8 bars + fill and so on. It's really down to you how you 'plan' things. To keep things easy, you could record the 'clean' drums for the whole approximate length of the song. Entirely up to you. It's always easier to remove things later, than it is trying to add things you've missed.

Another option for you to consider:

You could actually just record 4, or 8 'clean' bars of drums. Get the midi into the PC and then select the bars and use the 'repeat' command. You could then worry about the fill-ins once you've completed the rest of the tune, or even take the midi back into your k/b and overdub the fills.
Once you get used to manipulating the data on your drum track, you will also figure out different ways of achieving the same end result. Select your drum track and goto the 'Key' editor to get a feel of what drum data looks like in an editing window. Look at how a 'fill' displays in the editor.

Try removing the odd note here and there to see if it improves things. If not, just press 'undo'. If a 'fill' sounds too perfect, or regimented try nudging it back in time so it's slightly delayed. Easier to do than explain!

If there's anyone who needs clarification of the above then please shout, I'll help if I can.

Bass
This instrument would be my next task. Now, as you know, most sheet music has been simplified so that all ability levels can use it. However, the downside is that often the parts played have been simplified greatly. Quite often, if the bass part is prominent, or rememberable on a record then the sheet music may reflect this and have more note information than usual. If we assume that isn't the case with our tune then the only way to get an accurate bass part down is to listen to it, bar by bar, and get it down in stages. The better your 'ear', the quicker this process will be.

If you can read music, then a quick way is to listen to say 8 bars, scribble this down on music notation paper, listen to another 8 bars and so on. Then play the part into the sequencer. However, if you're a non-reader it's a slightly slower process, unless you've got a good memory and a good ear! You may need to 'listen' to a bar, and then quickly get it recorded. However, this means you're going to be stop / starting constantly which can be a pain. Another option for you may be to listen to say 4 or 8 bars, (if it's a fairly simple bass line) and then play as much of it as you can in one go.

If you hit a bum note, just keep going. In sequencing, it's more important to try and stay on the beat, than it is to play exactly the right note. If you're going to be quantising the part, then the opposite applies.

For instance, bum notes are easy to fix but if you've played 100 notes, and 30 of them are mistimed AND you don't want to quantise the part, then you will waste quite a bit of time fixing all the mistimed notes.

Tip! If you're struggling with a particular phrase, or if the original is a slap bass which is often difficult to transcribe, then just ignore that bar or two and try it again later. If you can find a way of slowing down the original, this will often help you to recognise what the guy is playing.

If you can read music, then follow the bass line on the sheet music and see whether you think this is pretty close to the original. If it is, then play the bass line from the sheet. You may need to add the odd flourish later, but a lot easier than playing the whole track from scratch. If you're going to be selling your completed midi commercially, then it really needs to be as accurate as possible. If not, then don't bust a gut trying to get it absolutely note perfect. Just no point in my view.

If you've now got the bass and drum tracks down, and they sound fairly close to the original, well the worst of the hard work is over!

Rhythm Instruments
Your next stage is to listen and recognise what part you now wish to add. This will really be determined by the tune in question. If there's a subtle rhythm guitar part playing in the background then, using the chords on your sheet music, pick a suitable voice and try and emulate the groove the guy has on the record. There's often no need to try and capture every single note, or chord inversion. I don't wish to keep harping on, but again it's down to how you want the finished product to sound, good enough or perfect. This is up to you, and will determine how much effort you put into the various voices in your project.

I would recommend leaving all tidying up, mixing, effects etc. until you have all your main parts down.

If the song fades out, or the tempo slows down at the end just leave this stuff until right at the very end as these features are very easy to achieve in your sequencer.

Couple of points:

Constantly back-up your project.

When about to do some heavy editing on a track, make sure you make a copy of this track until you are happy with what you've done.

Get into the habit of cutting, pasting, copying, merging etc. in your sequencer.

Quick example:

On Channel 1 (track 1) you've recorded a piano solo from the start of Bar 1 to the end of Bar 16.

The first 8 bars you played great, but bars 9 - 16 are crap.

Don't start over. Just copy the whole track to another location, channel 2 (track 2) for instance. Now 'mute' the original track (Trk 1) and start recording from just before bar 9 on trk. 2. When you're happy with the outcome this means you will have 2 tracks, both with 'good bits'.

Delete the 'bad' bits in both tracks, (using the 'split track' function mentioned earlier). You can now copy bars 9 -16 from trk. 2 to trk. 1 and you have now ended up with a complete track that sounds great.

You don't need to 'merge' the tracks if you don't want. As long as both tracks point to midi channel 1 then it will work the same.

The above overview is just how I would approach a backing track, but I'm sure there are many out there who could offer an even simpler way of doing things, and hopefully they will share this information with the rest of us.

Hope this helps a little.

Cheers

Paul

What is multi-tracking? How do I make a start?


If you've arrived at this page via a different site, please take a look around but note, access to the song/style-sharing forums is limited to a few viewings as these forums are for registered members only. Please consider Registering, and we look forward to meeting you in the forums.

admin






Reply With Quote
Re: How to sequence a popular tune
(#2 (permalink))
Old
spike's Avatar
Deputy Sheriff & Mentor
Tyros 5,Tyros 3, Montage 6, Motif XS, Korg M3, Behringer Deepmind 12, Roland JD-XA, Roland System 8, Streichfett string synth, Maschine Mk3, Arturia D
 
Status: Offline
Posts: 3,235
Threads: 107
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Scotland
Default Re: How to sequence a popular tune - 06-06-2008, 04:56 PM

Hi Paul
A little tip worth remembering
If you want to copy the first 4 bars of a drum track, when you go to the copy function you will find small boxes one of which asks you "How many copies?" and there's another box which says "Ghost Copy". If you choose your number of copies and tick the Ghost Copies it will copy those 4 bars however many times you have selected. But as you have selected Ghost Copy any alteration you make to those initial 4 bars later will automatically be done on the other copies untilsuch time as you have glued them together. Saves a lot of time when you want to put an extra drum hit in, saves you doing them all by hand.
This is in Cubase/cubasis but other sequencers will have a similar function
Spike


Reality is an illusion created by alcohol deficiency
Tyros 5, Tyros 3, Montage 6, Motif XS6 plus Karma, Korg M3, Behringer Deepmind 12, Roland JD-XA, Roland System 8(, Streitchfett Strings synth, Maschine Mk3, Arturia Drumbrute, MOTU 128, Fostex MR16, Tascam US122Mk2, Tascam DR40, Turbosound ip2000 Yamaha DXR12
Music Workshop
Reply With Quote
Re: How to sequence a popular tune
(#3 (permalink))
Old
smndvy's Avatar
Tonto's mother says I will do well
Alesis QS-6 keyboard Roland SC880 Pro Sound Module Korg M1 Module Tyros 4 Behringer BCF2000
Send a message via Yahoo to smndvy Send a message via Skype™ to smndvy
 
Status: Offline
Posts: 39
Threads: 10
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Swansea - UK
Thumbs up Re: How to sequence a popular tune - 16-03-2009, 02:32 PM

As Paul mentioned, there are many ways to approach this.

Personally, I import the recording into my sequencer and try to match the beats of the recording to the bar/beat map in my sequencer. This can be time consuming but it is worth it in the end. You need to make adjustments for tempo changes or meter changes etc.

Then I simply play along with the recording playing each part one at a time. Starting with the drums, Bass, melody and then I try to add everything else I can hear.

Once I have recorded one track I mute it so that the next instrument I record is the ony thing I can hear.

When I have played all the parts I mute the original and playback all of the tracks that I have recorded.

Usually I get a reasonably faithful representation of the original because I have played it using similar velocities etc because I have played it along with the original.

Then its just a matter of mixing and adding any detials I have missed.

Again, this is just a personal preference but it may be worth giving it a go.

Simon


Tap, Mod, Ballet, & Lyrical Music for Festivals of Dance.
Dance Festival Music
Reply With Quote
Re: How to sequence a popular tune
(#4 (permalink))
Old
Tonto's invited me to dinner
Tyros 2 Tyros 3 Korg 05/RW Roland E20 Elka X30 Various Yamaha PSR Models Yamaha Pss 480 Etc Etc
 
Status: Offline
Posts: 13
Threads: 3
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Hull
Default Re: How to sequence a popular tune - 08-02-2010, 10:39 AM

Hi Paul, it seems that I have been wasting a lot of time on other forums, the information here about multitracking and using sequencers is what I have been missing out on. I have tried many times to get to grips in the sequencer software, but couldn't fully grasp enough to get me started producing. I have dabbled with Harmony on Amiga many years ago and on cubase vst now and then.
I have Ty3 and now being more determined to have a good go at learning about it. What you have posted here will help me to get some notes on the screen that I can tinker with, so you'll probably hear a lot more from me in the future, Hope you don't mind.... (song)

Hang
Reply With Quote
Re: How to sequence a popular tune
(#5 (permalink))
Old
nozzmoking's Avatar
Sheriff
Yamaha Tyros 2
 
Status: Offline
Posts: 1,293
Threads: 110
Blog Entries: 21
Join Date: May 2008
Location: UK
Default Re: How to sequence a popular tune - 08-02-2010, 11:28 AM

Hi Hang,

Thanks for your feedback.

If you also look out for related posts from Spike, Gordon & Mark Styles you'll find a wealth of sequencer-related info.

Between us, we'll try and give you all the help you need.

Best regards

Paul


New to the Forum? Why not introduce yourself to the others by saying hello here: Introductions Forum

Our new Music Workshop is up & running. Read more here: Music Workshop

Forum Rules & Guidelines - please read.
Reply With Quote
Re: How to sequence a popular tune
(#6 (permalink))
Old
Tonto's invited me to dinner
Tyros 2 Tyros 3 Korg 05/RW Roland E20 Elka X30 Various Yamaha PSR Models Yamaha Pss 480 Etc Etc
 
Status: Offline
Posts: 13
Threads: 3
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Hull
Cool Re: How to sequence a popular tune - 10-02-2010, 09:29 AM

Thanks Paul...
Reply With Quote
Re: How to sequence a popular tune
(#7 (permalink))
Old
Tonto's invited me to dinner
Tyros 2
 
Status: Offline
Posts: 16
Threads: 1
Join Date: Sep 2010
Default Re: How to sequence a popular tune - 16-04-2012, 03:32 AM

Hi Paul,

Thankyou for the article on sequencing, I am not ready for such complicated things yet with my T2 but have printed it out for reading and for trying it at a later date.

Adrian
Reply With Quote
Re: How to sequence a popular tune
(#8 (permalink))
Old
nozzmoking's Avatar
Sheriff
Yamaha Tyros 2
 
Status: Offline
Posts: 1,293
Threads: 110
Blog Entries: 21
Join Date: May 2008
Location: UK
Default Re: How to sequence a popular tune - 16-04-2012, 12:49 PM

You're welcome Adrian.

Although quite time-consuming when learning the ropes, multi-tracking definitely opens up new musical avenues so don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Cheers

Paul


New to the Forum? Why not introduce yourself to the others by saying hello here: Introductions Forum

Our new Music Workshop is up & running. Read more here: Music Workshop

Forum Rules & Guidelines - please read.
Reply With Quote
Re: How to sequence a popular tune
(#9 (permalink))
Old
Mek
I'm new around here
Korg PA800 Korg PA3x Korg Kronos 61
 
Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Join Date: Oct 2012
Default Re: How to sequence a popular tune - 18-10-2012, 06:09 PM

My approach is little different. I start the project in Sibelius which is a notation software. I write all important ideas of the song, and set the structure just like the original song. Then, i export it in midi, and import it in ProTools, and add the drums, or whatever that is missing in there.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
cakewalk, cubase, multi-tracking, multitrack, protools, reason, sequencing, sonar, tyros, xgworks


LinkBacks (?)
LinkBack to this Thread: http://www.thelonearrangers.com/useful-sequencing-tips-advice/13-how-sequence-popular-tune.html
Posted By For Type Date
how to use a keyboard : information: news, videos, photos and comments about how to use a keyboard from the best web sites and blogs This thread Refback 12-02-2013 01:49 PM
Digg - How to sequence a popular tune This thread Refback 29-09-2010 01:24 PM
Bookmarks about Sequencing This thread Refback 30-06-2009 01:38 PM
How to sequence a popular tune - The Lone Arrangers Keyboard Forum This thread Refback 03-05-2009 07:07 AM
Methods For Keyboard Players To Enhance Playing Skills This thread Refback 06-10-2008 06:50 AM
WWW Article Directory | Methods For Keyboard Players To Enhance Playing Skills This thread Refback 08-07-2008 06:52 PM
Digg - How to sequence a popular tune This thread Refback 20-06-2008 05:11 AM
Find Free Articles: How To Learn Keyboard Instruments This thread Refback 16-06-2008 11:01 AM
Music | Eze Iprofit Package This thread Refback 12-06-2008 04:11 PM
Methods For Keyboard Players To Enhance Playing Skills - The Vid Stuffs - Your Resources Center This thread Refback 09-06-2008 07:46 PM
How To Learn Keyboard Instruments | Best Video Flix and Articles-Family Friendly Content This thread Pingback 08-06-2008 04:27 AM

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Forum Jump



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.2.0
vBulletin Skin developed by: vBStyles.com
2019 The Lone Arrangers Keyboard Forum - All rights reserved
Hosting and custom code provided by iBox-Security