Want simple solo piano, from chord array

Posted by: Engineerer

Want simple solo piano, from chord array - 06/13/19 12:39 AM

I'm new to BiaB, and would greatly appreciate some basic help getting started, on a particular type of quest. If anyone can point me to where this type of info has been gathered, for beginners, I would appreciate it; if not, can someone give me a list of bullet points re: where to look?
I write songs, but normally on guitar. I want to be able to type in a simple listing of chords, in the main BiaB screen, and have BiaB generate a simple, solo "backing piano" track, with no drums or ANY other instruments.
I will then export that to a MIDI file, open that file in ProTools (to add a clarinet-type "main melody" track, for a singer to follow), and then send that MIDI file, to a demo studio.
The studio engineer will then shift that MIDI file up or down, to whatever key is best suited for the singer he has chosen, for that song.
Based on experience, my strong sense is that THAT is a key step, in getting the best possible song. Yeah, I realize that really GOOD singers can stretch their ranges, and there's Autotune, etc.; but, I don't want that kind of stretching, or manipulating. Instead, I want to land on the exact best sweet spot, for that singer, for that song. And I want to be there, with those piano backing tracks, in MIDI format, while we work with a singer to settle on the exact keys we want, for up to 10 songs in a single session.
So, everything I want to do, with BiaB, is geared toward that single step, in a larger and longer process. The rest of the song will be built up, assembled, and polished, in the demo studio, using all of their professional skills and contacts, once we're happy with the vocal track.
So . . . what is the simplest way to get a basic "backing piano" track, and nothing else, using BiaB, if all I do is insert chords into the main window?
And, what would anyone recommend as the best candidate BiaB "styles" that would be most likely to give me the type of "simple, basic, plain-vanilla backing track" result I want, for each of:
(1) a 4/4 song, and
(2) a 3/4 song?
BTW - I could easily be wrong, but I'm guessing that this might be one of the main and/or best ways, for lots of people to use BiaB. That is why I chose to buy it. So, has anyone already worked up a recipe, template, or other series of helpful/useful steps, aids, etc, for songwriters who want to do this kind of thing?
Posted by: floyd jane

Re: Want simple solo piano, from chord array - 06/13/19 05:25 AM

Engineer,

In order to answer your question thoroughly, folks would need to know which version of BIAB you have.

If you have the "full version" UltraPAK or higher, you will have the most options. (and if you have the 2019 version of that, you will have the most current options)

In my opinion, your best option for what you want is using the MIDI Supertracks.
Simply enter your chords into BIAB, then select a MIDI Supertrack into one of the tracks. (Solo that track). Generate a track and export the MIDI that is created. Simple as that.

You can "audition" any of the the MIDI Supertracks in the selection screen by double-clicking the choices.

A number of the piano RealTracks also have associated MIDI files that can be export (though I believe the MIDI Supertracks are a better choice). I don't use this option, so others who have used it might discuss this...

If you have any questions regarding any of those steps, simply ask...

If you have an example that you can point to - a YouTube video perhaps - of a similar sounding song, you might get some suggestions for folks here about what piano tracks to try...

fj
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: Want simple solo piano, from chord array - 06/13/19 06:31 AM

Engineer..... You're new to BB. So... I don't think you understand what you actually have in your hands. I actually do it differently from your proposed way. Several folks here also do it very similar to the way I do.

As a songwriter.... you can do ALL the work using BB easily, and not have to farm it out to others. If you let the studio change the key, add other instruments, and do the work, they will charge you for each and every thing they do for you. Why pay them when you can do it all in BB yourself, easily.

With Band in a Box (BB) , you can do everything yourself, in house, except having a singer sing it if you don't sing. Practically everyone here is doing this very thing... most of us sing our own songs though. Pop in on some of our music sites listed in the links on our posts.

So... here's how I work.

I write and create the song in BB. I set up the key, structure, the tempo, the style and get it 100% like I want. Now... suppose I have an outside singer. I can send them the song as I exported it.... complete with drums, bass, piano, guitars, fiddle, etc.... If it's not in a compatible key, all I have to do is change the key in BB and regenerate the song.... which BB will do automatically. Instantly the whole song with every instrument is now in the key the singer has requested. One of my songs.... Come & Go was sung by 2 different ladies and each one needed it in a different key. No problem... BB did it in seconds.

So.. suppose you don't know how to mix the tracks.... Again, no problem. There are people in the forums who can help you with that. You can learn how to do it yourself.... OR.... you can do all the work in creating the tracks as I mentioned above.... and export each track as it's own file. You send those tracks to a mixing/mastering house and give them instructions on how you hear the mix of the finished song. They can do that much quicker than creating those files and therefore, you have a much lower out of pocket cost for the outside work.

I think there's probably a number of folks here who would jump at the chance to mix someones project for free. So don't overlook that option. Folks here like to help. There are forums for finished projects and there are forums for works in the process on the PG forum site. Ask questions, post links, and let us help you get to where you want to be as a musician and producer.


So... essentially in a nut shell... I write the song in BB setting it up like I want, then I use Real Band to generate audio tracks to embellish the song in the style selected in BB.... then I export all those tracks to my DAW which is Sonar. In Sonar, I mix, add FX like compression and reverb, and also sing and play the live tracks of guitar and piano. The result is a pro sounding mix ready for prime time.

Have a listen to the songs I have done in this manner at the link in my signature.


EDIT: yes... there are styles in BB that are only piano. No other instruments. You can easily change the style... with a simple click on a different style to switch between the piano only style to a full band style. Changing from 4/4 to 3/4 is also as simple to do... you simply select a style in that time signature. Don't like the smooth jazz style? CHange it instantly to funk, rock, country, blues, bluegrass, reggae, Celtic, or any other style that you see listed in your dropdown.

With BB, the only limits, as I like to say, is your imagination.
Posted by: Tangmo

Re: Want simple solo piano, from chord array - 06/13/19 07:52 AM

I would agree that getting the "backing" in the right key (and tempo) is crucial in song-writing for others.

I think you can accomplish your work-flow simply. You can either:

1. Audition and select a midi (or super-midi) style that has a piano in it. Mute everything but piano and listen. Save as midi. When saving as audio, BIAB will render only tracks not "muted". I'm not sure if the same applies to saving as midi, but it's no hill for a climber if it doesn't. It's no real problem to send a single track of a multi-track midi to synth or soft-synth.

2. Choose a single piano midi "soloist" or "melodist" track and listen. Save as midi.

IF you choose to use any real tracks (or other midi tracks) in the production, it's also fast work to get the correct key and tempo from the demo studio and enter it into the BIAB project to render to audio (or midi). Open file, change key and/or tempo (using the actual transpose option), generate and render.

Most of "us" record at home. So if you have access to a demo studio that is better set-up for recording AND you want to be there...I'd carry my laptop with BIAB installed, doing all possible work before you arrive.



Posted by: DeaconBlues09

Re: Want simple solo piano, from chord array - 06/13/19 08:19 AM

It sounds like you would benefit from the incredible, yet I suspect oft-overlooked, utility styles (see screenshot)
Posted by: Tangmo

Re: Want simple solo piano, from chord array - 06/13/19 08:19 AM

Your "clarinet" solo may well work to demo to the singer not just the notes of the melody, but also where to sing them--when. Phrasing. Most recordings I have been involved with, however, cut vocals at minimum to a simple rhythm track, and sometimes it's the last major "instrument" recorded. If that's not your plan, never mind. Best wishes.
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: Want simple solo piano, from chord array - 06/13/19 03:11 PM

Engineerer,

Welcome to Band-in-a-Box and to the forum!

As DeaconBlues09 pointed out the Utility styles would be good starting points. That is because the utility styles are good building blocks to begin with when, or if, you want to combine instruments into one group and create styles that meet your specific needs.

You have a specific way you want to use Band-in-a-Box and that's okay because Band-in-a-Box can work the way you describe. However, you will likely need to create, or have someone create for your use, midi styles that include just piano. User styles are easy to create and I'll be happy to either walk you through the steps or otherwise work with you.

While I think you would like Band-in-a-Box I'm also wondering if you've looked at alternatives since Band-in-a-Box is almost overkill for doing what you've described. A simpler program like +++ CHORDPULSE +++ might better meet your workflow.

I would call or chat to ask PG Music Sales if the Band-in-a-Box Pro PAK includes all the utility styles. If it does then that is the package I recommend you purchase. If not then I recommend you get the minimum package that does include all the utility styles.