Being a huge Jarrett and Kenny Wheeler fan I transcribed some melodies and chords and put them in band in a box. Searching for the right style has been frustrating. So last year I tried to make up my own styles, again a very frustrating experience with all of the biab quirks an’all. But, I hung in there and discovered a thing or two in the end. Finally I’ve gotten it more or less down.
The keys are in the contrast between a looser drum feel and a tighter (not walking) bass, I think. Read: Jack Dejohnette and Dave Holland!
Anyone intrested in discussing the process of making those styles, or exchanging tips, join in.
Two tips to start with: Converting internet available midi files to styles doesn’t seem to work chromatic approach notes, over the bar lines or anticipations don’t work. The fact that when you really play, you think horizontally, disregarding existing changes, adding substitute changes, well... the computer doesn’t think that way. So.
Make your own midi files and QUANTIZE them Make your own, make em simple, not too complex cause it might sound good playing it, but as a style in a song? “Quantizing” sounds like making the timing sterile, but it’s necessary. You can’t input tiny subtleties well: slight latencies in the software or your hardware. Otherwise, a quantized beat is not necessarily lifeless. I discovered it transcribing a Jarrett solo and playing the notation back. Without 16th note triplets or anything, it still sounded killer!
So, is this applicable to creating midi styles only? First thing I thought as I browsed through the styles was how limited they were, unless I was attached to jazz primarily, and a few other styles. While I have, much to my surprise, used some of those jazz styles, I still wish/wonder if the users could create their own, swappable, or even purchasable styles. Real, or midi. Sounds like you've found your way through to midi. Way to go!
Jim is right when he says the patches or plugins matter a great deal.
But more importantly, I think, since the more sophisticated midi supertracks, the stylemaker has become more sophisticated too. More velocity-sensitive and it allows better triplet “management”
Nevertheless, Jim is right when it comes to choosing the right plugins. And it takes some searching since the GM standard is rare among the “better” vst’s. For the moment I primarily use Native instruments’ Vintage drums or 50’s drums and I only use brushes: you have to adjust the mapping and search for the right sound. And for bass I use Fluffy’s simple bass or one of the freebies (Chad’s double bass or xperimenta’s pizzicato bass, these are great, but take some tweaking). Sadly GM ready vsts like roland’s or non gm ready softs like sampletank 3 have very poor sounding double bass or brushes.
But the above setup works great.
By the way, exchanging these styles is easy. But, When they show up in style picker, the info is not there, you should make a Ls-file which I won’t bother myself with. So, yeah, you just copy the style to mail or forum and the receiver should paste it in the bb-directory. And it can be used.
I have made some more modern swing and bop styles, you know: less boring, every once in a while the drums accent the beat or the afterbeat... and bass is more dynamic. Walking bass can be very boring if everything has more or less the same velocity.
Just one quirk that I can’t seem to figurre out: there is an “intro” part to styles, but I can’t edit it in stylemaker, since it doesn’t show up.
More than two years on and countless hours of “programming”, correcting and tweaking, I just think I’m onto something here. It can be done. Check my website and listen to some of the examples. Hope you like it.
For lovers of modern jazz, I have mgu files included in the blog. The mgu files are free and feature modern jazz tunes (the styles are not included, but you don’t have to have the Jazzstylezz styles to enjoy the songs)
Some melodies are elaborate, some are not perfect, but certainly usable. They are not meant to substitute realbooks, fake books or the great Norton fakedisks, but offer you a connection to some of todays’ modern jazz.
Tempo de Amor, Herbie Hancock and Ceu What’s New (in 5/4) Dolphin Dance, Herbie Hancock 3/4 in the afternoon, Kenny Wheeler From Gagarin’s Point of View, Esbjorn Svensson, EST Broken Wing, Richie Beirach as played by Chet Baker FeFe Naa Efe, Laurent De Wilde’s arrangement of the Fela Kuti song It’s Easy to Remember, Scofield and Corea-style improvisation Lover Man Mission: to be where I am, Jan Garbarek Tagreta, Arild Andersen, as played by Bill Frisell Bernie’s tune Hermitage, Pat Metheny
Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
I'm on your Soundcloud page and been going through the songs. You have created a very cool laid back style. I think Caravan is a masterpiece, I've never heard it done like that before. I do it in an uptempo funky hip hop sort of thing which is fun to play but I really dig what you did with it. If and when I ever get to do a another restaurant gig I'm going to try it like you did. Very nice.
I also like taking standards that every band in the world burn on and doing them very slow if I'm doing a solo piano gig or maybe a duo. One tune that is good for that is Night in Tunisia. Have you ever tried that in this slow, open style? If not give that a shot I would like to hear what you do with it.
I like what you're doing and putting Mr PC in seven was very cool too.
Make sure to check out the latest Band-in-a-Box® 2020 for Windows review from Sound-Guy (Dennis) at www.gearslutz.com: click here.
Sound-Guy has been using Band-in-a-Box® for many, many, many, many, many years - and we still managed to surprise him with some great new features! Read his latest review to learn more about his favorite additions for 2020!
"Band-in-a-Box continues to evolve as an expansive musical tool-set for both novice and experienced musicians to produce not only new compositions and arrangements, but also perform them with excellent musical “talent”. It also provides educational and training tools for keyboardists and guitarists. It’s easy to use the basic functions, and challenging enough to keep you occupied for years. BIAB provides education, inspiration, a “live” band to aid in practicing, and anything from backing tracks to full performances for recording."
Examples of "uncommon instruments" include anything from Spoons to the Wheelharp to the Singing Ringing Tree, and more! (there's probably more instruments out there that we DON'T know than we DO know)
Although our RealTracks collection doesn't include many 'uncommon instruments', we do offer some pretty unique choices!
On top of the usual varieties we offer for Piano, Guitar, Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Bass, Tuba, Trumpet, Trombone, and more - our RealTracks library also offers a nice selection of Shakuhachi and Kalimba - there's even a Koto RealTrack included in Set 212!
Kalimba: RealTracks Set 271
Koto: RealTracks Set 212
Shakuhachi: RealTracks Sets 193 & 212
What's the most surprising RealTrack Instrument that you've come across?
Band-in-a-Box® 2020 Portuguese for Windows is Here!
Existem mais de 50 novos recursos no Band-in-a-Box® 2020! Existem aprimoramentos no RealTracks (RealTracks vocais com som mais suave, RealTracks Engrossados, Substitutos de RealTracks e MultiFrases). A maioria dos RealDrums agora possui RealCharts (com notação de bateria precisa). Há um novo navegador de artistas do RealTracks para encontrar informações/biografias/links/listas de RealTracks em todos os artistas. Um novo Navegador de recursos permite que o usuário novo ou "esquecido" encontre e use facilmente a maioria dos recursos/teclas de atalho/documentos em uma única janela. Equalizar Tempoaprimoramentos na Seleção de Músicas, baixo/bateria ou apenas bateria nas introduções automáticas, 3.400 títulos adicionados, aprimoramentos no MusicXML, visualização de guitarra para "Canhotos" e "Estudantes", aprimoramentos de arrastar e soltar, exibição de várias janelas do Interpretador de Acordes de Áudioe muito mais!
If you're still using Band-in-a-Box® 2019, make sure you download the latest patch update (b324) for an updated splash screen (macOS 10.12 and 10.13 users), smoother Song Titles dialog, access to your (purchased) RealTracks Set 328, and we've corrected the reported issue with opening songs from older versions of Band-in-a-Box in the 2019 version.
With money being tight for most musicians, this is a wonderful gift for those on a limited budget. At $29, it offers months and years of fun and experimentation, bringing many ideas to fruition as songs with enough variation so that your audience doesn’t jump to "aw, that's a computer!" while still keeping the power of the software in your hands.
-"Dr. Dave" Walker
Thank you again Dr. Dave for the great review!
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