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An Observation


DaveMcM

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So there I was last night flipping through TV channels with the remote when I came upon Madonna singing John Lennon's "Imagine" for a Tsunami benefit on NBC. As the camera pans around the stage and passes the keyboardist, I just didn't know whether to laugh or cry or what. This guy was standing behind a table that had a notebook PC and what I think was the Korg Legacy/MS 20 Controller. Don't get me wrong, I think the Legacy/MS 20 thing is very cool and I would love to have one myself. However, and maybe I am just getting way to old but it just looked so silly standing there on stage with a notebook PC and a 3 octave keyboard.

 

I think all this PC based vintage synth stuff is great, but to have just the notebook and one itty bitty keyboard? I mean most of us keyboard players don't look anywhere near as cool as the guitar players to start with so why stress the fact. :D

 

Then again, it would be fun to be able to have my rig packed up before the bass player for a change. ;)

Wm. David McMahan

I Play, Therefore I Am

 

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Originally posted by Prague:

I have yet to see a great performance done with minimal tools.

 

If anyone wants to start posting rebuttals, go ahead. It's all subjective. I'll still say the same thing.

 

I have yet to see a great performance done with minimal tools.

You've never seen a great acapella performance? You've never seen a great performance on vocal and acoustic guitar?

 

I've seen Evelyn Glennie do a jaw-dropping, spine-chilling performance with 2 drumsticks and a snare drum.

 

Maybe I don't understand what you mean by "minimal tools"?

A WOP BOP A LU BOP, A LOP BAM BOOM!

 

"There is nothing I regret so much as my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?" -Henry David Thoreau

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I agree with Prague and Ted. In an effort to bridge the gap.

 

It's the interface.

 

A pc with a little controller keyboard (even with a handful of knobs) is a very limited interface. A snare drum with an infinite number of velocity levels, different places to hit, and different resonant characteristics available ... is both HUGE and PRIMAL. The snare drum provides context for the demonstration of compelling musical technique. The little controller keyboard hardly does. Triggering automation on a PC is hardly compelling in the age of IPOD.

 

Jerry

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It seems there is this new trend in looking minimalist on stage. The new Duran Duran video has Nick Rhodes with his old Fairlight and a MicroKorg synth. It barely looks like he is playing at all. I saw a live show with them and he was doing a lot of laptop work. I saw the Killers on Sat Nite Live last night and the guy played a couple of one finger riffs. This seems to be the trend in pop music, at least.

 

Regards,

Eric

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Hey Dave:

 

What may be worse than a "non KB RIG, KB Rig" (minimalistic?) is what "kids" are listening too, confusing it with music. For the Playoff games, I had my neighbor's 19 year old son drive me to the Sports Bar so I can drink some brews, have pizza, and enjoy the games without worrying about a ride afterward. He has a HUGE, deafening sound system with even BIGGER speakers in his back seat (no room for people) that could double as sub's for live sound, playing some hip hop CRAP at 110db. The only thing that stood out were bass riff's (surprise) weird tinker toy sound effects, some DJ scratching vinyl with "inspiring" spoken lyrics about the size of some dude's dick. No lie. The neighbor's kid told me that he didn't care for "classic rock" or "early" rock because the songs "didn't have much bass". Hmmm, seems to me the only thing the "music" he was listening to had WAS bass. Nothing else was discernable, much less musically significant. Sad. :(

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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I have yet to see a great performance done with minimal tools.

 

If anyone wants to start posting rebuttals, go ahead. It's all subjective. I'll still say the same thing.

Check out the AMBIENT PiNG . Its another way of looking at synths.

 

Steve

You shouldn't chase after the past or pin your hopes on the future.
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Fascinating thread, and you've struck a nerve.

 

Anyone remember the TV show "Fame"? (I date myself, eh?)

 

The keyboard-playing character once commented that Beethoven would no longer trouble with a full orchestra, as he would be able to do it all himself with synths. We're talking about the 70's here, and although it was a sort of "renaissance man" it seems today a mite prophetic.

 

Makes you wonder, doesn't it, whether Liszt, for example, would have developed the dexterity necessary to play his own compositions.

 

Don't misunderstand - I love the tools that are available today, and the endless possibilities they provide. For a musician - especially a keyboardist - there has never been a more exciting time.

 

I told someone recently that keyboardists are on the verge of rendering the guitarist obsolete. Truthfully that may be getting slightly ahead of ourselves, but nonetheless, music is essentially the art of producing sound that the human ear and heart respond to. Can that be done exclusively with electronic "instruments"?

 

I believe that answer to that lies in great measure with the context and the environment.

 

If I shell out the dough for a "live" show, and the performers merely press a button and the music plays... why - I have a button on my CD player that will do the same thing. A concert is much more than the music, it is the performance of music. It is visual and... what... spiritual as well as aural. I mean - you had to SEE the keyboardist for Kansas (Kerry Livgren?) do a HANDSTAND on his board as he played. When Billy Joel hammers at the keys with a harmonica in his mouth and sweat pouring down his face, the emotion of the music is enhanced and transformed.

 

The unfortunate upshot of the technology is that it makes uninspired musicians sound better than they are, and may lull a good one into a false sense of creativity.

 

But, hey... build a better cookie cutter and the world will beat a path to your door, right?

 

A rather long-winded post for someone new to this forum. :wave:

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
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I have considered creating tracks and working with a laptop live, but for a very different reason: necessity. I live in an area virtually devoid of live venues and painfully lean on musicians, esp. ones that read or play anything other than country or southern rock covers (not that there's anything wrong with country or southern rock).

 

For me to play, I either have to drive two and a half hours to the gig or truck people in here. There is an audience in this area for varied music, but precious few players to satisfy. I am "this" close to spending a couple thou on the necessary equipment and devoting the time to recording/sequencing my way to a simulation of the full band setting I am craving. Hopefully I can devise a way to transfer the work over to a live/full band setting if and when needed.

Weasels ripped my flesh. Rzzzzzzz.
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Perhaps.... but a good one. Welcome!

Originally posted by ephlat:

A rather long-winded post for someone new to this forum. :wave:

You've nailed it concerning live performance. Of course there's a flipside to that too: a bunch of maniacs slamming their bodies around a stage, shouting cookie-monster grunge and relentlessly pounding minor chords from their D-tuned guitars & basses, does not nccessarily equal a musical performance.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by ephlat:

I mean - you had to SEE the keyboardist for Kansas (Kerry Livgren?) do a HANDSTAND on his board as he played.

Steve Walsh is the handstanding keyboardist and lead vocalist for Kansas. Kerry Livgren played a lot of guitar and part time keyboards, but quit performing live years ago when he contracted tinnitus.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Something else comes into play here. Necessity is the mother of invention. Small clubs and hotel lounge customers wanted something more than just an acoustic guitarist or a piano player playing to keep the place lively. Their sales volume didn't warrant hiring a band, and the typical hotel lounge isn't large enough to put a band in to, so a solo player like myself bought sequencers or workstations when they started to come on the market to play backing tracks. A solo act could generate a small band sound in smaller venues without the sales volume previously necessary, and keep their crowd happy. It required a lot more time on my part, creating backing tracks, as well as trying to keep up with my regular practice routine. But most of my time was spend sequencing rather than playing. Fortunately, there's a lot of small companies out there that you can buy sequences from than there was when I started doing that. That can be a better option than trying to do everything yourself, and can allow more time for regular practicing.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Originally posted by mate_stubb:

Steve Walsh is the handstanding keyboardist and lead vocalist for Kansas. Kerry Livgren played a lot of guitar and part time keyboards, but quit performing live years ago when he contracted tinnitus.

 

Steve Walsh... how could i forget? One should remember one's earliest inspiration... My first concert. Audio Visions tour. 1980(?) Accompanied by my father, a classically trained cellist and pianist. As I recall, he loved the show, or pretended to anyway. Good times. Perhaps explains my obsession with live music. (Going to see Collective Soul tonite in Park City btw... taking all the kids. Like father like son, though I needn't pretend to love Ed Roland & Co.)

 

And thanks for the welcome. Enjoying these forums (fora? fori?) immensely.

Don

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
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Originally posted by burningbusch:

I love George but he sorta overwhelms this keyboard.

 

http://korg.com/artist_small_2_img/216_small_2.jpg

 

Hey, everybody looks good behind a Steinway D or B3.

 

Busch.

but look more closely - he can reach an eleventh on it. Damn.

Keys: Hammond SK2, Hammond SK1, Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Waldorf STVC

Amplification: Line6 L3T, Yamaha DBR-10, Presonus Air 10, Leslie 122V

 

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