Assembling Style Sections

by Joe Waters

Previous Nextcentered text

One of the strengths of the Yamaha's arranger keyboards (PSR, Tyros, and CVP) is the ability of the STYLE CREATOR in DIGITAL RECORDING to modify individual style tracks in a style. In the lesson on the Mixing Console under Adjusting Styles, we showed how to modify the volume of an instrument in a track and how to change the instrument itself. But these changes do not change the underlying music that is being played in that track. What about changing the track itself? Suppose you have a style and you don't like the BASS part. You would like to change the BASS part in that style to a BASS part you have in some other style. Well, you can do that with your keyboard and we'll show you how to change individual style parts in the next lesson.

In this lesson, we will tackle a slightly different problem, one that might be a first step in some cases before taking the second step of changing individual tracks. Styles for earlier Yamaha PSR arranger keyboards, like the PSR-640, included only two variations (A and B). But the current PSR and Tyros keyboards can hold 4 variations of a style (A, B, C, and D). If you want to use a style from one of these earlier models, you may very well want to expand the style variations from two to four. In this lesson, we will see how you can use your PSR or Tyros itself to solve this problem.

Overview of the Process

Before we go over the steps, let me give you an overview of the process. You load a two-variation style, say one from the PSR-8000 or the PSR-620 or the PSR-1700 (which are similar to the 500 and 510 styles). You will find two-variation styles on this site in some of the style collections or on the PSR-8000 style page. When you load a two-variation style, you will notice, of course, that only the Main A and B buttons are lit; there is no style variation in C or D. You will go into the DIGITAL RECORDING, select the STYLE CREATOR, and then tab over to the ASSEMBLY tab. From there you will select section C (that is, the main "C" style variation) to work on and then tell the PSR to take all the tracks from section A and copy them to section C. Next, you will switch to the D section and instruct the PSR to copy all the tracks from the B section to the D section. Finally, you will save the style. This accomplished, your two style section (A B) will now have four sections (A B A B) where the new "C" section is a copy of A and the new "D" section is a copy of B. At this point, you can make further modifications to the new and/or old sections to provide more variety to the styles. OK, that's the summary. Now, let's look at the details.

1. Load the Style

First of all, you have to have a two-variation style. None were delivered with your PSR or Tyros; all of those have 4-variations already. None are on our download page, since they, too, already include four variations with four one-touch settings. (Note: this was true when this article was first drafted. Today, this site has tens of thousands of styles in the download section (Styles) and you will find thousands of two-variation styles there.) You can go to one of the many style sites on the Internet to find a two-variation style. However, for simplicity, let me give you one right here. You can use it to practice. Here is the CountrySwing ( 148-CSW1.STY ) style from the PSR-8000. (See our downloading lesson if you need help downloading a file. You can download all of the original 8000 styles from our PSR-8000 page in the Styles section.)

Once you have downloaded the style to your PC, copy it to a floppy disk or your USB drive and take that to your keyboard and load it in there. From the MAIN screen, press the button that selects the STYLE, tab over to where your FLOPPY or USB is, and load this two-variation style. If you are going to be working on this style, it may be more convenient to go ahead and save it in the USER area. (You could also COPY the style from your FLOPPY or USB and PASTE it in the USER area.) You can then load the file from the USER area and make modifications to that copy of the file. When you are finished modifying the style, you can then save it back to your FLOPPY or USB.

2. Modify the Style (Optional)

You may want to accept the various track volumes as they are in the original (100, 100, 82, 66, 72, 35, 82, and 64). Working with a PSR-2000, I changed the FingerBass to FingerBass2 and changed the track volumes to (100, 85, 70, 50, 75, 44, 60, and 66). I left all the other instruments as they were. Review our lesson on the Mixing Console if you don't know how to modify track volumes (and/or voices) and save them in the style.

Since you are going to expand the first two sections to become four sections, you can hold off any modifications until you have added the two new variations. Remember, from the MIXING CONSOLE, if you change the track volume in section A, the new volume will also be set in sections B, C, and D. So, you might as well wait until you have created all four sections.

3. Go to the Assembly Page

Follow the steps outlined in the illustration below:

Digital Rec Menu and Style Creator

Style Creator - Assembly tabThis brings up the ASSEMBLY page in the STYLE CREATOR. You have seen this page before. This is where you go when you want to SAVE a style after you have adjusted the volumes or have changed the instruments and you want your new settings saved in the style itself. Now, let's take a closer look at this page.

The top part of the window shows each of the eight style tracks. In this example, the RHYTHM2 track is selected for a style called LoveSong. You would press the appropriate buttons ( [A] - [D] on the left, and [F] - [I] on the right) to select a particular track in the style.

4. Select Section "C"

If you look carefully at the photo shot of the initial BASIC tab in the STYLE CREATOR page, you will see that the first line indicates what section is currently loaded into memory. If you had the MAIN A section selected before you went to DIGITAL RECORDING, that is the section you will start with. If you had MAIN B selected, DIGITAL RECORDING would start with MAIN B.

You can change this selection from the BASIC page or from the ASSEMBLY page. Let's assume you started with MAIN A and you are looking at a screen like that show above on the ASSEMBLY page. Press the MAIN [C] button on the keyboard, and a little pop-up screen will appear in the bottom right-hand side of your window showing the available sections in a small scrolling box (with C highlighted). You can use buttons [6] and [7] to scroll up and down that list to choose any of the sections or any of the fill-ins or any of the intros or endings. We are going to work on MAIN C, so, with that highlighted, simply press the [8-A] button to select OK and you will be working on the MAIN C section.

When you first entered DIGITAL RECORDING, there was a box at the bottom of the BASIC page, labeled REC CHANNEL (later keyboards labeled this box RECORD). If you were to press the [EXIT] button, that REC CHANNEL box would disappear and you would see a SECTION box giving you the opportunity to change the MAIN Section and/or the pattern length. You will note that these are highlighted in the illustration above next to the [A] button. If you were to press the [B] button, you could change the TEMPO and/or the BEAT. We won't change either of these for this lesson.

5. Copy From "A"

Now that you are working in the MAIN C section, you want to copy every track from the A section to this C section. Actually, if you looked carefully, perhaps every track in A isn't even used so you wouldn't have to copy them all. But, usually, it is easier to simply copy them all then to try and keep track of which ones are used and which are not.

Look at the box at the bottom of the screen labeled COPY FROM. In the illustration here, section A is highlighted (that was the section loaded -- in your case, section C should now be highlighted). Because the RHYTHM2 track above is selected, the middle CHANNEL box has RHYTHM2 highlighted. If you are trying to copy something to a RHYTHM track, the only thing allowed is another RHYTHM track. If, however, you had PAD selected, or any of the non-RHYTHM tracks, you could copy from BASS, CHORD1, CHORD2, PADCHORD, PHRASE1, or PHRASE2. In this exercise, we are going to copy each track to the corresponding track in the new section, i.e. CHORD1 goes to CHORD1, so we won't have to change any settings in that CHANNEL box. We will, however, change the setting in the SECTION box.

Copy From menuIf your RHYTHM2 is still selected, and you have indicated you are working on MAIN C, the bottom box should look something like this. For this section, you want to COPY the RHYTHM2 track FROM MAIN A and put it in MAIN C. So, using the 2 & 3 buttons underneath the SECTION box, move the highlight to MAIN A. That's it. You are telling the PSR to copy the RHYTHM2 section from A. Now, all you have to do is repeat this process for every track. Press [A] to select RHYTHM1. Press the [2-A] button to select MAIN A. Press [C] to select CHORD1; Press [2-A] to copy from MAIN A. Continue doing this until you have MAIN A selected under the COPY FROM - SECTION for all tracks. You can review your work by pressing any of the [A] - [D] or [F] - [I] buttons to verify that MAIN A is selected. You could SAVE your style at this point (by pressing [J]). But you can also continue and copy section D and then save.

6. Now, Copy from "B"

Press the MAIN D button to select section MAIN D. Be sure to confirm MAIN D in the pop-up window on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. Then go through the same exercise as above only this time, copy from MAIN B. This will give you a style pattern that is, in effect, A B A B. You could, of course, having copied the B section twice and made a pattern that looked like A B B B. Or, you could carry the process through one more time and change that A B B B pattern to an A A B B pattern.

7. Save Your Work

When you have completed all your copying, press the [J] button to SAVE your new modified style. The STYLE save window will appear and it will be showing the USER memory area for styles. You don't have to save it to this area; you could tab over to a different area (FLOPPY, CARD, USB, HD) and save the style there. But, you may want to do more tuning, so go ahead and save it to the USER area. You press the [6-B] button to select SAVE. You will be given an opportunity to rename the file. To complete the saving operation, press the [8-A] button to confirm OK that you want to save the file under this name.

8. Test It Out

If you look over at the MAIN sections now, you will see that all four buttons are lit, that is, you have four variations of this style. You can keep them as they are, really just two variations repeated, and get variety by choosing different instruments in the four one-touch settings. Then, if you have OTSLink turned on, as you go from section A to B to C to D, the sounds will be different because the Main, Layer, and Left voices (with or without Harmony/Echo and DSP settings changed) will sound different. You can also use what you learned in other lessons to change some of the accompaniment instruments between the various sections. You could also change the C and D sections a bit by replacing some of the tracks there with tracks from an entirely different style altogether. But, THAT is the subject of the next lesson.

Country Swing Once More

If you downloaded the above Country Swing example from the PSR-8000, you may be interested in my expanded version with one-touch settings included. It is included in the PSR-8000 page in the batch of files converted from the PSR-8000. But you don't have to download all of those to try it out. You can download the 4-section version of Country Swing right here.



This page updated on March 3, 2014 .