Recording Your Own Styles

by Simon Williams

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Some Suggestions for Recording Your Own Styles

Recording Drum Patterns

You can record your own drum patterns on any of the PSR keyboards that feature style recording, this includes the PSR-740. Note that you have to record them in real time, that is, play the percussion instruments live on the keyboard.

When in style record mode, choose either Rhythm 1 or 2 tracks and then select one of the drum kits. When recording percussion instruments, you can overdub each instrument (in a loop). So, for example, you can begin recording a hi-hat sound and then, on the next loop, record the kick drum and snare and so on. You can also record an entire percussion / drum track live using song record (multi track) instead of using a style, I've uploaded some songs in the past doing this. Note that most of my style disks (in fact, all of them except the new creative gold disks) were recorded and created on the PSR-740! All the drum sounds were played live on the keyboard using the metronome as a guide, until at least a hi-hat pattern is recorded. Once you get the hang of it, it's actually quite fun but easy to "overdo" it and add too many percussion sounds!

A Few Tips on Recording Styles

Here's a few tips on recording your own styles on the keyboard, these instructions are generally applicable to any PSR.

  • Assuming you are creating a style from scratch, first delete all the tracks from each part of the style. Now, as an example, let's choose main A to start recording.
  • Turn on the metronome, else you will get totally lost when it comes to keeping within each bar and getting your patterns to play in time!

Record Rhythm Track(s)

Choose one of the rhythm tracks and select a suitable drum kit. Note that if you change the voice usually the reverb will be set back to zero, so you will get a very dry sound. You may want to call up the reverb setting and set it to about 30, or, to save time, store the drum kit voice in one of the registrations with this setting.

Start recording of the style and listen to the metronome for a few bars to get a feel for the tempo, also note the bar (measure) number as it records and when the "loop" begins again.

Now try putting down a simple closed hi-hat sound (usually F# in the 2nd or 3rd octave assuming you have not transposed) on each beat. Make sure you stop playing as soon as you reach the end of the loop; the pattern will continue playing in a loop.

Now you can overdub a kick drum, say, on each 1/2 a bar. Again be sure to begin playing at the beginning of the loop and stop playing the keys once it hits the end of the loop (else you will end up with "double" notes.)

You can then add a snare if you like on every other note against the kick, now you have a simple 8 beat.

Next Move to the CHORD 1 track

I then usually think about the main chord voice, say, for example, a piano. You need to think of the rhythm of the piano as it will play in the style and then once the loop begins record a CM7 chord in that rhythm. Again, stop at the end of the "loop". If you make a mistake, you need to stop the style record and delete the track, then repeat. It often takes a few goes to get it right.

Now, a Bass Line

Bass line is next. Choose a nice bass voice (I like the dark fingered Bass in the XG section) and again, on the start of the loop, play a SIMPLE Bass line, in C though.

And the Rest

You can then continue adding pads, perhaps some twiddled phrases and so on. This is just the main section A, then there's sections B, C and D. Oh, and then the intros, endings and fills.

Some Tips for the Other Bits

Intros

Generally, you can improvise around on these quite a bit, though keep to the Key of C. Any notes can be used, in fact the intros and endings can incorporate short melodies like mini songs, but should always finish in a way that they naturally progress into a C chord.

Endings

Again, lots of scope for improvisation and ad-lib's but remember that the last notes in the ending are just that, so wind things down!

Fills

Very difficult to do, only 1 bar to play with and should ideally form a bridge between each section of the style. Again must be CM7.

Some "Techniques" Useful for Style Recording

  • Since you have to record your pads and chords in CM7 for most parts in the style, try some "open" chords i.e. leave out the middle notes or simplify the chords using just 2 notes.
  • For a nice Celtic pad sound, try playing an open chord of E and G - leaving out the root.
  • Quantising the drum sounds and percussion can help to tighten the Style as it loops, but avoid quantising other instruments too much as the style will sound machine like.
  • XG voices are always best to use for compatibility but may require transposing down 1 octave to match the range of the panel sounds, especially for the bass voices.
  • On the 740 and other keyboards that allow access to the registrations during style record (sadly not the 9000!), keep your voices and settings in the registration memories for each track of the style - it makes recording each part much easier than having to set up voice, level, effects each time.
  • Avoid adding intricate or strong melodies in the style, such as the phrases. They will dictate the use of the style too much in playback.
  • Since the style is a "backing" to your performance, use the mixer and effects settings to keep the rhythm instruments "back" in the mix, unless you deliberately want particular voices in the style to stand out strong.

Hope these tips will be of help to some of you!!!

Regards
Simon
SVPworld



 

This page updated on March 3, 2014 .