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Re: [fluid-dev] What Aere has been working on

From: Aere Greenway
Subject: Re: [fluid-dev] What Aere has been working on
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 14:16:43 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.5.0

On 06/12/2014 11:26 PM, David Henningsson wrote:
Interesting stuff. For me, who already can play piano, it would have been interesting to have something when you're away from home and don't have a piano in your backpack.

This approach would not fit me, though. Not so much for the lack of touch sensitivity as for the lack of keys out of the scale decided by the chord. There is no way, AFAICT, to play a D7#5#9 or a C13#11, as the scale you play is determined by the current key and/or chord. But then maybe this software is mainly targeted towards beginners, rather than people like myself.

Btw, a link to FluidSynth somewhere would have been nice (but not required). And I assume you follow LGPL so that it will be possible for users of your software to recompile and update FluidSynth independently.

Thank you for looking at this and your feedback.

The easiest way to play your D7#5#9 chord, is using standard chords (rather than modal chords), and specify "D" "7" "aug" "/F#" (playing the sharped-9th as a slash-chord note).

Any accidental specified by the current chord is normally (you can over-ride that) inserted into the melody, so you don't need to play it manually in the melody (but you can).

Doing accidentals is like typing a capital-letter (only you use Page-Up (for sharp), or Page-Down (for flat). You can specify accidentals for chord root-notes, as well as slash-chord notes, and they then also apply to the melody. It uses Page-Up/Page-Down because you can reach them with your chord-hand.

The numeric keypad (chord-pad) also has keys with multiple functions, accessed by double-presses, so the "6" (6th) key becomes "11" or "13". Likewise, "aug" becomes "-5", and "9" becomes "add9" or "-9".

The 9th, 11th, and 13th chords normally include the 7th.

The easiest way to play your C13#11 is to play "C" "13" "/F#" (playing the sharped-11th as a slash-chord note).

The modal chords (shown in the application screen-shot), stick to chord-notes fitting the key-signature (unless you override them), and are useful for improvising with other players, who thus don't have to suddenly deal with unexpected accidentals.

We do target this at beginners (with the aim of having a higher percentage of them succeed in learning to play), but it is very useful for accomplished keyboard players such as myself.

For me, I can play amazing music using it, and only need to carry a laptop, an amplifier, and my external typing keyboard. For my last two performances, I just hooked the laptop into the house sound-system.

Another thing that's very useful about this instrument, is that with one hand, I can simultaneously play very-high, and very-low notes. If you would like to see an example of this capability in action, check out the video below (of my improvisation of a string-orchestra piece):


Our use of Qsynth (and FluidSynth on distributions like openSUSE) is limited to Linux, where they are available (as a dependency) from the repository. I think compiling FluidSynth is beyond the capabilities of ordinary users, so its use is documented only for Linux.

We could provide a web-page for related links, including to your web-site. If you would like this, I will be happy to comply.

I think something we should do, is point out that all of the demo's (except one audio demo using ZynAddSubFX) were performed on Linux, using the Qsynth (FluidSynth) software synthesizer, with the FluidR3_GM soundfont. On all of the videos, I used what I call 'composite voices', where there is a main sound, with a (lower-volume) other-voice in the background.

Again, if any of you would like to use the KeyMusician Keyboard when you're away from home and don't have a piano in your backpack, I would be honored to provide you a free copy of the application. It's the least I can do to pay back the years of enjoyment I've gotten from using Qsynth.

I have even used it at a church camp-out, teaching people (even non-musicians) to improvise music together with it.


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