Jump to content

humanizing a piano


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I am trying to make a piano part seem more human, less mechanical. It is part of my mix, not a solo. I've tried several things:

- different velocities on every note, including each note of chords

- moving each note slightly right or left

- alternating the lengths of each note, some a little longer, some shorter, some overlapping, some with a gap between.

I tried the articulator but that didn't seem to change the sound, just made all notes shorter by differing amounts. I looked at the "humanizing presets" but I'm not sure how they work or how to apply them to my song.

I've also posted this question on several other forums and only received variations of the above answers (by well meaning people of course!).

Is there something else that I am unaware of, anything else to try? Some change to the actual piano timbre or something? Any suggestions would be so helpful.

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 55
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

If you have a MIDI controller or USB keyboard, the best way to go about it would be to play the piano part yourself. Some piano patches do indeed come with a stereo field to work with so individually panning each note doesn't seem necessary. That's most likely to be the best way to make it feel as human as possible.

If you don't have one, I suggest you save up for one - some are fairly inexpensive, though this should be a good start on what to ideally go for. They would help you a lot if you're going to be working with key-based sounds often.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The midi keyboard controller is going to be the death of most musicians if it isn't already.

With my minimal piano background, I usually just used the keyboard to input my notes then tool with them from there. Lately though, after seeing some crazy keyboarding skillz i'm actually making using the keyboard in different ways part of my practice time.

Right now for example, instead of programming my drums with a mouse (which has been a terrible weakness in most of my mixes) I am now doing some keyboard drumming, which I thought was a useless skill to learn until i saw it working. Pretty soon you're going to see the greatest Tabla, Djembe, Conga, Bongo and Set players in my mixes and I didn't have to pay anyone a dime!

So yea. Keyboard. Invest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh geez... I've got no midi keyboard and NO piano skillz... I've sequenced a pretty hairy piano part... I like it, but I can see how actually playing a piano would be a plus... haha! I will try the panning trick, I can see what you mean there... and I guess it's time for me to at least investigate midi keyboards. Thank you very much!!! :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right now for example, instead of programming my drums with a mouse (which has been a terrible weakness in most of my mixes) I am now doing some keyboard drumming, which I thought was a useless skill to learn until i saw it working. Pretty soon you're going to see the greatest Tabla, Djembe, Conga, Bongo and Set players in my mixes and I didn't have to pay anyone a dime!

So yea. Keyboard. Invest.

To me, the time required to develop the skills to play is not worth it.

Why waste time getting my hands to play what's in my head when I can just write it down exactly how it is in my head?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guitar is hard to sequence. :roll:
Yeah, but it's the same principle.

(It's also a pretty naff reason to choose an instrument.)

Piano will always sound best live, you can never quite capture that with pre-recorded samples, no matter how great they are or the techniques used.

You can't go out and perform a MIDI set on a live piano.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, but it's the same principle.

I'll believe it you when you show me a song where you have successfully done it.

It's also a fine reason to choose an instrument. Why should I have to keep asking for live players when I can learn the instrument myself (when learning to humanize in MIDI it takes a ridiculous chunk of time).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I might be able to help. Listen to the piano at the beginning (and end) of this track:

http://jasoncovenant.bandcamp.com/track/dark-brew-of-the-wolf

I cannot play piano. That is 100% sequenced. My methods are fairly involved, but if that's along the lines of what you're looking for, I may be able to help.

That's awesome... yes please tell me what you did, in detail! You can pm me if you like, or just post it here for everyone! Really nice track too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll believe it you when you show me a song where you have successfully done it.
What? I think you might be missing the point.

I've successfully translated guitar parts from mind to MIDI before, doesn't mean it sounds any good, that's the point.

You can't write off an instrument as 'pointless to learn' just because it's easier to recreate using MIDI.

I'll believe you can substitute MIDI controlled piano with real piano when you have successfully done it. Go listen to some expressive classical or jazz piano; realise this isn't actually easy whatsoever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What? I think you might be missing the point.

I've successfully translated guitar parts from mind to MIDI before, doesn't mean it sounds any good, that's the point.

You can't write off an instrument as 'pointless to learn' just because it's easier to recreate using MIDI.

I'll believe you can substitute MIDI controlled piano with real piano when you have successfully done it. Go listen to some expressive classical or jazz piano; realise this isn't actually easy whatsoever.

I think you're missing the point. I wasn't talking about making realistic piano parts by sequencing. I was talking about how getting a keyboard to learn keyboard drumming on ethnic drums of all things isn't really worth the effort. I never used the words "pointless to learn", either. Stop reading between the lines.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I've been thinking of making a tutorial on this topic but I wasn't sure if anyone was interested. Give me some time to put something together explaining my methods.

YES PLEASE!!! I have been looking/asking for this info for months! I would appreciate it greatly (and I'm sure I'm not alone). THANKS in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me, the time required to develop the skills to play is not worth it.

Why waste time getting my hands to play what's in my head when I can just write it down exactly how it is in my head?

Why do you play guitar then?

ZING-O.

Some days, I don't feel like writing music. BOOM, piano. That's why it's "worth it" to play an instrument.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keyboard drumming is not the same as playing piano.

---you agreed with me here. why are you yelling?:-)

GUYS

I WAS RESPONDING TO GAR23'S THING ABOUT KEYBOARD DRUMMING

THAT'S KIND OF WHAT QUOTING ON THE FORUMS MEANS

It's also a fine reason to choose an instrument. Why should I have to keep asking for live players when I can learn the instrument myself (when learning to humanize in MIDI it takes a ridiculous chunk of time).

You're kind of missing my point too. No problem though, it's the internet. We can't get beyond the voice in our head when reading these things.

I was saying that with practicing the piano/keyboard in different ways you can avoid spending tons of money, time, and space by learning how to get as authentic as possible playing of a given instrument all through your midi keyboard. Being an instrumentalist myself, it pains me greatly to say that, but it does take time to learn to play any one way.

It's not perfect, the dedicated players of each instrument will probably sniff you out and give you tons of hate for it. I'm that way 100% with keyboard bassists. But it will give you a chance to sound more human.

FlamencoGuitar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34MIV3HXxPs -Sax

-Drums I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs3kxzPYwHc- Drums II:-)

Much more versatile of an instrument nowadays. So to get back to the OP's question. It is a worthwhile investment of both time and money for your studio. And yes, your piano will sound more piano-y if you actually play it. Get a book, get on youtube, and take a month of good practice time then try your piano part again. You can only improve as a musician.

Now, I'mma go practice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're kind of missing my point too. No problem though, it's the internet. We can't get beyond the voice in our head when reading these things.

I was saying that with practicing the piano/keyboard in different ways you can avoid spending tons of money, time, and space by learning how to get as authentic as possible playing of a given instrument all through your midi keyboard. Being an instrumentalist myself, it pains me greatly to say that, but it does take time to learn to play any one way.

It's not perfect, the dedicated players of each instrument will probably sniff you out and give you tons of hate for it. I'm that way 100% with keyboard bassists. But it will give you a chance to sound more human.

FlamencoGuitar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34MIV3HXxPs -Sax

-Drums I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs3kxzPYwHc- Drums II:-)

Much more versatile of an instrument nowadays. So to get back to the OP's question. It is a worthwhile investment of both time and money for your studio. And yes, your piano will sound more piano-y if you actually play it. Get a book, get on youtube, and take a month of good practice time then try your piano part again. You can only improve as a musician.

Now, I'mma go practice

Just because you can play a MIDI keyboard doesn't mean you're better off at making a guitar solo than someone who does something by mouse.

Playing keyboard doesn't mean you have a better shot at making human performances. It's really easy to change velocities and offset notes and durations with your mouse. It's inaccurate to say that you'll get better results if you invest in a keyboard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just because you can play a MIDI keyboard doesn't mean you're better off at making a guitar solo than someone who does something by mouse.

Playing keyboard doesn't mean you have a better shot at making human performances. It's really easy to change velocities and offset notes and durations with your mouse. It's inaccurate to say that you'll get better results if you invest in a keyboard.

So like... you're going to tell the audience at a performance to chill out for a minute while you sequence your solo and humanize it?

I'll grant you that you can do a pretty serviceable job humanizing a sequenced passage by hand, but there's still plenty of utility to be had from a MIDI controller of some sort...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...