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EZkeys Recording own part & editing
October 16, 2017
12:46 am CEST
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Andrew Christodoulou
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October 18, 2016
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Dear Toontrack,

I own EZ D 2 and am considering buying EZkeys. I want to record simple left-hand/right-hand keyboard (MIDI) parts into EZKeys for further editing. I understand how straight chords can be manipulated using the MIDI loops/styles in EZkeys. However, if I play in a particular piano part I would not want that basic part to be altered by EZkeys, but I would like EZkeys to embellish the part (either augmentively or subtractively). Can this be done? So far, videos I've seen only deal with block chords, the notes of which are then 'played' by EZkeys in different styles.

In other words, both left-hand and right-hand parts are melodies in themselves, not just straight up chord notes. Those melodies I wish to retain as such, but different parts of the song would have variations on those themes, which I would like EZkeys to help generate for me. I'm thinking of the function in EZ D 2 where any individual MIDI drum pattern within a song structure can be manipulated by adding/subtracting individual drums etc. I've heard mention of EZkeys analysis of the chords within any imported MIDI keyboard part, which sounds great, but how does this analysis work? I've also heard of how one can transpose, invert & add/subtract notes to chords, which sounds like what I'm looking for, but how is further editing (adding or subtracting) accomplished whilst maintaining the integrity of the original parts?

Many thanks,

Andrew

October 16, 2017
2:23 pm CEST
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Scott E
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September 25, 2010
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There is a demo available for EZKeys. Give it a try.
I can try it myself later and give you an answer,
but I've only ever dealt with changing chord & chord inversions within EZKeys.

MAC OS Sierra / MBP '12 Retina Quad i7 2.7 Ghz, 16GB RAM, 750 SSD,
SuperiorDrummer3 & SD2.4 w/11+ SDX (on external SSDs) EZD, EZD2 w/32+ EZX
EZKeys: Grand, Upright, Electrics EZMix2: presets! Beatstation
ProTools 12, Harrison Mixbus32C v4, Logic Pro X, Studio One Pro, Cubase

October 16, 2017
7:53 pm CEST
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Andrew Christodoulou
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October 18, 2016
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Scott E, thanks for that.

I had tried previously to find the EZkeys manual & didn't realise you had to download at least the demo version to get at it (I didn't want it from a third party). Having read the manual I can safely say it was no help at all! So, I got the demo going & imported a simple piano part in MIDI, except it clearly wasn't that simple! I had recorded both hands together, playing basically LH: bass line and RH: chords, but each hand utilised the odd passing note. Here is my analysis/review from this simple demo of the workings of the software.

EZkeys was able to analyse the major 'beats' (accents) of my playing, so the chords conformed roughly to mine, which was quite impressive, but as expected, it cannot differentiate/identify passing notes. Whatever notes appear in the part must be taken by EZkeys to be part of the chord itself. This is logical and is why every instruction video works with block chords only as the starting point. My chords: G | D | Em | D | C | D | Em. EZkeys chords: G add 9 | D6 | Em7 | CM7 | Bm7 | CM7 | D6 | Em | Em7. Pros and Cons of this are:

Pro: my very simple chords + passing notes turned into interestingly complex piano chords, which could be very useful in pushing a composition away from the 'comfort zone' and inspiring diversity/creativity.
Con: specific parts that are integral to a piece cannot be preserved once a MIDI style/pattern is chosen from the EZkeys menus.

I was hoping to see something in EZkeys resembling the Edit Play Style function of EZ drummer 2, where any MIDI pattern can be manipulated as it plays, adding or subtracting any individual drum piece, or sets of pieces or whole kit, but I haven't seen anything like that in the EZ keys demo, which was very disappointing. There have been many occasions where I have edited the pattern before finalising it in my song track in EZD2. It shouldn't be that difficult for EZkeys to be able to add/subtract notes from any pattern from a similar pre-determined drop-down list, e.g. 'lowest notes', 'highest notes', 'basic triad', 'extended chord notes only' or something like that. In addition, a restriction like 'monophonic' would aid in the construction of interesting single-note lines (e.g. bass-lines or top melodies) from whatever chord notes were in the MIDI part (including the whole scale). I haven't checked out all the instruments in EZkeys. If there's one for e.g. a Mono-Moog, that might to the trick. If these sorts of things are just unavailable in the demo but available in the main packages I would love to know.

Next step would be to experiment with separate MIDI parts for each hand. I haven't got round to that yet. I hope this is helpful to people. If it's inaccurate in any way please let me know.

Andrew

October 18, 2017
7:11 pm CEST
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Andrew Christodoulou
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October 18, 2016
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Ok, so I've now looked again at the demo version. What I have learned:

It's only worth using straight block chords with EZ Keys as your starting point. Your keyboard parts are then strictly controlled by the software, i.e. there's no way to manipulate any of the notes produced by any of the EZ Key MIDI patterns within the programme itself.

If you're happy to lay down only ready-made keyboard parts then off you go, but:

If, instead, you're serious about composing original music, EZ Keys can only be a starting point for that process, though it can be a very useful starting point. After constructing your off-the-shelf part, you must export it into your DAW and further edit it from there, in terms of all parameters (note timings, pitch, frequency, velocity, etc).

As with EZ/Superior drums, the parts you produce with the software can only really be approximations of the final result if you want to work quickly, though these approximations will sound very good. I will definitely use both EZD and EZK but the final parts in my recordings will be played by two modules of ancient and primitive hardware: a drummer and a keyboard player!

Cheers,

A

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