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Custom ARPs vs Presets

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Darryl
Posts: 784
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I am working on a Queen medley and decided to add some of Radio Ga Ga at the end of it.
So in checking out the version of the Synth Bass ARP that is programmed in the Narf Sounds library, it's not the right ARP, so it doesn't allow me to properly do the intro ARP parts. Putting aside all the ARPs that play in the background throughout the song after the Intro part, the intro ARP is quite basic, but I had a hard time trying to find any Preset ARP that can do it, so I started creating several custom ARP possibilities in Pro Tools to try and get it to work, setting them with both (Org and Normal), but I can't seem to find a way to do the 3 sections of the intro in a single ARP.

(here is the link for quick reference)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=azdwsXLmrHE&t=6s

The first section of the intro bass ARP is doing repeated triads: (F0, F1, F2 - F0, F1, F2 - F0)
The second section does a triad and then a quad: (F0, F1, F2 - F0, F1, F2, F3 - F0)
The third does a quad twice: (F0, F1, F2, F3 - F0, F1, F2, F3 - F0)
(Note - Actually there are additional notes that are kind of hidden that play more softly throughout the ARP on top of some of the F notes, such as A#1, but you can barely hear it, so I didn't bother with it. Note also that it appears that Queen used a "Jupiter-8" on the recording for the ARP in that song)

So using Pro Tools, it was quite easy to create the triad ARP and have it repeat on a Loop (F0, F1, F2)
It was also quite easy to create the quad ARP and have it repeat on a Loop (F0, F1, F2, F3)
...but I could not figure out a way to be able to do both in a single ARP, such that I hold the F0, F1, F2 notes, then add the forth F3 note and have the ARP switch from looping only 3 notes to then looping 4 notes...

I figured out two ways to get custom ARP(s) to work:
1. Just create one long ARP with the 3 sections of notes spaced apart as they play out in the intro of the song, which to me doesn't feel right, as it used to be so easy to do these kinds of ARPs 35+ years ago on my Korg Polysix synth, whereby I could just press a forth key and it would change from triads to quads easily...
2. Create 3 ARPs, add them to the PART in the ARP section, and use Scenes 1, 2, 3 to change between ARP 1, 2, 3. This option is better in terms of feeling more right when playing it live, and switching Scenes to play the correct ARP sequences, but it burns 3 Scenes just for a short intro ARP solo and seems so wasteful, especially since it used to be so easy on older analog synths.

------------------

However before I went with either of these options, I decided to take one more thorough look at the Preset ARPs checking all of them one by one in case I missed one that can do it... (I had used categories & search strings to try and find it in Preset ARPs the first time I looked, with no luck).

After a bit of time, I actually found the Preset ARP that does it! :
"MA_Up Oct1"

So, I have a couple of questions, more out of curiosity at this point since I now have the ARP that can play that Intro:
(a) Are there certain Preset ARPs that have functionality built into them that are not possible to recreate in a Custom ARP..? (such as the "MA_Up Oct1" for example)
(b) If the answer is no to the first question & there is a way to recreate it in a custom ARP, then does anyone know how Yamaha would have created the "MA_Up Oct1" ARP to be able to switch back & forth between looped triads and looped quad notes just by pressing or releasing the extra key(s)?

.

 
Posted : 25/10/2022 3:18 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304
 

There are the original synthesizer Arpeggios… which you will find in Arp Category Search (purple) under the SynComp > General area.

Here you will find the “classic” arpeggio phrases including: up, down, down/up, up/down without repeating top note, up/down repeating the top note, etc., etc., etc. up over 1 octave, up over 2 octaves, etc., etc., random and the like… the classic original synth arpeggio stuff. Most every synth included some variation of these. Early Synth products would come with like 128 cool Arps of this ‘geometric’ variety… that was until the MOTIF.

One of the things the Motif (classic) brought to the table was the reinvention of the Arpeggiator.

The Phrase Factory Factor
"In addition to its fresh and globally infused sound set, the Motif introduced keyboard players to arpeggiator patterns that added realism and musical interest to sequences and live performances. "Arpeggiator" is an understatement, as the word makes us think of robotic up-and down synth patterns. By contrast, even the original Motif offered tons of musical phrases suitable for its myriad instrument sounds, and made it fairly straightforward to drop those phrases into a sequence or Performance setup—or to go in the other direction, recording your own phrases in the sequencer, then triggering them from the keys as arpeggiator patterns.

Yamaha called this approach "Phrase Factory," and it gave the Motif an edge over workstations whose sequencers worked in linear, tape machine fashion. It also offered a degree of instant inspiration that won favor among many musicians." --- Keyboard Magazine (A Decade of Motif)

Please see the following article for full discussion of Arpeggio creation…
discussion: Reinvention of the Arpeggiator

It is the musical phrases and the realism they provide that is the target of what most musicians want to do with the Arpeggiators and Arp Phrase creation (post the Motif-era).

The type of Arp Phrase the “Put Track to Arpeggio” function is designed to create is on the musical phrase side of things, not the science project side of the classic up/down, down/up, and random type of Arp found in early analog synths. The first synth Arps were a cliche unto themselves… you will find most of them provided in the Arp ROM — as they have been going back to the 1970s-80s…

The up/down, down/up, random geometric Arp stuff, is for the rocket scientist. (It falls somewhat outside the “this is supposed to be fun” prime directive in instrument creation.
The Yamaha EX5 (circa late 1990s) had the deep-dive Arp creation function — and it proved to be “user hostile” (too deep for target customer base).

I thought it was extremely cool, but hey, like FM programming (used to be), an acquired taste, not for everyone… some find it extremely challenging but still it was extremely cool. You had like 17 Note ‘search’ modes. You can still download the EX5 Owner’s Manual (if you are still …just curious). The EX5 was the workstation immediately before the Motif-series. They took what was learned from the EX5 and molded the Motif. Made it easier, quicker, took out the multiple technologies, made them options (instead of folks being stumped as to why the VL engine was just mono, or by the fact the AN engine didn’t do pianos, they made the alternate technologies on hardware plugin boards… which worked, because if you didn’t intellectually “get it” you didn’t have to get it (purchase it).

 
Posted : 25/10/2022 8:13 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin
 

Yes. Yamaha has in-house software for making conditional arps with all sorts of little tricks and features that aren't surfaced or otherwise available within the MODX/Montage when making custom arps.

That this functionality hasn't been brought to the MODX/Montage through some kind of step editor is a crying shame, as it would help overcome a lot of the issues with regards attempting to make arps, or discover them when there's 10,000(!!!) of them, almost completely opaque in terms of abilities and responses to input.

The "software" is super primitive looking, kind of like an ugly web form or spreadsheet input template, but the conditionality makes all the difference, along with the edibility. Takes the capability of arps to an entirely different level.

Some of the 3rd Parties closely associated with Yamaha have this software for making content. That's how I've seen it.

 
Posted : 26/10/2022 12:43 pm
Darryl
Posts: 784
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

[quotePost id=118959]
I believe the answer to that is YES.
There have been past comments about Yamaha using functionality that isn't documented or disclosed.
Only Yamaha could really provide a definitive answer about what that functionality might be.[/quotePost]
Thanks, at least I don't have to bang my head against the wall anymore trying to figure out something that isn't possible to do! 😀

For example, it isn't documented or known, exactly what ALL of the possible things are that can trigger an arp. Number of notes? velocity or ranges? Timing of note presses?

What about using Jedi powers to trigger it by thinking "Play now!" ..? :p

 
Posted : 26/10/2022 2:07 pm
Darryl
Posts: 784
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

[quotePost id=118960]There are the original synthesizer Arpeggios… which you will find in Arp Category Search (purple) under the SynComp > General area.

Here you will find the “classic” arpeggio phrases including: up, down, down/up, up/down without repeating top note, up/down repeating the top note, etc., etc., etc. up over 1 octave, up over 2 octaves, etc., etc., random and the like… the classic original synth arpeggio stuff. Most every synth included some variation of these. Early Synth products would come with like 128 cool Arps of this ‘geometric’ variety… that was until the MOTIF.[/quotePost]
Excellent, thanks BM, that is good to know and helpful for future! Luckly I found the right Up 1 octave arp that does the trick...

One of the things the Motif (classic) brought to the table was the reinvention of the Arpeggiator.

It is the musical phrases and the realism they provide that is the target of what most musicians want to do with the Arpeggiators and Arp Phrase creation (post the Motif-era).

Yeah, I've played with multi track ARPs in Pro Tools/Montage for various custom acoustic guitar strumming patterns, adding the string slide noises where appropriate, etc. Pretty kool and fun stuff!! They definitely reinvented ARPs and it's provide realism to things like guitar strumming, etc. that wasn't possible before!

The type of Arp Phrase the “Put Track to Arpeggio” function is designed to create is on the musical phrase side of things, not the science project side of the classic up/down, down/up, and random type of Arp found in early analog synths. The first synth Arps were a cliche unto themselves… you will find most of them provided in the Arp ROM — as they have been going back to the 1970s-80s…

The up/down, down/up, random geometric Arp stuff, is for the rocket scientist. (It falls somewhat outside the “this is supposed to be fun” prime directive in instrument creation.

I hear what you're saying. But having started my jouney into synths via a Korg Polysix and using the arpeggios to do Duran Duran tunes back in the day was really cool at the time. So I still find it fun in a nostalgic kinda way...

I thought it was extremely cool, but hey, like FM programming (used to be), an acquired taste, not for everyone… some find it extremely challenging but still it was extremely cool. You had like 17 Note ‘search’ modes. You can still download the EX5 Owner’s Manual (if you are still …just curious). The EX5 was the workstation immediately before the Motif-series. They took what was learned from the EX5 and molded the Motif. Made it easier, quicker, took out the multiple technologies, made them options (instead of folks being stumped as to why the VL engine was just mono, or by the fact the AN engine didn’t do pianos, they made the alternate technologies on hardware plugin boards… which worked, because if you didn’t intellectually “get it” you didn’t have to get it (purchase it).

I jumped from the Korg Polysix analog to the DX7II-FD...It was great having a synth that could do layering, splits and Unison, etc. I never tried the original DX7. With the DX7II, there was a learning curve, but I figured it out and came up with a way to make new sounds from existing ones, or just tweak existing ones. I tended to not create from scratch. Well I did kind of create from scratch, but I would (& still do) first find various voices that I liked parts of, then mute the carrier(s) that I didn't want those stacks, then write down the structure of that section of the algorithm that I wanted as part of the new sound, including all the settings (a lot of work). It is so much easier on the Montage to just copy operators between PARTs instead of writing down all the settings and recreating it manually...
Then do the same on another voice. I would then find an algorithm that fit to add the two partial stacks from the two (or 3) different voices I wanted combined.
Which is why I added an idea on Ideascale for more Algoriths that have Operators 1 & 2 stacked with other operators and not just sitting there as singles like I see in many of the algorithms. On the Montage I've had a few times where I couldn't find an algorithm that fit because of just 1 stack combination missing an operator & Ops 1 & 2 are sitting on the ground useless...so I ended up having to burn 2 FM-X PARTs for the sake of just one operator sitting on the floor instead of in a particular stack.

But Yeah, I find FM-X programming challenging, but fun and I'm still learning something new each time.
Sometimes I go to create a new sound on the Montage and I either flip a coin in my head as to use AWM2 or FM-X, or I just try balancing it out, so if there are 7 AWM2 PARTs and 4 FM-X PARTs, I'll create the new one via FM-X (unless it's a specific instrument or something that requires a sample based sound).

I never tried an EX5, so don't know much about it's FM programming on it...

One thing that is great about the Montage that I didn't (still don't) have on my DX7II is the ability to do ARPs!! 😉

 
Posted : 26/10/2022 2:51 pm
Darryl
Posts: 784
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

[quotePost id=118965]Yes. Yamaha has in-house software for making conditional arps with all sorts of little tricks and features that aren't surfaced or otherwise available within the MODX/Montage when making custom arps.

That this functionality hasn't been brought to the MODX/Montage through some kind of step editor is a crying shame, as it would help overcome a lot of the issues with regards attempting to make arps, or discover them when there's 10,000(!!!) of them, almost completely opaque in terms of abilities and responses to input.[/quotePost]
I was basically trying to replicate and re-invent old technology that was already set and ready for me to use in the Preset ARP catalog. Had I done my homework, I would have found that all the old synth ARPs are already there, but it's good to know where to find them faster now.

The new types of ARP creation is so much more advanced and useful for sound design & just functionality-wise. It's pretty cool stuff. The ARP step editor is the DAW and it's so much better than trying to create the ARPs on the synth itself.

As was stated above, they tried introducing advanced ARP functionality in the past, but it was rejected or not used by the end users. So, overall I wouldn't say arpeggios are a major gap in functionality that we need to fix, as there are other things that are more useful to have improvements on IMHO

The "software" is super primitive looking, kind of like an ugly web form or spreadsheet input template, but the conditionality makes all the difference, along with the edibility. Takes the capability of arps to an entirely different level.

You're just stuck inside The Matrix in a world that uses all the easy fun UI based shaping of sound.
You just need to be able to look at & understand the code like Neo :p

 
Posted : 26/10/2022 3:12 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin
 

@Bill, your last two paragraphs!!! EXACTLY...

...And then there's Yamaha's presentation AND communication skills to consider in terms of their influence on uptake of things they provide.

This forum being the best possible example. If Yamaha were to consider the uptake of users on this forum they'd think it not worthwhile to maintain a good quality, capable forum with a focus on sound, which would mean a low user uptake which they'd consider a good reason not to update the forum which means the uptake remains minimal which is a good reason for them to not ever consider even modest additions, improvements and user consideration of online community creation, and to further disregard their forum software.

Example: who wants to be the one to tell Rebecca that jpeg works but jpg doesn't. Or is it the other way around. I forget. But it's something as truly bizarre as that!

Then there's the balance... of things. I think you can have something like 256 user arpeggios, versus 10,000 plus Yamaha arps. Users are gong to look at that kind of balance in provisions and think "oh... they think they've provided all that anyone will ever need, but for maybe 256 extras... that we might get from packs we buy... " so nobody even tries to make arpeggio packs even before they realise that onboard arp creation is extremely limited.

Conversely, you, the user, can make THOUSANDS of Parts and Performances and there's even an onboard means to port them from the User Library to their own custom Libraries once you fill up the 640 User slots. I've done it. TWICE!

Which then breaks their connection with the contents of the Pattern Sequencer. All of them that used those sounds are now busted and there's no way to figure out which Patterns were previously linked to which Performances. This is despite that linking process being utterly bizarrely craptostic.

Few folks discuss their finds in the The Onboard Arpeggios... as there's no means for users to curate and collate significant references to The Onboard Arpeggios - they can't be searched and sorted by the qualities of the arpeggios. There's no way to give colour coding to them, nor custom tag and subsequently search/filter/sort them, as you start discovering some of them that you like. Only an amazingly primitive "favouriting" that you can accidentally completely delete with two quick presses, both of which are very close to the muscle memory you build up from other usages of confirm dialogs on the device... I've done this TWICE!

I suspect the Montage hasn't sold as well in Japan as they'd hoped, so there's been little to no progress on Yamaha sponsored significant FM-X sound creation by experts in the byzantine technology/UI. And the user interface for crafting FM-X sounds is horrid, before we get to that half arsed filter integration that holds back the best possible usages of the more harmonically capable FM wave forms.

Then there's the crusty nature of the Reverbs. If ever a sound technology deserved top notch reverbs, it's FM synthesis with harmonically rich operator waveforms.

So there's very few people making significant FM sounds for the Montage/MODX, so they don't bother making a good editor plugin for crafting FM-X sounds in a better environment.... etc.

What I'm getting at is that insightful and accurate judgement and acuity of (and towards) market and user understanding isn't a Yamaha strong point. This extends to what they do with their hardware.

Example: The MODX+ doesn't have after touch, as we move into an era when mere channel aftertouch is becoming the bare minimum expected of a good synth. If it did have aftertouch, but merely channel aftertouch, that would have left market space to make an upgraded Montage+ with poly aftertouch, and to upgrade the firmware with support for poly aftertouch.

That's right, the Montage and MODX don't support poly aftertouch... something that would be absolutely amazing with their arpeggios, all 10,000+ of them...

 
Posted : 26/10/2022 8:00 pm
Darryl
Posts: 784
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

[quotePost id=118979]There is a two part article 'MONTAGE: Arpeggio Making 101'[/quotePost]
Yeah I had gone through those articles a while back when I went to create new acoustic strumming arps

VELOCITY - Many of the Yamaha created Mega Arps take advantage of the Montage/Modx ability to use velocity to control things. You can set velocity limits at the element level.
You could set a limit from 126-127 for example as some of the preset elements do.
Assuming you can put the MIDI into an Arp to do a Note ON at a specific velocity.

The ARPs I've created use the velocity settings that I use in the ARP sequencing midi file, so I would presume this would work.
I was actually considering using a velocity based ARP for the Radio Ga Ga Performance, and was going to trigger the first of the 3 sections of the ARP in the song by setting the the velocities ranges of Elements 1,2 3 up higher, then copy those 3 elements to 4, 5, 6 and set the velocity ranges for those just below first 3, then trigger the different ARP pattern via that velocity range (& ensure the midi sequencing have the notes in that range via PART2.
Basically create a multi PART Arp that can be used on a single PART.

The issue was that I wouldn't have enough Elements for the 3rd ARP...

It's hard to use something when there is so little documentation about it. Just like you not knowing the arps you wanted were SOMEWHERE in that 10,000 because there isn't any doc that explains what each of those arps is designed to do.
Not necessarily a 'major gap in functionality' as a major gap in documenting the functionality that already exists.

Isn't that what these forums are for? You ask a question of how to do something and someone gives you the answer... :p

But yeah it would be helpful to have a detailed document on what the various ARPs are for, what they do, and anything that would help when searching for a specific ARP... 😉

 
Posted : 26/10/2022 8:06 pm
Darryl
Posts: 784
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

[quotePost id=119118]@Darryl - you will find some really good comments by Bad Mister about velocity zone arps in a thread I recently posted [/quotePost]
Thanks @Bill, that's exactly how I was going to approach the Radio Ga Ga ARP, but couldn't because I needed 9 Elements (3 x groups of 3). But good to know it works exactly like I thought it would.
When I did the acoustic strumming ARPs, MIDI Track 1 was the strumming of the guitar, and MIDI Track 2 was guitar effects, basically string noise of various finger slides.

 
Posted : 31/10/2022 11:37 am
Darryl
Posts: 784
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Topic starter
 

Yeah I saw that!

 
Posted : 01/11/2022 11:33 am
Darryl
Posts: 784
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Topic starter
 

[quotePost id=119135]On the plus side - it means Yamaha MIGHT BE able to add that functionality to the existing MODX models with just a code update.
Of course then we would all complain that it wasn't documented enough![/quotePost]

It wouldn't hurt to add an idea for this on Ideascale if that's something you'd like to see implemented. I'd definitely Up Vote it...
We'd just need to get BM to create the documentation in 1 or 2 links or videos 😀

 
Posted : 01/11/2022 5:23 pm
Jason
Posts: 7928
Illustrious Member
 

Motif later added more capabilities to arpeggios (... and took some away). The Motif XS was cited as an arpeggio inflection point. Mainly the comment about the EX series is that this was a case where Yamaha gave users lots of advanced options and the inference about that not being the best overall experience. I think this assumption helps formulate an answer to the "why" question (why there's not the same on-board options as the past). And also because there's not a full-fledged sequencer (like previous generations) where more surgical note and controller entry can be done. A hypothetical offline editor wouldn't be concerned with the sequencer capabilities.

 
Posted : 01/11/2022 5:24 pm
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