Home »Forum»Open mic at the Blue Iguana »Instrumentents and sequencers- differentiate? does it matter?

instrumentents and sequencers- differentiate? does it matter?

posted on #1
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Does it matter to people whether tracks are sequenced or played by a musician. and does it matter to people how these tracks get labeled on upload?

In particular I have put up two kinds of "drum" tracks. one a loop, looped. the other a recording of me playing for a few minutes. And there are examples all along the spectrum.


So in particular, should I differentiate between these types when posting?



And I am curious as to what people look for (or avoid) in tracks when selecting a song to jam with, whether drums or other instruments.




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posted on #2
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Hey Buzz - a fantastic post, and keep up the cool adds!

I think its all about your outlook or attitude to music.

I'm a drummer and percussionist, I can play tambourines, shakers, tabla and many other percs and often use them on my tracks. I've spent 20 years studying, learning all these various instruments, but you know something, sometimes that certain shaker or cowbell just doesn't sound right for a track because of the tone or frequency. This is where loops can come into use. Does that make me a cheat? A faker? no it doesn't because at the end of the day I don't need to prove to anyone if I can play a tambourine or not or Brazilian 6/4 drum patterns, so if people think I'm "cheating" because I've used a loop then I think that's sad. Its still using thought, creativity and imagination, and shows that you care about the best sound / performance thats appropriate for the track, and each track should be treated as such. The very best recording studios and audio engineers will use this approach too.

Not only that but using loops can expand your creativity. I often use drum loops and play over them with live drums to create new or (hopefully) interesting and fresh sounds, Combing organic and electronic drums can be very effective, but its nothing new. Listen to Blondie or Roxy music, and you'll hear bossa nova drum machines with real drums played on top.

So, as a final note (laaaaa)....I think most people will agree, anything creative, ideas, loops, real playing, sequenced parts, samples etc etc is all valid and very acceptable.
posted on #3
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BuzzBomber wrote:And I am curious as to what people look for (or avoid) in tracks when selecting a song to jam with, whether drums or other instruments.


Good post and questions Buzz. I can try to answer this latter one, from my perspective.

What I look for in a track when selecting a song to jam with is the usual stuff I think, whether it's drums or anything else. A drummer needs good timing, shouldn't overdo things, and that applies to many musicians: play what you can play good - practice where you still need to practice.

I'm looking for heart, soul, rhythm, feeling, not only timing. A song has to tell me something, and if it really touches me then all the better.

But still then... let me give you an example. I just heard #135994 and I love it dearly - even put it into one of my playlists immediately, so that I won't lose it within the 135k+ tracks in here.

But could I jam with it? No I can't. As a bass player, if you get a 'sequencer' template which contains most everything already including bass, then from this perspective the song is - tragically - useless. Except of course if I'd study bass (like in certain Jazz where you can study a walking bass line if you can't do that), then ok. But to perform with it, a song - especially a template - mustn't be initially too full already.

Lots of good music here. Could I work with everything? Of course not. Still I could spend the rest of my days just listening, and in some cases, jamming along ;)

Oh, another thing:

#135965 was a good laugh (it's contegious as I wrote in my comment), and it contains only one instrument. But that one also doesn't leave much room, and is pretty loud already. Add anything else and you'll loose the voice which makes the thing so charming. So sadly, this also isn't for me... or I'd have to remix everything to be able to do something with it.

HTH,
Wolfgang
posted on #4
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great responses!

I don't think of looping/sequencing etc. as cheating.


I too pretty much just look for tracks that "speak" to me.


I gotta say though, I wish I I could tell without loading the page, which drum tracks are by a person on a kit(E or A) and which are sequenced. I often do a seq drum track to act as a metronome. drums are an instrument and I prefer to hear the human artist...


Cool and thanks!
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posted on #5
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BuzzBomber wrote:I wish I I could tell without loading the page, which drum tracks are by a person on a kit(E or A) and which are sequenced.


I understand BB, and yes that would be good to have as an additional info. Some people *can* be very good with sequenced stuff (like Cody Tripp or others), but sometimes I'd even like to know if an instrument was real, or if it was a sample.

Maybe sometimes I think more like a producer than like a bassman.

Take #11083 as another example. This thing is as close to perfect as I could think of, but with what Shi made it (and she so totally owns that track IMHO), the piano sounds almost too perfect to be a real one. If I'd have to really go and produce something like this, I'd maybe have it replayed on a real concert grand. Would I add anything else? Well maybe a double bass, but I don't have that and even if I did I certainly wouldn't have the chops and skills to properly (tho minimally) support a track like this. Think Christian McBride or Ray Brown or Charles Mingus like level here.

I dearly love that track - that's why I included it onto my 'Cool Cats' album in https://www.wikiloops.com/album/13092-The+cool+cats+from+the+loops+-+Hit+singles.php (without having contributed anything to it).

So coming back to your original thought: yes, it would be nice to have these infos. For everything regarding myself: I play a Squier VM Fretless Precision straight into my Focusright interface, and my MIDI keyboard is packed away elsewhere.

Cheers,
Wolfgang
posted on #6
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Interesting thoughts guys.

@ Wolfgang - I had a listen to that piece you mentioned.

#11083 - its got about 200+ downloads, and dozens of bass player adds. You mentioned about what you would add - a double bass perhaps? why not use a normal electric bass? Is this just how you interpret the sound? thinking traditionally along the lines of Ray Brown etc?

Or are you saying there's not much scope?

I thought the idea of the loops is that its a blank canvas, and your playing is cool brother - so why not have a blast?

So back to your quote about the piano sounding too perfect - why does that matter? It gets back to my point of getting the best sound for the track, regardless of methods.

Having been to a few top studios in the UK, i've seen it first hand that tracks are often edited, for example with drums. An Audio engineer will ask you to hit all your drums at 3 velocity layers should he need to replace the odd bad hit, or bad sound.

Its a standard procedure these days! :)
posted on #7
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pconey wrote:You mentioned about what you would add - a double bass perhaps? why not use a normal electric bass? Is this just how you interpret the sound? thinking traditionally along the lines of Ray Brown etc?

Or are you saying there's not much scope?


Had to look up 'scope' first, because I didn't want to understand you wrongly... :)

No, what I meant in the context of this thread is that sometimes it would be nice to know if a used instrument was a real one (like a piano), or samples or even a modeled one.

Meaning that after Shi's add in my example I thought "Damn that piano sounds somehow too perfect!" - of course hurzel played it brilliantly, but I've never heard such a 'clean' sound from a real instrument...

And yes, that's why I would love to add a real, wooden bass to this. You have to touch, feel, smell the wood even when only listening - but I don't have such an instrument, nor would I have the chops to play it as hurzel and Shi would deserve it...

Hope I'm making myself clear - I always try to add if it's a win for all (if I'm not sure I still sometimes do it ;) ).

Thanks for asking. And I love your music as well :)

Cheers,
Wolfgang
posted on #8
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Hola, me encanta tu forma de verlo, resulta muy honesta, yo tambien pienso como tú, sobre la mezcla entre la pureza del sonido del instrumento y el sentimiento que le podemos imprimir, pero vivimos tiempos modernos/digitales. Es dificil no sucumbir a la rapidez de montaje sonoro de una «e.drum», por ejemplo,
No seria posible quizas tanta participacion
Salud <3
Edited by carlottis on April 28 2018 04:32
posted on #9
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from above thru G-translate
>>>>Hello, I love the way you see it, it's very honest, I also think like you, about the mix between the purity of the instrument's sound and the feeling we can give it, but we live in modern / digital times. It is difficult not to succumb to the rapidity of sound editing of an «e.drum», for example,
Maybe it would not be possible so much participation<<<

Yes, that is the balance exactly, IMO! and to be fair some E-drums/loops are better than others, some even have groove.

I think the point of higher levels of participation is a good one.


***My original point was really intended to get at my desire/wish/dream to search for played drums, vs -in particular- "canned" drums, with out having to listen to every track. (again some are better than others, and i appreciate the beats, just not for everything.)

great discussion!
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posted on #10
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To your original question Buzz, I don't think you can always tell. Especially on older tracks, because on older tracks the sequencer icon was often used multiple instrument tracks. It's not necessary now because you can select multiple instruments when uploading a track. On my tracks, when I use the sequencer icon, it's created with an electronic sequencer (or drum machine). However, I believe some users still use the sequencer icon for multiple instrument tracks. Hope this helps.
Edited by apsummerlin on April 29 2018 04:13
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posted on #11
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i think you are confusing E-drums with MIDI programmed drums ... E-drums is a drumkit triggering whatever kind of sounds you like : acoustic, electro, percs or anything else. I agree that it is a different instrument compared to an acoustic drumkit but both are played instruments.

Most drum loops have great groove in them because they're sampled from great drummers ...

Drums as any other instrument need a huge amount of variations to be recognized as "humanly played". That usually means that MIDI tracks which are not programmed with extreme care of variations and human factor will sound stiff, rigid and won't be recognized as played by human.

It doesn't mean MIDI tracks couldn't groove either : all it takes is someone who knows how to do it properly. It is a very difficult thing to do but some are very good to it. They can make big bucks in today's music industry too.
clusters Clusters CLUSTERS !!!!!!
posted on #12
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Yo pienso que estamos ante una revolucion, todo el mundo tiene acceso a lo que anteriormente estaba vedado, unicamente los profesionales conocian y controlaban las grabaciones y el sonido, la era «digi» nos habre las puertas a lo anteriormente prohibido y CARO. Hoy el mundo a cambiado, tenemos muchas y nuevas herramientas, tutoriales,y todo lo necesario para gravar, producir, realizar un ensayo con tu banda, e irte a tu casa con el coche escuchando en el estereo, lo que hace un momento estabas creando con tus amigos,
Esto es impagable, a mi que he vivido épocas anteriores, donde eran necesarias terceras personas para grabar y etc.. de reoente no son necesarias le das a la tecka R y a tocar, pequeña mezcla y listo.
ahora toca ser artista y a tanta facilidad ponerle alma, no importan los medios importa el resultado, tiene que decir algo, sonar fresco, sobre todo honesto <3
posted on #13
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Yo pienso que estamos ante una revolucion, todo el mundo tiene acceso a lo que anteriormente estaba vedado, unicamente los profesionales conocian y controlaban las grabaciones y el sonido, la era «digi» nos habre las puertas a lo anteriormente prohibido y CARO. Hoy el mundo a cambiado, tenemos muchas y nuevas herramientas, tutoriales,y todo lo necesario para gravar, producir, realizar un ensayo con tu banda, e irte a tu casa con el coche escuchando en el estereo, lo que hace un momento estabas creando con tus amigos,
Esto es impagable, a mi que he vivido épocas anteriores, donde eran necesarias terceras personas para grabar y etc.. de reoente no son necesarias le das a la tecka R y a tocar, pequeña mezcla y listo.
ahora toca ser artista y a tanta facilidad ponerle alma, no importan los medios importa el resultado, tiene que decir algo, sonar fresco, sobre todo honesto <3
posted on #14
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Perdon, se me olvidadaba el hilo,
Importa?
A mi me importa que me emocione,
El artista maneja y crea, luego muestra su obra, yo intento no analizar, me gusta o no, la habilidad creativa es lo que vale
Edited by carlottis on April 29 2018 20:48
posted on #15
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With Reaper it is quite simple to improve drums and bass files to sound more humanly played with a few mouseclicks.

But here is a strange thought:
Let's look at a humanly played acoustic drumset recorded with mics. Any track#?

How many edits would you need to sound like programmed e-drums?
This means, you try to make it worse.

Now we take a not perfectly played guitar track. How much edits do you need to improve it?
Example: in Reaper you could split every stroke to be a new item and then you quantisize these items. A little time shift, some doubling, some effects and some clicks...

Now take a really good musician and give him or her the same tools.

If you look at the real world: Who uses medicaments for doping? The untrained?

I imagine a new definition of midi: Nor note# neither velocity and measure.beat.ticks.
You'll get a big data array of movements for the virtual reality.

Today we live in a digital truth. Any picture you see is kind of faked news.
This will continue.

People want doping!
:)

PS.
I've learned to record with tape machines. But it is easier to record with the loop-function. You don't stop!!!
Record three takes directly one after the other. Now erase the bad milliseconds with a simple click. It's a complete new recording process you can create.
Edited by Neronick on May 02 2018 08:10
posted on #16
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What should I have to choose from the dropdown list if I upload a new track made with a saxophone VST using my midi keyboard? Keyboard, saxophone or sequencer? Is it cheating if I sign the saxophone?
posted on #17
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PaulTreff wrote:
What should I have to choose from the dropdown list if I upload a new track made with a saxophone VST using my midi keyboard? Keyboard, saxophone or sequencer? Is it cheating if I sign the saxophone?


Hey :)
Sorry, could have joined this thread a little earlier I guess :)

Now, most things that have been stated already describe the situation quite well, let me try to wrap this up once more:

First of all, it is correct that there is a "historical" aspect to the sequencer-declaration on wikiloops, as explained quite well by apsummerlin. It indeed used to be used for ANY kind of multi-instrument-upload, as some sort of wildcard declaration (such tracks got out of the way of the search-by-exact-line-up function on wikiloops that way).

The instrument declaration on wikiloops is rather intended to reflect "What will I get to hear when clicking on this tracks listing" then to reflect "what instrument was played to create that sound".
If I'm looking for a track without drums, I don't want it to have drums, no matter if they are acoustic or electronicly created. To be able to find suitable tracks, we need the tracks whichinclude some kind of beat to be labelled with "Drums", even if that beat was played on a midi keyboard or programmed.
It really is more of a technical approach with thought to the track search engine, and of people browsing for a certain type of track.

I do admit I sometimes feel we should have added more distinction options, but when thinking about where to draw lines, I end up noticing that these are not clearly connected to the used instruments.
If I find a great sounding, awesome drum beat, I don't really care much if it was programmed or played.
If someone plays an awesome horn section that does just what you'd expect your horn section to do, then I wouldn't mind if that was played on a keyboard at all.
It's those rare moments when I find poorly programmed drums, or synthesized sounds that simply don't sound like the real deal where I feel they don't do their instrument declaration justice...
but that comes down to a matter of taste, and that's not a good thing to incorporate in the system, right?

So, to get back to Pauls question:
I wouldn't say declaring a midi-played sax as saxophone is "cheating" or against any wikiloops rule.
If you were out to play some very un-saxophonish experimental type of piece whichs only connection to saxophone is the VST sound librarys name, you could label that as sequencer to indicate this is not the usual type of sax thing, but that really remains up to you.
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posted on #18
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Thank you Dick! It is very helpful!
posted on #19
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The instrument declaration on wikiloops is rather intended to reflect "What will I get to hear when clicking on this tracks listing" then to reflect "what instrument was played to create that sound".
If I'm looking for a track without drums, I don't want it to have drums, no matter if they are acoustic or electronicly created. To be able to find suitable tracks, we need the tracks whichinclude some kind of beat to be labelled with "Drums", even if that beat was played on a midi keyboard or programmed.
It really is more of a technical approach with thought to the track search engine, and of people browsing for a certain type of track.



This right here makes how you have conceptualized the WL search engine make sense. What instrumentation will be heard when I listen to this, rather than how was it created...

thanks!
BB
Edited by BuzzBomber on May 04 2018 14:03
posted on #20
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also - OlivBee, I think you and I are having a heated agreement! Well made tracks typically groove. i also get that e-drums are played by a human but offer certain control etc.
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I'm just another empty head - Bon Scott
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