Learning synth programming - no piano skills

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Social Exodus
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Joined: 19 Jan 2015
Location: The wilds of North Idaho

Post 21 May 2020

I am truly wanting to learn to program synths since my fretting thumb is basically shot and I have a hard time playing my guitar anymore. I have basic understanding of piano, and the linear keyboard structure, plus a solid grasp on chord structure (1-3-5 = M, 1, 3b, 5 = m, etc) and can find these on a keyboard, especially in the key of C (duh). But I am definitely NOT a piano player by any stretch.

So my question is how much skill would I need to get into programming and playing basic synth lines? I can bang through some things easily enough, but I play one handed since my left hand might as well be a club on a keyboard at this point. I am also 61 and arthritic...so am I hopelessly tied to tinkering? I plan to take the free course at syntorial to shore up what I do know about oscillators, filters, modulators and envelopes -- which is actually pretty far along in the technical sense -- just not in the musical sense so much.

Thoughts? Advice?
To Reason is Divine! :reason:11 Suite :re:(Too many to count) :refill:(A few choice items)

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Loque
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Post 21 May 2020

Synth programming is a differnt thing than playing. Both can be learned.

SInce you already played an instrument and have a rythmik fealing, playing a synth/paino shouldnt be that hard. But for fluid playing, you should have healthy fingers and stuff. Maybe some Players can help you, like
* Scales&Chord
* https://www.reasonstudios.com/shop/rack ... e-monitor/
* https://www.reasonstudios.com/shop/rack ... -detector/
* ...

Synths programming can always be done, even with only one hand. Or just browse the patches and tweak them a little bit.
:reason: 11, Win10 64Bit.

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Jackjackdaw
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Post 21 May 2020

Programming synths doesnt need to be about playing the piano it can be about painting with sound. I am an experienced guitar player, i know about music but i intentionally approach synths while leaving theory at the door so i can sculpt the sound in creative ways.

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Social Exodus
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Post 21 May 2020

Jackjackdaw wrote:
21 May 2020
Programming synths doesnt need to be about playing the piano it can be about painting with sound. I am an experienced guitar player, i know about music but i intentionally approach synths while leaving theory at the door so i can sculpt the sound in creative ways.
Great advice, thanks. 'Cause this ain't guitar lol
To Reason is Divine! :reason:11 Suite :re:(Too many to count) :refill:(A few choice items)

rogfrich
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Joined: 30 Aug 2016

Post 21 May 2020

I'm also a guitarist first and foremost. I do a lot of midi sequencing in the piano roll, or with drum sequencers. I find I approach it completely differently than playing the guitar - less organic and more cerebral. My programmed music always sounds more "grid-like" and rigid.

If you're trying to program realistic sounding instruments, then the key is to think like a player of that instrument. A drummer has four limbs (unless they're in Def Leppard) so they can play four hits only at once. They can't play an open hi-hat and a closed hi-hat at the same time. That kind of thing. Of course, if you're not shooting for realism, that's not an issue and you can go wild.

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motuscott
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Location: the New York

Post 21 May 2020

I'm ancient as well.
Synth programming/understanding has nothing to do with physicality. You have nothing stopping you from this.
As far as responding to physical decline, welcome to the club captain, take a number
Hope that's not too harsh. Everything ages... just not necessarily well. This one's on you.
Yes, I'm an asshole, but I may have a year or two more experience at it than your average Reasontalker.
Vlad the thread stopper

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Social Exodus
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Location: The wilds of North Idaho

Post 22 May 2020

motuscott wrote:
21 May 2020
I'm ancient as well.
Synth programming/understanding has nothing to do with physicality. You have nothing stopping you from this.
As far as responding to physical decline, welcome to the club captain, take a number
Hope that's not too harsh. Everything ages... just not necessarily well. This one's on you.
Yes, I'm an asshole, but I may have a year or two more experience at it than your average Reasontalker.
I have thick skin (military retiree) lol

This particular ache and pain showed up just this year along with COVID. Quite a joy.

You're not an asshole, you're a curmudgeon. Embrace it lol

Thanks for the thoughts 😉
To Reason is Divine! :reason:11 Suite :re:(Too many to count) :refill:(A few choice items)

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motuscott
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Location: the New York

Post 22 May 2020

Thanks for talking me down.
Not joking.
Vlad the thread stopper

DougalDarkly
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Joined: 31 Jul 2019

Post 22 May 2020

I suffer from Arthritis too, especially in my knuckles, so even using a mouse can be painful at times, let alone playing for a couple of hours - I say embrace the sequencer!

You can click stuff in on the piano roll, one note at a time, step-sequence using one of the cool players, even getting some of them to come up with the 'fiddly bits' for you.

I take advantage of all these methods to save my fingers from doing ALL the work - AND I still like 'playing it in' a lot too - again, sequencing is your friend here - slow it down, play in the fiddly bit (loaded with all that juicy human expression) then speed it back up again - virtuoso status maintained!

Good luck!

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motuscott
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Location: the New York

Post 22 May 2020

Step Note Recorder is on sale.
Punch it in.
Let God sort out the details later...
Vlad the thread stopper

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mcatalao
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Post 28 May 2020

Social Exodus,

I know a lot of people composing with a mouse and keyboard. For live stuff you need some dexterity so you might have some problem but for ongoing work even a mouse can suffice.

That being said, if you still feel comfortable with your strongest hand, maybe you can invest in a small unweighted keyboard, so that it doesn't put more stress on your fingers, and pulse. The important thing now is a balance between not being completely stopped and doing stuff that won't hurt you more.

And remember everybody has limitations. Mine are my eyes, I was born almost blind from my left eye and am completely near sighted from tiredness in the right one... This guys all asking for high-res and what i needed was bigger buttons!!!

Oh well...

Good Luck, man!

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