Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Korg DS-10 "Tablets" in replace of Notations

Changing Directions

Thank you very much for your continuous support in reading my blogs despite the delays. You see,  I have just put up a business and me and my wife are currently occupied at the moment. Please bear with me :).

I was supposed to continue on with the baby steps in learning how to make melodies using the Korg DS-10 through "Notations" which I have been thinking for the past few weeks. I asked the korg ds-10 community (ds10forum.com) regarding their suggestions on my proposal of "standardizing" the methodologies of creating "Notations" for it. It has been a week since I asked for suggestions and I am overwhelmed and very happy by the community's suggestions. The link to the discussion is at http://ds10forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=565

If you are interested to participate and let your voice be heard, you can sign up and make suggestions.

Now for my topic this day: There will be slight changes to my previous "Notations" of billy jean. This is the synthesis of what Ive learned from the ds10forum forum. I have realized that the word "notation" is a very BIG word which lead me to the conclusion of changing the term notation into "Tablets" so as not to create any confusion for the musically inclined audiences. What are these tablets, you say? Well it is similar to my previous notation I posted but with slight changes. Instead of using numbers to identify the location of the note, I will be using real "Notes". I will use the term tablets because it works similar to a guitar "tab" wherein the notes are represented by numerical values.

Dont worry, it wont be cheesy. Actually, the reason why I am doing this is to enable Korg DS-10 users share their musical pieces without much pain on figuring out how to do it, especially if you are not familiar with proper "notations" OR if you dont have the time or patience to learn it and just want to go ahead and do it with least effort.

NOTE: If you are the musical type, you can follow the thread


as it discusses clearly how to read real notations regardless if you're making music for Korg DS-10 or a real instrument.

Again, some of you might disagree to my methodology on using "tablets" instead of "notations" but then again, this is perhaps the simplest way to do it without the need of using any pictures or without the need of learning musical "notations".

I must admit though that I am promoting musical illiteracy so if you dont like where these Korg DS-10 tablets tutorial are going, Im very sorry but with my busy schedule, this is the best thing that I could offer. Note that this tablets are not intended to replace musical notations. Notations are and will always be the best way to do it, but for those who just want to keep it simple, read on.

So for today, I would simply re-write my *wrong* notations of billy jean and will incorporate the principles of Tablets already. But first things first: below is an image which would serve as your reference in finding the note that I am referring to:

From my previous tutorial, I uploaded a snapshot of the "Square" area wherein we tap the squared areas to enable DS-10 play the note. On its left side, there is an image of a keyboard which serves as a guide to the user. Now imagine the image above as that keyboard so that you can have a reference of which octave to be used. Below, I have plotted the billy jean notation from my previous issue side by side with my finalized tablet methodology so that you can compare the difference in how i wrote it. And from that point onward, my tutorials will be based on it.

Billy Jean Revisited:

Bass Line on SYN1 SEQ at BPM=120, SWING=50, STEP=16

Old Method    |    New Method

1-C3(8)    |   G3              
2-X(X)    |    x
3-C3(3) | D3
4-X(X)   | x
5-C3(6)    |    F3
6-X(X)    |    x
7-C3(8)    |    G3
8-X(X)    |    x
9-C3(6)    |    F3
10-X(X)    |    x
11-C3(3)    |    D3
12-X(X)    |    x
13-C3(1)    |    C3
14-X(X)    |    x
15-C3(3)    |    D3
16-X(X)    |    x

How did I convert it? Its simple, lets take the very first note C3(8) which translated into G3. What I did was, I started counting from C3(1) which is the very first note of of the 3rd Octave (or should i say, the very first key of the keyboard picture that I've uploaded ). From that note, count 8 steps or keys from the keyboard (including the black keys) and you will arrive at G3. This way, it is a lot more simple to write it down rather than my previous version.

Notice that the horizontal version is now easier to read and less cryptic.


as compared with my old version :


Now you maybe wondering how do I translate, lets say the "black key" located on the upper right of C3?  For this kinds of keys, there are 2 ways to write it. We can call it either C3# (read as sharp) or D3b (read as flat). Either way is correct.

My concerns on legato is ongoing (which can easily be addressed if I was using real notations, but what the heck :) ) and the issue on how to plot the drum patterns. These tablets can solve them but I am thinking of a proper way to call (or write) them.  There are other stuffs going on the ds10form.com and i suggest you check it out also.

Photos courtesy of an active member of ds10forum.com, Syscrusher. Thanks for your contribution on Korg DS-10 Notations :)

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