How to match piano with rhythm?


I am pretty new to recording music on a pc (although I must say it’s a dream come true). After quite some researching I finally kinda got what I need. At first I thought I just needed one program. With that illusion out of the way I now have installed Jack, Patchage, Jackrack, ZynAddSubFX, Hydrogen, Rosegarden, and of course the master program; Ardour.

I made a beat in Hydrogen and recorded it in Ardour, so far so good. I also tried to play a simple melody and record it (through ZynAddSubFX) in Ardour. The problem is that I don’t appear very Rhythm-conscious and my tones are many times just off the beat. My question is whether there is a way to align my tones with the rhythm?

I understand that there is a way to align tones with a rhythm in Rosegarden, but I can only connect my MIDI keyboard to Rosegarden directly. When I have the signal run through my synth (ZynAddSubFX) I can’t record any tones. Any tips?

You can record the MIDI data from your keyboard into Rosegarden, and then use RG to drive ZynAddSubFX, recording the audio output from Zyn into Ardour. The beauty of this approach is that you are not stuck with your less-than-perfect performance, because RG allows you to edit the recorded MIDI data until you are happy with it.

If any of this doesn’t make sense, please ask more questions.


kramer65: connect Keyboard->Rosegarden->ZynAdd

Midi gives you precise control, as mentioned, but sometimes it can be too precise. A lot of solo parts deliberately play around with the beat. Depends what you’re doing.

Another option is to record in lots of little steps, hot-housing each individual part until you’ve got it just right. I do that a lot. First, I’ll do at least one playlist - probably several - where I’m just trying to play freely and explore the melodic possibilities. There will be lots of mistakes but when I’ve got enough good ideas to string together I’ll go back and record every little phrase separately. You’ll need at least two extra tracks for this - stick everything through a single bus - so that any sustained notes or reverb effects from the end of the last phrase don’t get chopped off by the following phrase (which always starts from scratch). Multiple tracks allow you to overlap regions.

It’s very easy to lose some “feel” when you’re doing this. Perhaps it’s less of a problem on a keyboard but when I’m playing instruments like flute or guitar where you can vary the tone I’m really working hard to voice phrases to make them as expressive as possible. When you play a normal performance you sort of fit everything together instinctively but doing it in bits can mean that all the separate bits don’t join up together fluidly.