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Silent Night (A Major): Mastering Christmas Carols on the Piano and Keyboard

November 22, 2012

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas Carols on Piano and Keyboard.

Click on any of the music scores to view/print higher resolution versions

View a range of Christmas Carols Music Books at Amazon.

Silent Night: An Introduction

Silent Night is written and played here in the key of A Major, and has a 3/4 (waltz) time signature (as does Away in a Manger).

(See Silent Night in C Major for exactly the same tutorial in a higher key.)

Silent Night: Main Melody

Several short phrases in each verse are repeated.

The first phrase, to which the words “Silent Night” are sung, is repeated twice. The third and fourth lines have the same 4-bar melody.

Here’s the complete melody written out:

Silent Night melody line score

Those notes are:

E F# E : C# : E F# E : C# : B B : G# : A A : E :
F# F# : A G# F# : E F# E : C# : F# F# : A G# F# : E F# E : C# :
B B : D B G# : A : C# : A E C# : E D B : A :

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Note that there are a number of places with a similar rhythm, formed by a dotted crotchet (quarter note) followed by a quaver (eighth note) and a crochet (quarter note). These take up one bar’s worth of time. Imagine that the bar is split into 6 half-beats. The first note (dotted crochet/quarter-note) takes 3 of these; the second note (quaver/eighth note) takes just 1 of these; the final crochet (quarter note) takes the remaining 2 half-beats.

Fingering

Here are some suggestions:

  • Start on the 4th finger and play naturally.
  • On the B in the fifth bar, start on your 5th (little) finger and run naturally
  • Play the F# of the 9th bar with your 3rd (middle) finger, the notes should then run naturally. This phrase repeats.
  • Play the B of the 17th bar with your 3rd (middle) finger.
  • You have time to move your whole hand between bar 20 and 21, to play the A with your 5th (little) finger.

Silent Night: Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the carol using just one note. It’s written so that you only have to play one note per bar, and in fact there are only three different notes used: A, D and E.

Silent Night bass line score

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Silent Night: Adding Harmony And Fullness With Chords

In the third version of Silent Night, I’ve added two-note chords to the right hand, always with the melody note as the highest note. The bass line remains the same.

Silent Night basic chords score

And here’s what is sounds like:

Listen

Silent Night: Alternative Versions

The final two versions of Silent Night use some alternative left-hand chord structures to give the piece a different feel. They may prove off-putting if you are accompanying singers (depending on the situation) but if you are playing the carol on its own for enjoyment or performance, you may find one or both are interesting alternatives. See how you like them!

Silent Night Arrangement with Alternative Chords first version

Here’s how it sounds:

Listen

And here’s the second version:

Silent Night Arrangement with Alternative Chords second version

Listen

Silent Night: Lead/Chord Sheet

Finally, here’s a very simple lead sheet for Silent Night. Notice that you only need three chords to play it: A major, D major, and E major:

Silent Night Lead Sheet

Silent Night: Video Tutorials

Want more ideas and inspiration for playing simple versions of Silent Night? Check out our video (this is recorded for the C Major version but can be adapted to A Major):

Silent Night: Lyrics

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

That’s it for now. Happy playing!

View a range of Christmas Carols Music Books at Amazon.

Series Index: Mastering Christmas Carols on the Piano and Keyboard

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night: Mastering Christmas Carols on the Piano and Keyboard

November 17, 2012

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas Carols on Piano and Keyboard.

Click on any of the music scores to view/print higher resolution versions

View a range of Christmas Carols Music Books at Amazon.

As part of our mastering Christmas carols on piano and keyboard series, here’s our guide to playing While Shepherds Watched.

While Shepherds Watched: Introduction

While Shepherds Watched is written here in E major, which is a comfortable key for most people to sing it in. That’s quite a lot of black notes to contend with, so make sure you’re familiar with the key that includes F sharp, C sharp, G sharp and D sharp.

While Shepherds Watched: Main Melody

Here’s the complete melody written out on the treble clef stave, as you’d play it with the right hand:

While Shepherds Watched melody score

Download the PDF version

Listen to the melody (MIDI file, should play directly in your browser. Alternatively, iTunes or Quicktime will play it).

Those notes are:

E | G# G# F# E | A A G# F# | G# B B A# | B G# |
C# B A G# | F# E D# G# | F# E E D# | E

Note the additional A sharp in bar 4.

In bars 6 and 7, the first seven notes form a descending C melodic minor scale, minus the final C: C B A G# F# E D.

While Shepherds Watched: Single Note Bass Line

Here’s how to add single bass notes to add some harmony. Notes are either whole notes (semibreves) or half notes (minims) except the last note which is a dotted half note (dotted minim).

While Shepherds Watched simple bass score

Download the PDF.

Listen to the MIDI file

While Shepherds Watched: Melody with Chords and Bass

The final version features the playing of chords in the right hand, with the melody as the highest note.

While Shepherds Watched chords score

Download the PDF

Listen to MIDI file

While Shepherds Watched: Lyrics

While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around
And glory shone around

“Fear not,” he said,
For mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind,
To you and all mankind.”

“To you in David’s
Town this day
Is born of David’s line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign
And this shall be the sign.”

“The heavenly Babe
You there shall find
To human view displayed
And meanly wrapped
In swathing bands
And in a manger laid
And in a manger laid.”

Thus spake the seraph,
And forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song
Addressed their joyful song

“All glory be to
God on high
And to the earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth
From heaven to men
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease!”

I hope you find this guide useful for helping you to play While Shepherds Watched.

View a range of Christmas Carols Music Books at Amazon.

Series Index: Mastering Christmas Carols on the Piano and Keyboard

O Christmas Tree (O Tannenbaum): Mastering Christmas Songs on the Piano and Keyboard

December 7, 2011

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Click on any of the music scores to view/print higher resolution versions

This guide will show you how to play simple arrangements of “O Christmas Tree” (also known as “O Tannenbaum”).

Introduction

Here, O Christmas Tree is written and played in the key of F Major, and has a 3/4 time signature.

Main Melody

Notice that the song is constructed from two phrases. The first phrase is played, then repeated. Then the second phrase is played. Finally, the first phrase is played again.

Here are the melody notes you need to play:

C | F F F G | A A A A | G A Bb E | G A C |
F F F G | A A A A | G A Bb E | G A C |
C A D C | C Bb Bb Bb | Bb G C Bb | Bb A A C |
F F F G | A A A A | G A Bb E | G A |

Here’s the complete melody written out:

O Christmas Tree melody score

(Download this as a PDF file)

Here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the song using just one note at a time. Most of the time you simply play a dotted half note (dotted minim) per bar.

You can see just how simple the accompaniment is. It comprises of a low F and a higher C. You can leave your left hand in position over those two notes, playing the low F with your little (5th) finger and the high C with your thumb.

Here’s the printed music:

O Christmas Tree bass line score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Extended Bass Line and Chords

Here’s a full version of O Tannenbaum with an enhanced bass line and right-hand chords.

The rhythm of the bass line has changed so every bar (except the final one) has a half note (minim) followed by a quarter note (crotchet).

You’ll notice that the harmony in the first and second lines is identical. It’s the final line that has an alternative harmony, with slightly more changes in the bass and in the chords, to give a distinctive to the end of the piece.

If the variety of chords on the last line looks a little daunting, you might want to practice the transition between them.

In particular, look out for the change from the C minor chord at the end of that first bar and the F# diminished chord in second inversion (has the C at the bottom) at the start of the next bar. In actual fact, it’s easier to play than to describe the chord name! If you play the C minor chord with your thumb, index and ring fingers, then keep your thumb over the C and play the F sharp with your middle finger and A with your little finger, you get a smoother transition.

Here’s the printed music:

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

We hope you found this guide useful. Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Mastering Christmas Songs on the Piano and Keyboard

December 3, 2011

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Click on any of the music scores to view/print higher resolution versions

This guide will show you how to play simple arrangements of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Introduction

Here, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is written and played in the key of C Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Main Melody

Here are the melody notes you need to play:

C E G C | G F E D C D | C E G C | G | E G C E | D C B A G F | E | |
C E G C | G F E D C D | C E G C | G | E G C E | F E D C B D | E | |
E E E D C | B C D C B | A B C B | B | C C C B A | G A B G A | B C D D | G
C E G C | G F E D C D | C E G C | G | E G C E | F E D C B D | E | E |
E F A C | E D C B A B | C |

Here’s the complete melody written out:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas melody score

(Download this as a PDF file)

There are five distinct sections to the melody. The first eight bars are almost repeated in the second set of eight bars, with a slight variation in bars 14 and 15.

This is followed by a middle section of eight bars, then eight bars that echo the second phrase.

The final four bars close the song.

Take a look at the melody and you’ll see it’s comprised of many runs of arpeggios (broken chords) and descending scales. For example, bar one is an ascending C major arpeggio starting on the root and moving to E, G and the C octave. This is followed by bar two which is a run of five notes descending in the scale of C major from the fifth note (G) to the root (C).

In bar 5 you’ll see a C major arpeggio starting on the major 3rd note (E) and rising to G, C and the E octave. Bars 6 and 7 feature a seven note descending C major scale starting on the second note (D) and going down to the lower E.

Interestingly, at the start of the final phrase (last line, bar 33) there’s a rising F major arpeggio.

If you listen to the recording below it may sound a little regimented. This is because it’s played exactly as the musical notation dictates. Feel free to alter the timing of the notes to adapt it to the timing you like, adding your own performance nuances.

Here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the song using just one note at a time. Most of the time you simply play two half notes (minims) per bar.

Here’s the printed music:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas bass line score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Bass Line and Chords

Here’s a full-blown version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas with right-hand chords. This version really brings out some of the wonderful harmonies in the piece.

Note that the bass line has been altered a little from the previous example.

There are quite a few chord changes particularly on the third line. Do make an effort to play them, practicing the transition between them, as it really is worth it.

Here’s the printed music:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas chords music arrangement

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

We hope you found this guide useful. Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Auld Lang Syne: Mastering Songs on the Piano and Keyboard

December 1, 2011

Click on any of the music scores to view/print higher resolution versions

This guide will show you how to play simple arrangements of “Auld Lang Syne“.

Auld Lang Syne: Introduction

Here, Auld Lang Syne is written and played in the key of D Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

Auld Lang Syne: Main Melody

Here are the melody notes you need to play:

A | D D D F# | E D E F# E | D D F# A | B B |
A F# F# D | E D E F# E | D B B A | D B |
A F# F# D | E D E B | A F# F# A | B B |
A F# F# D | E D E F# E | D B B A | D |

Here’s the complete melody written out:

Auld Lang Syne melody score

(Download this as a PDF file)

Feel free to alter the timing of the notes to make the music “flow” better. Remember, musical notation is not an exact science and there’s room for your own interpretation of the music.

Here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Auld Lang Syne: Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the song using just one note at a time. Most of the time you simply play one whole note (semibreve) per bar, with the exception of the final bar which contains a dotted half note (minim).

Here’s the printed music:

Auld Lang Syne bass line score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Auld Lang Syne: Walking Bassline – Arpeggios

To inject a bit of movement into the piece, here’s a walking bass line comprised of quarter notes (crotchets) played as arpeggios (broken chords).

After the bass note in the bass clef of each bar, you play the next three notes in the major chord arpeggio – that is, the major third, perfect fifth and octave intervals.

In fact there are only three different arpeggios used — a D major (as per bar 2), an A major (bar 3) and G major (bar 5).

Though these should be fairly easy to play, do watch the big jumps between the top note at the end of one bar and the lower note at the start of the next bar. This is particularly noticeable in bars such as 3 and 4, jumping down from a high A to a low D.

It’s important to keep these notes steady, so the four notes maintain a regular rhythm. It may take a bit of practice when played against the first two melody notes in many bars (2, 3, 4 and so on). Listen to the music to hear how these should be played.

Here’s the printed music:

Auld Lang Syne walking bass line arpeggios score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Auld Lang Syne: Walking Bassline with Right Hand Chords

In the final version of Auld Lang Syne, I’ve added three-note chords to the right hand to give fullness and a richer harmony.

Generally there’s a chord to play on the first and third beats of each bar. Try to hold the lower notes of the chord while you play the melody over the top. Using the sustain pedal will really help smooth the sound out.

The exception is in bars like 5 and 9, where you have a dotted half note (minim) followed by a quarter note (crotchet).

Here’s the printed music:

Auld Lang Syne walking bass line with right hand chords score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

We hope you found this guide useful. Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Mastering Christmas Songs on the Piano and Keyboard

December 1, 2011

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Click on any of the music scores to view/print higher resolution versions

This guide will show you how to play simple arrangements of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

Introduction

Here, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is written and played in the key of C Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

Main Melody

Here are the melody notes you need to play:

G A G E C | A G | G A G A G C | B | F G F D B | A G | G A G A G A | E |
G A G E C | A G | G A G A G C | B | F G F D B | A G | G A G A G D | C |
A A C A | G E G | F A G F | E | D E G A | B B B | C C B A | G F D |
G A G E C | A G | G A G A G C | B | F G F D B | A G | G A G A G D | C

Here’s the complete melody written out:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer melody score

(Download this as a PDF file)

Feel free to alter the timing of the notes to make the music “flow” better. Remember, musical notation is not an exact science and there’s room for your own interpretation of the music.

Here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the song using just one note at a time. Most of the time you simply play one whole note (semibreve) per bar, with the exception of bar 11 which contains two half notes (minims).

Here’s the printed music:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer simple bassline score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Walking Bassline – Octaves

To inject a bit of movement into the piece, here’s a walking bass line comprised of quarter notes (crotchets).

Generally in each bar you play a bass note followed by a note one octave above, then repeat.

Bar 19 has two different sets of octave intervals. The first starts on D and the second on G.

In the final bar hold the third note (C) for two beats.

Here’s the printed music:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer walking bass score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Walking Bassline with Right Hand Chords

In the final version of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I’ve added three-note chords to the right hand to give fullness and a richer harmony.

Generally there’s a chord to play on the first beat of each bar. Try to hold the lower notes of the chord while you play the melody over the top. Using the sustain pedal will really help smooth the sound out.

Watch out for bar 19 which contains two half note chords.

You’ll notice that the bass line has changed slightly in bar 16 to add a bit of interest. However, the song doesn’t sound bad if you play the original version of that bar (a repeat of bar 15).

Here’s the printed music:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer walking bassline with chords score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

We hope you found this guide useful. Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Winter Wonderland: Mastering Christmas Songs on the Piano and Keyboard

November 24, 2011

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Click on any of the music scores to view/print higher resolution versions

This guide will show you how to play simple arrangements of “Winter Wonderland”.

Introduction

Here, Winter Wonderland is written and played in the key of C Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

Main Melody

This well-known Christmas song is made from four distinct phrases, with the first two and last one being very similar to one another, with the third distinct ‘bridge’.

The first eight bars feature the first phrase. The second eight bars feature the same phrase repeated.

The next eight bars are quite different, while the final eight bars replicate the second phrase.

The melody notes you need to play are:

G G | G G G | E G G G | G G G | F G G |
B B B A A | G G G F | E E E E D D D D |

C G G | G G G | E G G G | G G G | F G G |
B B B A A | G G G F | E E E E D D D D | C |

B B G# G# C# C# A A | G# E | B B G# G# C# C# A A |
G# | D D B B E E C C | B G G | B B B B A A A A |

G G G | G G G | E G G G | G G G | F G G |
B B B A A | G G G F | E E E E D D D D | C |

Here’s the complete melody written out:

Winter Wonderland melody score

(Download this as a PDF file)

The musical notation may look a little strange to you if you’re not used to seeing triplets. Although the piece of music is written in 4/4, each beat is broken up into thirds. Another way of thinking of it is that each bar has 12 distinct, regular ‘pulses’ or beats in it (we could probably have written it in a time signature such as 6/8 or 12/8 instead).

In reality, there’s nothing much to worry about here, particularly if you know what the song sounds like. In each beat that’s made up of a triplet, you generally have a note that lasts for two-thirds of the beat followed by a note that lasts the remaining one-third (like the pair of notes in bar one or the last beat of bars 2,3 and 4).

Bars with tied notes such as bars 3, 5 and 6 might look confusing. If it boggles your mind and you want to get it completely right, try playing the song much slower than normal and count 12 beats in every bar.

If you do this, a triplet takes up three beats (with the split of notes as described above); a quarter note (crotchet) also takes three beats on its own; a half note (minim) takes six beats on its own; a dotted half note takes nine beats on its own, and so on.

Look at the beginning of bar 3. You should be able to work out how long that last note in the first triplet tied to the next half note lasts — 7 beats.

Or in bar 5, where the three Gs are tied together for a total of 9 beats.

When all is said and done, remember that the printed manuscript is only there as a guide. As you get used to the piece, you can play it with your own chosen swing and timing nuances (and indeed you should).

Here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the song using just one note at a time. It uses four quarter notes (crotchets) per bar to provide a basic rhythm to the song. Be sure to play these notes steadily and regularly.

Many of the intervals between first and second notes in each bar are an octave, with some perfect fourth and perfect fifths.

Here’s the printed music, split over two pages:

Winter Wonderland Bassline Score part 1

Winter Wonderland Bassline Score part 2

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Adding right hand chords

In the final version of Winter Wonderland, I’ve added two- and three-note chords to the right hand.

Generally there’s a chord to play on the first beat of each bar, except in cases such as bar 8 where two chords (the first on beat 1 and the second on beat 3) make for a better harmony.

Try to hold the lower one or two notes of the chord while you play the melody over the top. Using the sustain pedal will really help smooth the sound out.

Here’s the printed music, split over two pages:

Winter Wonderland with chords score part 1

Winter Wonderland with chords score part 2

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

We hope you found this guide useful. Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Frosty the Snowman: Mastering Christmas Songs on the Piano and Keyboard

November 22, 2011

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Click on any of the music scores to view/print higher resolution versions

This guide will show you how to play simple arrangements of “Frosty the Snowman”.

Introduction

Here, Frosty the Snowman is written and played in the key of C Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

Main Melody

This well-known Christmas song is made from four distinct phrases, with the first two and last one being very similar to one another, with the third distinct ‘bridge’.

The first eight bars feature the first phrase. The second eight bars feature almost the same phrase repeated, with the exception of the final two bars.

The next eight bars are quite different, while the final eight bars replicate the second phrase.

The melody notes you need to play are:

G E F | G C B C | D C B A | G B C | D C B A A | G C E G A | G F E F | G |
G E F | G C B C | D C B A | G B C | D C B A A | G C E G A | G F E D | C C |
A A C C | B A G E | F A G F | E E | D D G G | B B D | D C B A | G F D |
G E F | G C B C | D C B A | G B C | D C B A A | G C E G A | G F E D | C |

Here’s the complete melody written out:

Frosty the Snowman melody score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the song using just one note at a time. With two half notes (minims) in each bar it provides a basic rhythm to the song.

Many of the intervals between first and second notes in each bar are an octave or a perfect fourth. Watch out for bars 5, 13 and 29 which jump down from an F to a G.

Here’s the printed music:

Frosty the Snowman bassline score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Playing a chord harmony

In the final version of Frosty the Snowman, I’ve added three note chords to the right hand and taken out the melody. This is a useful version if you are accompanying singers.

Note that most of the song uses C major, F major and G major chords. However, to make it both easier to play and sound better, the C major is usually played in root position, the F major in 2nd inversion (so the C is at the root of the chord) and the G major in 1st inversion (so the B is at the root of the chord).

You can see from this that the right hand fingers have to move very little in order to play the chords.

Note that in bar 23 there’s a D major chord (see the F# accidental). This is pretty much the only time the right hand has to move slightly out of position.

Here’s the printed music.

Frosty the Snowman chords score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

We hope you found this guide useful. Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

Reason 6: Name Your Upgrade Price

September 30, 2011

Today’s the day Reason and Record users can elect to upgrade to the new Reason 6 for whatever they think it’s worth.

A number of musicians, authors and others have already adopted the “pay what you want” model for their albums, books and other merchandise, so it’s not surprising that Propellerhead — creators of the Reason software — are electing to do the same.

The offer’s only good for today and the month of October, after which Reason & Record users will have to pay the standard upgrade price that owners of a single software package do.

It’s a great way to get the updated version into the hands of many. Here’s Propellerhead’s synopsis of what you get in this upgrade:

To owners of both Reason and Record, the Reason 6 upgrade adds Pulveriser, a sound crushing effect with crunchy compression, dirty distortion and flexible modulation; The Echo, advanced stereo echo with modern, analog and tape delay emulation; and Alligator, a three band pattern gate for complex rhythmic texturing. Interface enhancements, high definition audio transpose, a massively expanded sound bank and true 64-bit compatibility are just the icing on the cake. Want to see the new effect devices in action before you decide? Check out these videos below for detailed looks at their capabilities

You can find out much more about it at the Reason: Pay What You Want web site.

So, what’s Reason 6 worth to you?

Atari 520ST, Music Maker, goes on display in Manchester museum

April 26, 2011

atari 520st You may not have realised it, but the Atari 520ST was pretty influential in the late ’80s and ’90s Manchester music scene.

The first commercial computer to incorporate dedicated MIDI ports, it made it easy to connect up to synths and other MIDI-compatible devices.

A working 520ST has now gone on display at the Museum of Science and Industry to help tell the history of Manchester music.

Julia Adamson was a sound engineer and musician working in the Strawberry Studios in Stockport.

The ST could be hooked up to an Akai S1000 sampler, increasing the audio possibilities on many hit records.

“In the past, the synthesiser could link in with a drum machine, but the computer was a more sophisticated system,” she said. “It could delay notes or bring notes forward, so you had more control.”

“In The Charlatans’ The Only One I know’, for example, they would use it like a metronome to work with so they played in time and then could add strings to the sound too.”

Julia also used the equipment on stage as a member of The Fall (see picture), replacing parts as they wore out over the years.

I had the ST’s less powerful baby brother, the 520STE, which I ran with Steinberg‘s Pro 24 sequencing software. Interestingly (for me) it wasn’t my first foray into MIDI music making, though it was probably the easiest I’d tried to date.

Before I was gifted the STE, I had an 8-bit Atari 130XE. Some bright spark had built a MIDI interface (MIDIMATE) for that and bundled it with some extremely rudimentary sequencing software (MIDITrack).

Anyway, there’s the aside. The technicalities of computer music making are much more advanced these days, but in some ways a lot simpler. At least you don’t have to fight the machine itself to get it to work (usually) :)

(Via MEN Media and BBC Radio 6)

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