Friday, October 29, 2010

Play Songs With Just Three Chords!

The legendary Lou Reed once said that, "one chord is fine. Two chords is pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz."

While we're pretty sure that he was exaggerating at least a little, there is something about a song with three chords, or fewer, that makes it stand out. And it's not hard to see why a simple song tends to get played more than one that's more complex - it's easier to play! If you're just starting out on the keyboard (or any instrument really), these simple songs are a great place to hone your skills.

To get started, there's a best-selling EZ Play songbook available from Yamaha MusicSoft, "Favorite Songs With Three Chords", which covers easy to play versions of some of the most famous traditional three chord songs, but we've listed up a few of our favorites below as well. Each of these songs is listed alongside a MIDI song file that includes chord data to help you learn and play along on your keyboard.

Before you get ready to dig in, though, we should clarify that our understanding of "three chord song" is a relatively broad. Some of the songs featured below definitely have more than three chords, but most of them can be played using only three chords (or with an occasional fourth thrown in). Also, note that if the key of a song is too difficult to play at first, you can easily transpose it on your keyboard into one that's easier to play. For example, the version of "Sweet Child O' Mine" on Yamaha MusicSoft is in the key of D flat, which you can transpose down a half step to C to make it much easier.

Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley and the Comets
One of the most enduring early rock and roll standards, "Rock Around the Clock" has the same basic blues based chord structure you'll find in tons of rock and roll songs from the 50s onward.

Mustang Sally - Wilson Pickett
A classic rhythm and blues hit made famous by Wilson Pickett in 1966, that uses three simple chords but stretches out into really bluesy territory. This version is the easy to play key of C, but watch for the flat thirds and sevenths!

Hey Ya! - Outkast
"Hey Ya" stretches the definition of the three chord song a little bit, adding a fourth chord, and a minor key feel to a major key song. Still, the undeniable fun of this huge hit from 2003 will help you learn its simple progression in no time.

Keep reading for info on more three chord songs from the Rolling Stones, Guns n' Roses and Richie Valens.

You Never Can Tell - Chuck Berry
If you're new to chord changes, this tune is perfect. The easy left hand harmonies means you can concentrate on the great rock and roll groove and captivating melody. Plus, the Cajun feel of the melody shows that you can truly play in any style using just three chords!

You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones
If you thought three chords was easy, try just two! Well, there's a third one thrown in at the end of the chorus, but who's counting? The Rolling Stones are masters of simplicity, and this song shows you can be as soulful as you want without getting complicated.

Walking On Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
You can thank a simple but extremely satisfying chord progression for this song's incredibly upbeat feel.

Louie Louie - The Kingsmen
Learned "Walking on Sunshine"? This one is even easier - the same three chords played all the way through the song. There are many reasons this is one of the most covered songs of all time - the easy-as-pie chord progression is just one of them.

Sweet Child O Mine - Guns n' Roses
Guns n' Roses may be remembered for complex epics like "November Rain" or shredding guitar solos like the one on "Welcome to the Jungle", but "Sweet Child O' Mine", in all it's stripped down three chord glory, is their most enduring song.

Do You Realize - The Flaming Lips
The most difficult to play of this group of three chord songs, "Do You Realize" features a modulation (key change) as well as a number of shifts between minor and major. In any one section, though, you'll only have to deal with a few simple chords, and the big chorus of this emotional Flaming Lips tune is a wonderfully easy to play progression.

La Bamba - Los Lobos
A Mexican folk tune brought to American ears by Richie Valens in the 1950s, this song shows that a good three chord progression crosses cultural and language barriers with ease.

- Doug

Bring the Latest Technology to Your Floppy Disk Powered Disklavier

When the first Disklavier pianos were built in the late 1980s, floppy disks were a state of the art medium for storing and transferring data. These days, though, floppy disks are quickly becoming a thing of the past, replaced not only by CDs, but by USB and wireless technology as well. Luckily, the floppy disk powered Disklaviers of yester-year can now be easily upgraded: along with a little tune up, the new DKC-850 upgrade unit can easily make even a 15 year old Disklavier new again.

Thanks to the DKC-850, users of Mark II and Mark III Disklaviers can easily add all of the features of the latest E3 Disklaviers to your existing pianos with a simple control unit upgrade. By just replacing the control box with a new DKC-850, you'll catch your piano up on a decade's worth of technological advances. Plus, with November quickly approaching, it's the perfect time for those of you who plan to use the Disklavier to soundtrack your holidays to think about upgrading with the DKC-850. By upgrading now, you'll be able to take advantage of:
  • Endless streaming music!
    Experience your own private concerts whenever you want, or enjoy hours of continuous music without swapping disks or even setting up a playlist! Over a dozen channels of piano music are available around the clock through Piano Radio.

  • Permanent music storage!
    Floppy disks are a thing of the past - with an optional USB floppy disk drive, you can load your entire library of PianoSoft albums onto the DKC-850. That means no more breaks in playback while you change albums, and no more messing around with disks.

  • Customizable playlists!
    Don't be constrained by albums any longer - use the songs from your library to make your own playlists.

  • Built in CD drive!
    With CD support, you can take full advantage of PianoSoft Plus Audio, which adds real audio accompaniment to PianoSoft performances, and Smart PianoSoft, which lets you enjoy original piano accompaniments to your favorite audio CDs.

  • Easier access to new music!
    Download new music to a USB flash drive and easily add it to the permanent library on the piano.

  • Video synchronization!
    Record piano performances along with a video recording, and sync them up to completely recreate the moment.

  • Cheaper PianoSoft!
    Get new music faster, and cheaper with discounted instant downloads.

  • And more!
    New features let you wake up the sound of your Disklavier, record more easily, and more!
The DKC-850 is available now from Yamaha piano dealers across the US. To find a dealer in your area, use Yamaha's dealer locater. After purchasing a DKC-850, you can attach it to either to your piano's existing unit or use it to replace the unit you currently use. Installation is simple, and while the strings, hammers and keys on the piano will be the same, you'll be hooked into a new generation of technology in no time.

For more information on the DKC-850, visit Yamaha's official site.

- Doug

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Haunting Halloween PianoSoft

As the days move closer and closer to the end of October, the urge to indulge in something a little dark and out of the ordinary becomes harder and harder to resist. What better way to scratch the itch than with some spooky music? Over at Yamaha MusicSoft, we have two PianoSoft Plus albums that are specially designed to provide you with the necessary thrills and chills this Halloween. Take a look at some descriptions and hear samples:

A Haunted Halloween

The sound of a piano can certainly convey a sense of dread, but to really get across their ghoulish essences, some songs really need to be heard with full orchestration. Luckily, Joel Plimmer doesn't just provide renditions of the piano parts from the songs featured on "A Haunted Halloween", but has also arranged complete accompaniments that allow the jovial spookiness of Charles Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette" to shine through with a rich clarinet sound, and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to inspire fits of zombie-like dancing with the rhythmic power of a full pop backing arrangement. Fans of frightening music will certainly enjoy hearing the "Tubular Bells" of Mike Oldfield's theme from "The Exorcist", and the slowly building orchestral foreboding of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" along with wonderful live piano performances.

Boo - Halloween Favorites

As its title suggests, this album may startle you with how much fun music in contains! From the "Monster Mash" to Howling Wolf's "I Put a Spell On You" it hits all the basis for Halloween entertainment. Compared to "A Haunted Halloween", Jason Nyberg's arrangements on this album are more piano heavy, and focus on using the piano to create an eerie, but light-hearted, mood perfect for any Halloween celebration. Featuring many classic spooky tv and film themes, such as themes from "The X-Files" and "The Twilight Zone", "Halloween Favorites" will be an especially big hit with soundtrack enthusiasts.

Of course, you can also enjoy the music featured on these albums, and more, with our special Halloween Hits channel on Piano Radio.

- Doug

Learning With Yamaha Part Three - Styles

Welcome back to "Learning With Yamaha", where we're following our intern, Aaron, in his quest to improve his keyboard skills with Yamaha instruments and services. In our first installment, we saw how Passport to Music teachees the basics of keyboard playing, then went to the next level, watching Aaron use MIDI files to learn a Beatles song. Today, now that he's mastered the song using MIDI, he learns how styles can improve his performance.

In the last article, I talked about how I learned the Beatles' tune "Here, There, and Everywhere" using a MIDI file on the CVP-509. Since writing that blog, I have continued to practice the song - so much so that I have now memorized it! I know the right notes to play in the melody without looking at the sheet music. I know the right chords to use. I'm pretty sure I could play the song with my eyes closed. But now, being the creative person that I am (and I'm sure you are, too), I wanted to do something different with the song.

People in the past have creatively remade songs by the Beatles. Joe Cocker famously covered "With a Little Help From my Friends." Buddy Rich did his own version of "Norwegian Wood." Earth, Wind, and Fire covered "Got to Get You into My Life." I wanted to something along those lines. So, I turned to the "Styles" feature of the Clavinova and began to look for a new, creative way in which to play the song.

Keep reading to find out more about our intrepid intern's journey into the world of styles, and learn what they can do for your performances. Playing with styles is very different than playing with a MIDI song. While MIDI enables you to tweak a song to your liking, styles let you be your own artist. Each style features different accompanying instruments, drum beats and rhythmic patterns that you can control. You can also play melodies using any voice you choose on the keyboard, while playing with the style. Yamaha's keyboards typically have anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred styles built in, so I started with those (there are hundreds of other expansion styles available from Yamaha MusicSoft and Internet Direct Connection). The styles are all easily accessed by the "Style" buttons on the keyboard. The buttons and styles are organized by genre, so I decided to try "Jazz". I like the feel of 3/4 time, and I thought that it would work well with "Here, There and Everywhere", so I decided to try playing with the Style "Jazz Waltz-Medium".

As I looked over the style section of the keyboard, I quickly realized that there are many ways in which to go about playing with a style. For every style, I had at my disposal a synchronized start/stop option, an auto accompaniment and fill-in feature, three intros, four different groove patterns to accompany what I played, a one-bar break button, and three endings. All of these functions have their own button, and I found that they are very easy to use.

To start, I turned on the "auto accompaniment" feature, the "auto fill-in" feature, and the "synchronized start/stop" feature. The auto accompaniment feature can be set in a few different ways, but I set it up this time to use the "Full Keyboard Mode". In this mode the keyboard's artificial intelligence recognizes what I'm playing with both my right and left hands, and provides me with the appropriate harmonic accompaniment. I found that "Full Keyboard Mode" works amazingly well, but I'd suggest trying a number of different settings to find the one you like best. Some modes make it possible to control styles by pressing only a single key, which gives you less control but is definitely much easier to use.

Also, since I had the "synchronized start/stop" feature turned on, the style accompaniment started when I began to play, and stopped when I stopped playing. The accompaniment worked beautifully with the song, and with the push of a button, I was able to change the groove patterns whenever I wanted so that the appropriate rhythmic accompaniment was always there. With the "auto fill-in" feature on, the style added drum fills every time I switched to a different groove pattern, and at the end of the song, I pressed one of the "ending" buttons, and got a really nice sounding finale.

After trying this out, I'd encourage anyone to use different styles in their performances. You don't even have to do a cover like I did, because with the styles feature you can get even more creative and make your own music. Plus, if you can't find a style that you like in the keyboard, there are hundreds of expansion styles, covering a wide variety of genres, available at Yamaha MusicSoft or through Internet Direct Connection. You are sure to find something that you like.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Reggae, Rumba, and Bavarian Styles

In the mood for some new rhythms? Have an original song or cover you want to play, but can't find the perfect style to use? Chances are you'll find exactly what you're looking for either in our latest new styles, or in one of the over 600 styles already in our catalog. Over the past few weeks, we've released a bunch of new styles that cover everything from traditional German musical varieties to Caribbean and Mexican rhythms.

Irgendwie Reggae - Authentic reggae vibes, with complete with a big horn section and unmistakable Caribbean rhythms.

Austrian 8 Beat Pop Schlager - A laid back guitar based style that's designed for use with German Schlager songs, but will also fit well with 60's and 70's singer/songwriter and soft rock songs.

Arpeggio Pop - This style perfectly suits the current craze in pop music towards arpeggiated synth patterns.

Anton Tyrol Beat - Combine a pounding four on the floor beat with trumpet and accordion and you get a style that brings Bavarian flavor to the dance floor.

Ramona Shuffle - A swinging 50's rock beat destined to soundtrack your next sock hop.

Zillertal Wedding March - Lead by trombone and accordion, this style the march-like feel of traditional Austrian and German music as modernized by groups like the Schürzenjäger.

Mexican Guitar Rumba - Solid rumba rhythms with traditional instrumentation featuring both full chords and arpeggios from the classical guitar, and fun percussion flourishes.

- Doug

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Full Story on Tyros4 Flash Memory Upgrades

With the recent release of the Tyros4, has taken the workstation keyboard to the next level. The Tyros4 gives you the power do pretty much anything you want as a musician, but with a little extra memory you can do even more. Expansion flash memory is available to make it possible for you to load your own samples and audio to create entirely new voices for the Tyros, or load Premium Packs and Voices sold on Yamaha MusicSoft.

There are two different options available for expansion: the FL512M module, which offers 512MB of new memory, and the FL1024M, which will give you a full 1GB.

So how do you go about getting a hold of the expansion memory? It's available from the same places you'll find the Tyros4: Yamaha keyboard dealers and select online stores. If you need help locating a store that's carrying the expansion modules, and you're in the US, you can use this dealer locator to find a dealer near you. If you're not in the US, there are other resources you can use to find a local dealer. Take a look below:
Once you've got the flash expansion memory, it's easy to install it in the Tyros4.  For detailed installation directions, you should consult page 108 of the Tyros4 manual, which you can find here.

- Doug

Kenny Chesney, Katy Perry, Elvis & More In This Week's New Songs

Music never stops being made, which is why we never stop adding new songs to our catalogs at Yamaha MusicSoft and Internet Direct Connection. The particular additions this week include, as usual, something for everyone: current pop from Katy Perry, old favorites from Elvis, and an array of European hits from around the continent.

Teenage Dream - Katy Perry
Topping charts around the world, this song is a dance floor filler and is sure to be sing-along favorite for years to come. Recommended for fans of "California Gurls" and "Since U Been Gone".

Are You Lonesome Tonight - Elvis Presley
This is a timeless Elvis ballad that combines melancholy longing with a simple but lovely accompaniment.

Americano - Brian Setzer Orchestra
Swing legend Brian Setzer's take on the jazz classic "Tu vuò fà l'americano", which is also the basis for the recent hit from Yolanda Be Cool, "We No Speak Americano".

Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven - Kenny Chesney
This #1 single fom Kenny Cheney's "Lucky Old Sun" adds Caribbean flavor to country twang.

Unter Deine Flagge - Unheilig
One of the biggest hits on the German charts this year, "Unter Deine Flagge" is an emotional power ballad that includes both delicate acoustic guitar and a hard rocking bridge.

James Last Oldies Medley - James Last
A medley of late 60's hits in the style of James Last's legendary band. Featuring the Beatles' "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da", the Ohio Express's "Chewy Chewy" and "Eloise" by Paul Ryan.

But there's more where that came from - take a look at the full selection of new MIDI songs!

- Doug

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Songs From John Mayer, Heart, the Clash and More

The loud, brash rock music of the 1970s is well represented in this week's new MIDI song releases. With MIDI versions songs from Heart, the Clash, and T-Rex, the guitar voices on your keyboard are in for a real workout. If you need something to cool things off afterwards, though, the new John Mayer release "Heartbreak Warfare", should do the trick. Also, since these are MIDI files, you won't just be listening to these great guitar songs - you can remix them, learn with them, and use them to create your own unique performances. If that sounds good to you, then take a look at what's new:

Heartbreak Warfare - John Mayer

"Heartbreak Warfare" has the great melodies and fascinating guitar work that fans of John Mayer have come to love. Plus, with a heavy mid-tempo pop beat, this one is easily a slow dance favorite.

Magic Man - Heart

If the big guitars and wailing vocals of 70's rock are what you're after, "Magic Man" is the song for you.

Heat of the Moment - Asia

Asia included members of such prog-rock legends as Yes and King Crimson, so you can be sure that it packs the intricate guitar and synth work those bands were famous for. "Heat of the Moment" was also a huge pop hit, though, and sports a classic 80's stadium rock sound and a memorable chorus that fans of everyone from Bon Jovi to Toto will certainly get behind.

Train in Vain - The Clash

Perhaps better known as "Stand By Me", "Train In Vain" is a poigniant motown and pop influenced standout track from the Clash's landmark album London Calling, which showed that punk rock was much more than raw aggression.

I Love To Boogie - T-Rex

T-Rex, and their frontman Marc Bolan, made Glam Rock one of the biggest sounds of the 70s, but "I Love to Boogie" is a classic blues song no matter who's playing it.

Keep reading for more new songs, or check out the full catalog.

Lucky Man - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
"Lucky Man" was ELP's biggest hit, and with it's combination of 60's folk influenced rock with the synthesizers that would become a huge part of music in the 70's, a defining moment in the progression of rock.

Here I Go Again - BND
BND was only around for a while in the 1990's but this song is still a great slice of dance floor ready bubblegum pop. "Here I Go Again" was written by Mike Stock and Matt Aitken of the extremely successful Stock/Aitken/Waterman songwriting team, who also produced huge hits for Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley.

Hände Zum Himmel - Hansi Hinterseer
This is really Schlager music at its best. Hansi Hinterseer is a major star in the Schlager music world (as well as a world class Skier) with a huge number of hits in northern Europe and in his native Austria. "Hände Zum Himmel" is one of his most famous and most popular songs.

Telephone - Lady Gaga
A big worldwide hit from Lady Gaga's blockbuster album The Fame Monster, "Telephone" has a great dance-beat with some powerful hooks.

On The Road Again - Willie Nelson
Whether you're a fan of pop, rock or country music, this classic from the grand old country star Willie Nelson should be very familiar.

- Doug

Save 20% On PianoSoft Albums - October's Monthly Markdowns

Time flies, and it's already time for the latest Monthly PianoSoft Markdowns. If you're looking for discounts on PianoSoft for your Yamaha Disklavier, Clavinova or keyboard, you're in luck because we've cut prices on a newly updated collection of PianoSoft albums. As always with the Monthly Markdowns discount, you'll save 20% on a selection of 100 different albums of all types.

Here's a quick look at just a few of October's discounted albums:
  • The Best of Lennon & McCartney
    A wonderful album of Beatles favorites, newly re-released! Features favorites like "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude" that were just made to be played on your piano - pick it up today!
  • Nat King Cole Collection - Unforgettable
    For fans of jazz standards, it's hard to beat this PianoSoft album which includes "Unforgettable", "It's Only a Paper Moon", and "Mona Lisa".
  • Special Occasions
    Need an instrumental accompaniment to make an event particularly extraordinary? This album, that features such indispensable songs as "Pomp and Circumstance" and "Happy Birthday", will make sure that your special moments are musical and memorable.
  • Star Wars & Other Blockbuster Movie Themes
    Bring your piano to life with some epic soundtrack music from the immensely popular John Williams, including themes from "Jurassic Park", "Schindler's List", "E.T." and "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
  • ABBA - Gold: Greatest Hits
    Get a new, live, Smart PianoSoft accompaniment for ABBA's huge greatest hits record, which has sold over 28 million copies worldwide.
If you're PianoSoft is a great way to enjoy professional piano performances, played back precisely as originally recorded, right on your instrument - and with this discount there's never been a better time to try it out. Plus, if you want to enjoy listening to or playing along with new songs on your keyboard, but you're using a CLP model Clavinova, a MODUS digital piano, or another keyboard that has a limited selection of voices, PianoSoft Solo offers solo piano arrangements that will fit the bill perfectly. For more information about PianoSoft, check out our Online Services website.

Also, the selection of albums discounted through Monthly Markdowns will change each month, so be sure to check back regularly to take a look at the latest deals.

- Doug

Halloween Hits Adds Haunting Harmonies to Piano Radio

Creatively carved jack-o-lanterns...zombies, ghosts and monsters roaming the streets...fully stocked candy aisles - it must be time again for the Halloween Hits channel on Yamaha's Piano Radio.

Halloween is about both tricks and treats, and the songs you'll hear on the new Halloween Hits channel cover both of these aspects of the holiday. For a real scare there's Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor", but there's also the more the more light-hearted "Monster Mash". To add some extra chills to the experience, the channel also features "haunted house" interludes and scary sound effects.

Plus, with the Halloween Hits channel you can experience all of the varieties of Halloween themed music on your piano or keyboard at any time, without loading any disks or files. All music on the new channel is arranged for the piano and recorded by Yamaha's acclaimed PianoSoft artists, and each song will be reproduced on your instrument exactly as it was originally performed. Take a listen to some examples of what you can expect to hear on Halloween Hits:

In the Hall of the Mountain King (From "A Haunted Halloween")

Theme From Halloween II (From "Boo! - Halloween Favorites")

The Halloween Hits channel is just the latest addition to our channel lineup, which includes 18 other stations available around the clock and throughout the year. For anyone listening to radio on a CLP Clavinova or MODUS digital piano, the Halloween Hits channel is your new channel 20.

To try out the Halloween Hits channel now, first log in to Internet Direct Connection on your instrument and choose "Listen to Radio", or from a Disklavier Mark IV choose "Internet" from the main menu on your controller, then "Disklavier Radio".

On a Disklavier E3, you can listen to radio by pressing the "Internet" button on your remote, then choose "D-Radio". However, if you haven't created an account for Internet Direct Connection, you'll need to do that before subscribing to Piano Radio for your E3 - you can create your account here.

If you've never tried Piano Radio before, now's the perfect time. If you're not ready to subscribe and check out the Halloween Hits channel, that's fine.  Two free channels are available right now - all you need to do is get your keyboard online and you can be enjoying streaming music within seconds. Follow this guide for help with connecting to the internet, or head here if you're ready to subscribe. For more information on Yamaha's Piano Radio, visit our Online Services site.

- Doug

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Learning With Yamaha: Part Two

We're back with the second episode of our "Learning With Yamaha" series. In our first installment, we saw how Passport to Music can help you get started learning to play, and today Aaron goes to the next level, using MIDI files to learn Beatles songs on the CVP-509.

As a musician who performs regularly, I am always trying to expand my repertoire—my mental database of songs. It serves a musician well to be able to play as many songs as possible; you never want to be on a gig and hear the bandleader call a song that you don't know, or be unable to play something the audience requests. I'm a firm believer in using technology as a tool to help you learn songs and develop as a musician. Fortunately, the CVP-509 comes equipped with such technology.

Using the Clavinova and MIDI song files, it's possible to learn thousands of songs very easily. The Clavinova comes ready with a few preset song files that you can play instantly, but you can also purchase MIDI song files from Yamaha MusicSoft or download them directly to your keyboard using the Internet Direct Connection feature. Either way, you can choose from a huge collection of songs, in every genre imaginable. The selection stays pretty current, and it is likely that you will find whatever songs you're looking for on the sites, including many of today's hits.

Personally, I am a huge Beatles fan. One of my favorite tunes of all time is "Here, There and Everywhere", but I've never attempted to play it on piano, so I decided to find a MIDI version of the song and try to learn it. I found the song file easily using Internet Direct Connection, and downloaded it directly to the Clavinova. I first played the entire file through to make sure it loaded properly, and to get a feel for the arrangement. Then, I set off to learn how to play the song.

Because the song is a MIDI file, I was able to "remix" the song, so to speak. I felt that the tempo was too fast for me, and so right away I slowed it down to make it easier for me to hit all of the right notes. I then transposed the song from the key of Bb to F because I wanted to be able to sing along with what I was playing. Next, I called up the score on the display so I could read the music as I practiced along with it.

Using the Clavinova, though, I didn't even need to read the score from the display. The Clavinova features a set of lights on the keyboard that will indicate the right notes to play as the song progresses, and I found this to be very helpful when trying to learn the melody. Pressing the button on the keyboard labeled "Track 1-R" and waiting for the indicator light to go off, I muted the part in the song that the right hand plays, but the guide lamp continued to direct me to the right notes. Then, pressing the button labeled "Track 2-L" and waiting for the indicator light to go off, I did the same thing for the left hand. I played along until I felt comfortable with the part. Then, feeling confident I could put it all together, I muted the parts of both the left and right hands and followed the lights along with the accompaniment.

I then turned to the keyboard's "Guide" function to polish my performance. This function is neat because it allows you to practice in some other interesting ways. To turn the "Guide" function on, simply press the button with the corresponding label. One option is to put the "Guide" into "Any Key Mode." This mode helps you understand the timing of the song. The guide lights will still flash along with the melody, but the accompaniment will wait for you to play the song in rhythm. It allows you to hit wrong notes, provided that you are rhythmically accurate with what you're supposed to be playing. The "Follow Lights" mode is similar - in this mode, the accompaniment will wait for you to play the right notes, according to the lights, and the accompaniment will play along with them in perfect rhythm. You also have the ability to loop a certain section of the song so that you can play it over again as many times as you like.

In just one afternoon, I was able to play a whole new song, and I had a lot of fun doing it. Maybe my next challenge will be to play the song in all twelve keys. A lot is possible with the MIDI song files from Yamaha MusicSoft. I'd definitely recommend exploring the different possibilities for yourself – they'll help you get more creative with your learning of music.

Be sure to check back for our next article, and see how Aaron handles learning to use play along styles.

- Aaron

Scare Up Some Fun With Halloween MIDI Songs

The ominous creak of a door, the howling of the wind, a blood curdling scream - and then... a perfectly timed orchestral crescendo! When planning your Halloween, having the right soundtrack is just as important as having the right candy. Whether you're setting up a haunted house, need some background music to delight trick-or-treaters, or you're putting together a Halloween themed set to perform this October, we've got MIDI song files that will help make your Halloween memorably musical. There's an assortment of spooky songs available at Yamaha MusicSoft and Internet Direct Connection, but take a closer look at some of our favorites:

The Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett

"The Monster Mash" is the ultimate Halloween party song. By laying down a rock'n'roll beat to dance to, and setting the scene with vampires, mummies and werewolves, it does everything but actually teach you how to do the Monster Mash - that much is up to you!

Devil Went Down to Georgia - Charlie Daniels Band

This song's foreboding minor key and lyrics recounting the tale of fiddling duel between the Devil and a young boy make it ideal for Halloween.

Thriller - Michael Jackson

Listening to "Thriller" it's extremely difficult to resist breaking into the zombie inspired dance moves that Michael created for this video.

Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield

Used in the classic horror film, "The Exorcist", this song is a great example of music that makes you feel like something sinister is waiting just around the corner.

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor - J.S. Bach

As far as creepy classical pieces go, this organ masterpiece is one of the most famous and most chill inducing.

For more, check out the full list of Halloween MIDI songs available at Yamaha MusicSoft. Or, if you're looking for a different way to get musical this Halloween, you can also find a variety of Halloween themed sheet music books, PianoSoft albums and more.

- Doug

Friday, October 8, 2010

Nuovi Premium Styles – Accompagnamenti jazz per tutti

I Premium Styles sono tornati e sono in forma smagliante. Yamaha ha portato gli stili a un altro livello con l'uscita della nuova Tyros4 e gli stili 50's Quickstep e French Swing sono i primi di una lunga serie che verrà pubblicata nel corso dei prossimi mesi. Entrambi gli stili presentano nuove riletture in chiave jazz che puoi aggiungere al tuo repertorio tastieristico: big band pronte per far scatenare la pista da ballo e il caratteristico swing del "gypsy jazz" reso celebre da Django Rheinhardt.

I due nuovi stili sono disponibili ognuno in cinque differenti versioni studiate per adattarsi a ogni specifico tipo di strumento, tra cui una versione ottimizzata per la nuova Tyros4, perciò otterrai il massimo da qualsiasi stile indipendentemente dalla tastiera che usi, che sia una Clavinova o una workstation.

Guarda e ascolta alcune dimostrazioni dei nuovi stili dal sempre splendido Martin Harris sulla Tyros4.

50's Quickstep – Lasciati trasportare nelle sale da ballo degli anni '50 con questo sfrenato stile quickstep. Il "quickstep" è un ballo da sala simile al foxtrot, molto veloce e caratterizzato da movimenti e passaggi rapidi. Questo stile è quindi perfetto per accompagnare il ballo da sala. Poiché il quickstep si balla normalmente con la musica delle orchestre swing o delle big band, questo stile, che sfrutta al meglio i cori Yamaha e presenta un vibrante accompagnamento di archi e chitarra, è arrangiato magnificamente per chi vuole suonare un jazz energico.

French Swing – Anche per gli appassionati di jazz può risultare difficile identificare il sound dello "swing francese", perlomeno finché non si pensa a Django Reinhardt. Reinhardt intrise la musica big band degli anni '30 e '40 con sonorità gitane, creando una forma jazz unica non soltanto dal punto di vista strumentale (principalmente chitarra e violino, senza batteria), ma anche per il tipo di armonie e melodie usate nelle canzoni. Questo stile replica alla perfezione il sound di Reinhardt, con sontuosi fraseggi di violino e chitarra, e l'aggiunta di un drumming leggero.

La nuova tastiera Tyros4 – Una panoramica comprendente gli aggiornamenti alle Premium Voices

Con l'uscita ufficiale dell'ultima workstation per arrangiamenti Yamaha, la Tyros4, i tastieristi di tutto il mondo passeranno settimane a studiarne tutte le nuove funzioni e i nuovi suoni. Grazie a una vasta scelta di funzioni di esecuzione, registrazione e apprendimento, un'interfaccia migliorata e ancora più intuitiva, oltre a nuovi suoni sensazionali, la Tyros4 rappresenta un importante passo avanti nella tecnologia Yamaha applicata alle tastiere.

I Premium Packs e Voices precedentemente disponibili per la Tyros3 sono ora utilizzabili sulla Tyros4. Ora, quando acquisti il Euro and US Organs Pack, il Choir and Vocals Pack o i SA2 Pan Flutes o SA2 Trombone Voices, avranno accesso alle versioni Tyros3 e Tyros4 di ogni voce e stile incluso. Inoltre, i possessori di Tyros3 Premium Packs o Voices possono scaricare gratuitamente le nuove versioni Tyros4 delle voci! Accedi al tuo account su Yamaha MusicSoft e troverai i nuovi file Tyros4 aggiornati e pronti per il download.

Ma i nuovi Tyros4 Packs e Voices non sono semplicemente gli stessi suoni e stili in versione compatibile con la Tyros4: pacchetti e voci sono stati portati allo standard superiore dei nuovi suoni integrati nella Tyros4. Questo significa qualità audio migliorata e nuove funzioni come l'anteprima delle voci e le informazioni su schermo per ogni voce.

Naturalmente la Tyros4 non si limita a offrire Premium Voices e Packs aggiornati. Ecco un assaggio delle novità offerte dalla Tyros4:

- Vocal Harmony 2

Con Vocal Harmony puoi cantare insieme ai tuoi coristi virtuali e la funzione Vocal Harmony della Tyros4 è talmente innovativa che le abbiamo dato un nuovo nome: VH2. Con effetti DSP dedicati, un nuovo preamplificatore e l'elaborazione del segnale integrata, VH2 aggiunge una nuova dimensione sonora a Vocal Harmony. Con tre coristi oltre alla tua voce e le nuove funzioni di riconoscimento dell'altezza del tono e controllo della stabilità, hai la certezza di poter offrire una performance strabiliante. Oltre a Vocal Harmony, VH2 presenta un nuovo Synth Vocoder. Questo processore vocale in tempo reale usa una delle dieci voci carrier insieme al segnale del microfono per creare un effetto di "sintetizzatore parlante".

- Registrazione audio migliorata

Non c'è più bisogno di aver un sistema di registrazione separato: ora puoi registrare le tue esecuzioni alla tastiera, il cantato e il suono degli altri strumenti direttamente sulla Tyros4! La muova modalità di registrazione "Semplice" consente di registrare l'esecuzione direttamente su file WAV o MP3, sia sulla Tyros4 che su un'unità USB collegata, senza bisogno di convertire i file.

- Stili e voci totalmente nuovi

La Tyros4 comprende un'infinità di nuove voci e stili che fissano un nuovo standard in termini di qualità sonora, espressività, realismo e suonabilità. Ad esempio, usando la nuova tecnologia Ambient Sampling e Wave Cycling, Yamaha ha creato nuove incredibili voci individuali e corali che aprono scenari musicali tutti da esplorare. Inoltre, ogni voce della Tyros4 dispone di anteprima integrata, che permette di sapere come suona ogni voce prima di caricarla.

Molte altre informazioni sono disponibili sul sito ufficiale di Tyros e nei prossimi mesi riceverai tantissime novità sulla Tyros4.

I Premium Styles più popolari, finora

Questa settimana abbiamo pubblicato due nuovi Premium Styles e ce ne sono altri in arrivo nei mesi autunnali e invernali, ma gli oltre 100 Premium Styles già disponibili su Yamaha MusicSoft e Internet Direct Connection ti offrono una miriade di soluzioni musicali. Quale che sia il tuo stile preferito, dal big band jazz al pop moderno, ci sono tantissimi Premium Styles utilizzabili per arricchire l'esecuzione e rendere le tue esibizioni più varie e divertenti. Diamo un'occhiata ai Premium Styles più popolari fino ad oggi (continua a leggere per guardare i video dimostrativi di ogni style):

The Blues - Questo stile ricrea il famoso sound del blues elettrico degli anni '50, familiare a tutti i fan di B.B. King o Muddy Waters.

Piano Slow Shuffle - Uno stile jazz versatile con un arrangiamento tradizionale di piano, basso e batteria. Il tocco delicato delle spazzole e l'incedere deciso del contrabbasso creano il sound autentico di un combo jazz. Puoi suonare in trio aggiungendo linee melodiche al pianoforte o scegliere il quartetto con corni e legni.

70's Country Pop - Negli anni '70 ci fu un'evoluzione della musica country, dal sound tradizionale di Nashville a un'immagine più influenzata dal pop. Grazie a un mix di chitarre acustiche, elettriche e pedal steel, questo stile offre l'accompagnamento perfetto per suonare i classici country degli anni '70.

Easy Country Swing - Un caldo mix di slide guitar e piano honky tonk, scandito da un ritmo country costante ma swingato per un accompagnamento impeccabile.

Pop Mambo - Questo stile non propone il mambo classico, ma una sua reinterpretazione che scalò le classifiche americane ed europee.

Swedish Pop - Negli anni '70 il pop svedese salì alla ribalta internazionale grazie a dischi e canzoni che vendettero milioni di copie e sono tuttora inseriti nelle programmazioni radiofoniche. Rivivi il sound e le hit con questo stile mid-tempo.

Big Band Train - Dagli anni '40 a oggi, il sound delle big band americane non ha mai perso popolarità. Questo stile ritmato contiene tutti gli strumenti di una big band – batteria, basso acustico, chitarra jazz, piano, sassofoni e ottoni – con un banco di One Touch Settings per aiutarti a suonare insieme al brano.

The Blues

Piano Slow Shuffle

70's Country Pop

Easy Country Swing

Pop Mambo

Swedish Pop

Big Band Train

Big Band Foxtrot

Pop Reggae

Nouveaux Premium Styles – Accompagnements de jazz pour tous

Les Premium Styles sont de retour et meilleurs qu'auparavant. Grâce à Yamaha, les styles sont passés à un tout autre niveau avec la sortie du nouveau Tyros4. Le style 50's Quickstep et le style French Swing sont les premiers d'une longue liste de nouveaux styles que nous sortirons au cours des prochains mois. Ces deux styles présentent de nouvelles dimensions du jazz que vous pouvez ajouter au répertoire de votre keyboard : big band entraînant pour les bals ainsi que le swing caractéristique du « jazz manouche » rendu populaire par Django Reinhardt.

Ces deux nouveaux styles sont disponibles en cinq versions différentes qui ont été conçues pour convenir à chaque type d'instrument spécifique, dont une version améliorée dédiée au nouveau Tyros4. Ainsi, vous pouvez être sûr d'obtenir un style d'excellente qualité pour votre modèle de keyboard particulier, que vous utilisiez un Clavinova ou un keyboard arrangeur.

Visionnez et écoutez des démonstrations des nouveaux styles grâce au merveilleux Martin Harris sur le Tyros4.

50's Quickstep – Faites un voyage dans le temps et redécouvrez les danses de bal des années 50 grâce à ce style quickstep de tempo rapide. Le terme « Quickstep » fait référence à la danse de bal qui ressemble au foxtrot, c'est-à-dire une danse très rapide caractérisée par des mouvements et des pas rapides. Ce style est donc l'accompagnement idéal pour les danses de salon. Étant donné que le Quickstep est généralement dansé sur de la musique big band ou swing, ce style, qui permet de tirer profit des sonorités vocales de fond Yamaha et qui présente un arrière-plan endiablé pour les cordes et guitares, ravira quiconque cherchant à jouer un jazz énergique.

French Swing – Il peut être difficile, même pour les passionnés de jazz, d'identifier ce à quoi peut ressembler un style « French Swing » ; du moins jusqu'à ce que vous pensiez à Django Reinhardt. En se servant de la musique big band des années 30 et 40 et en la fusionnant avec les influences tziganes, Reinhardt a créé une forme de swing unique, qui se différenciait non seulement au niveau des instruments (la guitare et le violon jouent un rôle primordial, tandis qu'aucune percussion n'est présente) mais également au niveau des harmonies et des mélodies utilisées dans les chansons. Ce style reprend parfaitement la sonorité unique de Reinhardt, avec des figures de violon et de guitare, et l'ajout de percussions légères.

Le nouveau keyboard Tyros4 – Présentation générale et mises à jour des Premium Voices

Le tout dernier et meilleur keyboard arrangeur Yamaha, le Tyros4, est officiellement sorti. Les pianistes du monde entier consacreront sans nul doute leurs prochaines semaines à découvrir toutes les nouvelles fonctionnalités et sonorités que ce keyboard arrangeur met à votre disposition. Grâce à une large palette de fonctionnalités dédiées à la performance, à l'enregistrement et à l'apprentissage, une interface utilisateur améliorée et encore plus facile à utiliser, ainsi que de nouvelles sonorités à couper le souffle, le Tyros4 est une véritable prouesse technologique dans le domaine des keyboards proposés par Yamaha.

Les Premium Packs et Voices sortis auparavant pour le Tyros3 peuvent également maintenant être utilisés sur le Tyros4. Désormais, lorsque vous achetez le Pack Euro and US Organs, le Pack Choir and Vocals, le SA2 Pan Flutes ou le SA2 Trombone Voices, vous aurez accès aux versions des Tyros3 et Tyros4 pour chaque Voice et style inclus. En plus, les propriétaires de Premium Packs ou de Premium Voices pour le Tyros3 peuvent télécharger gratuitement les versions des Voices pour le Tyros4. Pour cela, il suffit de vous connecter à votre compte Yamaha MusicSoft. Vous y trouverez les nouveaux fichiers mis à jour pour le Tyros4 qui attendent d'être téléchargés.

N'allez pas croire que les nouveaux Packs et Voices pour le Tyros4 ne sont qu'une pâle copie des sonorités et styles déjà existants et mis à jour pour être compatibles avec le Tyros4 : tous les Packs et Voices ont été améliorés pour se conformer aux nouveaux classiques des sonorités intégrées au Tyros4. En clair, vous disposez d'une qualité sonore améliorée, de nouvelles fonctionnalités telles que les aperçus des voices et d'informations qui s'affichent à l'écran pour chaque voice.

Bien entendu, le Tyros4 offre bien plus que de simples Premium Voices et Packs améliorés. Voici une vue d'ensemble de ce que vous pouvez attendre du Tyros4 :

- Vocal Harmony 2

Grâce à l'harmoniseur vocal, vous pouvez chanter avec vos propres chanteurs virtuels en arrière-plan. L'harmoniseur vocal du Tyros4 représente une telle avancée que nous lui avons donné un nom : VH2. Grâce aux effets DSP dédiés, à un nouveau préamplificateur et à un traitement de signal intégré, VH2 émet un son cristallin d'harmoniseur vocal. Le VH2 permet d'ajouter jusqu'à trois chanteurs en plus de votre propre voix, il dispose d'un système de reconnaissance de la hauteur de son et de commandes de stabilité... bref, vous disposez de tous les éléments pour réaliser une performance époustouflante. En plus de l'harmoniseur vocal, VH2 dispose d'un vocodeur pour synthétiseur. Ce processeur vocal en temps réel utilise l'une des 10 voix de transport conjointement avec le signal du microphone afin de créer un effet de « synthétiseur parlant ».

- Enregistrement sonore amélioré

Plus besoin d'autre matériel pour enregistrer : vous pouvez enregistrer les morceaux que vous jouez au keyboard ainsi que le propre son de votre voix ou d'autres instruments directement avec le Tyros4 ! Le nouveau mode d'enregistrement « Simple » vous permet d'enregistrer directement vos performances musicales vers un fichier au format WAV ou MP3 sur le Tyros4 ou sur un lecteur USB connecté, sans avoir à renvoyer ou à convertir les fichiers.

- Des Styles et des Voices inédits

Le Tyros4 inclut de très nombreux styles et voices complètement nouveaux qui améliorent davantage la qualité sonore, l'expressivité, le réalisme et la jouabilité. Par exemple, grâce aux technologies Ambient Sampling et Wave Cycling, Yamaha a mis au point de nouvelles voices (chœur et chants) qui vous offrent une toute nouvelle palette avec laquelle vous pouvez travailler. De plus, chaque voice sur le Tyros4 dispose d'un aperçu intégré, ce qui vous permet de découvrir la tonalité de chaque sonorité lorsque vous choisissez une voice, avant même de la charger.

De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site Web officiel de Tyros, et nous vous donnerons plus de nouvelles du Tyros4 dans les prochains mois.

- Doug

Les Premium Styles les plus en vogue à l'heure actuelle

Nous avons sorti deux nouveaux Premium Styles cette semaine, et nous en sortirons d'autres au cours de l'automne et de l'hiver, mais la centaine de Premium Styles déjà disponibles sur Yamaha MusicSoft et Internet Direct Connection peuvent encore vous permettre de jouer vos morceaux de nombreuses manières différentes. Que vous utilisiez votre keyboard pour jouer du big band jazz, de la pop contemporaine ou un style intermédiaire, il existe de nombreux Premium Styles dont vous pouvez tirer profit afin d'améliorer vos performances musicales et de rendre vos spectacles solos plus variés, plus passionnants et plus divertissants. Jetons un œil aux Premium Styles les plus en vogue actuellement (continuez à lire afin de visionner des vidéos de démonstration pour chaque style) :

The Blues - Ce style renoue avec le son du blues électrique qui a eu son heure de gloire durant les années 50, bien connu des fans de B.B. King ou de Muddy Waters.

Piano Slow Shuffle - Il s'agit d'un style jazz varié qui combine piano traditionnel, basse et arrangement pour les percussions. Grâce à un jeu subtil et doux de percussions et une basse à pied, les sons et rythmes de ce style vous offrent une véritable sensation de petite formation jazz authentique. Vous pouvez garder ce style en trio en y ajoutant des lignes de mélodie pour piano ou en faire un quatuor avec des cors ou des voices d'instruments à vent.

70's Country Pop - Les années 70 ont vu une évolution du son de la musique Country originaire de Nashville vers une tendance nettement plus pop. Grâce au mélange de guitares acoustiques, électriques et hawaïennes, ce style est l'accompagnement parfait pour jouer des succès Country des années 70.

Easy Country Swing - Un ardent mélange de guitare glissée et de piano bastringue, avec en arrière-plan un rythme country régulier mais entraînant, qui accompagne parfaitement un instrument.

Pop Mambo - Il ne s'agit pas de mambo à proprement parler, mais ce style fait de nouveau un tabac à la fois aux États-Unis et en Europe.

Swedish Pop - Dans les années 1970, la musique pop suédoise a connu un engouement au niveau international, qui a permis de réaliser certaines des meilleures ventes de disques du monde, et des succès qui sont diffusés sur les stations de radio encore aujourd'hui. Revivez le son et les succès avec ce style mid-tempo.

Big Band Train - Le son de la musique d'un grand orchestre américain est redevenu aussi populaire que dans les années 40. Ce style entraînant compte tous les instruments que vous attendez : la batterie, la basse acoustique, la guitare jazz, le piano, les saxos et les cuivres, avec une banque complémentaire de configurations One Touch pour accompagner le morceau.

The Blues

Piano Slow Shuffle

70's Country Pop

Easy Country Swing

Pop Mambo

Swedish Pop

Big Band Train

Big Band Foxtrot

Pop Reggae