Fractalizing Grand Piano Playing
With Reaktor Using Voice Robbing

from: R4 Mechanic

I like to play grand piano thru an entire tune in one pass, no overdubs, just dealing with the track as it comes, played as a live piano player, recording audio and midi both. Then I take the midi, make a midi file, and import it into a Reaktor synth ensemble like Fritz or SH or Junatik (simple mono/poly synths) and limit the polyphony from 1 to 4 voices. This cuts out notes from the piano part, playing only the most recent and highest notes. Of course you can choose a different priority, and by variating the number of voices, you can make Reaktor play leads using the subconscious note construction any pianist creates when playing in real time. Its so immediate, you have to do things with your hands to produce sound by ear, it is impossible to be consciously aware of every move you make, the more experience you have, the less you have to think about it, so the more there is going on subconsciously as you play.

Limiting Reaktor polyphony makes the right and left hands of the piano into this single line with harmonies here and there, weaving thru the fabric of all those piano notes, of which only a fraction get thru, based on whatever voice priority you set, different timbres favor different "fractals of voice robbing". I love record a few of those, wildly different, but from the same grand piano track, then layer them all time aligned with the original sound. Its amazing how many musical lines are interwoven in one pass of a grand piano part. A monophonic fuzztone oscillator lead sounds fantastic playing with the grand piano it was made from.

Naturally it doesn't have to be Reaktor, but this is the most important part of this "lesson"... I'm sorry, but WHY FUCK AROUND? Changing polyphony and timbres in Reaktor is how I "found" this method of fractal overdubbing using my own subconscious piano moves, I'm getting my grand piano sound elsewhere, but for the "quasimoto crustascian voice robbing reorchestration", Reaktor is the natural choice for me.

Unison polyphony makes a big difference, too. I like to make the unison voice amount, if changed from 1, be ONE LESS than the total voice polyphony amount. If its a lead, this gives me all the oscillators on the main lead note, and one extra oscillator by itself playing harmony notes to that lead drawn from the surrounding piano notes. The more arpeggiated (broken chords) the original piano part is, the more interesting the voice robbed fractals are.

The real beauty of it lies in the fact all of the notes are played in one pass, not only is it done real quick, every mutation that results will match up, you decide which ones are the best with how you mix it.



21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 X 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1