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Syncopated chord changes- how revolutionary was it?

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Syncopated chord changes- how revolutionary was it? #5609
The following blurb is from the G-800 owners' manual:

Truly intelligent
"While previous models were unable to cope with syncopated chord changes, the Arranger of your G-800 will change accordingly, so that you could even play different chords for every eighth note (quaver) of a bar and still benefit from a professional sounding accompaniment."

I never had the opportunity to play earlier Rolands such as the E-70, E-86, etc. I'm curious... were there noticeable glitches or drop-outs when changing chords between beats? For those who lived through it, how much of an improvement was there in chord recognition with the G-800 and its brethren?
1 year 3 months ago

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Syncopated chord changes- how revolutionary was it? #5612
I think (but I'm not 100% sure I remember that far back accurately!) that the G800 was the first Roland to be able to 'slide' from one note to a new note if you changed chords before the timing of the style played one. I think this is the feature they are trying to promote...

If you think about it, if you have a 1/4 note bassline and you play a 1/8th note chord change syncopation, what does the arranger do? The style dictates 1/4 notes (and I don't think I have heard of even a modern arranger that will actually play an 1/8th note if the Part only has 1/4's programmed in) but you just asked it for a chord change in the middle of a note!

Roland's answer to this was to 'bend' the notes to the new chord instantaneously, but without retriggering the note. Actually, what is going on is a new note IS played instantly, but the old note is 'portamento'd' to it with a time of zero (so, in effect, an instantaneous jump) which keeps the timing of the style intact. The effect is so well done, you often can't hear it happen at all. But look at the output of a style's MIDI in a DAW/Sequencer, and you see a lot of tiny one or two tick notes at full velocity, followed by a couple of MIDI CC#'s (this is the portamento 'on' and portamento time set to zero) and then followed by the syncopated (or fractionally late played) actual note at a low velocity.

Editing a style's output for use in an SMF often involves removing these 'false' notes and CC# codes, and restoring the correct note's velocity if there's any noticeable glitch. And if you have a slightly lazy LH and tended to input chords just a hair late (swing times often meant this, as your 'swing' value and the style's might be a hair off) you could find yourself doing a ton of this to clean up a track!

But yes, I definitely recall the G800 as being less noticeable when my chord input was faster than the style's rhythm structure, or I was less than perfect at slightly anticipating the beat when inputting chords! That has always been an issue for me, I have worked a lifetime trying to get my rhythm timing as perfect as possible, but to operate an arranger well, you need to very slightly anticipate or 'rush' the beat to get that new chord in with enough time for the arranger to play it without a tiny glitch. That ability to play the RH in perfect time but rush the LH a hair has mostly eluded me!

Admittedly, my time on arrangers was only cursory on other brands and Roland models prior to the G800 (I had an RA90 previously, but primarily only used it as a drum machine with fills, or as a Sound Canvas module for sequences) but I definitely remember getting frustrated when they refused to play a new chord when I wanted one, or if I played lazily, would noticeably 'jump' to new notes. For me, the G800 was the first arranger that I felt was listening to me, not itself!

Since then, G800-G1000-G70-BK9... It has been a long strange trip and they kept getting better! Now, with Adaptive Chord Voicing (to help stop single lines jumping around too much) and Dynamic Arranger (to help the accompaniment's dynamics adjust to my own) and Pianist2 chord recognition (needing five new notes before a new chord is changed to if the sustain pedal is down), I honestly get chills from time to time at how much the arranger feels like it actually IS listening to me, not plowing on like an automaton!

We live in great times.... Sadly, it feels like End Times as far as Roland is concerned, though. I am glad they went out with a bang with the BK9, but can't help feeling sad that Roland's innovation in the arranger field (which other brands have copied wholesale in many cases) seems to have come to a close.
1 year 3 months ago Last edit: 1 year 3 months ago by Diki.
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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