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#1126817 - 04/21/17 11:04 AM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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No doubt that somebody good can use BIAB very well and sound very good, but I dont think it's a matter of people just "Accepting" the sound. The average listener rates all music by how it sounds. If you dont sound as full and as vibrant and clean as major artists on the radio, then they dont think you are as good. They may not know why they dont think its as good, they just know that it doesnt sound as good as the music they buy...or steal

To me its not the idea of using samples. Its the idea that no matter what you do, BIAB will only be a nice sounding demo maker

#1126827 - 04/21/17 12:42 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: sjames17]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Originally Posted by sjames17
No doubt that somebody good can use BIAB very well and sound very good, but I dont think it's a matter of people just "Accepting" the sound. The average listener rates all music by how it sounds. If you dont sound as full and as vibrant and clean as major artists on the radio, then they dont think you are as good. They may not know why they dont think its as good, they just know that it doesnt sound as good as the music they buy...or steal

To me its not the idea of using samples. Its the idea that no matter what you do, BIAB will only be a nice sounding demo maker



With each day that passes, these software developers are closing the gap between what BIAB will produce and what is produced in a good studio by good people.

I disagree with you that an average listener can tell the difference (in many cases) between studio produced tracks and what Michael would produce. I'm not saying that top grade mics and an engineer that has been great with ProTools for years won't be more sophisticated etc...I don't know.
But the difference in the resultant sound for many songs, particularly singer-songwriter stuff, won't be perceptible to an average listener....imo.

Martin

#1126828 - 04/21/17 01:49 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: sjames17]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by sjames17
No doubt that somebody good can use BIAB very well and sound very good, but I dont think it's a matter of people just "Accepting" the sound. The average listener rates all music by how it sounds. If you dont sound as full and as vibrant and clean as major artists on the radio, then they dont think you are as good. They may not know why they dont think its as good, they just know that it doesnt sound as good as the music they buy...or steal

To me its not the idea of using samples. Its the idea that no matter what you do, BIAB will only be a nice sounding demo maker


Hi James,

Keep in mind BIAB consists of several thousands of performances, and these are mostly competently performed by excellent session musicians such as Brent Mason and John Jarvis on the country side. These are not phoned in performances, either. So how can having top flight Nashville musicians on one's country demo be a bad thing?

The key to BIAB, like any software, is..you have to tweak it and tweak it to really get something good out of it. The band may be in the box, as it were, but it's not gonna sound great 'til you do a lot of picking and choosing, cross-fading one performance with another, using polyphonic pitch correction tools like Melodyne to actually bend and morph performances into what the user is envisioning.

Vision is still what makes (non-experimental based) art good art. Without it, BIAB sucks. With it, it's an important tool in one's toolbox, and can assist in the creation of wonderful demos.

Having said all this, I still think BIAB works best with background tracks and soloists. It can't for instance, echo a song's primary melody, unless you get lucky. Virtual and real instruments work best in those instances.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 04/21/17 01:50 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1126830 - 04/21/17 02:11 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Hi Martin,

Been thinking about your harbinger post.

Haven't economy and efficiency always been an important part in the thought process of inventors and creators and toolmakers of all kinds? Aesthetically at least, there's an urge towards economy in the act of inventing and creating and tool-making, and this seems to encompass creating/inventing tools/tech that do what used to take many people to do--ie making tools/tech more efficient. I think there's a deeply rooted creative urge towards this.

One thing I'm pretty sure about. We can't "dumb down" our creators and inventors. And pressing a "reset button" only works in Damon Lindeloff run shows like Lost. smile

I like to think that the future will involve some kind of "reverse social entropy" where technology may make many jobs extinct, but that there will be other work, and if not, this will be an area where some creative think-tankers can and must apply their minds.

What you present is a true world class ethical dilemma, for sure. Something to keep in mind as we enter the future day by day. smile

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 04/21/17 03:08 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1126840 - 04/21/17 07:51 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Martin the average listener probably can't tell any kind of software is being used, but it's never going to sound what radio artists are using for their hit song releases.

If a band in a box recording went between a hit by Taylor Swift , and a hit by green day on the radio, it would sound like an auto jingle

It's not to knock biab or anyone using it, but to think plopping down a few hundred bucks on band in a box, and it can rival what hundreds of thousands of dollars can sound like is not realistic.

Last edited by sjames17; 04/21/17 07:53 PM.
#1126841 - 04/21/17 08:01 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Michael, that's exactly what I'm saying, that the software works best as an accompaniment for soloists and people wanting to practice. That is what it was originally designed for, as a backing band for blues and jazz musicians

As a guitar player, it always sounded like elevator music to me. Using real instruments with it helps it a bit

But you are right, it's not great for playing melody or supporting melody, it just plays chords. It doesn't know your song, it only spews out some basic supporting chords over your melody. I think you can now change voicing of chords, which helps it sound a bit reader, but it's still generic stuff, it has to be, In order to accommodate millions of users.

The real test is recording covers with it. When you try to record a cover, you soon realize how limited it is. You may end up recording all the unique parts of the song yourself, with biab just filling in the fullness of it

When doing originals, it's easy to pretend that the arrangements are part of your song, but that is because nobody knows your song yet, and they accept what they hear as part of your song.

Again, I think band in a box is great for practice and great for demos and great for lyricists who may not have a lot of musical ability, but I just don't see it as a professional album producer


Last edited by sjames17; 04/21/17 08:04 PM.
#1126845 - 04/21/17 09:00 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Hi Martin,

Been thinking about your harbinger post.

Haven't economy and efficiency always been an important part in the thought process of inventors and creators and toolmakers of all kinds? Aesthetically at least, there's an urge towards economy in the act of inventing and creating and tool-making, and this seems to encompass creating/inventing tools/tech that do what used to take many people to do--ie making tools/tech more efficient. I think there's a deeply rooted creative urge towards this.

One thing I'm pretty sure about. We can't "dumb down" our creators and inventors. And pressing a "reset button" only works in Damon Lindeloff run shows like Lost. smile

I like to think that the future will involve some kind of "reverse social entropy" where technology may make many jobs extinct, but that there will be other work, and if not, this will be an area where some creative think-tankers can and must apply their minds.

What you present is a true world class ethical dilemma, for sure. Something to keep in mind as we enter the future day by day. smile

Mike


Westworld seems to mainly be about when artificial intelligence and emotion transcends into actual intelligence and emotion.

This robotics convergence seems different.
I don't think that anyone should tell people not to innovate or to hold their innovations off the market. That seems a deprivation of freedom and a stillborn idea.

In the last two hundred years innovation has come fast and many occupations were made obsolete. But, there is something different looking about this software/robotics/internet convergence. It is coming on real fast and has a wide breadth.

Trains, cars and airplanes eliminated the horse and coach industry but created the need for miles of rails and paved roads. Robotics and mechanization and the internet, so far, look like they are going to replace humans at many existing tasks, but not create anything else for the displaced to do.

One wonders if the unemployment rate is going to soar in the next twenty years. I'm reading about suggestions such as giving every human being a living stipend out of the profits that machines generate.

Maybe it will all be fine, but if you have multitudes of people without incomes and desperate...bad things happen.



Last edited by Martin Lide; 04/21/17 09:02 PM.
#1126846 - 04/21/17 09:08 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: sjames17]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Originally Posted by sjames17
Martin the average listener probably can't tell any kind of software is being used, but it's never going to sound what radio artists are using for their hit song releases.

If a band in a box recording went between a hit by Taylor Swift , and a hit by green day on the radio, it would sound like an auto jingle

It's not to knock biab or anyone using it, but to think plopping down a few hundred bucks on band in a box, and it can rival what hundreds of thousands of dollars can sound like is not realistic.


I disagree. I think BIAB or something similar will be indistinguishable in the hands of someone like Mike in just a few years.

I know how to use recording software a little bit and sort of. I know how to use architectural software well. In my lifetime I've watched it become a curiosity and then a substitute for drafting and then a magnificent tool capable of all sorts of things. Now I'm watching it evolve into a magnificent tool that can employ itself.

Music is on the same track.

#1126848 - 04/21/17 10:54 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: sjames17]  
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Originally Posted by sjames17


it just plays chords.




James,

The accompaniment performances DO NOT just play chords. They add in all kinds of non-chordal notes: passing tones, lower and upper neighboring tones, grace notes, appoggiaturas, etc. BIAB has always considered non-chordal tones as part of what makes up a given style, and so every style has plenty of non-chordal tones that will happen in any given accompaniment, and over any given chord. But of course, you want the BIAB performers to be following your chart, and these performances sound like real musicians with their own quirks and predilections and riffs because they ARE real musicians with their own quirks and predilections and riffs, and the performances are far from vanilla, though I suppose this point may be a matter of subjective opinion. I wouldn't want to tell John Jarvis or Kenny Barron that their BIAB performances were vanilla, though, because they are pretty sweet, actually. These guys (and all the BIAB musicians) did for BIAB what they do in ANY session situation: they follow a chart and put their personalities into it, and they don't play safe or hold back.

Maybe you have an image in your head of what BIAB was about ten years ago. BIAB has been using real performances from real world class musicians since about 2009. These performances are committed to high quality audio formats and all told there's almost two terabytes of audio (with the Audiophile version) or about 2,600 hours, laid out end-to-end.

This is the equivalent of having hundreds of great session musicians at your disposal. Strike that. This IS having hundreds of great session musicians at your disposal. And if not, it's the next best thing.

The one point we are in agreement is that for a foregrounded melody that echoes a melody in ones' song, BIAB will be clueless--because it's not a mind-reader--it never claimed to be a fully functional digital audio workstation. But at this point it, with a little smoke-and-mirrors and elbow grease, can certainly be one of the pillars upon which one produces great tracks. Combined with real instruments, virtual instruments, and an artistic vision--you're set. smile

Mike


Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 04/21/17 11:41 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1126850 - 04/21/17 11:03 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Lide


Westworld seems to mainly be about when artificial intelligence and emotion transcends into actual intelligence and emotion.




And it's a great hook. The best thing about Star Trek TNG (other than Patrick Stewart's great elocution) was the character of Data.

We are to artificial intelligence what God is to man. I cannot, at this point claim to think that AI will never achieve sentience, and wonder what that will ultimately mean. smile

As to Westworld, waiting two whole years for season two is gonna be hard. Delores, Delores, Delores.. (shaking my head in disbelief..)

Mike


Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1126853 - 04/21/17 11:43 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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sjames17 Offline
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Martin dont get me wrong, I think AI WILL change the game, and in some ways already has.

I think our generation and probably the next will be ok for our music endeavors, but beyond that...I have been loathing this idea for a while now

I just don't think we are there yet, this stuff is still in its infancy. Imagine wearing a head band, that has electrodes, you simply think a bass line, and it comes through the electors, into a daw, and then you just choose what bass, what sound, and it plays what your brain was thinking?

Now THAT would be cool. I'm not as excited about machines doing all,the creative stuff though

Anyway,we can agree to disagree on band in a box.

Last edited by sjames17; 04/21/17 11:54 PM.
#1126854 - 04/21/17 11:53 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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sjames17 Offline
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Michael, what I meant was the software doesn't play to you, you have to play to it. It plays riffs and passing melodies, but it's not made for your song

Two people can release two different songs, and you both could end up with the same bass line. It would take more than a thousand possibilities, the human mind has millions, and it grows

its probably the best thing we have for that cost and practicality but it's not a replacement for real musicians.

Drums seem to be fine, I have ex drummer and I can get Ez drummer to play exactly what I want it to play, I can't do that with other instruments.

The other thing to consider is if you are going to devote that much time into making band in a box a detailed music accompaniment and doing all,the things you mentioned, you could argue that learning to actually play the other Instruments would be as easy!

#1126856 - 04/22/17 12:26 AM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: sjames17]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by sjames17
Michael, what I meant was the software doesn't play to you, you have to play to it. It plays riffs and passing melodies, but it's not made for your song

Two people can release two different songs, and you both could end up with the same bass line. It would take more than a thousand possibilities, the human mind has millions, and it grows

its probably the best thing we have for that cost and practicality but it's not a replacement for real musicians.

Drums seem to be fine, I have ex drummer and I can get Ez drummer to play exactly what I want it to play, I can't do that with other instruments.

The other thing to consider is if you are going to devote that much time into making band in a box a detailed music accompaniment and doing all,the things you mentioned, you could argue that learning to actually play the other Instruments would be as easy!



James,

For exactitude, I would never use BIAB. When I want specific melodic lines, I wouldn't use BIAB.

In fact, a third of my time is spent writing soundtrack kinda stuff for music libraries, and I never use BIAB for that stuff.

As to "playing to you" vs. "you playing to it." When dealing with accompaniment, most of the time one is not gonna want the session musicians to be playing any more "to you" than they do in a given style. You choose a style of performance, and that is usually "to you" enough. If I want a musician quoting a singers' melody a bar later, like I say, I wouldn't use BIAB for that. Wrong choice of tool.

If you had Native Instruments' Kontakt you would find that the world of virtual instruments has improved significantly as well. Every instrument under the sun potentially at your fingertips, sampled deeply, and with the scripting you never hear a "machine-gun effect" of repeated notes.

I was a guitarist for over thirty-five years. I hurt my chording hand thumb from busking 5-8 hour days out at Balboa Park. Must've been pushing my thumb too hard into the neck, LOL. I miss Travis picking especially..

No, it's not a replacement for real musicians but it is the next best thing, since you are getting many hours of performances from each (real session musician) that you can be creative with. It's really a great tool.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 04/22/17 02:46 AM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1126860 - 04/22/17 12:48 AM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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sjames17 Offline
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Man that sucks about your thumb, sorry to hear that, that's a tragedy for a musician.

Well, I think the specific parts/melodies is what makes the arrangements great. Like the guitar is playing a half chord with a melody, and then the bass comes in and slides down to a higher octave, and hits the third of the chord, then plays its own little melody before the singer sings the next line.

Meanwhile the piano tinkles to a higher range so to not clutter that range of the arrangement, while the sax plays a few wailing harmonies of what the guitar might be doing.

I mean I may not have described that very well, but there is nothing like an arrangement that is working together to create a great track.

Last edited by sjames17; 04/22/17 12:50 AM.
#1126862 - 04/22/17 02:44 AM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: sjames17]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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California
Originally Posted by sjames17
Man that sucks about your thumb, sorry to hear that, that's a tragedy for a musician.

Well, I think the specific parts/melodies is what makes the arrangements great. Like the guitar is playing a half chord with a melody, and then the bass comes in and slides down to a higher octave, and hits the third of the chord, then plays its own little melody before the singer sings the next line.

Meanwhile the piano tinkles to a higher range so to not clutter that range of the arrangement, while the sax plays a few wailing harmonies of what the guitar might be doing.

I mean I may not have described that very well, but there is nothing like an arrangement that is working together to create a great track.


Yeah, it's like getting electrical shocks down the base of my thumb whenever I press it against the neck. Nerve damage. frown

Well there's nothing wrong with a Brian Wilson kinda control over arrangements. In fact if you hear all that stuff, go for it. smile

But the thing I've learned about making demos, for clients especially, is that oft times they don't desire too much detail put into instrumental parts that are supposed to be background accompaniment, cuz they distract from the singer and the song. Most of the time, my clients want their lyrics and melody front and center. Besides, the (BIAB) session players "know" the style I've chosen for them and play "to it" quite well. Most of the time I mix styles together, and this will comprise 60-70% of an arrangement, with virtual and real instruments comprising the rest--usually foregrounded stuff.

There's often foregrounded music going on in any given song at any given point, whether we're talking fills or counterpoint, and for this stuff virtual instruments get the call, especially if I'm quoting the songs' melody. So I usually end up doing much detailed work on any given demo, but use the "listener can only follow one thing at a time" approach.

I can understand the enjoyment of detail and control like you describe, but find the human ear can only really hear one thing at a time (though as a listener, I love free jazz). The trick is to always, magician-like, be leading the listener to be hearing what you want them to with a musical sleight-of-hand.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 04/22/17 02:52 AM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1126877 - 04/22/17 11:21 AM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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sjames17 Offline
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People hear a wall of sound, they hear specifics only subconciously. The end result is the melody stands out because of everything going on around it. if you arranged a pop song like a grateful dead song, you would have people tuning out

playing f# in the bass of a d chord changes the whole dynamic of the chord. playing the root of everything and the same voicing gets boring.

You couldnt compete with pop radio using band in a box arrangements, but you can get solid results.

I remember in music appreciation class they used to make us listen to one part only of a song, and you hear say the bass line as never heard before, alone. alone it often sounds like nothing, mixed with everything else it sounds great

One time I was getting my tires changed at this garage, and the garage was big and boomy, walk this way came on, and i was tuned into the bass line

The bass line is freaking great! but youd never notice it if not listening directly for it, but when listening to a song you hear it all as one sound

Give it a try, the bass is so cool on aersosmiths walk this way!

Last edited by sjames17; 04/22/17 11:25 AM.
#1126879 - 04/22/17 11:49 AM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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sjames17 Offline
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sjames17  Offline
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lets say you wrote Sir Duke.

How in the world could you get band in a box to play all this? (they may actually have a preset version of sir duke in band in a box, but thats different, here you are trying to arrange your song from scratch using band in a box

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6fPN5aQVDI

#1126880 - 04/22/17 11:52 AM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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sjames17 Offline
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#1126882 - 04/22/17 11:57 AM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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sjames17 Offline
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#1126884 - 04/22/17 12:33 PM Re: Creativity and the Use of BIAB and Loops [Re: sjames17]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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Posts: 4,465
California
Like I said, BIAB is not the tool of choice when specific melodies, riffs, etc. are in mind, unless you know certain BIAB performances will give you that. But with the music meant as background, you don't want it to distract too much--that foregrounds it to some extent. If I write something really clever for a virtual musician playing in the background, clients often ask me to simplify. It's important to decide what is background and what is foreground, in any given piece. With foregrounded stuff, you basically, usually, just want one thing at a time to be foregrounded (the singer when they're singing), otherwise it can be distracting. When speaking in generalities one has to be careful, cuz there are always countless exceptions, though, such as riffs and grooves that run through pieces.

Most recording sessions involving good session players involve them playing using only a chord chart. Most of the time they are not reading an exact musical score that they must reproduce note for note, but interpreting things themselves, the best they can, unless they've been given discreet instructions. So how is this situation different from BIAB? Here's how..in real life, Stevie Wonder might chime in by singing relevant parts to the various guys, but when those parts aren't happening (in the song) the session players more than likely "default" back to playing what they feel. And this is where, in home studio recording, you say "the best tool for this Sir Dukish part is not BIAB but my virtual clavinet (or whatever) and I will write this part out, note for note, using Kontakt's clavinet, but for the "default" stuff, I'll use BIAB.

Sometimes in a real life recording session, a player will do something, on his own that you like, and you say, "hey, do that again..let's use that!" This is an ongoing happy accident in BIAB. My point being, even though BIAB can't give a specific melody (wrong tool) --it can and often will surprise with something delightful that sticks..just like in real life, in a real live recording session, with session players you trust to add their own input into a chart--if one is open to that in a studio situation. You site this as a negative thing, but it's not. It's often the correct tool--especially for parts meant as background. Well played stuff, but not so idiosyncratic that they are distracting and becoming foreground by there very idiosyncratic nature.

We are talking apples and oranges a bit, I think. BIAB is not the right tool when specific melodies are in mind. But often when making demos, and even when creating full-on final versions, one doesn't need to thoroughly compose every note for every part. Usually that's just for foregrounded stuff. Fills and counter-melodies, intros, outros, and solos..but I must say the latest iteration of BIAB has a lot of tasty playing that I'm using for fills at the moment..the dobro work is especially exceptional..

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 04/22/17 06:29 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
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