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Guest endymion

Key meter software?

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Guest endymion

Do any producers know of any software that I can feed a section of a track and it will tell me what key it's in? Acid Pro can do something like that right? Anything for Macs?

I have a note tuning meter called Perfect Pitch that's working okay for me but I have to sit there and watch the notes that it's reading and infer the key from that. Works but I keep screwing up major and minor keys in deep house tracks since minor keys are so common. I want just a meter, 'this deck is in F major right now'. Anything like that exist?

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Guest Adam Singer

you need software to hear what key something is in?

just listen :)

if you produce for long enough you will be able to hear when you are in the proper key

Mixmeister v5 should be able to do this for you if your ears can't discern...

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Guest endymion

I used to have real perfect pitch, not the software. Don't any more, way out of practice. I'm doing it now by playing chords out on Reaktor while I'm playing tracks but world-class musician that I am I'm still getting it wrong a lot. I totally get that I won't be able to find a key meter that will read through a tune getting all funky and chromatic but at this point machinery is to be trusted more than my ear.

I used to play with MixMeister a bit, but that was on a PC. Anybody know of anything for Macs?

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Guest swirlundergrounder

If you have a program with a synth like Reason for example or just a keyboard you can load a sample that sounds somewhat similar to the sound you have and then play the loaded sound and compare with your ear to see what key it's in.

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Guest endymion

Thanks for the advice! That's exactly what I'm doing, I'm using Reaktor at the moment for the synth. The problem is my ear but I guess no software will fix that.

My music education was all Vivaldi and Chopin, but now I'm sitting here listening to these crazy Robbie Rivera tribal beats, trying to figure out what they they are in. I just don't have the practice.

Some of these dance tracks are just not in ANY key also, like some producers don't seem to understand the whole concept. I rewired my output into a spectral analyzer last night and found a few tracks with a bassline and a harmony in the same measure that were just way out of whack. One will be sharp and one will be flat and they are in different and non-complimentary keys in one measure. Not a chromatic trick, just.. wrong. Play it fast enough and it sounds okay.

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Guest swirlundergrounder

Thanks for the advice! That's exactly what I'm doing, I'm using Reaktor at the moment for the synth. The problem is my ear but I guess no software will fix that.

My music education was all Vivaldi and Chopin, but now I'm sitting here listening to these crazy Robbie Rivera tribal beats, trying to figure out what they they are in. I just don't have the practice.

Some of these dance tracks are just not in ANY key also, like some producers don't seem to understand the whole concept. I rewired my output into a spectral analyzer last night and found a few tracks with a bassline and a harmony in the same measure that were just way out of whack. One will be sharp and one will be flat and they are in different and non-complimentary keys in one measure. Not a chromatic trick, just.. wrong. Play it fast enough and it sounds okay.

I did a remix for someone a couple of years ago. We worked together on his track and he had tons of music education in fact in the early 90's he had a platnum album. I don't know if you've ever heard of a group called "Cause and Effect"..But anyways my only music education is 10 years as a DJ and during our project together we had several disagreements because some things that sounded right to me, sounded musically incorrect to him. So who's right and whos wrong in that case? A DJ's ear vs... a true musicians ear..It's a moot case isn't it? Sounds like you're on the right track but you may have to seperate your musically trained ear and your dance floor ear and go with the dance floor ear in this case. It seems a lot of music you hear in clubs sounds fine on the dance floor but when you actually sit down and analyze it, it may sound musically incorrect. Another thing you could do is just contact Mr Rivera and ask him. His email may be on the album..... You never know.. A magician may reveal his secret....

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Guest endymion

Well percussion doesn't have to be perfectly in tune to sound okay on the dance floor. Those Rivera beats were some of the hardest but I'm not really worried abou them, not really my style. Just DJ practice. I had to load his tracks plus my own reference pure major chord recordings into a spectral analyzer to figure out some of them.

What I'm really most worried about is the deep house and downtempo stuff that I'm mostly into. Tracks that are dominated by vocals sound REALLY bad if you blend two that are musically incompatible. Blending the beats and bringing in the vocals smoothly over loooooong stretches of time is easy for me at this point but every once in a while I make a bad track pick decision and the result makes you feel nauseous. I like a bendy, warpy, drifty style but I don't want to make my audience feel ill.

Right now I just have a DJs head full of track memories. This section from this one goes well with this section from this one, all of that. I'm getting that just by playing with my tracks all day and throwing them together to see what the mashups sound like, but I would like to be a little more scientific about it.

I only care because Traktor makes it really easy to keep two tracks balanced for like five minutes on end. Real cool for deep house if you have the right two tracks and they are timed and filtered right.

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Guest Adam Singer

most percussion instruments have an indefinite pitch, and will go with everything else for the most part (cymbals, drums, snares), but definite pitch percussion instruments, such as a xylophone need to be in key...

the thing is, with technology and using samples to create your drum patterns/percussion programming, you can make indefinite pitch instruments have a definite pitch, using effects, playing with the key they are in inside your software---basically tweaking them out...so yes if you are doing this, you should make sure they are in key...

the whole song doesn't have to be one key throughout the whole track, by the way---many keys compliment each other and go together well, you have to figure this out on your own though, just play around...but ive found most tracks have a major key that represents the main theme of the song, which is what allows you to mix them perfectly in key with other tracks of the same or complimenting keys...

anyway

just trust your ears and get a good set of monitors :)

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Guest endymion

Yeah, my tracks are light on percussion and heavy on harmony and basslines. Even my percussion-oriented tracks are usually tuned drums. Bongos and that kind of thing.

I think that I might have this one solved, partly due to you Hydra, you got me to finally look into Ableton. I set up Ableton Live with a bunch of pure chord loops on major keys. I just toggle through them as a track is playing to narrow it down to a match and I use my ears to detect minor keys. My ears are good enough for that at least. Way faster than spectral analysis and it lets me come up with ideas for ways to shift the mood with other tracks in other keys. I think this might be The Way for me, Ableton is just cooler than I can even wrap my head around.

Now I just need a way to organize my tracks. This-track-is-in-A-minor doesn't work since like you pointed out lots of tracks are interesting because of key shifts above the normal chord progressions. Anybody have a system for this or you just note the primary key for each track or what?

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Guest Adam Singer

ableton is really really good software, especially for putting stuff together quickly...i can get an idea in my head and make almost a whole 'base' of a track for it within a day, getting it all 'perfect' takes a bit longer tho...

i just also wanted to say the beauty of writing your own music is you don't have to follow any pre-set way to make tracks, or even keep them in the same key if you don't want to...alot of times going out of key on purpose to a 'wrong' key and back to your main key/melody makes for an awesome contrast

don't focus so much on the theory of the music, it is good to know, but most of the best music out there is created by people who don't know any music theory at all...

my best work is when i just go off on tangents and don't even think about the mechanics of it...when you get really into writing a song and aren't thinking 'okay, it should sound like this'...when you're just letting ideas flow---thats when the magic happens :)

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Guest endymion

I realized at some point today that the reason why my deep house mixes were making me feel ill was because I really truly was physically ill. That makes SO much more sense now. I still think it's important to look at how your key progression is going in a DJ set but okay maybe I'm not risking making people ill on the dance floor with my accidental fourth harmonies.

I'm concentrating way more on learning the subtleties of the DJ thing right now, Ableton is just for kicks for me. Cool stuff though I'm so glad I got it. Gonna try a few remixes.

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Guest endymion

I've been playing a cheap knockoff of Miguel Migs or Marques Wyatt. Strictly hobby. It's just more fun to play the tracks and mix them myself than to listen to a CD. Lots of Kaskade lately. I would ask but I keep up with your stuff.

I use a Powerbook with Traktor and an Edirol PCR-1 MIDI keyboard for control. No Final Scratch, no vinyl. Lets me do filter mixes over minutes with the knobs on the keyboard. I don't get to practice much during the week but I'll post a mix when I can.

So I got Ableton to try remixing some tracks. Like I need a deep house Thomas Newman Six Feet Under theme remix. Can't find one I like, gonna have to do it myself somehow. I'll figure it out eventually.

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Guest swirlundergrounder

I've been playing a cheap knockoff of Miguel Migs or Marques Wyatt. Strictly hobby. It's just more fun to play the tracks and mix them myself than to listen to a CD. Lots of Kaskade lately. I would ask but I keep up with your stuff.

I use a Powerbook with Traktor and an Edirol PCR-1 MIDI keyboard for control. No Final Scratch, no vinyl. Lets me do filter mixes over minutes with the knobs on the keyboard. I don't get to practice much during the week but I'll post a mix when I can.

So I got Ableton to try remixing some tracks. Like I need a deep house Thomas Newman Six Feet Under theme remix. Can't find one I like, gonna have to do it myself somehow. I'll figure it out eventually.

I heard a Photek remix of the theme from Six Feet Under that was really cool a couple of years ago but I never tracked it down.

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Guest Adam Singer

you need to drop traktor and use ableton for your mixes...trust me on this one, traktor is but a toy compared to the shit you can do live with ableton....think, live remixing/mixing instead of just mixing, also its 100% programming and using effects to create unique mixes...no beatmatching involved...

and don't give me 'this doesn't require skill because there is no beatmatching involved'...everyone knows how to beatmatch nowadays anyway...

besides...

a monkey can learn to beatmatch...but the true art is in your set construction

especially if you're just doing this to mess around, ableton is the best peice of software for live mixing...when you start to mess around you will be able to create entire songs live off of a few simple loops you made...even go through and re-wire reason into ableton and instead of just mixing other peoples stuff you can put down your own synths/basslines etc over your own and other peoples tracks

it is limitless---and the future for all your dj's out there that haven't gotten into production, start now, or you will be left behind...the software isnt *perfect* yet, ive noticed a bunch of flaws, but when it gets there (it almost is) it will be siiiiiiick what you can do...every performance will be totally unique down to the tracks themselves, not just the mixes

you'll see......................... ;D

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Guest endymion

you need to drop traktor and use ableton for your mixes...

After playing with Ableton I am starting to agree with you. Holy crow that thing is cool. I completely agree with you and with Sasha, I just read his article in Remix about where he thinks things are going.

Here is what I think is the disadvantage to using Ableton for live mixes full-time: setup. I don't want to convert my entire track list to .aiff or .wav files and capture phrases before I can make sound. Traktor can just rip open any random unanalyzed .mp3 and spit it out. I like that. I have been using Traktor to locate tracks that work well together and then I expand those files and pull them into Ableton.

What I'm working with right now is Ableton and Traktor together. I have my MIDI keyboard set up to control both and I have them MIDI synced together. I'm trying to learn how to smoothly swirl between the two apps during a mix. That way I can drop trendy tracks I just got using Traktor but then swirl it into big blends of tracks that I have spent a lot of time setting up and layering in Ableton, then back again. I don't rewire the audio from one into the other because that increases the latency too high for me to do my thing with my keyboard and Traktor.

Sasha is right though, I totally agree. There are so many things that you can do now with digital tools that there is just NO WAY you could do with vinyl. The only thing that will convince the vinyl people is more and more modern DJs coming along and learning to use the new tools to do things that make vinyl people jealous.

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