What makes a good synth player?

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sequentialsoftshock
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What makes a good synth player?

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:23 pm

I may be posting in the wrong board, sorry in advanced.

Anyway, what makes a good player? The actual chops you have or is it a combination of the chops you have and also the actual knowledge and way you use your specific board?
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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by organsymphony » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:10 pm

for me its definitely the sounds and the programming/expressiveness.

starting out in music as a guitarist i am so so so so so bored of fast scalic wankery.

the only person that i think pulls off wankery well is the user 'hamsterdunce' on youtube. its the personality.

but a being able to play well and clean and good sounds is most important for me.

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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:51 am

sequentialsoftshock wrote:Anyway, what makes a good player? The actual chops you have or is it a combination of the chops you have and also the actual knowledge and way you use your specific board?
It really depends on what kind of music they're playing. There are some genres where you don't even use the keyboard so the programming/knowing your synth is the only thing that matters, whereas some other genres don't need programming chops, playing presets really well is the only thing that's important.

Having both is always going to be advantageous though.

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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by mis psiquicios y yo » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:23 am

His synths :lol:
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In electronic music, sequencers are as important as synths, they all modify your composition and playing

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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by impaler42 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:57 am

Agreed that it does depend on the style. However, I think there is a lot more to it than keyboard chops. You can have tons of music theory know how and be a sub par synth player. Alternatively, you can have very little music theory know how and be a fantastic synth player. It comes down to how you implement melodies with the programming/tweaking side of things. Filter sweeps and other synth tricks are key ingredients which set synth players apart from other kinds of musicians. I think its really important for synth players to be able to hit these sweet spots, while still playing/sequencing tasteful melodies and harmonies.
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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by elmosexwhistle » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:31 am

i think to be a good all-round synth player you should have your fingers in a few pies, be technically proficient at your keyboard/piano skills, know a bit of music theory and some cool chords, and also be able to make crazy noises and program cool rhythms. by "all-round" i'm talking about being able to do different styles, whether it be synth-pop, prog-rock, hip-hop stuff, whatever.

its all subjective however, by "synth player" i would think (and this is only me) you mean a musician with a lean towards technical proficiency as well as a love for making strange noises, for the guys who purely do sequenced/electronic stuff with lots of modular synths and crazy laboratories, i'd use the term "electronic musician", and i'm not knocking electronic musicians at all, some of the stuff they come up with is the most inventive and inspiring music ever made.

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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:37 am

elmosexwhistle wrote:its all subjective however, by "synth player" i would think (and this is only me) you mean a musician with a lean towards technical proficiency as well as a love for making strange noises, for the guys who purely do sequenced/electronic stuff with lots of modular synths and crazy laboratories, i'd use the term "electronic musician", and i'm not knocking electronic musicians at all, some of the stuff they come up with is the most inventive and inspiring music ever made.
Good point, 'player' does seem to suggest using the keyboard interface to input data rather than just the programming interface.

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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by nvbrkr » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:19 am

There is a difference between a good all-around keyboard player and a synth player. For the latter, I'd associate the ability to pay attention to the tone of the sound being used and applying that to musical forms. There are some videos on youtube where classically trained folks try to play classical stuff on polysynths and they seem to have very little idea of how analog synths specifically work as instruments. That's why it came off as a little bit silly when Alicia Keys used the Jupiter-8 during her performances of "No One". She didn't seem to have much of an idea how to play such a keyboard. I like the song though.

Think of Herbie Hancock. The guy was a masterful piano player years before he started using synths. He listened to their timbres and applied them accordingly to the music. Now, he could play his a*s off if he wanted to, but chose to play minimal monophonic synth lines with the Headhunters. I know Herbie's synth-y stuff hasn't been all that special since the early-80s, but I think his output is an example of the ability to pay attention to what the musical style in question demands.

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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:54 am

It would almost seem like the Jupiter 8 was used as more of a prop or novelty than for actual musical enhancement. I feel like an MS 20 or other monosynth would have been better used for that tune. I wonder if that's her personal board...
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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by VCOrhubarb » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:45 am

A great synth player can play their synths well enough to impress musicians and non-musicians across generations.

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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by nvbrkr » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:20 pm

sequentialsoftshock wrote:It would almost seem like the Jupiter 8 was used as more of a prop or novelty than for actual musical enhancement. I feel like an MS 20 or other monosynth would have been better used for that tune. I wonder if that's her personal board...
Apparently she handled the purchase herself, so she must have had a genuine interest in analog synthesis at that point. I think she chose the Jupiter-8 simply because it had the reputation of being one of the best and it has enough polyphony, as she's a piano player herself. Unfortunately on that track it was used to generate simplistic polyphonic synth farts. Which, by the way, I kind of liked for reasons that weren't necessarily intended by the artist.

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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:40 pm

nvbrkr wrote:Apparently she handled the purchase herself, so she must have had a genuine interest in analog synthesis at that point. I think she chose the Jupiter-8 simply because it had the reputation of being one of the best and it has enough polyphony
Either that or she just liked the pretty rainbow buttons.

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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:46 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:
nvbrkr wrote:Apparently she handled the purchase herself, so she must have had a genuine interest in analog synthesis at that point. I think she chose the Jupiter-8 simply because it had the reputation of being one of the best and it has enough polyphony
Either that or she just liked the pretty rainbow buttons.
:lol: :lol:
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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by balma » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:46 pm

A good synth player is a guy who nows his synths well:

He's virtuous, fast and efficient operating the interface at his disposition (no matter knobs/sliders/controllers/buttons or piano keys....) and he asumes his performance, composition, programming and all the creative processes with a commitment with reason, passion and love for what he does.

And above all, he practices a lot, and tries to get the best of his machines instead blaming them for his own lacks.
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Re: What makes a good synth player?

Post by aphlux » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:50 pm

Its the hair.

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