Keeping it Simple!
One of the great features of many Technics instruments is the automated accompaniment. Whether you use Fingered, Single-Fingered or Sequenced chords your instruments gives the fantastic effect of a band accompanying you.
However, today I want to explore an even easier way to 'be in the band' that is suitable for absolute beginners, intermediate and expert players alike. I hope you give this a try, you'll open your ears to a whole new way of playing that is hugely enjoyable, loads of fun!
You can do this with any keyboard, so whether you have a Technics Piano, K200, K700, KN2000, KN7000 or the latest and greatest Digital Ensemble, give it a shot, improve your musical versatility and best of all, enjoy yourself.
We're going to use some extraordinary backing tracks that are available for Free from the Karaoke Version website and, as I'm writing this in December, put together a Christmas singalong. Though, you can use the same ideas at any time of year!
Assembling Our Band
To form your band, click the link and head over to Karaoke Version.
Once you're on the site, create a free account using the link on the top right of the website.
Then go to CUSTOM BACKING TRACK on the top menu.
Next, you'll see the FREE CUSTOM BACKING TRACKS link about half-way down the page. Both of these links are illustrated in the picture below.
For my first track I'm going to choose "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", one of the (hundreds of) Free tracks available.
When you click on the tune you want, the editing page loads and a short section of the song starts looping. You can see an illustration of the editing page below. Changing the track to suit you is incredibly easy. Everything is done online and you then download the edited track onto your computer.
At the top of the screen you can see that the song is in the keys of C and D flat. So, there's a key change in this particular song. We could use the buttons further down the page to transpose to a different key if we wish.
Next, using the buttons on the right I'm going to mute some of the individual parts. I want two versions of the tune. One version to play along with my Technics P50 Piano and another to play along with my KN7000.
For the first version I'll mute the vocals and piano. Ok, I won't be playing the same piano notes on my P50 but I don't want to have a 'clashing' piano sound. Having muted those two parts (and deciding that I don't want a click intro), I download the track into a folder on my computer. To do that, click on Download and the track will be generated in a few seconds.
Now I want a version to use with my KN7000. I use bass pedals with the KN7000 so I'll mute the bass track and, as I want to play my own strings in the left hand, I'm going to reduce the volume of the strings to 20% using the slider on the right. I'll probably create yet another version with the strings turned off entirely, to see which I prefer.
You can hear the results below. Listen and compare the two versions. Imagine the first version with a piano playing the melody and picking out a few chords with the left hand. For the second version, with the bass missing, you can imagine maybe a trumpet taking the melody with strings or electric piano in the left hand and the bass pedals beefing up the low end.
Of course, the beauty of this system is that you can mix yourself an appropriate track whatever your standard of playing! Maybe you can play almost all of the parts yourself so you just want a drum track. Or, I know that we have some Members who simply enjoy playing the right-hand part of a song, this will save you hours of sequencing.
There are hundreds of free tracks available on Karaoke Version, so repeat the process above and make yourself a directory of songs. You can put them in the order that you want by simply numbering the file names... 001, 002, 003 and so on.
Getting Everything Connected
Ok, now we have our tracks ready to go. And by the way, you can change and re-download your tunes from Karaoke Version at any time. Next, we need to get them playing and there are many options to choose from.
KN7000 & KN2600
These two keyboards are able to play mp3 files, so we can use SD Jukebox to add the tracks to an SD Card to play along with.
Other KN Keyboards, Digital Ensembles and Organs
Many of these have a "Line In", so we can connect our PC, MP3 Player, Phone or CD Player to them and play back the tracks through the internal speakers.
All Other Instruments
For instruments without a "Line In", or if you don't have the correct cables to use this feature, just play the tracks using your Hi-Fi or Home Theatre system. You could use a Bluetooth connection if your system has one or you could burn a CD on your PC to be played on your system. In some cases you can use DNLA to send the audio straight from your computer to a TV or Audio system.
If you would like some help with any of the above, just post a comment in the box below. Be sure to click on "Receive Email Notifications" and tick the box so that you will get an email when someone responds to your query.
I hope you will give this method a try. It is a quick and easy way to set up a playlist of songs, a great way to practise and it is especially suitable for those with disabilities or who are new to playing.
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