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Technics Composer: Creating a Special Custom Part

KN7000 Composer Tutorial. This in-depth article explains some of the many editing functions available in the Composer. Many of these functions are available in the other Technics Arranger Workstations. Great thanks go to Bill for sharing this superb feature with us on the site, with some minor edits from me to ensure that it makes sense here. A printable version is available on Willum's Pages. See the link in the article.

Creating a Special Bass Part in a KN7000 Style

This document is written in a very detailed manner, so that it will meet the need of users who have never delved into the ‘deeper regions’ of the KN7000. Several pictures of the KN7000 screen are included, to aid clarity, and a printable version is available on my site for easy reference. Some of the procedures may seem a bit laborious but the end result is worth the effort.

The printable version is Tech Tip 25 at Willum's Website (opens in a new window). Also see Tech Tip 26 which contains the Technics files that are also downloadable below.

Another convenient method is to view this page on your Smartphone, Tablet or iPad, the page will reconfigure itself to be readable on your device.

First, let's listen to the track:

Tuxedo Junction (Big Band Style): KN7000

The Technics files are in the zip file below, so that you can transfer them to your keyboard if you wish.

So why not use an onboard Style?

It is often the case, when using a ‘Built-In’ style or a Composer Style obtained from another source, that the Bass part in the style, does not really suit a particular song or tune being played. Whilst the KN7000 Auto Accompaniment system often produces perfectly acceptable Bass parts for many songs/tunes, as the chords are changed in the Left Hand, there are cases where the desired Bass part just cannot be produced automatically by the standard APC system.

One example is if it is desired to have the Bass part produce what are often referred to as a series of ‘Pedal Notes’ – ie the Bass notes do not change when different chords are played in the Left Hand. This effect is often used in short passages or ‘Riffs’ in Jazz sequences.

Consider a simple chord riff : Cmaj, Dm7, Em7,  Dm7, Cmaj (repeated) 2 beats on each chord using say the ‘Jazz Combo’ style, Variation1,  at about tempo 114. The APC system will produce Bass notes based on the Root note of the chords being played, ie C, D, E, D, C, which is not what is required. So, how can we achieve the desired effect?

The KN7000 Composer has a very useful feature which allows you to produce a Bass part which plays the actual notes, which you physically enter into the Bass part, irrespective of the chords being played in the Left Hand. So, you can construct a Bass part of your own, which will play exactly as you compose it, and it will not be affected by any chord changes.

Let's Get Started: Composer Editing

First, let’s construct the simple Riff referred to above, to demonstrate the basic technique and then later on, we’ll construct a style for the song ‘Tuxedo Junction’. I’ve chosen that particular song since it is just not possible to achieve a realistic Bass part, using any of the Built-In styles.

We’ll start by copying the ‘Jazz Combo’ style to the Composer and then edit the style in the Composer.

  1. Select ‘Jazz & Swing’ and then ‘Jazz Combo’
  2. Press Program Menus > Composer > Pattern Copy
  3. In the ‘FROM’ box, set PATTERN to ALL and in ‘TO’ box, set Pattern to ALL and Memory to ‘A:’ (See Fig. 1)
    KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_1.jpg
  4. Press OK – the Jazz Combo style has now been copied to Composer Memory A: Press Program Menus Once to exit.
  5. Press Program Menus > Composer > Recording Memory A
  6. Check that the Red Cursor is located over the word PATTERN in the VARI1 column. (Fig. 2)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_2.jpg
  7. Press the ‘BAS’ button and Style Variation 1 will start to play – Press Start/Stop.
  8. Check that the Red REC icon is above the BAS icon and the press PART CLEAR. (Fig. 3)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_3.jpg
  9. Press Start/Stop and you will hear Variation 1 playing without the Bass part – Press Start/Stop
  10. Press STEP RECORD and the display will change to show the Editing  Screen. (Fig. 4)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_4.jpg
  11. Now we can enter the Bass notes using  the Step Time method. You can see that Variation 1 consists of 4 measures with each measure having 4 beats. Each Beat is sub-divided into 8 smaller time slots, as indicated by the 8 dots within each Quarter Note. In this procedure, we want Bass notes on the First and Third beats of each measure and each of the notes should be a ‘Half Note’ in duration. (Minim in English terminology)
  12. At the lower Right corner of the screen, set the ‘REC NOTE LENGTH’ to a Half Note by pressing the Upper Left button under ‘LENGTH’, 5 times. You should then see a Half Note in the small box. (Fig. 5)
    KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_5.jpgThe Middle button can also be used to add extra length to a note.
  13. Press the Upper ‘PHRS’ button Once, to change the text ‘NORM’ to ‘TENU’ (Fig.5)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_5.jpg
  14. Now press the note C1 on the keyboard (Lowest note) 8 times and you should see a series of 8 Asterisks at the start of beats 1 and 3 in all 4 measures. (Fig. 6) KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_6.jpgHowever, unless you have entered each of the 8 notes with equal pressure, their volumes may not be consistent or loud enough. We can correct this by editing each one of the note’s parameters, as follows.
  15. Using the cursor buttons under the display, move the white block cursor until it is located over the Asterisk at the start of beat 1 of measure 1. You should then see the parameters for the note in the box located at the lower centre of the screen. (Fig. 7) KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_7.jpgIf you cannot see the values, even if the cursor is located over the Asterisk, then just press one of the Left or Right cursor buttons, until the values appear. The important parameters are NOTE, VEL and LEN. These values should be C1, 110 and 182, representing Pitch, Volume and Duration for the selected note.
  16. The NOTE and LEN parameters should already be correct, since they were determined in previous operations, however, the VEL parameters are likely to be inconsistent.
  17. Press the Upper or Lower button under the VEL parameter, to set the value to 110. The Upper button increases the value and the Lower button decreases the value. Holding these buttons down, will cause the value to automatically ramp up or down quickly and momentary presses will change the value by 1 for each press. Having set to 110, press OK – this is important since the new value will not take effect until OK is pressed………..
  18. Move the white block cursor to the next Asterisk position and set the VEL value to 110. Then repeat the process, for all other notes.
  19. We now have a dedicated Bass part within the Composer A Variation 1 pattern, which is simply a series of  C1 notes, played on the first and third beats of each measure.
  20. Press the Program Menus button to exit from the editing screen and return to the Home screen and press Synchro & Break. Set the Tempo to about 114, check that MEMORY (Composer) is selected in the Rhythm Group, and Variation 1 is selected.
  21. Now play the simple chord riff in the Left Hand : Cmaj, Dm7, Em7,  Dm7, Cmaj (repeated) 2 beats on each chord. Listen carefully to the Bass part – increase the Bass volume slider if necessary. You should realise that it’s not quite what we wish to achieve! The Bass notes are still following the Root notes of the chords being played…….. Now for the Magic!!
  22. Stop the rhythm playing and Press Program Menus > Composer > Recording Memory A. Check that the Red Cursor is located over the word PATTERN in the VARI1 column. (Fig. 2) KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_2.jpgthen press OK > Chord Modify Change. (Fig. 8)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_8.jpg
  23. A new screen will appear (Fig. 9) KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_9.jpgshowing how the Bass and Accompaniment parts 1 to 5 of the selected style variation, respond  to chord changes in the Left hand. Normally, they would be set to follow the chords being played, with subtle differences depending on the actual settings. In this example, we don’t wish to allow the Bass part to follow the changes in chords, but to just play C1 notes, irrespective of chord changes.
  24. Check that the Red cursor rectangle is located over the Bass entry in the table and press the Upper button under the  GROUP column, Twice, to change the option from MELODY to SPECIAL. Then press the upper button under the CHORD MODIFY TYPE column, Once, to change the entry from KEEP near C to THROUGH and press OK. (Fig 10)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_10.jpg
  25. What the above operation does, is make the notes in the Bass part of Composer A Variation 1 ignore any chord changes and just play the exact notes, as entered when the Bass part was edited.
  26. Press Program Menus once to return to the home screen. Press Synchro & Break. Set the Tempo to about 114, check that MEMORY (Composer) is selected in the Rhythm Group, and Variation 1 is selected.
  27. Now play the simple chord riff in the Left Hand : Cmaj, Dm7, Em7,  Dm7, Cmaj (repeated) 2 beats on each chord. Listen carefully to the Bass part – increase the Bass volume slider if necessary. You should now hear the Bass part as intended – C1 being played irrespective of any chord being played in the Left hand!

This is a very simple example, and is used to demonstrate the Basic Principle involved, when constructing a ‘bespoke’ Bass part.

The procedure also applies to the all the other Accompaniment parts in a Composer Style – not just the Bass part. For example, you may wish to include some Brass ‘figures’ in a Swing style, which are not affected by Left hand chord changes – the procedure is very similar…….. 

A More Realistic Tuxedo Junction

Having had some experience of the procedure above, let’s move on to produce a more realistic Bass part for the song ‘Tuxedo Junction’. Here’s the problem………….

The basic chord sequence for the first part of the song is (2 beats on each chord) : Cmaj, Amin, F7, G7, Cmaj, Amin, F7, G7, Cmaj, C7, F7, Cdim, (4 beats)G7, (4 Beats)G7 then repeat. When a Built-In style such as Swing Band is selected, the Bass part will play notes based on these chords – and quite rightly so! – OK, but not really ideal. This is particularly evident on the chord of Amin where the APC system plays an ‘A1’ in the Bass part, when the ideal note would be an ‘E1’

A realistic Bass part for the above chord sequence would be (Half Notes) : C1, E1, F1, G1 : C1, E1, F1, G1 : C1, E1, F1, F#1 : G1, G0, (Quarter Notes) G1, F1, E1, D1.

If you select ‘Swing Band’, Tempo about 114 and Variation 1 and play the chord sequence, you will hear the Bass part basically playing something like this : C1, A1, F1, G1, C1, A1, F1, G1, C1, C1, F1, C1, G1, G1, G1, G1. The exact Bass notes will, to some extent, depend on the inversions of the chords which you play and there are a few ‘grace’ notes in the part.

I believe that the lack of the ‘E1’ note and the F#1 note totally spoils the Bass part and leaves the Style a bit bland. So, Let’s sort it!  The basic procedure is the same as described above for the ‘Pedal Bass’, but instead of just entering C1 notes for the entire Variation 1, we’ll construct the Bass part exactly as we want it to sound. To make it easier to read, I’ll repeat the procedure steps, since there are some slight differences…. 

  1. Select ‘Jazz & Swing’ and then ‘Swing Band’
  2. Press Program Menus > Composer > Pattern Copy
  3. In the ‘FROM’ box, set PATTERN to ALL and in ‘TO’ box, set Pattern to ALL and Memory to ‘A:’ (See Fig. 1)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_1.jpg
  4. Press OK – the ‘Swing Band’ style has now been copied to Composer Memory A: Press Program Menus Once to exit.
  5. Press Program Menus > Composer > Recording Memory A
  6. Check that the Red Cursor is located over the word PATTERN in the VARI1 column. (Fig. 2) KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_2.jpgPress OK.
  7. Since there are slight differences in the Bass part, over the 16 measure phrase, we cannot just use a repeating 4 measure style – we need to change the number of measures in Variation 1 from 4, to 16.
  8. Near the lower Right corner of the screen, you will see a box showing the current number of measures, allocated to Variation1. Press the Upper button below the ‘MEASURE’ column, to change this value to 16 and then press OK. (Fig. 11)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_11.jpg
  9. Press the ‘BAS’ button and Style Variation 1 will start to play – Press Start/Stop.
  10. Check that the Red REC icon is above the BAS icon and the press PART CLEAR. (Fig. 3)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_3.jpg
  11. Press STEP RECORD and the display will change to show the Editing  Screen. (Fig. 4)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_4.jpg

Now we can enter the Bass notes using the Step Time method. You can see that Variation 1 consists of 16 measures with each measure having 4 beats. You can only see groups of 4 measures at any one time, because of the screen size, however, by using the Cursor buttons, you can navigate to show any group of 4 measures within the Variation.  Each Beat, or Quarter Note, is sub-divided into 8 smaller time slots, as indicated by the 8 dots within each Quarter Note.

In this procedure, I will describe the placement and length of the notes as follows: Note Length,Note Position and Note Name. The Note Name will be automatically assigned by pressing the appropriate note on the keyboard.

Note Length will be set by adjusting the parameter in the lower Right corner of the screen, under ‘REC NOTE LENGTH’. Sometimes, appropriate Note Length needs to be made up of two components – for example a Quarter Note plus an Eighth Note (ie a ‘dotted’ Quarter Note). This can be achieved by using both Note Length parameters, shown in Fig. 5 KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_5.jpgThe two note lengths are additive (If in doubt, Refer to step 12 in the first procedure …..)

The Note Position will be described as follows: Measure Number: Quarter Note Number in the Measure (1 to 4): Location 1 to 8 within the Quarter Note Number. For example, M1: QN2: L3 defines a note placed in Measure 1, Quarter Note 2 at Location 3 of the possible 8 positions. M4: QN3: L5 defines a note placed in Measure 4, Quarter Note 3 at Location 5 of the possible 8 positions.

To enter a note, move the white block cursor to the defined position, set the note length and then hit the appropriate key on the keyboard.

One small point – Because some of the Bass Notes are outside the ‘Normal’ range of the keyboard – for example G0 – the easiest way to enter them, is to temporarily shift the keyboard range down by One Octave, by pressing the ‘RT1/RT2 Octave’ ‘-’  button, once. The keyboard range is then changed from sounding C1 - C6, to sounding C0 - C5.

In the following steps, we will still refer to the actual physical keys as C1 to C6, although they will be sounding one octave lower.

In most cases, having ‘hit’ a key, the cursor will automatically move to the next location, but there are a few exceptions – take care!

Let’s get started…………..

Note Designations : Half=Minim : Quarter=Crotchet : Eighth=Quaver :  Sixteenth=Semiquaver

12.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M1 : QN1 : L1 : Hit note C2
13.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M1 : QN3 : L1 : Hit note E2
14.  Set Note Length to Quarter+Eighth : Move cursor to M2 : QN1 : L1 : Hit note F2 
15.  Set Note Length to Eighth : Move cursor to M2 : QN2 : L6 : Hit note F#2
16.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M2 : QN3 : L1 : Hit note G2
17.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M2 : QN4 : L1 : Hit note G1

18.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M3 : QN1 : L1 : Hit note C2
19.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M3 : QN3 : L1 : Hit note E2
20.  Set Note Length to Quarter+Eighth : Move cursor to M4 : QN1 : L1 : Hit note F2
21.  Set Note Length to Eighth : Move cursor to M4 : QN2 : L6 : Hit note F#2
22.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M4 : QN3 : L1 : Hit note G2
23.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M4 : QN4 : L1 : Hit note G1

24.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M5 : QN1 : L1 : Hit note C2
25.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M5 : QN3 : L1 : Hit note E2
26.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M6 : QN1 : L1 : Hit note F2
27.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M6 : QN3 : L1 : Hit note F#2

28.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M7 : QN1 : L1 : Hit note G2
29.  Set Note Length to Half : Move cursor to M7 : QN3 : L1 : Hit note G1
30.  Set Note Length to Eighth : Move cursor to M8 : QN1 : L1 : Hit note G2
31.  Set Note Length to Eighth : Move cursor to M8 : QN1 : L6 : Hit note G2
32.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M8 : QN2 : L1 : Hit note F2
33.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M8 : QN3 : L1 : Hit note E2
34.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M8 : QN4 : L1 : Hit note D2 

The above steps have constructed the Bass part for measures 1 to 8, of the 16 measures. However, to make the process a little less tedious, we can copy measures 1 to 7 to measures 9 to 15, since they are identical….Measures 8 and 16 are slightly different so cannot be copied.

35.  Press ‘EXIT’ twice to leave the Editing screen. Then press MEASURE EDIT > MEASURE COPY. Using the buttons below the screen, in the FROM Box, set the PART to BASS and in the TO Box, set the part to BASS

36.  In the FROM Box set the FIRST MEASURE to 1 and the LAST MEASURE to 7.

37.  In the TO Box, set the START MEASURE to 9, Press OK followed by YES.

38.  Measures 1-7 of the Bass part will then be copied to Measures 9 to 15.

Now we can finish by constructing Measure 16.

39.  Press EXIT Twice then the BAS button – the rhythm will start to play – Press Start/Stop.

40.  Press STEP RECORD then using the Cursor Down or Up button, move through the displayed measures until you can see Measure 16.

41.  Set Note Length to Eighth : Move cursor to M16 : QN1 : L1 : Hit note C2

42.  Set Note Length to Eighth : Move cursor to M16 : QN1 : L6 : Hit note C2

43.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M16 : QN2 : L1 : Hit note D2

44.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M16 : QN3 : L1 : Hit note Eb2

45.  Set Note Length to Quarter : Move cursor to M16 : QN4 : L1 : Hit note E2

Now the Magic Bit………..

46.  Press EXIT Once > Press SOLO > Start/Stop and listen to the Bass Part……..

47.  Press Start/Stop > Press EXIT Once > CHORD MODIFY CHANGE.

48.  Set PART to BASS : GROUP to SPECIAL : CHORD MODIFY TYPE to THROUGH

49.  Press OK followed by PROGRAM MENUS and Reset the R1/R2 Octave to normal, by pressing the ‘+’ button once.

Unless you have managed to make all the key note presses exactly the same (Unlikely), it would be best to ‘equalise’ all the Volume or VELocity values. This can be done as follows: 

50.  Press Program Menus > Composer > Recording Memory A

51.  Check that the Red Cursor is over the word PATTERN in the VARI1 column. (Fig. 2)

52.  Press the ‘BAS’ button and Style Variation 1 will start to play – Press Start/Stop.

53.  Press STEP RECORD and the display will change to show the Editing  Screen. (Fig. 4)KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_4.jpg

54.  Using the cursor buttons under the display, move the white block cursor until it is located over the Asterisk at the start of beat 1 of measure 1. You should then see the parameters for the note in the box located at the lower centre of the screen. (Fig. 7) KN7000_COMPOSER_FIGURE_7.jpgIf you cannot see the values, even if the cursor is located over the Asterisk, then just press one of the Left or Right cursor buttons, until the values appear. The important parameter here is the VEL value.

55.  Using the buttons under the VEL column, change the value to say 110 and Press OK.

56.  Move the white block cursor along to the next Asterisk. Set the value to 110 – Press OK.

57.  Repeat the process for all the other notes.

58.  Having worked through the first 8 Measures, you can if you wish, use the ‘Copy’ procedure as described in steps 35 to 40, to copy Measures 1 to 7  to Measures 9 to 15. After copying these Measures, you can finish the procedure by manually adjusting the VEL values in Measure 16.

That’s It ! You now have the original Swing Band style with a Bass part dedicated to Tuxedo Junction – for the first 16/32 Measures anyway – in Composer A Variation 1.

I strongly suggest you save your work to an SD File………………..

I also did some modifications to the other instruments in Variation 1 and in Variation 2 for the second 8 Measures. I’ve included the entire new style, together with Intro and Endings and a brief sequence, in Tech Tip number 26 [Ed: also in the zip file at the top of this page], which you can download and examine.

Bill Norrie

10th Sept 2009