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Music Theory for Electronic Musicians

Lesson 2 of 31

The Piano Roll Editor

J. Anthony Allen

Music Theory for Electronic Musicians

J. Anthony Allen

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Lesson Info

2. The Piano Roll Editor

Lesson Info

The Piano Roll Editor

All right, let's get started. Ah, so ah, Welcome to the Slam Academy. Online class music theory for electronic musicians. Ah, new reboot. So, um, what we're gonna do in this first chunk is talk about our first kind of Maine few things, Which is the keyboard layout. Ah, and finding octaves. So first, we're going to talk about the keyboard layout. So you've seen this before? This thing we're looking at here on the screen. Um, this is where we're gonna live for the majority of this class. Now, I I've promised you were not going to focus on reading notes, and we're not gonna focus on looking at, Ah, the piano, which is traditionally how music theory is taught, is on the piano. We're not gonna do that. Um, but we are going to spend all our time here in this thing that we call the piano roll editor. Um, so before we dive in, let's understand a little bit about where this thing comes from and what we're looking at here. So what we're looking at is basically, um, a piano on its side. Right. So...

we are kind of tied to a piano. Um, but don't let that freak you out. Let me explain. So here is the piano keyboard. Okay? Just roll with me for a second. Here. Here's the keyboard. Right. So when we look at the keyboard, we can see alterations of white notes and black notes. So I'm just gonna, like, really simplify this right when I don't care about what notes are what right now. So we see white notes and block notes right now, if we take that keyboard and we spend it on its side and then, um, we kind of crop the ah excess notes off, and then we extend all the notes out, Then we end up with exactly the piano roll editor, which you can see here. I'm looking at it here in able to life. So what we have is here's our white notes and I have a line extending from that note. And then here's another note, and I have a land extending from that note. So anytime I put a note here, it's on that note. If I put it over here, it's still on that note, right? It's just on a different spot in time, right? And now this concept. So here's a bunch of notes just going up through the white notes and black notes of the piano keyboard. Now we're gonna talk about the difference between these white notes and these black notes very shortly, so just hold on to that for a minute. But this concept, um, of the piano roll editor goes way, way, way back. Um, this is actually one of the oldest kinds of sequences we have. So brief sidebar for a tiny history lesson. Um, the piano roll editor I can't even remember when it comes about, but sometime probably around the 19 hundreds, it predates the ah photograph your record player by a little bit. I think, actually, it's like a crazy old piece of technology. And it's really interesting that a crazy, modern piece of technology, Um, like any, um, professional sequencer. Ah uses the same basic system. But what a piano roll editor was was it was a piano with this paper role in it, and you move the role by peddling the piano like a bike kind of that have these pedals that would push air through the role. And the role looks just like this. And each of these was a hole in the piece of paper. So, um, the pedals would also blow air into it. And whenever the air could get through one of these holes, it would trigger the note. And that would make the piano basically play on its own. All you had to do with pedal it and put So you would buy a piece of music in this piano roll. Ah, paper roll thing. That's like you could buy music that way and you put it into your piano and then you peddle it and then you you'd have you'd see the keys moving on the piano like an old like like a ghost is playing it. They use these in horror movies all the time for that exact reason that was called a player piano or another fancy word for it would be a piano ola. Um, and that's where this general concept is taken from that idea of all the notes, kind of spread out in a line to show time and putting little dots or holes or lines to show rhythm just worked out really well for sequencing, so that's why we use it. But all we're really looking at here is a piano just laid on its side and we don't care about the actual piano. It's just a really convenient way to show us where the notes are. So we have low notes down here and we have high notes up here. That's all we really care about. So that's what we're looking at when we see this up here, we're looking at a time we can see bars and beats. So here we're on the first bar of this particular clip. Here. We're on the first bar beat, too, B three and B four. So we're looking at a one bar pattern with four beats in it, right? That's what these four big chunks here are representing. Cool. So that's the basic concept of what we're looking at in the piano roll editor.

Class Description

This is a class designed for the electronic musician who wants to bring new energy and compositional strength to their tracks. In this class, we'll focus on learning how to organize pitches and rhythms to make dynamic, interesting melodies and harmonies. Experience with music therory, the ability to play an instrument, or read music is not necessary! We will focus on how to use your DAW as your instrument of creation.

Topics include:

  • Using the Piano Roll Editor
  • Octaves
  • Finding C and Middle C
  • The Perfect 5th
  • What it means to be "in key"
  • Moveable Patterns
  • Major and Minor Intervals
  • Building Triads
  • Chord Progressions
  • 7th Chords
... And much more!

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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this is great and very helpfull class, i make and wirte music for more than 2 decades and never gave much about theory, i trusted my feelings to what sound good and what not. Bu t recently i became interested but it all seemed very difficult to me and i didnt got the points behind music theory and how everyhing works together. This class was a game changer for me.. music theory is so simple if you have somebody to explain it in words so that you finally can understand it, and thats Anthony, he is a brilliant guy and he explains it in a simple way that you can easily understand whats going on. This is perfectly the case with this course, the sections are short and to the point, not much talking around and leaving the path, you can make fast progress end learn how music theory works, this is a 5 Star ***** course and hopefully there is more to come

Emane Filali

Fabulous course. As a person with dyslexia, trying to remember the notes and chords as letters only is impossible. I love the visual way the chords are demonstrated and explained. I was originally put off by the "electronic" aspect, thinking it was only for learning how to use piano edit roller. However, as a beginner in playing the piano, this course is applicable to all who want to learn and understand music theory in an interesting visual way. Looking forward to next lesson. Will definately be purchasing the course after. Fantastic tutor and course.

Giulio Lazaretti

Very good class!! Makes it much easier to understand and apply the rules of theory. Anthony is also very wise to suggest to trust your ears, even if what you've written doesn't fit into those same rules. I am so very grateful for you putting this together, Anthony, and for making it available for the general public, Creative Live. I am also very glad I was given the opportunity to learn english in my home country (Brazil), in which many barely know how to read and write in our own native language (portuguese) due to our public education being so bad (which, by its turn, has to do with the myriad of vile creatures that inhabit our representative chambers). Tks XoXo!