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Old 02-17-2018, 05:56 AM   #1
AndrewGl
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Default Change live-playable channels by pressing computer keyboard buttons

Hello,

I have a MIDI keyboard with no buttons for channel switching. Its USB-MIDI driver works well, so using Reaper I can play and MIDI-record the UVI Ravenscroft 275 Piano.

Now, I am trying to join a few VSTi (Piano, Violin, Cello etc) into a multi-timbre instrument for playing live, with a possibility to trigger patches using a computer keyboard as follows:

Pressing "1" activates Piano only;
Pressing "2" activates Violin only;
Pressing "3" activates Cello only;
etc.

What is important, the instruments should be triggered in a live session, without stopping the performance and using the mouse. I watched some tutorials about Reaper Actions and MIDI control surfaces, but still cannot implement the above scenario.

Tried to implement this already a few days: defined VSTi tracks, changed their channel options etc... Any help will be highly appreciated, especially mapping the instruments to 1-16 channels of a MIDI port for triggering live, like in Yamaha Motif keyboards.

Last edited by AndrewGl; 02-17-2018 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 02-17-2018, 06:12 AM   #2
domzy
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are they different VSTis on different tracks? If so set them up how you want them for monitoring etc, make them "automatic record arm when track selected" and then assign actions for "select track 1" to number key 1, "select track 2" to number 2 etc. (assuming your instruments are on tracks 1 & 2, obviously)
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Old 02-17-2018, 06:41 AM   #3
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Quote:
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...
see -> http://www.bschnell.de/patch.pdf
-Michael
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:43 AM   #4
AndrewGl
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Thanks a lot for the help!

1) I succeed to create and play two tracks with live-triggering. Now the question is how to MIDI-record them in different channels. They are recorded each in its MIDI item, but in the same Channel 1, which is the only channel of my keyboard.

2) Started to study the Patch and Transpose plugin.

Kind regards,
Andrew
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:54 AM   #5
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A1) When you select the MIDI Input device you can also select mapping the MIDI onto a specific channel:

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Old 02-17-2018, 02:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I have a MIDI keyboard with no buttons for channel switching.
I suppose you mean "patch switching".

Does the keyboard happen to be a Kawai VPC 1 ?
I recently changed from a very old but versatile and still decently playable Yamaha KX88 to a the great grant piano alike playable VPC 1.

To allow for switching the many different sounds I use, I added a Behringer XControl Compact to my setup and did a lot of Reaper programming to create what for me is the prefect Live setup.

see -> https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....8064&page=2#66

-Michael

Last edited by mschnell; 02-18-2018 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:53 AM   #7
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Thank you again DarkStar! (I received your recommendations in another forum too).

Thank you mschnell, I mean patch switching. The keyboard happens to be Kawai MP7. Its mechanics is good for me, but the sounds and UI are the things which I prefer not to apply. Concerning Yamaha, I have S90ES and play its MULTIs live using 16 channel buttons for patch switching. This is a marvelous keyboard for improviser. Using channel switching and sustain pedal one can create a rich polyphony of several different instruments in a live setting. Now I build a second 88-keys rig for playing simultaneously with S90ES. This will allow live playing of two independent melodies (e.g., on Cello and Piano) using two keyboards.
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:34 AM   #8
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The keyboard happens to be Kawai MP7.
I don't have access to an MP7, but I once tested it and I did like the keyboard. I like the VPC better, but the MP7's to me seems one of the best keyboards with non-straight hammers.

As the MP7 (other than the VPC 1) features lots of buttons, knobs and a kind of GUI, I can't believe it can't be made to send out dedicated midi messages for patch changing (supposedly Program Change messages). Those can be used for switching patches (e.g. using LiveConfigs (-> http://www.bschnell.de/LiveConfigs_1.pdf ) to mute/unmite the tracks with your sounds and/or sdend Program Change messages to Kontak or whatever saampler is holding sounds you want to activate.

Quote:
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This will allow live playing of two independent melodies (e.g., on Cello and Piano) using two keyboards.
I do this using the VCP 1 and the DX7 I use as a light weighted master keyboard (plus the TEC BBC v2 Breath controller I use for trying to create realistic sounding Flute, Trumpet and Cello by the software from SampleModeling.)

BTW.: I hate using a Compute Keyboard / mouse / monitor in a Live situation. That is why I got the dedicated controller board after I lost the program change buttons the KX88 provided.

-Michael

Last edited by mschnell; 02-18-2018 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:55 AM   #9
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I discussed MIDI-related UI of MP7 with Kawai James, but will probably prefer a computer keyboard for triggering patches. It's a matter of personal preference: today there exist very compact wireless computer keyboards, and you can easily place such a thing on VPC1 and fasten it using Velcro.

Thanks for the Live Configs link. These links will probably help me to implement more sophisticated patch changes a'la what Motif Multis allow. With Motif Multi you can depress a sustain pedal, play a violin chord, change the patch to piano and play it in a polyphony with the sustained violin chord until the pedal is released.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:57 AM   #10
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I don't know if this will be of help to you but this (very rough!) video shows how my current live rig works using, like you, a very simple MIDI keyboard (no faders, buttons or rotaries) to change 'patches' set up in Reaper. Basically I use the very bottom two keys of my 88-key board to trigger actions that navigate up and down the patches, making them ready to play almost instantly

https://youtu.be/0GASrv_OjLw
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewGl View Post
Thanks for the Live Configs link. These links will probably help me to implement more sophisticated patch changes a'la what Motif Multis allow. With Motif Multi you can depress a sustain pedal, play a violin chord, change the patch to piano and play it in a polyphony with the sustained violin chord until the pedal is released.
This maybe can be done with LiveConfigs using two "pages". I use two pages, one for each of my keyboard and so I can switch patches independently (which might or might not be what you are intending).

In fact LiveConfigs is intended to switch patches with each of it's pages. So only one of the sounds is supposed to play at he same time.

You might want to take a look at this (looong) thread -> https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=202857 . Here Pipe and I developed something similar for Guitar effects. He calls it "spillover" and in fact is the possibility to have two patches (aka effect chains for Guitar) be heard at the same time. He does use LiveConfig for switching the patches. I did a JSFX plugin called "Midi Fade X" (see pages > 3 of the thread) to perform the patch switch instead of using the native means LiveConfigs provides (either "Input Track routing" or "mute/unmute" of tracks.

(Be brave ! I'll try to support you whenever necessary.)

-Michael

Last edited by mschnell; 02-18-2018 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:59 PM   #12
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Really nice and interesting !

As I am on a quest to provide documentation and support of ways to use Reaper for Live performance (that hopefully will be supported by the Forum Admin by creating a dedicated Forum for "Reaper Live usage"), I'll keep this in mind.

Thanks for doing the vodeo for us !

-Michael
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Old 02-19-2018, 02:45 AM   #13
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I didn't expect this thread to be so informative!

Until now I was acquainted only with Motif Multi's vision of live playing several patches, which I find marvelous for an improviser.

Yamaha Motif supports keyboard-controllable arpeggios (defined on a set of patches (!) and hearing velocity of the player's input), the change of playable patches and tempo in real time, several pedals, after-touch etc. A tempo change affects not only the arpeggio tempo. Some voices have their inherent tempo in form of automation and/or tempo-dependent pulsations, which is a great asset of Yamaha sounds.

I think all this (and more) is possible to achieve, using Reaper, for any set of software instruments.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Using channel switching and sustain pedal one can create a rich polyphony of several different instruments in a live setting. Now I build a second 88-keys rig for playing simultaneously with S90ES. This will allow live playing of two independent melodies (e.g., on Cello and Piano) using two keyboards.
Maybe you will want to keep all the sound engines active all the time and just modify / switch the Midi input to them.

This can be dine by an appropriate dedicated JSFX in an arbitrary versatile manner.

-Michael
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Old 08-18-2018, 08:32 AM   #15
AndrewGl
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Default How to handle sustain pedal?

As was suggested by domzy, I apply buttons "1" and "2" for selecting tracks 1 (Piano) and 2 (Violin) for playing in a live setting, using the "automatic record arm when track selected" mode.

This works fine. For achieving a Violin + Piano polyphony I can play a Violin note, sustain it using sustain pedal, switch to Piano and then play anything, in which case the pedal correctly affects the piano patch. The sustained Violin note sounds during the piano play.

This is what I need except the difficulty to stop the Violin note. To do this I need to switch back to Violin track and press-release the pedal, which is impossible during the piano play.

The solution would be a special Action "Send sustain pedal off to all MIDI outputs/plug-ins". Action "Send all notes off to all MIDI outputs/plug-ins" does not affect the pedal.

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:11 AM   #16
AndrewGl
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Default Sustain a note by holding it while the patch is switched?

Additional question (sorry, reading the docs/posts does not help...)

In the above Piano + Violin setting, whenever I hold a note in Violin patch and switch to Piano track, the Violin note stops sounding. This prevents me from creating a Violin + Piano polyphony (which is possible in many hardware DPs).

If I understand this correctly, after switching the track, action "Send all notes off to all MIDI outputs/plug-ins" is activated. Is it possible to avoid this action and hear the note until it is released?
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:45 AM   #17
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I suppose the setup it would be much better playable when two keyboards or (if this is not possible) two zones on a single keyboard and two hold pedals.

-Michael
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:43 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I suppose the setup it would be much better playable when two keyboards or (if this is not possible) two zones on a single keyboard and two hold pedals.

-Michael
Zones are limiting the instrument ranges and are counter-intuitive for a pianist. Two keyboards are better, but how to achieve co-sounding of more than two instrument patches in a live setting?

Actually, this is typically possible using a SINGLE DP. I tested this on many Roland, Kawai and Yamaha MOTIF keyboards. Using such a keyboard, one can press a Violin note, switch instrument to Flute, press a note, then switch instrument to Piano and play a piano party co-sounding with the string+flute chord. The Violin+Flute notes are sustained by pedals or by switching channels. TWO such keyboards typically allow playing co-sounding melodies, not only chords. The downside of DP is obvious: one can use only their on-board sounds.

By implementing any of such Roland/Kawai/Yamaha UI in Reaper one would be able to play Ravenscroft 275 + VSL violin + VSL cello + VSL flute in a live setting, using one or two MIDI keyboards. This is what I am trying to do.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:20 AM   #19
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By implementing any of such Roland/Kawai/Yamaha UI in Reaper ... This is what I am trying to do.
Due to the extensibility of Reaper via JSXes and Reaper scripts I suppose this is possible (without dong "full" programming in C or such).

I did my Live setup to use two Master-keyboards, a four dimensional Breath controller, two continuous pedals and three switch pedals, plus a controller surface with motor faders and rotaries with LED rings, controlling the sounds in Reaper and remote-controlling the rack mixer (via WiFi).

(As my main intention is playing with my band) I don't intend to play more than two sounds at the same time, nor to play two sounds with one hand.

Hence I did not take a look at the "Roland/Kawai/Yamaha UI" regarding these issues, and can't elaborate on how exactly you can achieve that goal. But I am positive that it can be done by creating appropriate Midi aware JSFXes.

Please come back with specific questions, if you think I cold help on that behalf.

-Michael
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Old 08-19-2018, 06:04 AM   #20
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Thanks Michael, hopefully JSFX and/or Live Configs can be applied for this.

Andrew
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