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Backing Track Software - Impro-Visor

Tom

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Jamming with my friend yesterday (zoom), he rightly commented on my timing. 😒 This led to another go at my perennial search for good backing track software. I offer the following info on the Windows software "Impro-Visor." Plus for help in learning for the 21 tunes challenge.

Anyway, I have tried many of these in the past and find that the standard "styles" are too "notey" for my purpose. All I want is a bass, chord (chord), selectable on piano, guitar, accordion (I like the string synth) with simple alternating bass and drums on quarter notes (no swing).

I think Band in s Box would probably be good, but couldn't find a trial version, and remember using it in the past with a lot of searching for a basic style. I tried a fair number of windows and android solutions.

The thing about Impro-Visor is that you can edit the styles - bass, chords and percussion, or make your own style. Chord input is pretty easy, you can transpose, and change the tempo and time signature. Its interface is a little quirky (what's new?), but did I mention it's free?

Anyway, I started with the "cabaret2" style, went into the style editor, then the "piano roll" editor and simplified the drum part. You have to remember to send the style part back from the piano roll to the style editor before you save....

It also has a mixer for the parts, and a solo generator and other fancy stuff I haven't tried, nor did I enter melody. You enter chords by a single long text line like "C, C, G7, Am, C, etc." then you look through the different control menus to format the page.

Put on the headphones, set to loop 25 times, practice the chord progression in different voicings, add melody and fills, sing if your heart desires and go home happy. What could be better?
 

lmschgo

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I have contemplated rhythm/backtracking apps or programs, but have shied away from computer or phone based systems. I am not a luddite, but I already stare at a computer too much for work. So I have been fascinated by this product from Boss: https://bit.ly/2RiwzNP

Its plug in and play ease appeals to me. It may not have many or most of the features in the system Tom briefly reviewed, but as a glorified metronome, it would add an element of interest and fun to my playing.
 
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NickC

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I've used Band in a Box before. There are a lot of styles and it worked, but I found that I had to 'settle' a lot. It's very easy to use, which is a plus for me. I later found a lot of the MIDI files for the songs I'm working on from a site online, which were perfectly in the style.

At the time, I was tossing around the idea of putting a band together and wanted to see how it sounded. It worked, but, in the end I'm wasn't sure that I would find musicians with the passion for the particular genre. I also wasn't sure if they would want to stick around while I was learning the tunes in the rehearsal room. So, I decided to get a set together that I could do solo, and then once it was solid, re-visit the idea. Once I do, I will check out Impro-Visor. Thanks for the tip.
 
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Tom

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I have contemplated rhythm/backtracking apps or programs, but have shied away from computer or phone based systems. I am not a luddite, but I already stare at a computer too much for work. So I have been fascinated by this product from Roland: https://bit.ly/2RiwzNP

Its plug in and play ease appeals to me. It may not have many or most of the features in the system Tom briefly reviewed, but as a glorified metronome, it would add an element of interest and fun to my playing.
Interesting, looks like a nice rhythm generator, pretty customizable. Would be nice if you could preview all the rhythms to make sure it has ones you like. Nice thing about it is it probably has good enough sound to actually use live, rather than simple midi.
 

Tom

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I've used Band in a Box before. There are a lot of styles and it worked, but I found that I had to 'settle' a lot. It's very easy to use, which is a plus for me. I later found a lot of the MIDI files for the songs I'm working on from a site online, which were perfectly in the style.

At the time, I was tossing around the idea of putting a band together and wanted to see how it sounded. It worked, but, in the end I'm wasn't sure that I would find musicians with the passion for the particular genre. I also wasn't sure if they would want to stick around while I was learning the tunes in the rehearsal room. So, I decided to get a set together that I could do solo, and then once it was solid, re-visit the idea. Once I do, I will check out Impro-Visor. Thanks for the tip.
Good luck finding those elusive band mates who want to play your style, Nick. Always hard, but not impossible. I'm once again at the same point, having moved a year ago, right when covid started.... I'd like to find one peson, accordion and bass, guitar or ???? duo...
 

NickC

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Tom, I was doing a duo with a vocalist before COVID. We added a bassist for our last few rehearsals. We were playing Neapolitan songs at the time---which is different from what I'm focusing on now. It was a great time. She was from Italy, but not Naples so the accent was a bit different, but she was a great vocalist. It was nice too because it forced me to learn more about accompaniment. I knew the songs well, but had a chance to re-work them to let her be the melody. The cool thing was that we all just wanted to play music. We didn't care when or where or who was listening. That is the kind of group I'd love to form. I know people who can play, but they would want to do a short rehearsal and do paid gigs only.

I can probably swing it if I start with a trio---accordion, bass and drums. That should be doable. Ideally, I'd like to add vibraphone and piano. I know people who play both, but they are usually booked. I think if I can get the trio going, and had some gigs lined up, I might be able to pull it off, even though their passions lie in other genres.

I still have to learn the tunes though.....
 
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losthobos

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I had one of the Boss Rhythm Partner.... Couldn't get on with it.... Didn't swing..
Nice Latin touches though, couple of shuffles... Plenty rockier stuff.. Not for me... Though very organic sounding samples....
I traded it in for a monster rhythm unit from an old hammond organ... Totally non transpsortable.. But i like it at home...
 
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Tom

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Tom, I was doing a duo with a vocalist before COVID. We added a bassist for our last few rehearsals. We were playing Neapolitan songs at the time---which is different from what I'm focusing on now. It was a great time. She was from Italy, but not Naples so the accent was a bit different, but she was a great vocalist. It was nice too because it forced me to learn more about accompaniment. I knew the songs well, but had a chance to re-work them to let her be the melody. The cool thing was that we all just wanted to play music. We didn't care when or where or who was listening. That is the kind of group I'd love to form. I know people who can play, but they would want to do a short rehearsal and do paid gigs only.

I can probably swing it if I start with a trio---accordion, bass and drums. That should be doable. Ideally, I'd like to add vibraphone and piano. I know people who play both, but they are usually booked. I think if I can get the trio going, and had some gigs lined up, I might be able to pull it off, even though their passions lie in other genres.

I still have to learn the tunes though.....
Great story Nick, thanks! Good luck finding those elusive band partners. Probably harder than learning the songs....
 

lmschgo

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I had one of the Boss Rhythm Partner.... Couldn't get on with it.... Didn't swing..
Nice Latin touches though, couple of shuffles... Plenty rockier stuff.. Not for me... Though very organic sounding samples....
I traded it in for a monster rhythm unit from an old hammond organ... Totally non transpsortable.. But i like it at home...
From what I can see and hear in the product videos, I agree with your assessment. It does sound stilted. In the videos, a guitarist is accompanied by the Boss product. I think it works well for some interesting background for a guitarist and certain types of music, but not necessarily an accordionist.

My interest in the gadget is as solely an enhanced metronome, not a BK-7M for example. I am of the thought that such a device might motivate me to practice and play more frequently or for longer duration. Wishful thinking?

Considering what it can do and my intended use, as opposed to what it can't do, is it worth the money?

Or maybe, I should just stick with my mechanical metronome and just work on my left hand techniques for a more interesting rhythm. Someone else I know thought it would be an impediment to left hand development, even just for practice.

(The mechanical metronome can be entertaining: watching the cat stalk and then pounce on it, triggered by the taunting movement and sound. My wife is also sometimes annoyed by the sound and just tells me to turn it off. She does not pounce.)
 

losthobos

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@lmschgo Howard, I've just purchased a Soundbrenner Pulse metronome of ebay that i strap to my leg as vibrates rather than clicks.... Links to phone Bluetooth so can be set to swing, tempos and various rhythms saved....
So far really like it... And no annoying mechanical click...
Check it out for a healthy alternative..
Can be used LIVE and audience none the wiser... 😉
 
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lmschgo

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@lmschgo Howard, I've just purchased a Soundbrenner Pulse metronome of ebay that i strap to my leg as vibrates rather than clicks.... Links to phone Bluetooth so can be set to swing, tempos and various rhythms saved....
So far really like it... And no annoying mechanical click...
Check it out for a healthy alternative..
Can be used LIVE and audience none the wiser... 😉
Terry:
Thanks for the heads up. I glanced at that app earlier. With your positive review, I 'll give it a second glance
Howard
 

Tom

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Wow, talk about a workout. I just took a simple 16 bar tune in 4/4, set the impro-visor to 114 bpm (very slow), to loop 99 times. If this doesn't help to commit it to memory I don't know what will. Resulted in full chording with inversions, and fills added from sheer boredom. Also ringing in ears from noise canceling headphones, not sure if this is good for the old tinnitus.
 

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Wow, talk about a workout. I just took a simple 16 bar tune in 4/4, set the impro-visor to 114 bpm (very slow), to loop 99 times. If this doesn't help to commit it to memory I don't know what will. Resulted in full chording with inversions, and fills added from sheer boredom. Also ringing in ears from noise canceling headphones, not sure if this is good for the old tinnitus.
Wow, that's dedication!
 
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dan

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Great story Nick, thanks! Good luck finding those elusive band partners. Probably harder than learning the songs....
The worst part is when you go to the trouble of learning the songs, and you only get one or two gigs before the band breaks up. It's happened to me at least three times! There is something to be said for a good solo act.
 

losthobos

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The worst part is when you go to the trouble of learning the songs, and you only get one or two gigs before the band breaks up. It's happened to me at least three times! There is something to be said for a good solo act.
Exactly why i took to accordion... 😉
 

Tom

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Thanks Dan! Thst's why I'd like to do a duo. We could have a whole thread on ups and downs of bands! Can't live with them, can't live without them!
 

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