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MphsGal

Vocal vs. Instrumental?

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 Total newbie question: 

 I’m wondering about setting a show to songs with vocals versus strictly instrumental. Has anyone found the vocals to distract from the light show? Since I haven’t done any of this yet, I’m also thinking it might be easier to program just instrumental. It seems to be easier to hear the music without the vocals. 

Thanks.

 

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I haven't done any of it either because I'm considering purchasing this year. Just need to decide exactly WHAT and from WHERE. Is there a way to slow it down and isolate different tracks? That would make it easier. It's been ages since music theory but learning a musical score at half time and then speeding it up to fill tempo after you've learned it is easier.

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I have both in my show.  I don’t think the voices detract from the lights.  In fact some of the songs would be pretty dull without them.  If my paste attempt works, this is my 2017 playlist:

  Song title   Artist   
  Wizards In Winter   Trans Siberian Orchestra   Minor re-write
  Christmas Cannon   Trans Siberian Orchestra   Minor re-write
  You're a Mean one Mr. Grinch   Burl Ives   Minor re-write
  Jingle Bells   Barry Manilow with Expose'   Minor re-write
  Hark! The Harold Angles Sing   Lake Ave. Church Organ & Orchestra     Minor re-write  
  God Bless the USA   The American Patriots   Minor re-write
  Deck the Halls   Mannheim Steamroller   Minor re-write
  Carol of the Bells
  (Christmas Eve / Sarajeva 12/24)  
  Trans Siberian Orchestra   Minor re-write
  Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer   Gene Autry   Minor re-write
  All I Want for Christmas is You   Mariah carey   Added 12/24/17
  Feliz Navidad   Jose Feliciano   Minor re-write
  The Hanukkah Song   Elliot Dvorin   New for 2017
  Soldier's Silent Night   Father Ted Berndt   Major re-write
 
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I have some of each in my show. If there are vocals I tend to follow the voices rather than the background instruments when sequencing, and if it's instrumental I follow the music and beat more strictly.

I have never found the vocals to detract - in fact, I think, people viewing the show probably sit in their cars and sing a long! LOL

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It's *really* hard to describe this in text, but ..

All music has a time signature. Most of the Christmas music out there is in 4/4 time. This means there are 4 quarter notes in a measure. If you listen to music and know this little fact, you may start to hear this signature in the music. Once you do, the vocals won't bother you at all. You'll be more in tune with the music than the vocals.

 

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You might be over thinking this a little.  Why limit yourself to a portion of  many great song and popular songs. 

No reason you can't have a blend of  both.  To me, vocals are part of the "music".  Vocals can offer happiness, joy, hope and inspiration via the lyrics. 

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I like quite a lot of Pentatonix which is all a capella. I need to start learning the software side of this. I already know what I want in the yard. But I'm going to have to dust off my music brain.

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1 minute ago, dansamy said:

I like quite a lot of Pentatonix which is all a capella. I need to start learning the software side of this. I already know what I want in the yard. But I'm going to have to dust off my music brain.

As soon as you remember the part about time signatures, you'll be fine (at least in my opinion.)

So much of what I program is either at the measure or 4 measures level. Very rarely do I tie events to vocal parts of a song, unless I feel it really calls for it.

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 Learn music at half speed: check! 

4/4 time: check!

Regarding vocals,  I agree that they would be a terrific part of any show. The melodies are mostly easy. And If I can separate out the vocal track I can sequence the background music of the rendition that I’ve chosen. That’s a great idea! Can I do that with LOR?

 

Edited by MphsGal

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For example, "Another One Bites the Dust" is about 110 beats per minute. Slow it down to 55ish and it's easier to locate your primary rhythm. 

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I too have both in my show. I like to have a mixture of different styles of music.

I tend to be a bit different than most though... In most of my show I will pick a specific prop for every specific sound. So each voice has its own prop... Each instrument has its own prop... ECT... 

Just start messing around in the SE and see what best fits your style. Good luck!

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I prefer instrumentals specifically so I don't have to fart around trying to work with vocals. 

Having said that, about 75% of my playlist is instrumentals and 25% has vocals.

For the most part, I tend to ignore the vocals where I can.  I have no singing ________ and have zero desire to add any.

I have 9-segment poles in my display and use those as VU meters to do vocals wherever possible.

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1 hour ago, George Simmons said:

 

1 hour ago, George Simmons said:

I have 9-segment poles in my display and use those as VU meters to do vocals wherever possible

George, what are 9-segment poles, and VU meters? Obviously I need to do some studying! Thanks.

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Poles are basically arches that are straight and vertical.  9-segment means each pole has 9 channels.  In my case, each channel is a 70-ct string of M5 warm white LEDs.

The VU Meter effect is achieved by using the VU Wizard in the Sequence Editor.  I also use it on other vertical props.

In the video below, I use it for David Gilmour's vocals.  If you're not a Pink Floyd fan, zip ahead to the 1:45 mark and you'll see how it looks. 

I also use it for the guitar solo beginning at 2:50.  The vocals are the more traditional bottom-up appearance, while the guitar solo is reversed to top-down.

 

Edited by George Simmons

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Don hit the nail on the head. It's all about time and Timing no matter what parts of a song has a prop associated with it. Before I added singing elements to my show, I always had at least one prop that loosely followed the vocal line. George your poles are perfect for adding  the vocal effect. I love it. I would ask one question to myself. How much work do I want to put into the sequence? Getting vocals in good timing takes a bit of work because vocals some time are free flowing and don't have a strict timing. In SE this leads to a lot of added work. That's where the tap wizard comes in handy.  

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12 hours ago, Box on Rails said:

Don hit the nail on the head. It's all about time and Timing no matter what parts of a song has a prop associated with it. Before I added singing elements to my show, I always had at least one prop that loosely followed the vocal line. George your poles are perfect for adding  the vocal effect. I love it. I would ask one question to myself. How much work do I want to put into the sequence? Getting vocals in good timing takes a bit of work because vocals some time are free flowing and don't have a strict timing. In SE this leads to a lot of added work. That's where the tap wizard comes in handy.  

A great singing face sequence can get you dead on for vocal timings.

JR

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17 hours ago, Box on Rails said:

Don hit the nail on the head. It's all about time and Timing no matter what parts of a song has a prop associated with it. Before I added singing elements to my show, I always had at least one prop that loosely followed the vocal line. George your poles are perfect for adding  the vocal effect. I love it. I would ask one question to myself. How much work do I want to put into the sequence? Getting vocals in good timing takes a bit of work because vocals some time are free flowing and don't have a strict timing. In SE this leads to a lot of added work. That's where the tap wizard comes in handy.  

For me, the VU effect strikes the perfect balance.  With the number of channels I run, the amount of work I put into any given sequence is a non-issue - it's always going to be a long time, and an extra hour now and then is essentially meaningless

I'm embarrassed by how little I know about music.  Terms like "measure" have no meaning to me beyond how much of each ingredient goes into a cookie recipe.  And about all I remember from music class in high school is the definition of what's a palindrome.  (Music teacher's last name was Reber.)  Oh, and how aloof lovely Brenda with those long legs in the front row was...  *sigh*

I'm simply not coordinated enough, or have reflexes fast enough to derive anything meaningful from the Tapper.  The VU Wizard works faster and better than I ever can.  The only caveat is that the VU Wiz doesn't discriminate between vocals and music - it's only interested in loudness.  That means I need to go through the song at 1/4 or 1/2 speed and clean it up by manually eliminating non-vocal responses.  I find that to be a perfectly acceptable amount of time/work in those cases where I can't just ignore the vocals.

Edited by George Simmons
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Like others, I have a mix of both, and don't feel vocals detract in any way.

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On 1/1/2018 at 7:24 PM, George Simmons said:

Poles are basically arches that are straight and vertical.  9-segment means each pole has 9 channels.  In my case, each channel is a 70-ct string of M5 warm white LEDs.

The VU Meter effect is achieved by using the VU Wizard in the Sequence Editor.  I also use it on other vertical props.

In the video below, I use it for David Gilmour's vocals.  If you're not a Pink Floyd fan, zip ahead to the 1:45 mark and you'll see how it looks. 

I also use it for the guitar solo beginning at 2:50.  The vocals are the more traditional bottom-up appearance, while the guitar solo is reversed to top-down.

 

A true masterpiece of Georgeness!!! :)

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On 1/4/2018 at 8:46 PM, dibblejr said:

A great singing face sequence can get you dead on for vocal timings.

JR

George's sequence proves you don't always have to have a singing face to make a sequence great, it's all about the timing and how you blend in the props.

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I use both as well.  I don't have the standard type of singing faces but I have created faces on my roof matrix that I use for the kids songs (Jingle Bells by Tigger & Pooh).  On songs like Pentatonic I don't use any type of faces and just utilize effects to create a feeling for the vocals.  Have never felt or had anyone say they didn't like the songs with vocals.  They usually help stir the crowd up a little because adults & kids alike will start singing along (especially with the "fun" songs).

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22 hours ago, caniac said:

George's sequence proves you don't always have to have a singing face to make a sequence great, it's all about the timing and how you blend in the props.

Thanks for the kind words Chet.  And you're absolutely right.

I've never had a singing face, tree, duck, pumpkin, bulb or anything else and never will.  There's nothing at all novel or unique about those.  (Okay - maybe the duck would be, but I digress.)

Same goes for pixel billboards in the display and/or 8-bit cartoons scrolling around a mega tree. Just not my cup of tea.  To each their own.

Yet every single sequence I've ever done (except for the street-sweeper Soldier's Silent Night) is dead on with the beat.  That's 99% due to LOR and their Beat Wizard tool.

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7 minutes ago, George Simmons said:

Thanks for the kind words Chet.  And you're absolutely right.

I've never had a singing face, tree, duck, pumpkin, bulb or anything else and never will.  There's nothing at all novel or unique about those.  (Okay - maybe the duck would be, but I digress.)

Same goes for pixel billboards in the display and/or 8-bit cartoons scrolling around a mega tree. Just not my cup of tea.  To each their own.

Yet every single sequence I've ever done (except for the street-sweeper Soldier's Silent Night) is dead on with the beat.  That's 99% due to LOR and their Beat Wizard tool.

I'm with ya on this one George. Not my cup of tea either. Some have done a great job on theirs and I'm sure the kids love it. Just not for me.

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43 minutes ago, George Simmons said:

Thanks for the kind words Chet.  And you're absolutely right.

I've never had a singing face, tree, duck, pumpkin, bulb or anything else and never will.  There's nothing at all novel or unique about those.  (Okay - maybe the duck would be, but I digress.)

Same goes for pixel billboards in the display and/or 8-bit cartoons scrolling around a mega tree. Just not my cup of tea.  To each their own.

Yet every single sequence I've ever done (except for the street-sweeper Soldier's Silent Night) is dead on with the beat.  That's 99% due to LOR and their Beat Wizard tool.

I am ok with some of that (pixel boards, singing ducks, et al) but in moderation.  But what drives me a bit nuts was some of the Pixel displays on GCLF that where 100% pixel but only three or four of the effects used over and over and over and over again.  What got me into this hobby was the creativity most of you show, have always been a fan of your work because of your use of props and non-traditional music.  You never use every prop on at once but usually have them timed to make an appearance at the right time.  You are the only person that has ever gotten me thinking "you know Pink Floyd really should be Christmas music"!! :)

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