Thursday, November 1, 2012

Playing with the Kurzweil

A month or so ago I pulled out my mint (barely used) Kurzweil K2661.  Over in the corner where it has had a nice custom made table to sit on for the last 4 years, it has mostly just sat, because it's just no fun to stand in that corner and play.  So I pulled it out right in front of the Queen Anne chair at the back of the living room.  That makes for a great place to play.  It is lined up with the L-R of the speakers.  Obviously one does not get the incredible image one gets up front.  But one does get a nice distant image that I find good enough, and the back of the room, and the Queen Anne chair, is much more suited to playing than in front.  And the beauty of this arrangement, with playing chair in the back and listening chair up front, is that both are independent and always available to be their best.  I can leave the Kurzweil out for the whole month until my end-of-the-month party, when I can temporarily put it back on the custom made table in the corner.  The rest of the time, it can be out in the room.

That's exactly what I did for the party in October, I put the Kurzweil away on the morning of the party and back after the party, so it was unavailable for the minimum time.  And when I set it up this time, I skipped all the wiring mistakes I made the first time, and got the wires entirely out-of-the-way instead of taking-up-the-whole-room.  There is one passage, around to the couch in back, that has become a bit tricky mainly because of the Kurzweil itself.  But now I make the front path to the couch around the listening chair entirely clear of wires.

Since I purchased the music workstation in 2006, I suspect I've used it less than 400 hours, mostly just random playing, barely learning how to program or do anything (though I know it's all can do anything, well almost, play all parts you've recorded at once, just like a full band, with accurate (to varying degrees) renditions of every kind of instrument or synthesizer, and every aspect of every Program (instrument) can be edited, or new ones can be created from factory samples or new loaded samples.  The Kurzweil gives you a nice collection of samples and raw sounds and an all-inclusive (just about) set of all the possible transforming operations that could be done with them, and then you can hookup as many of one to the other and to controllers in as many ways you can imagine in fairly long channels.  Thus, it makes you the instrument designer, and you can make it do anything anyhow.  It's a kind of soft instrument made of user programmable DSPs, which uses actual DSP hardware to realize how it is programmed.  A true analog instrument with as many capabilities as this would fill a building.  (DSP = Digital Signal Processors)

Last month I finally figured out Record Mode, or at least I recorded myself a few times, and it actually worked.  I've been watching the video tutorial that I downloaded from Kurzweil or somewhere when I bought my unit.  It's good, but it doesn't start with creating Programs and so even though I've now watched half of it I still haven't gotten to the programming part.  I watched him record a sequence, and after that I got it to work.

Here is one of the better tutorials I've seen on creating a Kurzweil Program.

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