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  • Idea for a solo act

    I have had this idea percolating in my head for awhile, and thought I'd run it past HC members to see what you think.

    In one of my solo acts, I play a cheap Yamaha keyboard and sing with a vocal harmonizer. The keyboard has that one-finger automatic accompaniment. So I punch a few buttons to pick the style and tempo, then play the rhythm chords/bass with one, two or three fingers, depending on the complexity of the chord (Major is one finger, Minor or seventh is two fingers, Minor seventh is three fingers). I sometimes throw in a few simple leads between the vocals. It's pretty simple and I gig pretty steadily with this setup.

    I had this idea to do an audience participation bit. I'll have a box labeled "Song Titles" with a bunch of songs that I perform written on index cards. In another box labeled "Song Styles", I'll have cards with different musical styles written on them. Volunteers from the audience will pick a song from one box and the style from another and then I'll perform the song. I might, for example, play "Johnny B. Goode" as a polka, or "Smoke on the Water" as a 1950's 6/8 ballad, or "Feelings" as a heavy metal rocker. I'm sure you get the idea.

    Just not sure if this would be interesting to anybody but other musicians. Maybe not even to them. What do you all think?
    Michael D. www.mdlmusic.webs.com "I'm tired of rock-and-rolling Let's get married, Honey, let's go bowling" --Martin Mull

  • #2
    Dude..do you really gig with the chord generator from a cheap Casio on? I'm positive I would punch you, and smash your keyboard if I ever witnessed it. Where are you? In the USA? How old are you?

    Comment


    • dboomer
      dboomer commented
      Editing a comment

      sventvkg wrote:
      Dude..do you really gig with the chord generator from a cheap Casio on? I'm positive I would punch you, and smash your keyboard if I ever witnessed it. Where are you? In the USA? How old are you?

      Wow ... that's enlightened. 


    • Graeca
      Graeca commented
      Editing a comment

      sventvkg wrote:
      Dude..do you really gig with the chord generator from a cheap Casio on? I'm positive I would punch you, and smash your keyboard if I ever witnessed it. Where are you? In the USA? How old are you?

      I'm assuming that you meant the above as a (poorly articulated and/or weak) attempt at humor, but it immediately makes one wonder just how old you are...

      Michael is a successful entertainer in his area, and his choice of instruments have worked for him quite nicely.


    • BlueStrat
      BlueStrat commented
      Editing a comment

      sventvkg wrote:
      Dude..do you really gig with the chord generator from a cheap Casio on? I'm positive I would punch you, and smash your keyboard if I ever witnessed it. Where are you? In the USA? How old are you?

      Um...Mike is a retired school principal who plays a lot of local events, things like Octoberfests, retirement community gigs, dinner sets,smal pubs, things like that. He mixes music, comedy, schtick, and is generally a good-time performer. He's been doing this a long time and it's a hobby for him. I've seen his videos and he's really quite funny and always entertaining. 


  • #3

    MDLMUSIC wrote:
    I have had this idea percolating in my head for awhile, and thought I'd run it past HC members to see what you think.

    In one of my solo acts, I play a cheap Yamaha keyboard and sing with a vocal harmonizer. The keyboard has that one-finger automatic accompaniment. So I punch a few buttons to pick the style and tempo, then play the rhythm chords/bass with one, two or three fingers, depending on the complexity of the chord (Major is one finger, Minor or seventh is two fingers, Minor seventh is three fingers). I sometimes throw in a few simple leads between the vocals. It's pretty simple and I gig pretty steadily with this setup.

    I had this idea to do an audience participation bit. I'll have a box labeled "Song Titles" with a bunch of songs that I perform written on index cards. In another box labeled "Song Styles", I'll have cards with different musical styles written on them. Volunteers from the audience will pick a song from one box and the style from another and then I'll perform the song. I might, for example, play "Johnny B. Goode" as a polka, or "Smoke on the Water" as a 1950's 6/8 ballad, or "Feelings" as a heavy metal rocker. I'm sure you get the idea.

    Just not sure if this would be interesting to anybody but other musicians. Maybe not even to them. What do you all think?

     Hard to say, but to the right audience it might go over very well, indeed! I'm not sure doing nothing but that for the entire gig would fly (might be percieved as too much of a gimmick), but try it for a tune or two and see what kind of response you get...if it meets with success, maybe do it a few times per set. You'll quickly figure out how often it gets good feedback, and it may well vary from audience to audience.


    Won't know 'til ya try!

    Comment


    • #4

      I'm sure your audience w


      MDLMUSIC wrote:
      I have had this idea percolating in my head for awhile, and thought I'd run it past HC members to see what you think.

      In one of my solo acts, I play a cheap Yamaha keyboard and sing with a vocal harmonizer. The keyboard has that one-finger automatic accompaniment. So I punch a few buttons to pick the style and tempo, then play the rhythm chords/bass with one, two or three fingers, depending on the complexity of the chord (Major is one finger, Minor or seventh is two fingers, Minor seventh is three fingers). I sometimes throw in a few simple leads between the vocals. It's pretty simple and I gig pretty steadily with this setup.

      I had this idea to do an audience participation bit. I'll have a box labeled "Song Titles" with a bunch of songs that I perform written on index cards. In another box labeled "Song Styles", I'll have cards with different musical styles written on them. Volunteers from the audience will pick a song from one box and the style from another and then I'll perform the song. I might, for example, play "Johnny B. Goode" as a polka, or "Smoke on the Water" as a 1950's 6/8 ballad, or "Feelings" as a heavy metal rocker. I'm sure you get the idea.

      Just not sure if this would be interesting to anybody but other musicians. Maybe not even to them. What do you all think?

      I'm sure your audience will love hearing these songs in the wrong time signature and wrong groove. You already have a unique act so why not build on it? You won't have to worry about other solo acts stealing yor idea either.

      I know of solo acts that use keyboards like this except they use the kind that cost thousands of dollars. 

      http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=889908&Q=&is=REG&A=details

      Winner of best guitarist in the house. (my house)!

      Comment


      • #5
        I posted the Wesley Willis video because it was the thing I first thought of. I think there's just a huge disconnect between what people imagine a $200 keyboard being and what a $200 keyboard is today. I picture my first keyboard with those song styles there and the button to insert a Lion roar. But the sounds they can produce now have grown right along with the processing power. They lag behind their pro counterparts in sound, and cater more toward plug and play. But keyboards and digital pianos have been sounding decent for long enough now that lagging behind isn't as big of a concern.
        Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

        http://www.silentlapse.com

        Comment


        • #6
          There was a very successful cover band here who only used keys occasionally. As I was listening I thought "wow, that piano sounds great!" I went up to the singer on break to ask about it. It was a cheap Yamaha YPG something or another from that price range range.

          In my defense, I've always loved Yamaha's earnest piano voices and by then had moved on to the relatively underwhelming Korg pianos. So It was very similar to what I already liked and by then sounded fresh again.
          Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

          http://www.silentlapse.com

          Comment


          • TIMKEYS
            TIMKEYS commented
            Editing a comment

            SLScott86 wrote:
            There was a very successful cover band here who only used keys occasionally. As I was listening I thought "wow, that piano sounds great!" I went up to the singer on break to ask about it. It was a cheap Yamaha YPG something or another from that price range range.

            In my defense, I've always loved Yamaha's earnest piano voices and by then had moved on to the relatively underwhelming Korg pianos. So It was very similar to what I already liked and by then sounded fresh again.

            The thing that I see that sets pro gear apart from the cheaper stuff is the keybed and how they play.  I know most key guys have their favorite brand and actions.  I am a Roland guy but am flexable and have both weighted and organ action boards and can play either.  I hate synth actions that seem toy like, but typically most of them have decent sounds.   Entertainers come in all forms , but one thing that I feel holds true is that the best entertainers make the show about the customer not themselves.   I dont consider myself an artist,,, i sell booze , fried shrimp and a good time.


        • #7
          Elvis didn't write his own songs...
          Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

          http://www.silentlapse.com

          Comment


          • Piano Whore
            Piano Whore commented
            Editing a comment

            He also wore Hawaiian shirts.



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