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Thread: Suggestions for gigs w/Player

  1. #1

    Default Suggestions for gigs w/Player

    Never done a gig with a rhythm box, Band in a Box, or the iReal Player. I was asked to play a Christmas party on piano and they said "do the Vince Guaraldi/Charlie Brown Christmas thing."

    I'm not going to find a bass player and drummer for it....just do it.

    I'm a little nervous actually using the iReal Player live, because...well...I've never used it live.

    Anybody using the Player live? Any hints?

    I have these fears of sounding cheesy, wondering if people accept automated accompaniment, but it's probably from never doing it before.

    The sound system and sound guy will be provided and I know that he has a pretty good setup. What should I tell the sound guy about running it out my iPhone?

  2. #2
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    Sep 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by boscotom View Post
    Anybody using the Player live? Any hints?
    These are a number of posts here in the player forum that you might find useful for playing live. Have a look through them all, but here are some relevant ones:

    http://forums.irealbook.net/showthread.php?t=809&page=2

    http://forums.irealbook.net/showthread.php?t=1011

    http://forums.irealbook.net/showthread.php?t=967

    Turn off keyboard taps as one of them mentions, if you are transposing.
    Work out your tempos, embed into title if you need to, or use Tap feature, be steady in your tapping so it works out the tempo quickly.
    Set up volumes in Player>Settings and the sound person could EQ if necessary, talk to them about sending them a good balance between the instruments. About 70% (I should think) of full volume of iPhone output should work.
    Run though it all at home to practice.
    Make sure you have a cable...the audio feed from the Player is not stereo as we have no pan, but it goes out both outputs; the connection from iPhone or iPad is stereo, so a stereo cable is probably best....presumably ending in two 1/4 inch (6.5mm) plugs or whatever they need at their end. Make sure you talk to them about cable length etc, or describe what you have so they know what to provide for you. They can take both cables into their mixer if they need to, but there is no need to pan anything as the output is the same for each. (they will probably be running mono out anyway.)
    Secure the cable at your end so it does not pull the iPhone off the music stand if someone walks by and trips.
    Add intros if you need to...if you are customizing the chart, put the tempo into the title perhaps.
    Make sure you set the number of choruses each time.
    Turn off audio count in and on visual count in ... (although there is a bug v3.0.3 where the visual count in may not work...sorry we will fix that.)
    However the latest version (3.0.3) does not crash if you use Latin, so this version is recommended.

    More later if I think of anything.

    Let us know how if went when you do it so we have your feedback and experiences.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2009
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    Default Working live

    Also:

    You may need a foldback monitor so you can hear your backing clearly. You have a sound guy, but for anyone else, if you are using a mic, make sure the foldback is set up so it does not cause any feedback.

    Turn iPhone Airplane mode On.

    If I think of a few more ideas, I will add to this post so my information is in one place. Check the Recent edit info.

    Here is new thread. I have some information on using multitasking to view a PDF while the iReal Book player is playing in the background.
    http://forums.irealbook.net/showthread.php?t=1124
    And if you are having problems with audio glitches or PDF page turning being slow, you could close all unnecessary apps from the multi-task bar, keeping open iReal book running the Player and your PDF viewing app.
    Last edited by dflat; 02-02-2011 at 03:52 AM. Reason: ref to multitasking apps

  4. #4
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    Nov 2009
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    All good advice Listen to the man
    As for sounding cheesy I don't think so The bass and drums are good and with live piano it'll be better
    I find it easier and more fun to play with a rhythm section But if you can't get real players then this is a good alternative

    Consider doing a couple of tracks solo (i.e. no backing) Make sure you practice with the tracks at home, especially as its the first time
    Good luck and enjoy
    Tim

  5. #5

    Default

    dFlat--you're the man. Thank you for these great specifics.

    dFlat&Timkeys---I guess what makes me most nervous is the automated accompaniment idea. Like I'm someone who gets hired as a bicyclist and I show up with training wheels.

    And you know I'm a bit of a coward and don't like to be "bleeding edge." I know because of iReal's newness, there aren't a lot of role models.

    And I know....when I play piano accompanied (I'm not a brilliant player by any means) it's a whole different thing---the left hand way-cool "Bill Evans" chords, great right hand freedom because you're not thinking about left hand pinky bass notes, etc.

    I don't get out enough, honestly. Keyboardists are gigging things with computer bass and drums these days?

    I suppose if people start saying "WTF dude---can't you play without this BS?" I can shut it off.

    Thanks for great tech help, dFlat, and for talking me off the edge, guys!

  6. #6

    Default Mind-set

    The most important issue with using irb or back-up tracks as performance music is the necessary change in your mind-set.

    Musicians (hopefully) can *listen* as they play and adjust to each other. Your drummer feels where your solo is going and adds the perfect punch. Your bassist lays down a tasty counter-line to your flow. They've "got your back".

    A machine doesn't care. It's "driving the bus", not you. It's up to you to follow and keep-up. That means if you "feel" a note should be held longer (Fermata) you're out of luck. The "band" ain't waitin' for you. You are no longer leading or even collaborating; just following along.

    As a practice tool, the irb player is fantastic. As a substitute for musicians in live performance, it's always going to be lacking.

    Where's the magic?

    When you use a machine, you can choose the tunes, but you aren't ever the bandleader.

    )BOB
    Last edited by pdxdjazz; 11-20-2010 at 03:07 PM.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pdxdjazz View Post
    As a practice tool, the irb player is fantastic. As a substitute for musicians in live performance, it's always going to be lacking.
    )BOB
    Ha, Bob, you haven't gigged with me on Fender bass. I am probably lacking compared to the iReal Player

    But seriously, I don't dispute that a rhythm box can be an inflexible accompanist for a decent musician.

    My question is sort of the opposite. Will the average audience who's there for a Christmas party notice that it's a rhythm machine and throw things at me? I'm sure the Player has not been in thousands of gigs yet. But what about piano players who use, say, Band-In-A-Box? Does that go over okay?

    I probably worry too much. But there will be a number of friends at this particular party who I don't want to be kidded by for months on end afterwards.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by boscotom View Post
    ....But what about piano players who use, say, Band-In-A-Box? Does that go over okay?
    I used to work live with a Roland keyboard many years ago where it provided all the rhythm things, bass, drums, brass stabs etc. I mainly used the more simple rhythms (meaning without the brass stuff, just basic bass and drums.) I also used it with acoustic piano. For the situation, it was easier to get people up and dancing or work in a reasonably lively cafe where an acoustic piano would have not been so easily heard. Having the backing certainly made it a different sound for that environment .... more suitable. They could not pay for additional musicians. In some venues there is no room for them (a grand piano taking up quite a bit of room on the stage.)
    I am not saying I liked using it, but it gave me more gigs (someone had to do them.) And it was quite nice to have a backdrop to float around. Now we have computers, BIAB ... and irb.

    House, Drums and Bass etc. work as new music genres ... mostly sequenced and quantized, but there are some tracks with lovely solos and grooves on Rhodes or sax on top, played by real players.

    The other thing related to your gig, it is a Christmas party, so there will be lots of noise, fun and excitement. I think your contribution is more likely to be appreciated in that context (or maybe ignored!) .... but it is not a concert! I think it will be a good chance to try it out, learn from the experience (you can always turn it off during the gig!) without most of the major problems you could be thinking of.
    Of course you do not have to use it all the time anyway. Read the crowd and be spontaneous in using it. Maybe approach it as being a highlight for a few tunes, if that makes it easier to ease into using it.

    I think you are lucky you play keyboards. Singers often have to use backing tracks (even for auditions!) and solo instrumentalists. At least you have the privilege of doing gigs just on your own without any audio tracks (and anyone else.)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by dflat View Post
    ...it was easier to get people up and dancing or work [with a rhythm machine] in a reasonably lively cafe where an acoustic piano would have not been so easily heard. Having the backing certainly made it a different sound for that environment .... more suitable....The other thing related to your gig, it is a Christmas party, so there will be lots of noise, fun and excitement.
    Ah I have gone to the wise man on the mountain and he is dflat. Your points really struck me as the truths of my particular situation. It actually could be the best decision I make to use the Player. It is a holiday party where I'm only the piano guy in the corner, not a hushed, reverent solo concert at the local classical hall. The iReal Player is a method to fit my niche better and probably more pleasing to the crowd.

    Thank you all for such friendly helpful advice.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    My experience with iReal Book's player in a gig setting was very positive.

    I'm a singer/guitarist, and I often bill myself as "The Eclectic Electric Jukebox", because I gig with a computer rig that allows me to do everything from Sinatra to Sabbath.

    All of my backing tracks are played "live" via a sequencer, feeding into virtual drum kits and racks of soft-synths and samplers. This is all on a Mac mini, which I have mounted on a portable carry-case along with the audio interface, etc. Heck, I even do all the vocal and guitar processing live via that computer.

    Anyway, my most recent gig was a three week run, 4 nights a week, at a venue in North Hollywood. For this gig, the jazz standards (and my originals written in the same style) were what was going over the best for that crowd.

    A few days before the last week of the run started, I stumbled across iReal Book in the app store. Customizable chord chart library? Love it! Fantastic. But what really got me was when I tried the player and it sounded good. (especially the bass... nice!)

    So, for my last week of the gig, I plugged my iPad into my mixer, adjusted the levels/eq, and used it for several songs each night.

    You know what? It fit right in with all of my own hand-crafted midi-based backing tracks. Actually, in some cases, it sounded a little better because the real players on the iReal Book player samples are better at their instruments than I.

    Bottom line is, it worked, the audience liked the sound (lots of positive comments, no negative ones), and to the ones who were interested in my setup, when they found out that some of the backing was being played in realtime from the iPad, they were stunned.

    Because that gig went so well, I now have some upcoming "jazz-standard only" gigs.

    And for jazz standards, I won't need a rig that can do all the horn parts to "Sledgehammer" or play hammond on "Whiter Shade of Pale". So the computer rig is going to stay at home, and my iPad will become "The Eclectic Jazz Trio" for the evening. lol Plus, if I feel like doing a song with a different jazz style from one night to the next, I'll have that freedom, which I didn't have with my hand-sequenced songs. VERY cool.

    In fact, because of this "minimization" that I'm going for, I found an old iPod touch lying around and set it up with AmpKit software. Now I'm so portable, it's almost ridiculous.


    Anyway, I have found that the iReal Book player is VERY viable for live situations.

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