Musician’s Stories from the Trenches – Bob Norton (part 2)

Editor’s note:  Bob was good enough to expand on his original article to include this update on playing and setting up a wind controller based on his extensive experience.

Bob Norton Candid 2The art of emulating another instrument is similar to a comedian doing an impression of a famous celebrity. As the comedian finds the common nuances of a celebrity’s speech, the synthesist finds out what his/her patch will do to recreate the nuances of the instrument he/she is ‘doing’. This makes up for any lack of tone the patch may have, and in my opinion is much more important for good results. Listen carefully to the articulation, pitch bend, and ornaments of the instrument you are emulating, and try to get those same nuances out of your synth. This teaches critical listening skills. Then lean on the nuances your synth is capable of reproducing, just as the comedian repeats the nuances he/she can reproduce from the person the comedian is emulating.

wx5Setting the wind zero, wind gain, lip zero and lip gain on the Yamaha WX instruments is a bit tricky and it took a lot of trial and error to get it right. I published a web page that along with your manual is a handy guide for setting your WX up. Although it is written with the WX5 in mind, you can use it with all the WX instruments. Simply ignore the settings of the features that don’t pertain to your WX. I call it my Tips and Tricks page and it is located here:

If I were asked to give one piece of advice about playing any instrument or in any band it would be, “Have fun.” Playing music should be fun, and if the musician is enjoying himself/herself, the audience will too. Fun is contagious. Work is for practice at home, fun is for performing. That’s why they call it PLAYing music.

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