Please, stop octave left hand playing without purpose

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Analog Prophet
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Please, stop octave left hand playing without purpose

Post by Analog Prophet » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:29 am

Some reflections of watching many synth Youtube demos etc: Why does so many poly-synth players (and other keyboard players) constantly octave the left hand at about “every” demo at Youtube etc?

- It makes the sound more muddy when adding 3dB to the left hand notes at the cost of the right hand notes.
- It steal voices that many times are limited to 4-8 voices.
- Ruin the idea of the elegance of filter tracking.
- The added left hand octave bass tilt the balance and will be low cut in the mix = wasted.
- It’s easier and gives more dynamic to play single note base in left hand instead of static octave left hand playing.

When playing acoustic piano without bass (-guitar) it can help some time if it purposely is to be bass heavy, but most of the time it just makes the right hand notes to drown instead of giving nice nuances.

Yes, some times I’m guilty as well (especially when playing acoustic piano live). I hate it when not for a purpose (sometimes it is) but working on it.

Please, stop octave left hand playing if its not for a reason, just like constantly play octave on a bass guitar in all parts of all songs. It is wasted, ruin the timbre of otherwise very nice Youtube demos etc. Try and see!
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Michael O.
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Re: Please, stop octave left hand playing without purpose

Post by Michael O. » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:26 pm

I absolutely agree when looking at it from a pianistic or small ensemble standpoint, but, to play devil’s advocate and give these ubiquitous octave fans the benefit of the doubt, it’s not unheard of when looking at the technique from a strings or horns arrangement point of view. It’s not uncommon for the chelli to play an octave up from the double bass. So, for something string-like, or a pad, or something along those lines, it makes some sense, but definitely errs on the side of boring and unnecessary. And, from a producer and mixing engineer perspective, definitely tends to add unnecessary low-mid energy that may end up carved out of a mix anyway.

Having said that, I don’t really watch synth demos so I could be being overly generous to the demonstrators, lol.

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Re: Please, stop octave left hand playing without purpose

Post by 3hands » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:00 pm

Good god you’re critiquing someone’s style.
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Please, stop octave left hand playing without purpose

Post by Analog Prophet » Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:36 am

3hands wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:00 pm
Good god you’re critiquing someone’s style.
I make no such claims, I’m fine to be one of his analog prophets.
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Re: Please, stop octave left hand playing without purpose

Post by Xomrys » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:47 pm

I have a low bar as to what to expect from Youtube demos. Occasionally something brilliant appears, like the Boele Gerkes 1980's demos (the Poly 800 and Jen SX-1000 stuff) but as long as they're recording with line in, I usually don't complain. The no-nonsense demos by Katsunori Ujiie (musictrackjp) are some of the most useful. While they may not be masterpieces, you usually get a very accurate sense of how the synth sounds. And that's the point.

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Re: Please, stop octave left hand playing without purpose

Post by Analog Prophet » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:54 am

Xomrys wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:47 pm
The no-nonsense demos by Katsunori Ujiie (musictrackjp) are some of the most useful. While they may not be masterpieces, you usually get a very accurate sense of how the synth sounds. And that's the point.
Agree, those synth demos are brilliant. I even don’t need subtitle as they can be understood without knowing Japanese, by english therms, enthusiasm and great performance. That’s my favorite. There are also many other useful no-nonsense youtube channels synth demos I appreciate, here some of them:

- Loopop
- Nick Batt, Sonic State reviews
- Daniel Fisher, Sweetwater
- Anderton
- Dr Mix

Ask.Audio used to have, not reviews but podcast with different electronic artists talking about a specific synth they used for a project, that was very inspiring; Synth Stories.
- Matt Johnson Jamiroquai

Some other great synth channels, IMHO, that gives great demos or inspire to creative use of synths are Bo Beats and Look Mum No Computer.

... and when I think about it; they all pass the left hand octave police control ;)
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Re: Please, stop octave left hand playing without purpose

Post by StillNotWorking » Wed Mar 04, 2020 9:16 am

Analog Prophet wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:29 am
Some reflections of watching many synth Youtube demos etc: Why does so many poly-synth players (and other keyboard players) constantly octave the left hand at about “every” demo at Youtube etc?

- It makes the sound more muddy when adding 3dB to the left hand notes at the cost of the right hand notes.
Young players might need to mask the upper register for less ear piercing sound? I'm not a player but use this technique for texture, then making it a creative decision wouldn't it?

For YouTuber's Alex Ball should be mentioned. His Land of the Rising Sound, SDS-3 and Korg Stage Echo are brilliant.
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