Improvisation Exercises – All Key-Signatures

This month's newsletter article gives you practice tunes for improvising in each key-signature.

There is another newsletter article about the use of different key-signatures, and why you should make use of them. You can check out that article by clicking on the following link:

Key-Signatures – The Why, How, and Wherefore

This month's rather short article, supplies you with a new tune to improvise with, including a version of it in every key-signature.

This tune is played entirely using MIDI channel 3, leaving MIDI channels 1 and 2 available to you for melody and chords. It uses the “Electric Piano 2” General-MIDI sound, so it should work even without the FluidR3_GM sound-font. It should sound good with all kinds of different instrument parts you may want to improvise along with it.

The “FluidR3_GM.kmk” configuration file (supplied with the application) uses MIDI channel 1 for all of the melody performance panes, and MIDI channel 2 for the Chords pane, so it should work fine with it.

It is a piece I improvised using a MIDI keyboard about a month ago, and you are welcome to create your own music along with it, with only the requirement of acknowledging me (Aere) as a co-creator.

To listen to the piece in the key of C (no flats or sharps – the default key-signature), download it by right-clicking on the following link, and choosing “Save Link As” (or whatever similar your browser presents) in the pop-up menu.

PianoImprov-0b.mid

Next, with the KeyMusician Keyboard running, specify an actual synthesizer in the “Playback Device” drop-box of the player, such as in the screen-shot of the player window below.

Then click the browse button and browse to where you downloaded the above MIDI file.


Select the downloaded file (of the same name as in the link above) to be loaded, and then you should be able to click the “Play” button to hear it.

While it plays, you might hit the F7 function key, and play a wordless choir sound along with it (assuming that performance pane has its “Transpose” button set to “0 (none)”).

If you need to learn more about improvisation, there is a tutorial about improvising with MIDI files, and there are other newsletter articles about improvisation.

To get the piece you played above (in each of the key-signatures), download the zip-file archive containing them, by right-clicking on the following link, and selecting “Save Link As” (or whatever similar choice your internet browser presents) in the pop-up menu.

PianoImprov-AllKeys.zip

Then (using your file browser), browse to where you downloaded the zip archive, and extract the individual files (the way you extract them is different for each operating system). Remember where you put them. It might be useful to create a folder called “MIDI-Downloads” for downloaded MIDI files.

The files are named in a way that tells you what key-signature the file uses.

For example, the individual file you downloaded first (PianoImprov-0b.mid), has “-0b” as part of of its name, which means there are zero flats (or sharps) in the key-signature. The name “PianoImprov-4#.mid” indicates it uses a key-signature with 4 sharps.

So if you load the “ PianoImprov-4#.mid” MIDI file into the player, before you improvise music along with it, you need to click the “Transpose” button of the performance pane you want to use, and set its “Number Flats/Sharps” drop-box to “+4 = 4-sharps”.

Try improvising with each of them, and see if there is a key-signature that you prefer. The differences are subtle, having to do with the different pitches resulting from using tempered tuning (which is required to be able to play all key-signatures equally well in-tune).

Most of the differences in improvising with them will have to do with how high or low the actual tune is, and what sounds good with it in the instrument sound you are using.

If nothing else, this article gives you yet another piece to improvise along with. I hope you enjoy it, and come up with some amazing music using it.



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