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What do you use aftertouch for?
Old 1st July 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
What do you use aftertouch for?

Hi. I have an older M-Audio Radium midi keyboard. It does not have aftertouch, so I've never used it. I do create a lot of string/ orchestra tracks. I don't know if it would be a good idea to get, like an Axiom or something with aftertouch. I have read that some have it and never really use it. I use the mod wheel, but what might I use aftertouch for?

Thanks!
Old 1st July 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Rogue Ai's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
It's like a mod wheel that doesn't tie your hand up.
Old 1st July 2012
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Well, you can use it for just about anything. I've got aftertouch on four of my boards and love it for certain things. Vibrato is a common modulation you can use it for. I like it for opening up filters. Holding a slowly evolving chord down and getting the filter to pulse with the rhythm just by applying a bit of pressure. If you're more of a player than a button pusher, then sometimes it's just the thing you need if both hands are busy playing.
Old 1st July 2012
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Cool - so I can use it instead of the mod wheel? Sold. I suck at using the mod wheel!
Old 1st July 2012
  #5
ozy
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ozy's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by wineshop ➑️
what might I use aftertouch for?
the least known, but probably the most interesting, use of aftertouch,

is as a velocity complement.

velocity will track your fingers from 0 to 127. Then nothing else happens. If your hand is indeed "heavier", or if you want it to linger on keys at maximum force, or if you want to keep some effects or parameters for "+1" velocity,

you can use aftertouch.

It wuill add one dimension to velocity: "end of key range behaviour".

It will sense that the finger went down to the end of key range, then tried "adding some", then relented. Or just hit the bottom and didn't insist. Or waited a split second AND insisted.

Release velocity can be combined with diminishing afterpouch values as well

Aftertouch + release velocity make for very very subtle analysis of your playing gesture.

VL synths use a lot of this feature.

Other than that, the obvious comes to mind: filter cutoff, OSC2 freq in sinc patches, modulation, a second layer of sound...

But the velocity+aftertouch gimmick is a favorite of mine (and would require polyphonic aftertoutch, which is seldom found)
Old 1st July 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
the donal's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I like to use aftertouch for the vibrato amount and then use the mod wheel for the vibrato rate (with a smallish range). It's a nice way of adding variation to vibrato on lead sounds.

That or filter cutoff normally for me.
Old 1st July 2012
  #7
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Rust Creep's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My microwave xt will let you route AT to anything.. it even responds to poly AT but my Keyboard only does AT

Ive fallen so in love with AT that i intend to get one of those keyboards that the keys move in 3d

Now if only i didnt have such stubby fingers

Sent from my DROIDX using Gearslutz App
Old 1st July 2012
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Sometimes is just quicker to draw it in. But I mostly use it to open filters a bit more, change lfo amplitudes.
Old 1st July 2012
  #9
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AnalogGuy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I use aftertouch for anything available. It depends what the source synth is capable of. I have also keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch and here's a small demo showing what kind of tricks you can play with it. I assigned filter, volume amplitude and vibrato for aftertouch and so you can hear it clearly how it affects to the sound:

http://www.uusikaupunki.fi/~patalus/...aftertouch.mp3


After using polypressure, it feels something like moving from stereo into surround sound system: you hardly ever will use previous system anymore. It just feels and sounds so great!
Old 1st July 2012
  #10
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kpsiegel's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Aftertouch is a great modulation source but one thing to be careful about is that it generates a LOT of midi messages. This may not be a problem for you but it is worth being aware of.
Old 1st July 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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AnalogGuy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpsiegel ➑️
Aftertouch is a great modulation source but one thing to be careful about is that it generates a LOT of midi messages. This may not be a problem for you but it is worth being aware of.
Midi messages of normal aftertouch is not that much of data, not even worth of being aware (unless you don't want to use it). Any midi tool can handle them without problems. Instead polypressure might cause some problems since it creates midi messages of individual key aftertouch... you can imagine, individual aftertouch messages per each key. But I haven't faced any problems with that either.
Old 1st July 2012 | Show parent
  #12
ozy
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ozy's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogGuy ➑️
Midi messages of normal aftertouch is not that much of data, not even worth of being aware (unless you don't want to use it).
not true.

Even monophonic aftertouch is one the most "intruding" continuous controllers.

For as long as you "hold" a key, repeated AFT data is sent, even for mnimal variations of pressure.

Try the following: connect keyboard to any midi monitor/sequencer, hit a chord, go 50% pressure, hold for two seconds , look at what happened.

Next, hit the same chord again, no pressure, and just quit

compare the two data flows:

AFT will represent 98% of midi messages, and the first batch will be far more heavy than the second.

That is indeed one of the reasons why AFT is (unfortunately) not so popular

Of corse poly-AFT would be even heavier (and worth it!), but AFT in itself is a cumbersone cc as far as midi is concerned.

Solution?

No midi! fix yourself a nice prophet t8 and just play the internal engine without using midi!
Old 1st July 2012 | Show parent
  #13
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AnalogGuy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozy ➑️
not true.

Even monophonic aftertouch is one the most "intruding" continuous controllers.

For as long as you "hold" a key, repeated AFT data is sent, even for mnimal variations of pressure.

Try the following: connect keyboard to any midi monitor/sequencer, hit a chord, go 50% pressure, hold for two seconds , look at what happened.

Next, hit the same chord again, no pressure, and just quit

compare the two data flows:

AFT will represent 98% of midi messages, and the first batch will be far more heavy than the second.

That is indeed one of the reasons why AFT is (unfortunately) not so popular

Of corse poly-AFT would be even heavier (and worth it!), but AFT in itself is a cumbersone cc as far as midi is concerned.

Solution?

No midi! fix yourself a nice prophet t8 and just play the internal engine without using midi!
I know that very well, but what I mean is that approx. 80-90% of the midi tools and synths out there can handle that amount of messages without any problems so there's really nothing to worry about. The only thing I can imagine is that if you feed aftertouch messages into currently playing sequencers, it might cause some chokes.

I even own hardware midi tools that can convert in realtime aftertouch messages into other CCs like volume, and it works like a dream.

The true reason why aftertouch is not so popular is only because people just do not have skills and can't use it and/or do not bother to practice it IMHO. Another similar situation, a crude comparison is the way how some people wants velocity off from the digipianos only because it made playing more difficult for them!
Old 1st July 2012 | Show parent
  #14
ozy
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ozy's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogGuy ➑️
The true reason why aftertouch is not so popular is only because people just do not have skills and can't use it and/or do not bother to practice it IMHO.
+1

True, true.

I just read [guess where?] a frantic praise of the jupiter50's LACK of aftertouch , and the reason was obvious:

most people can barely hit keys, let alone hit them with subtle velocity variations, much less they can graduate aftertouch.

The guy even said that he "can't SEE famous keyboard players pressuring on the keys, wchich means they don't use aftertouch"...

... as if "aftertouch" meant "keep your elbows straight, hunch on the keyboard and weigh on it as if forcing a suitcase shut"...

The fact that pressure is a matter of 2 millimeters x split seconds, and of fingertip strenght, didn't even cross his mind.

Aftertouch exists on classical guitars (and even more on scalloped electric guitars). That's where I learnt the gesture. And no, it didn't involve stiffening your arms either...

Next instalment: "breath control is useless. There's no space for air in most synth chassis".
Old 1st July 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I love using aftertouch for vibrato when playing lead sounds, which I find much more natural than doing the same with a mod wheel. I will often modulate the rate at the same time to give me more expression.

Using vibrato via aftertouch (rather than mod wheel) makes it much easier to use the pitch wheel when soloing. Recently I saw a guy on youtube play a solo and he was using the mod wheel for vibrato while also using the pitch wheel. He's hand/thumb had to do so much jumping to and fro that I felt tired just looking at that and wished so bad that he used aftertouch for vibrato instead - it's just so much more natural. Anyway...

When I have a rhythmic patch which is created with looped envelopes, I like modulating the envelope slopes to give me rhythm variation.

There are so many creative possibilities so use AFTERTOUCH!
Old 1st July 2012
  #16
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Also, don't forget there is a midi out on your keyboard , and many reverb/delay/multifx units with midi have aftertouch as a control parameter , so you can " play" the fx that your synth sound runs into as part of the patch: aftertouch could raise the reverb level and delay feedback for example. Modwheel,pitch, velocity , sus pedals also can be used to play those fx.
Old 1st July 2012
  #17
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I've learned a lot on this thread. For example, I did not know that most keyboards just had mono aftertouch. Just presumed they were all poly, and I could see where poly would be beneficial. Now I've got to find which are and which are not ...
Old 1st July 2012 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
AnalogGuy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by wineshop ➑️
I've learned a lot on this thread. For example, I did not know that most keyboards just had mono aftertouch. Just presumed they were all poly, and I could see where poly would be beneficial. Now I've got to find which are and which are not ...
I created a list of synths capable of polyphonic aftertouch and synthesizers able to respond to it:

https://gearspace.com/board/electron...e-updated.html

See? Not that many exist?



Quote:
Originally Posted by ozy ➑️
+1

True, true.

I just read [guess where?] a frantic praise of the jupiter50's LACK of aftertouch , and the reason was obvious:

most people can barely hit keys, let alone hit them with subtle velocity variations, much less they can graduate aftertouch.

The guy even said that he "can't SEE famous keyboard players pressuring on the keys, wchich means they don't use aftertouch"...

... as if "aftertouch" meant "keep your elbows straight, hunch on the keyboard and weigh on it as if forcing a suitcase shut"...
This is so ridiculous, so naive... Funny how hard they try to have justification to omit such important thing... justification for making things cheaper for the company.

If I move away from keyboard containing aftertouch to the other one without containing it... I really feel like I would miss an arm. There's so many things you can do with aftertouch.
Old 1st July 2012
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Aftertouch should be a standard feature in every keyboard. If it's got full size keys, it needs aftertouch (and velocity).

But this is the sign of the times. We live in non-performance based times (at least in the electronic dance genres) It's all about programming, painting notes in the piano roll. When I see photos of 'producers' sitting behind a computer and all I see is a two octave midi controller in front of the person, my heart sinks...a lot of people don't play any more.
Old 1st July 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
BTByrd's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I love aftertouch and use it for everything.

Favorite destinations are filter cutoff frequency, wavetable position, and index/ratio CVs on the Modcan VCDO. It's also fun to control effects with AT (e.g. bit crusher, ring modulator, phaser, frequency shifter).
Old 1st July 2012 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
kpsiegel's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogGuy ➑️
I know that very well, but what I mean is that approx. 80-90% of the midi tools and synths out there can handle that amount of messages without any problems so there's really nothing to worry about. The only thing I can imagine is that if you feed aftertouch messages into currently playing sequencers, it might cause some chokes.

I even own hardware midi tools that can convert in realtime aftertouch messages into other CCs like volume, and it works like a dream.

The true reason why aftertouch is not so popular is only because people just do not have skills and can't use it and/or do not bother to practice it IMHO. Another similar situation, a crude comparison is the way how some people wants velocity off from the digipianos only because it made playing more difficult for them!
The problem is not with the synths and the tools filtering out aftertouch. The problems you get into is the flood of aftertouch messages can cause your midi clock messages to have timing jitter. Unless you filter at the source of aftertouch to not send it over midi then you get timing jitter. This is just a simple consequence of a midi clock message potentially being queued behind an aftertouch message flood.

As far as saying that the "true reason" that aftertouch is not popular is because of lack of skills or lack of practice I think it is safe to say that is, at best, speculative. The better reason is that it is expensive to put in a keyboard controller especially for polyphonic aftertouch.
Old 2nd July 2012
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
I created a list of synths capable of polyphonic aftertouch and synthesizers able to respond to it:

List of Synthesizers featuring rare features... keep me updated

See? Not that many exist?
Thank you for posting that list!! Very helpful and time saving!


Quote:
When I see photos of 'producers' sitting behind a computer and all I see is a two octave midi controller in front of the person, my heart sinks...a lot of people don't play any more.
That, my friend, is a quote worthy of a bumper sticker or T-shirt! I agree 100%. Talent has little to do with modern top 40. I realize that's a subjective opinion. But it's mine.
Old 2nd July 2012 | Show parent
  #23
ozy
Lives for gear
 
ozy's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by himalaya ➑️
. We live in non-performance based times (at least in the electronic dance genres) It's all about programming, painting notes in the piano roll. When I see photos of 'producers' sitting behind a computer and all I see is a two octave midi controller in front of the person, my heart sinks...a lot of people don't play any more.
try posting that on any of the EDM threads...

You will be re-educated... no, let me rephrase that. You will "explained" that technique has nothing to do with music, that it is about inspiration, that EDM is far more subtle than you can understand...

chunga chunga chunga weeeeeeeeeeee cunga chunga chunga weeeeeeeeeee
πŸ“ Reply

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