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Is "Weighted" keys a must-have for composers?
Old 19th December 2016
  #1
Is "Weighted" keys a must-have for composers?

Hello!

This is not a thread where I am asking for a certain model.

I am just interested in knowing if you _need_ fully weighted keys for composing.

Or if many of you out there settle one semi-weighted keyboards?
Old 19th December 2016
  #2
Mrx
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
These days you don't even need a keyboard for composing.
Old 19th December 2016 | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrx ➑️
These days you don't even need a keyboard for composing.
Im starting out with orchestral composition for film/games.

I know that it is possible to pick notes with a mouse in a midi/key editor, but lets just say I want to play the strings/woodwinds/brass on a keyboard.

Does it matter if it is weigthed or only semi weighted?
Old 19th December 2016 | Show parent
  #4
007
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007's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Visephy ➑️
Im starting out with orchestral composition for film/games.

I know that it is possible to pick notes with a mouse in a midi/key editor, but lets just say I want to play the strings/woodwinds/brass on a keyboard.

Does it matter if it is weigthed or only semi weighted?
Personal preference me thinks.
Many successful composer friends of mine do not have a weighted keyboard controller, nor do I.
I've played them and yes, they do feel great when paired with the right sound, which more often than not is just a great piano patch.

Otherwise, strings + orchestral, synth, bass, drums, etc, I see no reason why a weighted keyboard would be better.
Old 19th December 2016 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 ➑️
Personal preference me thinks.
Many successful composer friends of mine do not have a weighted keyboard controller, nor do I.
I've played them and yes, they do feel great when paired with the right sound, which more often than not is just a great piano patch.

Otherwise, strings + orchestral, synth, bass, drums, etc, I see no reason why a weighted keyboard would be better.
Well. I am not a big time Hollywood composer. So when I mean compose. I mean writing full pieces in Cubase 9 Pro, using Spitfire's various libraries.

So is it possible with my "breath" midi controller + a semi-weigthed midi keyboard. To create natural sounding scores?
Old 19th December 2016 | Show parent
  #6
007
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007's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Visephy ➑️
Well. I am not a big time Hollywood composer. So when I mean compose. I mean writing full pieces in Cubase 9 Pro, using Spitfire's various libraries.
Neither am I, nor anyone I know.
Successful does not mean "big time", it simply means they earn a good living doing what they do, composing.

Quote:
So is it possible with my "breath" midi controller + a semi-weigthed midi keyboard. To create natural sounding scores?
The short answer to all of this no.
You do not need a weighted keyboard to compose "natural" sounding scores.
You just need to compose good music, and semi weighted keys will do just fine.
Old 19th December 2016 | Show parent
  #7
Mrx
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Visephy ➑️
Im starting out with orchestral composition for film/games.

I know that it is possible to pick notes with a mouse in a midi/key editor, but lets just say I want to play the strings/woodwinds/brass on a keyboard.

Does it matter if it is weigthed or only semi weighted?
O.k fair enough. I think it depends on preference. I am a self taught pianist and for me weighted keys are not essential. As long as I can get the ideas down I am happy so I use a Panorama P6 keyboard.

I've noticed piano players from the classical school tend to favour weighted keys. I suppose it's a bit like guitarists who prefer valve amps etc.

In reality you can do just fine with semi weighted keys for a lot of your composing needs but as mentioned if you're a serious piano player you may prefer weighted keys.
Old 19th December 2016 | Show parent
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrx ➑️
O.k fair enough. I think it depends on preference. I am a self taught pianist and for me weighted keys are not essential. As long as I can get the ideas down I am happy so I use a Panorama P6 keyboard.

I've noticed piano players from the classical school tend to favour weighted keys. I suppose it's a bit like guitarists who prefer valve amps etc.

In reality you can do just fine with semi weighted keys for a lot of your composing needs but as mentioned if you're a serious piano player you may prefer weighted keys.
Well.

I play the piano aswell. I admit that weigthed keys feel better - But I am not partial to them, if I can get the same realistic string passages with a semi-weigthed keyboard + breathe controller and some kind of knobs to send midi. Then I am happy with that :D
Old 19th December 2016
  #9
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jazz4's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I've tried weighted keys, but to be honest, I really didn't like it. It slowed my playing down. Maybe I'm just not used to it, but I get on fine with unweighted keys.
Old 19th December 2016 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Dale Turner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Visephy ➑️
Well. I am not a big time Hollywood composer. So when I mean compose. I mean writing full pieces in Cubase 9 Pro, using Spitfire's various libraries.

So is it possible with my "breath" midi controller + a semi-weigthed midi keyboard. To create natural sounding scores?
Seems like it's more a mix of:

* Understanding of orchestration
* Familiarity with sound of real orchestra
* Programming ability
* Flexibility/quality of sample library
* Mixing skill

So, with those in place, your mix of controllers would not hinder you, in any way. It'd be more of a "workflow" thing, at that point.

(Obviously none of what I typed has to do with the actual "composition" part--whole other beast!)
Old 19th December 2016 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Visephy ➑️
Well. I am not a big time Hollywood composer. So when I mean compose. I mean writing full pieces in Cubase 9 Pro, using Spitfire's various libraries.

So is it possible with my "breath" midi controller + a semi-weigthed midi keyboard. To create natural sounding scores?
The breath controller is going to be much more of a benefit compared to choosing weighted board over non-weighted keys. The weighted board tends to favour trills but there's not a lot in it – it's more about what you feel comfortable playing. The only catch on the synth-action keybeds is that they tend to seem noisier in quiet passages (lots of "clacking") which might be off-putting.
Old 19th December 2016
  #12
kdm
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
If you are a trained pianist, yes, though truly good weighted controllers are nearly non-existent now.

For everyone else, probably not. Pencil, paper and extensive musical knowledge is more important for composing (especially for non-pianist musicians - violinists, etc).
Old 19th December 2016
  #13
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Pindrive's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Thought so, years ago. Plenty happy not having weighted keys, these days.
Old 19th December 2016 | Show parent
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdm ➑️
If you are a trained pianist, yes, though truly good weighted controllers are nearly non-existent now.

For everyone else, probably not. Pencil, paper and extensive musical knowledge is more important for composing (especially for non-pianist musicians - violinists, etc).
Again.

I write music by loading in the instrument and then playing it on my piano/keyboard/controller.

I dont know how to write music/ntoes on pen and paper.
Old 19th December 2016
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
If i could only have one keyboard, it wouldn't be weighted. Weighted keys are no good for quick percussion or organ.
However..I hate playing in piano parts without a weighted keyboard. So I have one for that.
Old 20th December 2016
  #16
Gear Addict
 
TheLateNight's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
In my opinion. . . as a piano player, my bias says "Yes" it is a must, for me at least.

I mean, it depends on what you are writing. If using VST libraries only and you need the most out of an electronic score, I'd say it's needed to capture the phrasing and velocity of the music at hand more accurately.

If you're just writing something that later will be transcribed for orchestra, it may not be "needed" but it certainly will help you or whomever is transcribing it do so with more detail - in my opinion.

All a matter of preference, the only thing I'd argue thoroughly about is if writing a piece for solo piano.
Old 20th December 2016
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Most composers use the piano to write. If you learned on a real piano like I did, you want a much depth in the keys pressure as you can get. Even the Best weighted keyboards are no where near capable of creating the feel of a Steinway piano for capturing the difference between Loud and Really sound, or soft and really soft.

I learned on a 1978 KAWI that was chosen by my family because it had action as hard, or harder to press than a Steinway.

Now that stated, Weighted keys are not for everything. When playing a piano or Rhodes sound, they are the best. But if you are playing Hammond, A lead synth, or some percussion stuff, the half weighted is a better option.
Old 20th December 2016
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
catfishmusic's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I like weighted keys for most things, but if I'm doing synth parts I like synth action... so I always keep synths close.
Old 23rd January 2017
  #19
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Forget the keyboard. Get you a Rolli! I would rather use one of those to add expression to a lush string passage any day. Otherwise, I'm partial to weighted keys. Not necessary, but I prefer it. Even better is if the same weighted keys have poly aftertouch.
Old 23rd January 2017
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Hexachords's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I guess it depends if you are a Keyboard player.
For comfort, I would say it's better, but not mandatory.
For scoring, what matters is the good timing with metronome, and I think you can get it right with some practice, no matter what keyboard you use.
The VPC1 would be my choice, but no knobs
Old 24th January 2017 | Show parent
  #21
007
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelRho ➑️
Forget the keyboard. Get you a Rolli! I would rather use one of those to add expression to a lush string passage any day.
I walked into a store last summer to try one out, prepared to completely fall in love with it.
I instead walked out completely confused and a bit put-off, feeling like had just given a massage to a jelly-fish.

Perhaps it takes some time to get used to, but Rolli just plummeted to the bottom of my ***** I want' list.
Old 24th January 2017
  #22
Gear Nut
 
Philososaxter's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I compose full time and am still on my cheapo M-Audio Keystation

Honestly, I rarely even think about it. Now that I consider it though, it would be nice to have one of those Native Instruments keyboards in addition to my Keystation if for no other reason than to have all the extra knobs/controllers. Those things are the tits.
Old 2nd February 2017
  #23
Gear Head
 
Hunter123's Avatar
 
I was considering this same question a month ago!

I ended up getting an Akai MPK261 which I'm quite happy with. It's semi-weighted and I find it does the job well but if your a serious piano player you would probably get annoyed with anything that wasn't fully weighted as that's what your used to playing.

Semi weighted is fine for composing and I regularly switch up between playing the parts on the keyboard and programming in the midi. I'm not a key player by far so I can't play everything anyway
Old 7th February 2017
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Kaatza Music's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have an 88 key Yamaha P-140 electric piano with weighted keys. It is my main MIDI creation instrument for Logic Pro X. I also have a Nektar Impact LX-25 MIDI controller which has non weighted keys. Between the two, I have all I need.
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