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Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Addict
sin night's Avatar
Despite the use in house and such, sometimes it’s nice/inspirational to play a patch with a certain interval already backed in. Does this limits you in what you can do? Definitely, but it may also force you to come up with something different than what you would play if you had a single note (or stacked octaves) sound.
If you make a patch with two oscillators set apart by a musical interval of 5 or 7 semitones, you’ll probably end up playing certain melodies that you wouldn’t necessarily play if you had to hit two keys everytime to play a copy of the melody transposed.

Also, I noticed that having a certain interval/chord fixed in the patch means keeping a static relation between the transients of all the notes of the chord. Say you play a C chord on a piano: you can be a really great player, but sometimes a key of the chord may be hit a little earlier and sometimes a little later, you can play the notes of the chord in a really tight and precise way or you can play it “lazy”, almost arpeggiated. Everytime you play that chord on the piano, it will probably sound a bit different. if you play a sampled chord, you have a static photo and you repeat that precise feeling over and over everytime you play the note (and, it the chord is played in a lazy way, it becomes tighter as you transpose it up). It’s all about sounding robotic and have certain artifacts that you won’t get by playing the chord in a “traditional way”.
Of course it’s not always the right thing for the piece, but sometimes it fits the aesthetic.
In my opinion, nowadays it’s all about options and being creative.

One thing I sometimes do (especially when using TAL Sampler) when a patch is meant to be used as a stab/chord, is to program a patch as a single note in a layer and then copy it to other layers and transpose them to create a chord. This way I can have a chord patch (say a min7th, because I usually have house and techno in mind when I create my sounds) that I can play as a one-finger-chord without being forced to use a keyboard with chord memory, but I can quickly change the chord by changing the transposition of the layers, or I can free myself from the limitations of the one-finger-chords by turning off all the layers but one and then play the chords on a keyboard in the traditional way.
This is just a technique that I like in my workflow (and of course the price is to waste the limited number of layers avaible in the TAL Sampler).

Another thing that comes to my mind are those cheap fan organ. I had a Bontempi as young kid in the eighties... I think they are “iconic” of a certain time... well, anyway, mine (but also other models that I saw online) had a section on the left with buttons which played... chords!!! I don’t know if that is just a feature of those fan organ or if it has a deeper history/reason, anyway I thought it was worth to mention it in this thread just for perspective...