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Topic: Sustain Pedal & Legato-->Keyboard Problems

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  1. #1

    Question Sustain Pedal & Legato-->Keyboard Problems

    So far, I have not used the sustain pedal for legato, but after reading some older posts on the subject, I think I need to pay attention to this feature. My problem is that I have three keyboards, but only one of them has a sustain pedal. It is a Yamaha Clavinova 120, a full 88-key electronic piano. It has MIDI In, Out, and Thru, but I don't think it has a cc#1 modulation function. There is a "brilliance" slider, but I don't think it records MIDI modulation data.
    I also have an ancient Kawai K4 synthesizer. It has a mod wheel and pitch bend wheel, but no sustain pedal, and when I use it as a MIDI controller all the notes go in at 64 velocity only.

    Finally, I have yet another keyboard, an M-Audio Midiman Oxygen. It is the smallest and cheapest of them all, but I like it best. I just can't figure out if it has a programmable sustain pedal function or whether I can hook up a pedal. If anyone knows more about keyboards and MIDI than I do, I am open to any suggestions.

    Bill Boletta

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: Sustain Pedal & Legato-->Keyboard Problems

    Sounds like the Yamaha would be your best bet for any tracks you lay down requiring piano and the M-Audio for the other instruments. I can't imagine that the Oxygen would not have a jack in the rear for a sustain pedal (available separately) - this would be ideal for sustain/legato and mod wheel/volume controls.

    Please note that the Kontakt player that's built into GPO has different options for how the sustain pedal responds in GPO. If you're using a piano patch, you must set (click the Options button on the player and select sustain/sostenuto pedal mode) it to "Normal sustain/sostenuto operation" - otherwise the pedal will have no effect on the piano. To use the pedal for legato, set it to "no sustain/sostenuto operation, but Midi controller" or else you'll get smeary, blurry notes. This setting is global for all players so you can't, for instance, have a piano with pedal sustain and other instruments with pedal legato in the same instance of GPO.

    There are workarounds to this. The first one, if you are working in a sequencer like Cubase, Sonar or others is to set your GPO to normal sustain and render your piano part to audio. Then set GPO to no sustain, but midi controller to have legato on your other instruments.

    Another workaround that works only if you're in a sequencer environment is to make a duplicate of your GPO dll file, rename it (say GPO_Piano.dll) and set this new version with the normal sustain pedal operation option and have that be your default piano. It is in effect a second - and separate - version of GPO. This will not work in GPO Studio where all eight players are tied together as one and any change made in one affects all others.

    Sorry if I got long-winded and veered off of your original question, but I thought that as you begin to explore using legato that these questions would arise. Good luck.

  3. #3

    Re: Sustain Pedal & Legato-->Keyboard Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by loogoo
    Sounds like the Yamaha would be your best bet for any tracks you lay down requiring piano and the M-Audio for the other instruments. I can't imagine that the Oxygen would not have a jack in the rear for a sustain pedal (available separately) - this would be ideal for sustain/legato and mod wheel/volume controls.
    Thanks for all these interesting insights and pointers.

    The Oxygen 8 keyboard has a jack for a pedal, but I'm not sure that this jack sends MIDI control change data. I'm a bit confused in this area to begin with. Is the legato effect with GPO achieved simply by prolonging the physical sound by sustaining it or does the actual MIDI data sent by the sustain pedal have something to do with it. MIDI cc# 64 is the relevant function (I think), but there is also a MIDI cc#66, called "sostenuto."

    I'm also not sure what the difference is between an actual MIDI performance input by me on a MIDI controller keyboard using a sostenuto pedal with a GPO instrument and a performance that is so-so, even sloppy, done with a MIDI controller input on the same keyboard which I subsequently went in and edited with the MIDI matrix editor in Logic (or any other sequencer). I used to think that the matrix editor was mostly for people who can't read music, but I have discovered its amazing capability for honing note lengths and thus producing staccato and legato, not to mention velocity parameters. I have even been able to write convincing piccolo trills and timpani rolls just by using the matrix editor. They look weird but sound good. The great thing about music, especially orchestration, is that the final sound is always the best criterion.

    Finally, one more question: what is a .dll file and where can I find it?

    Bill B.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Re: Sustain Pedal & Legato-->Keyboard Problems

    Ignore the sostenuto control as that is really something that is a piano-specific function that many people never use. The sustain pedal (CC64) is what you want to focus on and this controller works two different ways - the normal sustain mode that you would use for the piano means that depressing a sustain pedal that is plugged into the sustain jack on your keyboard causes the notes you play to be held and as long as the pedal is depressed, the note will continue to sound until the natural decay of the note stops the sound - just like on a real piano. This of course would not work on sustaining instruments such as strings, brass or woodwinds as these notes would just continue to sound indefinitely and your phrase would become a total mess.

    That's where you use the "no sustain/sostenuto operation, but Midi controller" mode. This is a GPO exclusive function that creates a legato effect on sustained instruments. If you have an oboe phrase you want played legato, you would depress the pedal on your first note and play the phrase in a smooth (not choppy) fashion on the keyboard. When he phrase is complete, release the pedal and you can then go on to the next phrase. What this actually does (and there is an explanation of it somewhere on the website) is minimize the attack portion of notes played subsequent to pressing the pedal so that you get a smoother sounding line.

    If you have a sustain pedal jack in the back of your keyboard then you need to get a pedal to plug into it. They are usually $20 or so. You can, of course, also draw in cc64 data after the fact in your sequencer (simple on/off commands 127=on 0=off or - insert Ped. and * symbols in notation view) but it is more convenient if you are recording Midi in real-time to use the pedal. Hope this helps a little more.

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