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Latest Posts » Archive by category 'How To'

How To Play 90’s Dance Music on Synth Keyboards

Written by v on December 28, 2009 – 1:59 pm -

Season’s Greeting to everyone,

I apologise for being quiet for so long. You cannot imagine how many half-written posts I have that I did not have the attention span and motivation to finish. I have a perfectionist streak within me that can be paralysing and I hope to cast that off in the New Year.

I am a big fan of 90’s dance music and I love listening to songs and figuring out riffs on my keyboards. The music has an energy and upbeatness to it that really draws me in. Whilst browsing Youtube earlier this morning, I found these great instructional videos:


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Written by v on August 13, 2009 – 8:18 pm -

The vocoder is a very polarising device – it drives some people wild, it drives others nuts, but everyone who’s listened to modern music in the last three decades or watched cartoons had heard one. This is the effect used to produce a robotic voice or talking instrument.

Traditionally, vocoders have been dedicated units – boxes, with two audio inputs – a sound source and a microphone. It analyzes the human voice to measure the formant characteristics  and superimposes them over the tonal qualities of the input sound.

It is very similar in effect to the talk box, where a sound source is fed down a pipe into the user’s mouth and the user moves their mouth, jaw and tongue to modify the sound. The vocoder is also commonly confused with autotune – the quite recently developed pitch correction technology that can also be used for artistic effects.

Nowadays, vocoders are often built into synth keyboards like the Korg MS-2000, Radias and Microkorg series. They are also implemented in software in digital audio workstatation packages including Reason and Ableton Live.

In this article, we’ll talk about the history of the vocoder, how it works, its use in popular culture and how you can use one.


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