How many OP owners cant actually play keys?

Im one of em... I can bang out a nice sounding jam, but I cant read and play to save my life. Need more practice.

Comments

  • I am teh suck at keyboard, but on the op-1 I can wrangle a vibe... Interested to get dat chordbot... But also, not having the theory nouse, on the keys ( I'm much better with a guitar in my hands ), actually means I write music in a totally different way on the op1, and I think it's opening my mind.
  • Not really. Sequencers team here - and took years to manage how to use the Endless one, only got it after getting a TB-303. 
  • Let's say I've improved radically as a keyboard player since getting the OP-1. I started from practically zero. =)
  • I cannot.
    Guitar player here.
  • I'm a hack on keys. Grew up playing sax. It translates to keys enough to be dangerous, but I do a lot of pecking to find the chords that are simple to find on the horn. Thank gawd for sequencers.
  • I'm a bass player, but have been slowing trying to learn keys. I'm really slow but can usually form basic chords if I think about it :)
  • Can't play the keys for the life of me. 
  • Big turning point for me was when I learned to play rhythms into Endless. I also come from a guitar background. Endless sequencer is the poor keyboard player's best friend. And I suppose Finger too, just haven't been using it that much.
  • Can’t play keys and never wanted to learn to in 30 years of knob twiddling, don’t have any interest in music theory and TBH I often find that music made by those that do doesn’t float my boat, I think a lot of keys players fall into the same old cliches, and I don’t want any part of that, having said this though some keyboardist blow my mind, but if I was to be able to choose I’d either be a drummer of guitar god even though I have no interest in taking up drums or guitar :D
  • Major n00b reporting for duty. Never played any keys before getting my OP1 and aimlessly stabbed the little bugger for the first few months. Then I realized that for some of the music I want to make I’d need to know what I’m doing, at least a little bit. Now I’m actually sitting at my MIDI keyboard and practice from time to time.
  • Pretty much the same as @crudeoperator. I Love boards of Canada type stuff so have bought a keystep to learn some basics and aim to understand enough to write some simple melodies
  • I don't think it would serve anyone poorly to learn at least their major and minor five finger patterns. It will inform basic chords and give you a tonal starting point. This is minimum effort with a very worthwhile return on investment. 


  • I've been faking it for a couple decades now, I just play by ear and visual memory, can't identify chords by name other than major and minor. On the OP-1 I just transpose the keys to expand my range a bit. Once you memorize a few simple patterns on the keyboard it's pretty easy to start noodling and sound decent, then it's just a matter of rhythmic variation to sound more interesting...easier learning curve than guitar for sure.

    @darenager hit the nail on the head, music made by proficient keyboardists isn't necessarily interesting, but sometimes there are some pretty funky and interesting virtuosos...I don't aspire to play that well, my jams feel good to me and that satisfies my soul.

    In school I played the clarinet and the oboe, later taught myself some guitar scales, basic drums (practiced by playing my favorite break beats), and then messed around with keyboards and samplers. Simple melodies, relaxing loops and minimalist music are more appealing to me than heavily sequenced or overly technical music most of the time. I can still look at sheet music and understand how it should sound, but can't read and play like back in those school days anymore.
  • I was a good piano player when I was young. I have classical music sheet music books that I would get graded by my piano teacher.. Iook at those pieces now when I flick through the books and don't know how the hell I was ever that good. Stopped playing when I was about 13 and forgot how to play. I remember a few chords, but I kind of like improvising in the murky grey area where I'm not aiming for a certain chord progression or even chord. I like happy accidents. 

  • edited February 3
    Computer sequencers always helped me never need to remember what I just played.
    Learnt to play the ukulele (very basically) this last year in a couple of months. Strings seem more intuitive, keys are analytical with their linear layout.
  • I started taking piano lessons two years ago to help with the keys thing. It's been time well spent, but I think I might have been better off if I'd just really focused on chord drills. I can play a fair amount of stuff, but it's not really moving the needle as far as improvisation goes.

    But I love our piano. It's definitely a different experience than the OP-1.
  • I knew basics when I first got it and the op1 made it easier for me to learn due to the black keys sitting at the same level, now I picked up a lot of music theory and I basically just figure out how to make chord progressions from the little theory I learned and that’s good enough for right now! I think the biggest thing for me is learning how to sequence everything I sequence sounds really dull and bad
  • I started taking piano lessons two years ago to help with the keys thing. It's been time well spent, but I think I might have been better off if I'd just really focused on chord drills. I can play a fair amount of stuff, but it's not really moving the needle as far as improvisation goes.

    But I love our piano. It's definitely a different experience than the OP-1.
    Possible to share some details about your experience? I find playing the keys incredibly hard, been trying to put a good number of hours (and hours are hard to come by), but my brain actively refuses to execute in strict sequence and to such temporal requirements.
  • You're not going to get representative results if you only ask non-players to self-identify

    I can bang out most chords pretty effortlessly, except some of the weirder ones. Melodic stuff if it's relatively simple I can do. I can't read music for shit. I also can't play with both hands at the same time apart from chord+root note of chord. For my jamuary jams I played almost everything melodic myself, with only occasional sequencers/arpeggios and one song where I used Chordion for the chord progression.

    I took some formal lessons in my late teens. Apart from that it's all self-taught. Also playing with a band (even if it's 95% covers) has definitely sharpened my skills.
  • @eesn, It's both good and bad, but I am far less likely to just noodle on the piano. Which has its pluses and minuses. There's music I can play now, recognizable music that makes my wife make appreciative noises. The drill has been really good. I haven't gotten as much theory as I'd like, which is partially my fault (I'm not pushing for it), but I'm getting some, and that rubs off on to the noodling I do on the OP-1 (which typically prompts questions like, "Doesn't that thing let you use headphones?" :) ).

    Interestingly, practicing assigned music on the OP-1 does seem to have some benefits when I get back to the piano, although because the key spacing is so different, it's more a cognitive exercise, I think, an learning the music, rather than muscle memory. 

    The same listening I started with the OP-1 has rubbed off on the piano, and vice versa. I've gotten far better (although I still suck at it) at self-critique than I was before I started with the lessons. Having my instructor sitting next to me once a week and catching the smallest bobble in my assigned work makes me more self-critical in generally a good way.


  • @eesn, The drill has been really good. I haven't gotten as much theory as I'd like, which is partially my fault (I'm not pushing for it), [...] Having my instructor sitting next to me once a week and catching the smallest bobble in my assigned work makes me more self-critical in generally a good way.
    The primary thing that pushes me away from the idea of just taking lessons now is that i'd like a focus on theory and composition rather than playing technique and performance - a technique for loose improvisation if you like, rather than someone policing my fingers and tempo and stresses. Which is why I asked about your experience. I know this technical stuff can be tweaked later in a DAW, but finding the sweet tones to follow and complement each other is to me a different thing - unlocked much more easily by knowing your way around the instrument. I can't sight-read music either, but from what I've tried, seems to me that staff notation "records" very little and leaves a huge amount to interpret.
  • Does anyone else here use Synthesia? I bought a full 88 key midi controller (hammer 88) and used Synthesia to learn a few pretty complicated songs. One of the best programs for learning songs... doesnt do anything for technique or theory, but its a great way to get the feel of using both hands.
  • @eesn --- My instructor's pretty good about talking about interpretation, even now, which is good. But yeah, I'm not convinced I'm really getting my way around an instrument --- especially a synth as opposed to the piano --- as much as I thought. I don't regret the time invested, but it's paying different dividends than I expected when I signed the contract and made the initial payment. :)
  • Playing the OP-1 seems more like touch typing than playing keys, I'm just saying.

  • I'm probably not the guy who should be answering this question because I took piano lessons when I was a child. One thing I love about the OP-1 is that I can play it with headphones at night in the dark while I'm lying on my back. This has forced me into a "touch typing" approach to playing music just as @seanfear says! I come up with different interesting stuff when I do that, and it feels like I have some new neural connections between what I imagine, what I hear, and the way my fingers move. There's no other synth I know of where I can do this.

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