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laptop on stage

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  • laptop on stage

    Our band uses Sonar 6 to sequence percussion parts, horns, fiddle and such things. The Sonar runs from a laptop controled by the band leader (guitarsit). Last week we purchased a program that allows us to mirror the display from his laptop to mine which I have mounted on my rack. We used it on our 5 day gig over the holiday weekend and it was sweet! I always knew what song was coming up (we try to work with zero dead time) and it gave me the ability to sight read the rythm parts. It was the first time that I sight read on stage in 30 years and I loved it. Our song list is over 500 songs and many of them are complicated. I didn't miss an intro, break or ending all week. Working with sequencing is not always easy, but the drummer absolutly must stay in steady time, any variance and the performance suffers.

    Is anyone out there doing anything similar? Using a laptop? Working live with sequencing? I love hear your experiences. -dave

  • #2
    This is what I want to be doing in the not too distant future. If you seen my other posts I am looking around for the right laptop... pc or mac? (considering more use with the TD-12 and sound samples etc.)

    With my playing... at Country Place Jamboree (www.countryplacejamboree.com) I usually never know what song is coming up next until about 3/4 the way thru the first song.
    Even if we have a guest doing a showcase... those songs are practiced, but I never know the rotation until moments before the showcase segment.
    Many times we have guest singers and have no clue what they want to sing until they get up on stage and say...."let's do Rocky Top"
    The other musicians would not do very well with a computer.... but I find it might help quite a bit.
    I often print out the lyrics into a "song book" I put together... and if I had time I would quickly flip thru the pages to find the next song. However.... I think it would be wonderful to call them up on the laptop faster and more graphical as well. (I wonder if it would be faster?)
    I usually notate in color the song lyrics with starts and stops... fills.... diff rhythm patterns etc.
    Since I had not played since 1968 on a set of drums.... I simply do not "KNOW" the songs and I am working on getting back into it... so therefor the notations!
    I am gonna keep an eye on this thread...
    As the Wise Ole' drummer says... !:cool:


    • #3
      Hey Ralph, I've checked out Country Place Jamboree a while back. I like the format and goals y'all are working at. I play quite a bit of country and know how wide a musical net that can cast. I use an Acer dual core laptop I picked up at Wallyworld on sale. It has plenty of poop to get stuff done. I am lucky in that our band leader has been putting his songs on Sonar for about five years. He can call up lyrics and all kinds computer based instuments. Everything can be adjusted as we grow musically. The Sonar program has a composite rythem track that moves across the screen as the song is working. It doesn't tell me what instruments to play but it has dynamics, the basic rythem patterns and arrangements with all the drum breaks and intros/extros. We work from arranged set lists but we also take requests. Some nights it is all requests so it is nice to have the name of the song at the top of the page when the guitarist brings up a song. Another plus is a visual click track that gives you a chance to look ahead in the song. Good luck, you can check out my set up in the showcase post I did yesterday. I'd be glad to help with anything I know.-dave


      • #4
        Some friends of mine play in a trio and use Cakewalk to play drums and bass and some keyboard parts, and I will occasionally sit in with them. However, it's a little disorienting to play along with the sequenced drum track, especially when it "fills" or plays something unexpected. I'd like to be able to eventually use my yet-to-be-finished electronic kit to play along with them and turn off their drum track so it's not so disconcerting. I'm also looking to use a similar setup at home to practice and play along with MIDI songs I can download. How do I learn more about this kind of application?


        • #5
          Hi Chud, that's how I got started with this band, and now we make tons of dough working in the casino circut as a 4 piece band. We are still using the Sonar (cakewalk) tracks they used as a two piece. He just turns off the bass and drum out put but leaves the percussion parts and other sequencing. I actually hear the sequenced drums in my monitor mix even though the audiance doesn't. I mix my own head phone monitor mix at the drums so I can adjust each instrument to my taste for my headphones. I leave the house mix to the other guys. Sonar (cakewalk) has a way to insert the composite rythem track for the live drummer and that is what I am so excited about. I don't have details on that today, but I will get them next week when we go to Reno for a week. Having a seperate headphone mix, a laptop and the new mirror software program is the key to making it work both visuly and and by sound. I hope we can alll learn more about this through this thread so I'll shut up.