Opinions.....Is Arpeggiator Usage Considered "Live Performance"

I ask this, because I have been listening to several local musicians debate live performance around the area. There have been a few discussions about this in this forum, but all I am seeking is opinions…not arguments.

In my area of the world, live music means everything, vocals and instruments are all performed live. Through the past few years, it has changed. There are now singers, performing 4 hr gigs with Karaoke tracks, no live instrumentation, and obtaining the same pay as a live band ( I would never get away with it).

So the debate in my area also carried on with partial backing tracks, then looping, and then arpeggiator usage. And then the arguments begin, which is my que to walk away. It was even brought up that using VST’s and sound modules, and keyboard workstations are not “live” because they are samples or emulations of the real thing. Ok, not a real Hammond on stage, my back is forever grateful.

I know that many musicians, and good friends here use backing tracks, and loopers, and arpeggiators, etc. IMHO, it’s your gig, whatever gets you through the night and keeps you working. I perform with musicians as I always have since 1967…we play every note with our hands, feet, and mouth. It is what I like, and improvisation opens up many paths, but I still occasionally do time restricted gigs where I must conform.

I am so far finding many degrees of purism on the subject, and I realize that most musicians hold their opinion until Thunderdome is enacted (much like a Les Paul or Stratocaster debate). I would like to hear what others have to say…but please be nice. :innocent:

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It’s live performance if you perform any action that it’s possible to screw up.


LOL…I can relate to that.

Would that also mean pressing the button for the wrong Karaoke track?

I think so, yep. Though to a low degree.

BTW I would remind your drummer and guitarist friends that the sounds are contained in their instruments too. All they are doing, especially the drummers, are triggering them.

That is true, but I would rather have bamboo driven under my fingernails than engage a few purist guitar pickers I know on how their pickups are not true to an original guitar sound.

My serious answer would probably that no, merely starting and stopping an arpeggiator isn’t really playing, if that’s all you’re doing. If you play different chords or manipulate the sound as it’s playing in a real-time way than yes it is.

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Do you remember the song “On The Loose” by Saga? I played it in a jam one time (with disastrous results, but that’s another story.) One of the things I did which even the actual band never did live was I set up a key to fire a sample before the instrumental part of the song of a synth swell and the vocal echoing “LOOSE-loose-loose”… triggering that sample in time was literally the hardest part of the entire song.

I had to jump on you tube to hear it again. I do remember it now. I can see where manually triggering it would be a challenge.

Somewhere I have a video of me practicing the song. I need to find it :smiley:

That would be interesting. Would like to see it.

I usually destroy videos of me…but there are some out there. My many requests have been denied. :smile:

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The best one is me practicing Karn Evil 9 in a leopard snuggy. Don’t even ask.

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THAT is the one you need to share !!!

I found that one- I wasn’t wearing the snuggy after all. The snuggy was Kansas and that I didn’t find :smiley:

OK … can of worms here but here goes. My experience spans many decades so like Corky I started out in school and in high school went full rock everything done in real time, 3 or 4 practices a week, no net, no excuse. You just played till you got it tight and right. When I entered my home studio progressive rock phase I did my best by ear to play the greats but my lack of classical training hurt me on the long run because Emerson was well trained and it showed, that reality lead me to be among many of the original electronic cone-head composers/creators in the world, this method used all sorts of subtractive synthesizer manipulation, sequencers, echo machines, arpegiators and including MIDI sequenced tracks. I performed shows live with this in planetariums and small progressive music theaters in the large city in Canada where I lived. Tangerine Dream used tons of arpegiation and sequences that were triggered from their keyboards and other control surfaces so my performances I did this way were modeled after them.
These type of gigs no one reacted till you finished your 30 to 40 minute song and then they either really responded well or you could hear a pin drop because they had all left :rofl::rofl: . When I took up guitar at 30 I went back to the old first way I learned, I’ve heard it called Old School so I’ll go with that. I got a band going all original, all live played and did it for 10 years. Then did a one man show with backing tracks for a few years. Then I went back to playing all parts live and have been doing it that way ever since. So, I’ve done it a lot of ways and as a result have a very open mind to all forms of expression and encourage everyone to reach for it their way no matter what method they settle on. As an aside I got to watch my band mates son become a DJ and watching him do it for real was a trip to behold and a true form of live performance using canned performances :grin:. He was great! There are also other non conventional artists around here that mix looping tech and droned ambiences, but you only hear them at small stages at the festivals in the spring and summer. As for what I do now, I live in a place like Corky where most of the work goes to old school playing and singing groups with no net. I loved it when I was young and first started and still find it the most challenging and satisfying of all the ways I’ve tried. Thanks for the thread! Oh and to answer your threads question, IMO Yes!



No net…no regret. :open_mouth:

When I formed my little 3 piece experiment, it was our goal to perform covers of “full” band sounds without the aid of backing tracks or midi files. We play every sound on our own, and have come up with some very creative ways, with the help of C3, to make it happen. I am very busy with guitar, 2 keyboards, and singing. Bass player also plays keys, both at the same time. Drummer triggers certain sound fx, and they also sing. As we keep pushing the limits, the tunes have become more difficult, and we enjoy the challenge.
We have been approached by many people wanting to know how we get such a full sound, and I show them we are not using any background at all. Others say they like watching us just to see how we change instruments during play. It has been quite an experience, and has left me a better player for sure.

Well sonuvabicth. I can’t find any of those jam practice videos except for a couple I had hosted on Youtube. I have one other external drive at the studio I need to check. What to start a seperate "Here’s some stupid videos I made practicing? thread? :smiley:

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:rofl: I have a feeling videos of me all had the word “stupid” somewhere in the title, so I would qualify for the thread, but I still tend to destroy them before anyone sees them. I know for a fact, there is one on you tube from about 17 yrs ago fronting a blues band. You could see the fear of not being behind an instrument, just there exposed with a mic in my hand. I must get it destroyed !:blush::blush::blush:

I’ll post the snuggy but you have to put something up there :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Kinda like “all in”, eh?