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How to Edit Your Keyboard Song by Varying the Basic Timbre (Waveform)

It’s difficult to have the perfect song any time around. Most musicians feel it’s necessary to do some editing. The fastest way to create a new sound is to simply change the waveform of an existing sound.

  1. Go into the sound or program edit mode of your keyboard.

  2. Find the oscillator parameter or page.

  3. Select a new waveform or multisample.

  4. Save the new sound.

    Don’t forget to give it a new name and save location; otherwise, you’ll lose your first sound!

Try a slight variation of the current sound type

Many sample-playback keyboards offer more than one multisample or waveform of a given type of sound. But the sound they offer for each one has been greatly changed to present you with the most sonic variation. So you may have two electric piano sounds, but the second one has completely different effects, is more distorted (for a heavier rock sound), and is less dynamic to your touch.

That’s a lot of things to try to edit to make the sound you want, right? No worries; just edit the first sound (which you liked) to use the second electric piano multisample, and then save it to a new location.

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Take an electric bass sound and replace the waveform with a synth waveform. Voilà! Instant synth bass.

  • You can make more synth lead sounds from the onboard waveform selection. Find a lead synth sound you like, go into edit mode, and try out many of the different synth waveforms. Very few keyboards deliver so many closely related lead sounds, but often all you need is a different waveform to add more lead sounds to your arsenal.

  • When you have a sound that’s a layer (two sounds on top of each other — say, acoustic piano with strings), you can make some cool variations by changing the waveform for the layered part (the strings). Many times, going to a mellow synth or vocal multisample yields another great sound without much effort.

Listen to some slight variation edit concepts.

Use similar amp characteristics to make a different sound

If a sound plays right (meaning it attacks, sustains, and decays a certain way), you can change it to another type of sound by swapping the multisample.

[Credit: Common amp EG waveform shapes.Illustration courtesy of Jerry Kovarsky]
Credit: Common amp EG waveform shapes.Illustration courtesy of Jerry Kovarsky

Try some of these possibilities:

  • Change a bass guitar sound to a synth wave and then raise the pitch an octave or two. Now you have a new lead synth sound.

  • Take a sound that attacks quickly but also decays quickly, like a marimba, xylophone, or plucked string. Change the waveform, and you have all sorts of new short sounds that work well for percussive parts or for arpeggiated patterns.

  • Change the waveform of an organ sound to make a good fast synth sound for playing choppy chord parts.

  • Swap out multisamples to make nice synth pad sounds from sustaining string and vocal sounds.

Check out these examples of making new sounds using EG shape concepts.

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