Acoustic pianos are renowned for their rich, textural sound and wide dynamic range. Although creating a realistic piano solo can be challenging, a few techniques can make your piano sequences sound more natural.
I have created a relatively short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW that includes general mix elements, including the piano sequence. Let us listen first to the mix and then the piano sequence solo.
~Full Mix – Piano Sequence (Unprocessed)
~Piano Sequence 1 Solo (Unprocessed)
Use a Realistic-Sounding VST to Make Your Piano Sound More Realistic
As is evident in the above audio examples, the piano sounds less realistic and more like a toy. To make your piano sequences sound more natural, the first step would be to select a VST instrument capable of producing a piano sound that is as rich and dynamic as possible. There are a certain number of options from which you can select, but here is one of my favorites. Let us take a listen.
~Piano Sequence 2 Solo (Unprocessed)
Obviously, this is an improvement. But this is not exactly what I’m looking for. This tutorial aims to create a hybrid between a studio (piano renowned for its brightness) and a character piano (praised for its warm and unique tone). The chord progression we heard earlier sounds so robotic. The velocities of the keys are all the same.
Adding Velocity and Timing Changes
Following the selection of a realistic-sounding piano VST, step two for this process is to make the midi sequence more human. Because no real pianist would play something like this, all the chords end at the end of the grid and start at the beginning, and many melody notes are the same length.
First, we’ll vary the velocities relating to the melody we’re attempting to write. Don’t go too far because this instrument, for one thing, is susceptible to velocity changes. Accordingly, we’d want to go through and randomly select different keys and parts of chords.
~Piano Sequence 2 Solo (Velocity)
Thirdly we’d be humanizing the timing. It is challenging for a pianist to begin and end each chord at the exact beginning and end of the bar. I’m going to move the chord notes just a little so they’re rushing and late at specific points. You can get a better idea of how it should look from the zoomed image below.
~Piano Sequence 2 Solo (Timing)
Based on everything we’ve done here, we can safely say that these few methods give new life to the original chord progression and make it sound more like a live piano performance.
Finally, let us listen to the piano in the context of the full mix.
~Full Mix – Piano Sequence (Processed)
If you liked this article about music composition and techniques, here are some more on the same subject:
- 5 Secrets for Processing and Layering Piano in Music