BLINDSKUNK Making music with the Tenori-On & Reason 4



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Yamaha Tenori-ON

Tenori-ONI was asked to write a piece on the Yamaha Tenori-On and how best to use it.

So over the next few days I will try and put down in words, the way in which I use the Tenori to make music..

Ok, I'm going to admit I'm not an expert and don't claim to be the "knower" of all Tenori. This is how I have used it in the past and how I use it now.


When I first picked up the Tenori-On, I thought it was going to be the perfect tool for on the move music creation. This has changed as I have found limitations and really plead with Yamaha to try and address some aspects of this incredible instrument. Don't just leave it as a classic "art piece" but give it some time that it deserves to become a great instrument....anyway rantings aside...

Quick overview of the Tenori-On. It has 16 layers of multi timbral (allowing 16 sounds to be produced at the same time on 16 separate channels) and capable of a total of 32 notes of Polyphony. (so 32 notes can be played at once, but this means across all the channels there can only be a maximum of 32 notes). It also has a couple of reverb types. It does have the facility to store user sounds but a bit limited as it can only store 3 banks of 16 sounds. Basically the Tenori is a 16 or less step sequencer as well as a few other types of sequencing.

I'm not going to get into the various types of sequencing that the Tenori is capable of, but concentrate on two types (Score & Draw) as these are (in my mind) the only real useful ones. Some of you may not be aware, but each layer is assigned a type of sequencing. Out of the box the Tenori has been preconfigured to a specific setup and cant be changed.

"Solution" - it can be changed by setting the Tenori into Advanced Mode - { Switch the Tenori
off - Hold down L1 & L5 while turning it on. Make sure you hold them down until the screen displays <ADVANCED MODE>" } Once this has been done, you can now change the type of sequencing for each layer (Layer Menu / Mode) - remeber to save your configuration (System Menu / SaveAs Default) otherwise the Tenori will revert to its factory settings on reboot.

Ok..now that we have set the layers, we need to decide what sort of Scale to use (Please refer to : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_mode  ) for more information on types of scale, but basically, a Piano is Chromatic. For now we will just use the default Ionian. (Play / MasterScale).

Ok. the first decision you need to make is Tempo. the unit starts at 80bpm. (all suited to the sound you are going to make of course...

I'd better give some sort of indication of what software and hardware I'm using now as a standard path to music creation.

A standard PC - its quite a powerful PC but nothing unusual and most PC's are capable of playing Reason 4
Propellerhead Reason 4 - an incredible piece of kit, and works in a different way to most DAW's as it has all the synthesise production built in. (I'm really interested in getting "Record" as well when it is finally released.
Korg nano Kontrol - used to a mixing desk as this allows quick channel mixing to see what sounds right.
Tenori-ON and of course the main sequencing tool.



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