One thing that I really love to do at Sunday Sounds is create song specific patches. It's such a fun challenge to figure out how to maximize the functionality of MainStage. How to fit a bunch of amazing synth parts onto 88 (or fewer) keys in a way that is both playable AND enjoyable. People ask me all the time "where do you even start?" with song specific patches like this so I thought I'd give a glimpse behind the scenes into what the process looks like.
Here's a look at one of the first steps I take when designing a patch for a specific song. I decide which sounds I'm going to include and make notes on the note range each sound uses in the original recording. At this point I'm not actually worried about whether those layers overlap, I just want to have everything laid out so I can begin to work on arranging.
Once I have all the parts I'd like to include nailed down I begin to arrange these layers on the keyboard in MainStage. I start with the most important right and left hand part of the song. I try to place them on the keyboard in the "real" space they would take up if at all possible. From there I start to add all other sections, thinking about how I can utilize the range of the keyboard and still keep the patch fun and cohesive to play. If two different sounds have the same basic notes but happen at different parts of the song I'll note that and consider building in a crossfade in the programming stage. During this whole phase I'm not doing any sound design, just laying out the different sections and naming the layers the type of sound they'll eventually be.
Once I have my splits and layers set up, then the work of sound designing and using chord trigger, midi fx, etc begins!
I hope that helps bring a bit of clarity to where I like to start. If this was helpful to you, leave a comment here in the blog and let me know! I'd also be happy to answer further questions you might have about this topic.
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