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Vocal & Ensemble Keyboard

Q.I understand that using the VP-550's Vocal Designer will allow me to "play like I'm singing." How I can do this?


"Play like you're singing"---Performing with the VP-550's Vocal Designer

The basic idea of Vocal Designer is this: the notes you play on the keyboard control the pitches, while your voice controls all other sound elements (lyrics, volume, duration, articulation, and expression.)

Vocal Designer won't produce sound if you simply play the keyboard; you must also input a vocal sound into a connected microphone. Therefore, matching the timing of your keyboard playing to the timing of your vocalization is the most important technique for performing with Vocal Designer. For rapid phrases, it's best to play the rhythm with your voice, while holding down the notes on the keyboard (you can also use a connected hold pedal).

Unlike conventional synthesizers, the Vocal Designer volume is controlled by the mic input. For example, to replicate the release (decay) sound that follows the key release on a conventional synthesizer, you gradually reduce (or "fade out") your vocal volume while continuing to hold the key on the VP-550.

In this way, your vocal dynamics and Vocal Designer allow you to create extremely expressive performances.

Actual settings and performance using Vocal Designer

Try performing with Vocal Designer using the following procedure:

(For details on individual settings, refer to the corresponding section in the VP-550 Owner's Manual.)

  1. Connect a mic to the VP-550.
  2. Choose a sound.

    • In order to hear the result more clearly, turn off the Ensemble part and the Bass & Percussion part. The DIRECT slider (which outputs the direct sound of your voice) should be lowered to the minimum position.

    • Turn the MIC ON/OFF switch on (so it's lit).

  3. Adjust the input level of the mic.
  4. Hold down notes on the keyboard.
  5. While continuing to hold down notes, vocalize into the mic.
    The Vocal Designer will produce sound according to the volume of your voice.

    If you're not vocalizing, Vocal Designer won't produce sound (even if you're holding notes on the keyboard), nor will it produce sound if you are vocalizing without holding down any notes.

    The pitch is determined by the notes you play on the keyboard. To start with, try playing different notes on the keyboard while you maintain a steady vocalization of "Waaahhh..." The pitch will change according to the notes you play.

    Now, hold down a chord on the keyboard and try vocalizing in a staccato pattern: "Wah, wah, wah, wah..." Vocal Designer will produce a "Wah, wah, wah, wah..." sound at the voicing (pitches of the chord) you're holding down.

    That's right. You're using your voice---not the keyboard---to mark the rhythm. This performance technique is particularly useful when you perform rapid passages.

    When you use Vocal Designer, always remember the following important principles:

    • Match the timing of your keyboard playing and your voice.
    • Use your voice to mark the rhythm.
    • Use your voice to control the volume (expression) of the sound.


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