Where's the funk?

I see the new update 2.1 but it still sounds like muzak to me, it’s more from the same and very predictable.
I still see the classic Italian terms like Con Amore and Con Spirito, it still looks oriënted towards classical music but what’s in it for modern music makers, where’s the funk, the swing?
When is it going right before or after the beat, when will Scaler get an update for modern groovers with funky timing?

9 Likes

look here

and you can even compose solid rock with it, even if I find it not so easy
cheers

1 Like

Claudio; thanks for your answer.
Let’s hope it’s true that with update 2.2 there will be some funk in it.

Cheers

It’s true that it sounds classical because most of the demos use the felt piano and demo phrases but it is used by a huge range of producers across all modern genres. It’s really about how you use it. Use some of the other internal sounds, assign it to your favourite VST, create your own chord progressions or use some of the outstanding funk chord sets in there made my world top producers. Humanise, chord edit, use rhythms and triplet feels. Funk away.
Having said all of that you will enjoy 2.2 some great new features to change the perception of what Scaler 2 is intended for.

4 Likes

ahem… the problem is that I am unable to understand who of those “top producers” does funk (or other styles) simply looking at their names…

and this is why I asked some time ago to add an option to rank songs by style
:wink:

1 Like

because funk rocks!
:grinning:

It is not about the felt piano or humanizing the velocity, it’s about timing and phrasing and in the demo the phrases sound more or less a bit mechanical, it all quantized.
Let’s take Stevie Wonders Superstition as an example because most people know it, listen to the timing of the clavinett and the moog bass and you understand what I mean.
Maybe a sort of a round robin feature to mess with timing to get some phrases just before or after the beat instead of exactly on the beat could be something?
Still I hope that update 2.2 timing and phrasing will be more towards funk and jazz.

2 Likes

Hi Willem

I use Scaler since a too small time to say I’m sure, but I think that currently (we’ll see the new release if it changes the play) what you would like having (and me too) can be only made using an hybrid work-flow: i.e. using Scaler to find chords and sequences of chords, then playing them using the first line (just after Recognize) so that Scaler acts like a smart keyboard

I say “smart” because you can play chords with 1-finger, using the right funky style, while the other 1-finger play melodies that are tuned with chords, and even those melodies can be played using the right funky style
my 2 cents

2 Likes

Many solutions to this:

  1. Trigger Scaler’s chords and scales with external MIDI. They can be as funky as you want
  2. Print the output of Scaler’s MIDI, and apply swing, grooves, and other MIDI transformations that are commonly available in many DAWs

Unpopular opinion: If it were up to me, there would be no rhythmic features in Scaler, and instead development would focus on Scaler’s core competencies: harmonic and melodic development, decoupled from rhythm.

2 Likes

Claudio and jbone;

you both are right and that’s how I use Scaler at this moment but it would be nice if some funky features were standard in Scaler.

2 Likes

I agree. I would like to see some more modern hip hop, rnb, pop play styles in a future update.

@Willem123, I hear your frustration at the majority of Italian/Latin/Spanish based expressions and how they may seem foreign to funk and even for some of hip-hop and r&b. I am one of those same composers of what I just described. I do not read or write music, I have only learned less than 10 famous/ well known songs others have written in my whole life (hard to believe, but it’s true). My versatile love for music is the only theory I know.

I have written several thousand ideas with just my love to create. I fish around, try this and that, and come up with some great, some average, and some downright horrible ideas. I do the same with Scaler, fish around and try this and that, some hits, some misses. I have found the expressions amazing for creating Pop, r&b, hip-hop, and funk songs. It just takes opening the possibilities and letting it run its course. You would be very surprised to see how many successful songwriters of today are using the very same expressions that you see in Scaler.

MG The Future has some featured presets in the Scaler plugin and hosts a youtube channel that focuses on lot of things that would work with your request. Give him a look up, ask him some pointers. Check him out at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClFnj8uOaDmCyB9K8yJ9MgQ

One of my personal favorites in the last few years is Kamau Duane. His writing technique is beautiful. He has some amazing presets for Scaler that he has designed that works with the genres I named that get into the groove like butter. Check him out at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-izcfINvEkVIyuVA8gTrsA

Another youtube video from a very talented producer, Jelie, of Kickback Couture, showing how it works easily with hip hop https://youtu.be/xQSOfpRZgKY

Even one of the developers of Scaler, @davide , has produced some amazing dance music that is what you hear in the biggest dance clubs. His portfolio of music would blow your mind.

I am suggesting to you how this small list of producers make Scaler already a massive tool to create the sounds of funk, r&b, hip hop, and Pop and more with the expressions and more that is in the plugin.

I have found the expressions a huge development of my composing. I just wrote a caribbean pop song using the latest triplet additions. This song has the flavor of the likes of J Balvin, Rhianna, Bad Bunny, etc. The possibilities are endless. I highly recommend taking some sessions without any expectancies and just toy around with the expressions some more with a variety of different chords.

Give this a try…I have also created or found a set of chords that I liked and then went through every single expression just to hear the difference how it reacts with them. Sometimes some of the chords will sound off on certain expressions. On those you might try the inversion +1 or +2 and it will clear up the muddiness or offness of the sound. I also agree with the solutions thrown out by @jbone1313 to use your DAW to add to even more of what you are trying to create. After adjusting the rpm and swing in your DAW, you can hear the difference realtime while working in Scaler.

I am just a simple-minded composer who has found Scaler to be one of the most advantageous tools ever to use to create better songs (especially at its price). My fingers don’t have the limberness of most musicians, but with this plugin I can fool even those guys with some of my songs.

I get what you are looking for, a quick go-to category that gets right in the pocket of the style and genre. But the reality is that the best funk artists that made funk what it really is, were versatile as hell in their songs. Funkadelic/Parliament used rock and r&b. Average White Band, Brick, Chic, Change, One Way, Mtume, Gamalon, Prince and Slave were all highly seasoned musicians with backgrounds from jazz to rock to r&b. George Duke, Marcus Miller, and Victor Wooten used funk all over the place with complex chord structures from many genres. What I am suggesting is that they didn’t just use the same chord techniques over and over to create their greatest songs. They merged many styles. The same way that people like me take a known classical arpeggiation and make it fit in Caribbean Pop, hip hop, or r&b song. It brings more style into a composition and helps your sound become more of a signature sound rather than a copied sound (like a huge amount of songwriters today choose to be sadly).

I even take the majority of presets in Scaler as an inspiration starting point. I remove and add chords, change the order, inversion, scale, etc. to bring new life that becomes my composition.

Some of the melodies are not what I want exactly after I drag and drop it into my song, so I play the notes that I hear on the keyboard and then drag the notes in the timeline to fit what I am hearing. While many plugins and samples these days make it easy to make a song, I have to say that it is not usually even close to as good as the ones that people take some time on to write, including readjusting and rewriting parts. The best songs in my opinion are ones that people take time to work on and experiment on (notice that I included experiment).

I don’t know your purpose and goals in your songwriting, but I hope that these few suggestions allow you to find how fun and diverse Scaler can give your music. I am not saying your suggestion is not a great thing to add. It is a great suggestion. I am just offering a different way to approach the unknown/foreign expressions so that you may find how to master the challenge that it poses. Challenges bring forth a better musician/songwriter/performers. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with when you delve into Scaler with that approach if you find it worth trying. :bulb: :notes: :wink:

4 Likes

Great post! My feelings on Scaler almost exactly.

@ParisB; thanks for your post and recommendations.
I know MG The Future already, I’ve watched some videos of him about tip for using Scaler and Studio One.
He gives good tips and he explaines techniques in a logical way that I like, he makes hiphop oriënted music and I will check the others out.

I already use scaler with an external midi keyboard and in this way I can give my songs the timing I want but I think it would be a useful thing if there were some more options with timing and with that I mean a more offbeat timing instead of exactly on the beat.
Just to have some presets with this kind of timing would be a nice thing.

Hi there

I’am happy that this thread improved so much :grinning:

I’ll add my little ongoing test with a bit of fear that you, that are a lot more skilled than me, will drop rotten vegetables at me as in the famous scene of The Blues Brother’s movie… :joy:

but I try all the same hoping my different approach can be useful

I searched on the web news about funk music, and found e.g. that
“The funk groove was pioneered by James Brown, duly recognised as the King of Funk.”

now, I have and listened most James Brown songs so I think I have the right ear for funky

another search retrieved:
“Funk, imo, is all about the attack, the transients of notes and subtlety in rhythm, ghosted notes. Generally, clean guitars, drums, bass, maybe a hornline, keys. Chords tend to be 7ths, 6ths, 9ths. There is a stereotype that guitars need wah/auto wah but that is not at all necessary.”

then I searched info about a very simple funk tune I have, James Brown’s Make It Funky, and I found this tutorial:
“The über-talented Ayla Tesler-Mabe (accompanied on percussion by Carson Gant) shows you the ESSENTIAL chords you need to start playing funk in only a few minutes, via the legendary James Brown and his guitarist Jimmy Nolen. The KEY funk chords you’ll learn are: Ab7 A9 Bbm6 C7 Eb13 E9 F#7 G9”

I tried those chords but found by ear that, at least in my mp3 version, 2 chords worked better: D6 and F6 (or some 9 versions maybe)

so I created the 2 chords in Scaler 2, used them to drive my AAS Strum-GS with a proper funky guitar groove, and it worked very well

the problem with AAS Strum-GS is that “grooves” are fixed, i.e. you cannot change them, and this is the field where Scaler may shine, but yesterday night it was too late to try to reproduce the same “groove” with Scaler, and even if I think that it is viable setting properly pauses, times etc, I don’t know when I’ll find some time so understand “how and how much well” I can do James Brown’s Make It Funky with the Edit option of Scaler

I’ll let you know

2 Likes

We plan on integrating new browsing features like being able to “tag” specific expressions or chord voicing by genre in the future, I am sure it will be useful in this context.

I also like to think that those chords are already in Scaler, they might not be under the Funk category, but those great musicians took those chords from somewhere else as well.

3 Likes

A great exposition of criteria carried out with lot of honesty and at the same time leaving tons of space for research and experimentation. Freedom seems to be the key word. Scaler is like a large airport where aircraft of all sizes with all types of cargo and passengers can land and take off. It can be used by an Airbus or by a single-seater Cessna, but both will arrive safely!

PS: about Scaler, its amazing “control tower” is worthy of admiration!

2 Likes

well, after many tests yesterday I fed up: re-creating James Brown’s Make It Funky with Scaler editing options may be viable, but too complex for my poor skills and little time available: I compose for fun & relax, and I can dedicate a few hours/day and not always, so I have not chance to master editing

the reason why I bought Scaler and I am pretty happy so far, is building easily and quickly complex keyboard textures; only after I found that I can build melodies and soloes with it, but at the moment I am satisfied of these possibilities

that said I will be certanly happier if funk guitar patterns/strummings (or other styles I love more e.g. rock) will be available in the future

seconded, at the point that fiddling with James Brown’s Make It Funky yesterday night, I was unable to re-create that funk, but I found that the same couple of chords with a certain triplets phrase sounds perfect for a rock-folk tune :grinning:

another magic of Scaler

This is all true, as much as I love what Scaler do, I would love to see more modern styles as well, like Hip-Hop, Urban music Reggaetón style and sounds. This is the kind of music that you hear in every radio station. I appreciate The Scaler group feo creating this amazing plugin, but it needs a touch is New York’s styles, Hip-Hoo, Reggaetón, House etc

Thx for listening Scaler

1 Like