Cutting out the melody

Cutting out the melody

Doe anyone out there know if there is a program that will minimize the sound of certain instruments on a CD? I’m trying to listen to some of my favorite Irish piano players without the distraction of the other instruments. I was hoping that Audacity would help with this, but when I go to effects and play with the bass enhancement it just sounds terrible and distorted.

Re: Cutting out the melody

ha ha ha … oh ho ho tee he he ha ha ha

Posted .

Re: Cutting out the melody

Hey Ilig, I’m serious. It does probably sound ridiculous, but that’s what it is

Re: Cutting out the melody

If you’ve got the iTunes software, you can use the 10-band graphic equalizer built into it to do what you want.

Re: Cutting out the melody

Depending on how the CD is mixed, you may be able to enhance one instrument by isolating the left or right channel. e.g., if the piano is in the left channel, remove the right channel. I have done this in Audacity, and I’m sure there are other ways. I doubt you’ll have much luck trying to EQ the other instruments away.

Re: Cutting out the melody

There are programs that allow you to supress certain instruments in a stereo recording - for example, for Karaoke you can suppress the vocal (it just gets rid of anything panned to the middle in a stereo recording) and it might be possible to get rid of a single sound panned anywhere. However, what I think you’re asking for is something that enhances certain instruments in a recording and suppresses the others (the equivalent of the opposite of Karaoke, having *just* the vocal and nothing else. You could probably slightly favour the piano against the other instruments by playing around with the level of both channels and then monoing the recording, but it’s fiddly and probably wouldn’t work that well.

Re: Cutting out the melody

PS those spy movies have a lot to answer for…you know, where there’s a scientist in a lab, listening to recordings and someone says “enhance” and suddenly the sound you want zooms in, and everything else disappears. Sadly, you can’t do anything like that!

Re: Cutting out the melody

What I suggest you do is not to enhance the bass but filter out everything above about 256Hz (middle-C), so you should hear very little of the fiddles, flutes, whistles etc. Pianos and other bass instruments (which shall be nameless to preserve a certain member’s equanimity) should come through a lot more prominently.

Also, listen to the stereo setup. It’s possible that there may be more piano coming through on one channel than on the other, so that would make filtering more effective.

But the far better alternative to hardware and audio filters is to train your ear to listen to the piano and to ignore everything else.

Re: Cutting out the melody

You say you are trying to cut out the melody.
Is this so you can play along with the bass (left hand) accompaniment?

Posted by .

Re: Cutting out the melody

Come on Michael, cut the guy/girl some slack. He/she probably wants to learn to learn to back tunes on the piano by ear. It’s better than going from sheet music.

Re: Cutting out the melody

There is also a trick with Audacity that involves separating the channels, inverting one then adding them back together. What you get depends on how the source was recorded and mixed etc. It may help separate things. A case of try and see.

Someone on this site once spoke highly of Donal Lunny’s bodhran playing and I spent some time trying to separate it out from Matt Molly’s flute…

Re: Cutting out the melody

Of course it’d be better to train my ear to hear it without electronic gimmicks. No problem on my regular melody instruments, but I am working on backing and fairly new at piano..it is har to be patient. Thanks for the advice so far. How would I filter out everything ove middle c? can this be done on itunes or audacity? ON the Amazing Slowdowner I’ve [played with the equalizer and it helps, but destroys the tone. Thanks for the suggestions thus far. I don’t think it’ll take long to have my ear do the filtering.

Re: Cutting out the melody

Georgi
“Come on Michael, cut the guy/girl some slack.”
Llig
“ha ha ha … oh ho ho tee he he ha ha ha”

Posted by .

Re: Cutting out the melody

Acacia, to do the filtering you need sound-editing software with not only pre-set filters but with ones you can set up yourself. I haven’t used Audacity, so I can’t comment on that particular application, but for many years I’ve used Syntrillium’s Cool Edit which can happily isolate and remove individual frequencies as well as bands of frequencies according to the user’s instructions.

Unfortunately, Syntrillium is no longer in business, so Cool Edit is no longer available (unless eBay can help). However, I understand it has been taken over by Adobe, improved to a full professional audio studio standard, provided with a plethora of bells and whistles, and now retails under the name Adobe Audition 3. If you want to know how much it costs, then you probably can’t afford it, as they say 🙁

There must be functional alternatives to Audition 3, but I’ll leave others to identify them.

Re: Cutting out the melody

Hi Acacia,

I was playing with audacity this weekend, and I think I saw High/Low pass filters in one of the menus.. (to filter frequencies above middle C, I’d try a low pass filter with a cut-off frequency of 256Hz).

Good luck!

Now if anyone has any thoughts on how to filter spoons from session recordings… ;)

Pat

Re: Cutting out the melody

I have had some success with VoxReducer on Mac for this kind of stuff. (http://primo-media.com/?page_Request=Products)

Like some people have mentioned, it really depends on the original recording. Vox reducer is made to pull out vocals that are “centered” in the mix. And a lot of times, melody instruments aren’t centered in recordings. But it has controls for choosing frequency, frequency width, and other enhancements. In playing with a couple of recordings, I couldn’t get the melody out, but I could certainly enhance the accompaniment to where I could hear it a lot better!

I’m sure there’s a ton of Windows programs that do the same stuff…

And playing with EQ and shelf filters in Audacity can work well too.

Re: Cutting out the melody

Filtering spoons from session recordings - it’s just possible that the “click remover” used for removing clicks from vinyl recordings might work. I think you’d probably have to do it on an individual click basis rather than globally (generally too much background noise in most session recordings).

Many years ago I had to do something similar. I was recording a baptism ceremony in a large echoey church for a friend. Part of the recording was slightly spoiled by the click of a woman’s high heels as she walked along the stone floor of an aisle in another part of the church. I was able to edit out those heel clicks quite successfully, but what I couldn’t get rid of were their faint echoes. The final result had these eerie ghostly echo sounds without any apparent source.

Re: Cutting out the melody

Terratec’s Sound Rescue, used mainly for salvaging old vinyl recordings, does offer all manner of filter options in the process of converting an LP to a CD-compatible format. Playing around with an old fiddle/guitar LP I was able virtually to expunge the sound of the accompanist, but lost all the high and low registers of the fiddler in doing so. Clicks are always easy to handle with this programme since it assumes that they’re caused by scratches or marks on the old vinyl.

There was a fad a couple of decades ago for stereophonic instrument separation. A classic example is the Walton’s Tommy Peoples fiddle tutorial album where the sound of Manus Lunny’s accompaniment can be completely obliterated by switching the balance between speakers.

However, it’s a completely different kettle of fish when trying to monkey around with recent high compression CD recordings - forget it!

Posted by .

Re: Cutting out the melody

What you need to do is hire a reliable hitman (not a guitarist), who will take out the melody players one by one until all you can hear is the piano.
I have tried this in reverse, but I have to tell you, it can get quite expensive, what with the Witness Protection Scheme and all.

Posted by .

Re: Cutting out the melody

Funny, how I was just thinking of wanting something like this too but for trying to isolate the guitar rhythm playing of the likes of John Doyle and Donogh Hennessy.

Re: Cutting out the melody

JD-HD: if you don’t have Doyle’s instructional DVD (Irish Rhythm Guitar), it has only John Williams playing the melodies, and Doyle’s guitar work is very clear. And a wealth of material on it.

Re: Cutting out the melody

“Funny, how I was just thinking of wanting something like this too but for trying to isolate the guitar rhythm playing of the likes of John Doyle and Donogh Hennessy.”

That would be great.

Re: Cutting out the melody

Besides the already mentioned search in the pan of the signal and enhancing or supressing some frquency bands, you also can try to play with a dynamic compressor. When you reduce the dynamic range the lead instrument is not as much in the foreground anymore what is in my understanding your goal. This might be possible in Audacity when adding a free VST plug-in.

Re: Cutting out the melody

‘without the distraction of the other instruments’ - give us a break. What has the world of ITM come to?

Re: Cutting out the melody

I know, iit’s bonkers eh? I could understand it if you couldn’t hear the tune for the strumming, but? … dear oh dear.

Posted .

Re: Cutting out the melody

I don’t know… those melodies can be pretty pesky at times.

Posted by .

Re: Cutting out the melody

Chorus:
Sing us a song, youre the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, were all in the mood for a melody
And youve got us feelin alright

Re: Cutting out the melody

Gie’s ten guitars - stuff the tune, who wants to hear……… tunes for God’s sake?

Posted by .