Band in a Box

Band in a Box

Does anyone on The Session use Band in a Box?
This software from PG Music allows you to create or play from previously created files a backing track to your fiddle/flute/accordian etc solo.
The question has arisen from discussions on both FiddleHangout.com and the Band in a Box Forum about Irish reel/jig/hornpipe “styles”. It is suggested that BIAB does not adequately cover this genre of music.
There are certainly a number of mp3 backing tracks available (notably from Alf Warnock), but BIAB RealTracks (where actual and individual instruments combine as per a session) to provide a backing track to your melody seem to be in short supply.
I wonder has anyone any information on this topic?
Thanks.

Re: Band in a Box

In my humble opinion, a band-in-box would be the death of any decent session. If you’ve got a one-man gig playing for folks who don’t know any better, your band-in-box might be just fine. However, I’m feeling a bit depressed just envisioning a band-in-box at a session.

Re: Band in a Box

I agree, but the OP didn’t mention taking the thing to a session. It’s probably ok for use as a practice aid.

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Re: Band in a Box

I used BIAB some time ago and found that by the time you’ve sorted out the track and tested it you’ve learnt the tune anyway but have spent a fair bit of time on the computer. That time would have been better used just playing the tune.
It’s useful as a metronome and it’s fun to play around with different chords but back then the reels and jigs had no bounce and there were no hornpipes, let alone slides and slip jigs.
There are bodhran tracks which would do as well (Ouch) if you don’t like the metronome noise.

Re: Band in a Box

Oooops… my bad. I read “at a session” and not “on the Session”.

Re: Band in a Box

You don’t need backing of any description.

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Re: Band in a Box

“You don’t need backing of any description” True, but maybe the listeners might like a break from the tedium.

Re: Band in a Box

I understand that PGMusic realplayers are actual recordings of instruments, not midi files. I play alone and would greatly appreciate being able to have authentic sounding rhythm tracks to play along with. I keep searching the PGMusic website looking for realtracks with authentic sounding instruments. And, realtracks for the different types of tunes. So far, I haven’t found what I wanted.

When I first played Irish tunes, I found Mark Stones’ bodhran rhythm CD. Now I use it all the time. Adding a few other instruments like bouzouki, accordion, etc.. would make things even better. The newer versions of BIAB make it easy to mute specific instruments, so I would only hear the instruments I wanted.

I think I would have a better chance of hearing BIAB tracks to my liking if PGMusic recorded the rhythm playing of good journeymen Irish musicians. I keep hoping some musician/audiophile will build and sell realtracks for the different types of Irish tunes. If anyone has already accomplished this, or does accomplish this, send me a “heads up”.

Re: Band in a Box

Hi,

I use BIAB more for jazz and basic folk tunes. I did buy the Irish realtrack addon ($30) but I honestly haven’t used it much. They have audio demos of all the realtracks on their site so you can hear the ITM backing.

http://www.pgmusic.com/realtracks.all.php

My main point in replying is to say that once a year they do a substantial discount and now is the time. They only do it around Christmas. I think they might have a money back gaurantee but I’m not sure because I didn’t need it.

Re: Band in a Box

camparis - Are you using realtracks for the basic folk tunes ? If you are, I would appreciate seeing the names of a few of the tunes, and the PGMusic realtrack number (s) you preferred.

When users buy the package you referred to, PGMusic selected the realtracks. I wish BIAB users could select specific realtracks included in the package. When a person doesn’t play jazz or rock, a large part of the realtrack inventory will not be of any use.

Thank You

Re: Band in a Box

hi Richard,

it’s been a while since I’ve used BIAB because I’m taking lessons in my local music conservatory, which uses a classical curriculum.

I just looked at the prices and their christmas sale is until 31st. It’s half off. You would want to get the ultraplus crossgrade (having any similar music app qualifies).

http://www.pgmusic.com/bbwin.packages.htm

if you get that then you get ALL the realtracks so you don’t have to pick what you want. At $30/each, it’s a bargain. This is the deal I got a few years ago and then I just added on the irish realtracks for $30 (RealTracks Set 173 : Celtic Bouzouki and Guitar) I got it because it had an accompaniment for airs. I don’t think I ever recorded anything with it. they have audio and a video example on their website.

BIAB is great. But make sure it’s something you’d use because it’s not cheap. I used it a lot more when I was doing jazz on saxophone. i entered in chords from the real book and would practice playing the melody and then improvising over the changes. it was a blast. I plan to do the same with some bluegrass tunes but my violin level just isn’t good enough to improvise. not yet. I just got “The Pentatonic Mandolin” so maybe I’ll fire up BIAB again and practice the pentatonic scales and licks over some basic changes.

Re: Band in a Box

Thanks “cunparis”.
I’ll have a look at RealTracks Set 173.

You mention “The Pentatonic Mandolin”. Is this a PG Music BIAB package?
There’s some YouTube videos and a Dummies book by an excellent player called Don Julin on this subject.

Re: Band in a Box

Thanks for that ‘cunparis’. Yes, I Googled the title and found it. Neils Hokkenan….?
I was very impressed by Don Julin’s “Pentatonic Arpeggios” YouTube clip, that I tabbed it out in order to improve my improvisation. I’m not sure if that happened, but I learn a new string of licks….lol 😉)

As Richard has pointed out above, the search goes on for some Irish/Scots RealTracks.
Your suggestion of Set 173 may be the answer.

Cheers..!!

Re: Band in a Box

I find the bodhran sounds in BIAB to be totally useless, which pretty much destroys any value for Celtic musicians. The playing is fine, but I have no idea of what kind of drum was utilized. To my ear there is little to no similarity between BIAB’s bodhran and any traditional sound I’ve ever heard. As others have said, BIAB is expensive software, and not worth it for traditional Celtic music.