The interactive keyboard is both a display of received MIDI notes and an actually functional on-screen keyboard. The left side of the keyboard doesn’t make any sound by itself. Here, you control the performance of the guitarist by switching between 34 different phrases. 11 of these phrases are set by the style, the rest are always available.
The lower left of the MIDI keyboard (C#1 – B2) is reserved for a collection of so- called “Common Phrases”. These phrases are “hard-wired” and won’t change with the STYLE selection.
Common Phrases complement the Style Phrases by phrasings that are more generic and applicable to multiple contexts.
Phrases are what you make of them. Virtual Guitarist IRON lets you switch phrases in realtime without interrupting the performance. That’s a great way to create dynamic and interesting phrasings of your own. For example, insert Common Phrase #14 every now and then for a beat to add accents, or lead froma bridge to a chorus with a build-up.
Keys in this area select phrases of the currently selected Style.
Phrases in the Style Range start with the lowest density/intensity on C3 and get
more agitated as you move towards Bb3.
You could generally work your way through a song going from left (intro, verse) to right (chorus), but of course this greatly depends on the style and your song. Just know you always have 11 different rhythms plus the common phrases at your immediate disposal.
The highest key of the Style Range - B3 – is the Stop key. In Latch mode,
pressing this key will stop playback (whereas the Silent Key - C1) will keep
playback going, just with an empty phrase.
Keys in the Chord range function like a regular musical keyboard: You start and stop the guitarist’s performance and you determine the notes played. It’s like playing keyboard, except that instead of notes you play rhythms.
Virtual Guitarist IRON creates a special kind of chords: Power Chords. These sound like full chords, but don’t consist of three or more notes as usual. Power Chords are two-note intervals that sound like chords because harmonics get added by the distortion produced in the tube amp, creating the impression of full chords.
Unlike other instruments, Virtual Guitarist IRON will almost* always play a two- note interval, no matter whether you play one or four notes. This is because three or more notes - when sent through distortion – would sound mushy and often unpleasant.
*almost ... because there are single notes in selected styles.
You can hear the original intervals clearly when you set the Amp to Clean and the Drive control to minimum position.
The schematic on the next page shows you which intervals you can play with Virtual Guitarist IRON.
Here’s how to read it:
- A black dot on the stylized keyboard means “required”, a grey dot means “optional” (for example, if you use the MIDI file of a synth pad to control Virtual Guitarist IRON)
- Chord displayed: The resulting musical chord as displayed by Virtual Guitarist IRON