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How to layer voices on the Yamaha P515

Have you ever wanted to play three voices together at the same time?

How to layer voices on the Yamaha P515
Max Humphrey

So the P515, as you may know, is an extremely advanced and clever Digital Keyboard, and it’s also at the top of Yamahas ‘P-series’ range of keyboards.

Yamaha have gifted the P515 with an excellent feature, which allows you to ‘layer’ voices, meaning you can have more than one voice playing at the same time, as you play the keyboard.

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Yamaha P515
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To do this, it’s actually a whole lot more simple than you may think, all you need to do is press the ‘Dual/Split’ button, which is located on the right-hand side of the keyboard.

Then on the screen in the middle, it will show you two different voices, one will have a number 1 next to it, and one will have the number 2 next to it – this is the ‘Dual’ option by the way, we will get onto how to use the ‘Split’ feature in just a moment.

So now when you play, you will hear two instruments playing at the same time, and you can decide what 2 instruments you would like to play, by pressing the arrows, just off to the right of the screen, or by pressing the different voice buttons just over to the right, ie ‘E.Piano’ or ‘Strings’. 

Do this for both voices and you can come up with some very interesting sounds! I’ve had lots of fun with this feature, I can tell you that for free! 

All jokes aside, this ‘layering’ feature does come in very handy when playing gigs when you need more than one instrument to play at once, for example, using the ‘Stage E.Piano’ and the ‘Vibraphone’, to create a nice effect, incorporating the fuzz from the E.Piano with the bell of the Vibraphone to create the sound you may need for the gig.

Okay, the next awesome feature I am going to show you on the P515, is quite similar to the last, but also very different, it’s the option to ‘Split’ your keyboard into two separate voices, here’s how it’s done:

Much like before, all you need to do is press the ‘Dual/Split’ button, but instead of just pressing it once, give it a double tap, and this will then take you onto the ‘Split’ feature.

So the layout looks virtually the same, except now the top voice will have an ‘R’ next to it, and it will only be sounded on the right half of the keyboard, and the voice labelled with the letter ‘L’, will be on the left half. Now you may notice that the split point isn’t directly in the middle of the keyboard, it should be on the 3rd F# up.

Yamaha has done this because the intention behind this feature was for the Jazzers out there that wanted to play an upright bass in their left hand, whilst playing something like an upright piano, or a vibraphone in the right, essentially playing two instruments… at once! And for that, most of the time you don’t really need to go higher up than that F# note…

However, you may be wondering “Well, how do I change this?”, don’t worry, Yamaha haven’t forgotten about you, all you have to do is; whilst on the Split mode, hold down the ‘Dual/Split’ button and press the key you would like the split point to be on. Now your new split point will be on the key that you pressed.

The last feature I wanted to show you on this topic, is one lots of people don’t actually know about, as they may not have discovered it… this one is simply titled the ‘Dual & Split’ feature, named by me… Anyways, this essentially allows you to put the two different features that I just showed you, together.

It means you can have two voices on the right side of the keyboard, and one on the left, making 3 voices in total sound out of the keyboard at once… I told you this keyboard was incredible!

Here’s how to do it; simply press the ‘Dual/Split’ button 3 times, and 3 separate voices should appear on the screen. You can alter these voices to whatever you’d like, and if you would like to move the split point again, just hold down the ‘Dual/ Split’ button, and press the key you’d like the split point to be on, just like before. I love how simply Yamaha have made their P515.

Enough from me, now it’s time to get on and give it a go for yourself, and see what you come up with! Let us know how you did and if you found this blog helpful or not in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading, bye for now.

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Max Humphrey Piano & keyboard specialist
Max is a relatively recent addition to our sales team, and is a talented multi-instrumentalist. You’ll speak with him here in sales, and you’ll also see him in many of our ePianos product videos.

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