#88 Practical Harmony for Grid Controllers with Neil “Nail” Alexander Wednesday May 20th 7PM MDT

This event features special guest Neil “Nail” Alexander beaming in from New York.


Using a standard grid controller as a musical instrument presents its own set of particular – and peculiar – challenges. We’ll talk about some strategies for setting up, manipulating and playing grid controllers geared towards getting musical results, including responsiveness setup, keyed & chromatic playing, playing in different styles and instrument emulation.

Registration Required

To attend you must register first. No Zoom account is required to attend, just the link you’ll receive via email after registration.

Pro Tips

  1. If you’ve never been on a Zoom Cloud meeting read this FAQ for joining online events
  2. Headphones 🎧 are highly recommended for all platforms.
  3. All times in this invite are Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) which is -6GMT.


  • 7:00 Open Meeting
  • 7:05 Announcements
  • 7:15 Presentation
  • 7:45 Breakout Room Intros
  • 7:50 Performance by Neil
  • 8:00 Open discussion


In a career spanning more than 4 decades pianist, synthesist and composer Neil “Nail” Alexander has made his mark on the international music scene, touring the US, Europe, Mexico and Canada. He has performed with successful acts such as The Machine, The Mahavishnu Project, Marty Balin, Corey Glover (among others) and performed with a who’s who of Hudson Valley artists such as Tim Moore, Pee Wee Ellis, Judi Silvano, Peter Furlan,Ted Orr, Jesse Gress, Blue Food, Jeff Siege Segal and many others, including local hip hop phenom Decora for whom he was musical director for 4 years.

Neil’s additional projects include the “X Ensemble“ (a contemporary Classical chamber music ensemble), the Woodstock based funk group “Cloudburst”, and “Mr. Gone”, a tribute to Weather Report. He prefers the name “Nail Jung” when performing solo electronic music, and is also active in Music Production, Theater, Modern Dance and Film. He runs the Ableton Hudson Valley User Group and teaches master classes in electronic music production. In 2015 Neil was awarded Individual Artist Of The Year  by the Orange County Arts Council and is currently endorsed by Moog Music.

Next Streaming Event: Thursday Night Live May 21st on Twitch, Youtube, Facebook and Periscope. Check feeds for updated info. Links below.

NAIL Online: Lots of links!



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Notes from This or a Previous Event

I’m starting to add comments to the bottom of these even with post event notes.

  • Notes from #87 Online Petting Zoo
  • Notes from #86 Intro to Elektron Overbridge 2.0 with Mark Mosher
  • Notes from Event #85 – The Appropriate Premaster with Steve Turnidge
  • Notes from event #84 Sound Design with Ableton Live with Huston Singletary
  • Notes from event #83 Intro to The ZOIA modular pedal with Mitch Lantz
  • Notes from event #82 Breakout Session OBS Studio for Live Streaming

One response to “#88 Practical Harmony for Grid Controllers with Neil “Nail” Alexander Wednesday May 20th 7PM MDT”

  1. Neil was presenting “Practical Harmony for Grid Controllers” using Push 2.

    Push 2 manual is here https://www.ableton.com/en/manual/using-push-2/.
    Looking at notes on Push 2 – https://www.subaqueousmusic.com/looking-at-notes-on-push

    There was some discussion of Ableton Live. Live does not support poly aftertouch or MPE directly. There are ways to do MPE in live but I’ll let you look on YouTube for that one.

    Some discussion of Linnstrument… Push is 4ths vertically and 5ths on the diagonal. “The Linnstrument is chromatic left to right and up a 4th each row, so it takes 3 rows and 4 columns to get an octave.” Same as push in chromatic mode but Linnstrument doesn’t support Key” mode.

    David asked if he should start with Push 1 and then go on to Push 2. Consensus was to just to just start with Push 2. Push also gives you device visualization for synths like Ableton Wavetable which make it feel more like an instrument than a controller.

    General Discussion…

    Brian mentioned he and some others from Colorado Modular Synth Society were performing at https://nyms.love/ Signals online streaming concert on the 23rd. Replays here https://www.twitch.tv/newyorkmodularsociety/videos.

    Mark mentioned he was performing a live multimedia set for Boulder Experiments in Art and Technology meetup. Replay here https://youtu.be/bCHQ8G-TXJo.

    Kevin mentioned “I’m hoping for an ebook version of Curtis Roads’ Computer Music Tutorial. I just saw this note on his website (https://www.curtisroads.net/news): THE COMPUTER MUSIC TUTORIAL, REVISED EDITION Forthcoming “As of January 2020, the manuscript is done.”
    New chapters on the following topics:
    – Analog modeling synthesis
    – Pulsar synthesis
    – Concatenative synthesis – Bob Sturm
    – Spectrum analysis: atomic decomposition – Bob Sturm
    – Open Sound Control (OSC) with Matthew Wright

    There was some discussion of Cecil Taylor https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Taylor

    Jennifer mentioned V.S. Ramachandran – Impact Theory – https://youtu.be/CtoaGaSs7W8

    There was discussion of how modern art paintings relate to music concrete. Clyffod Still Muscum was mentioned https://clyffordstillmuseum.org

    Neil mentioned… “Anyone know about Mati Klarwein? Did some iconic album art: https://musicaficionado.blog/2020/03/30/album-covers-by-mati-klarwein/


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