What is a style

A keyboard style for Yamaha Tyros, PSR, CVP, DGX and YPG models holds the accompaniment pattern.

The style is divided in several style parts matching the keyboard; e.g. intro parts; main parts; fill parts; and ending parts. The main parts run in loops; while the other parts do not.

The accompaniment in the style normally holds two drum sets; a bass instrument; two chord instruments; a pad instrument; and two phrase instruments.

The initial part of a style sets up the general parameters: Tempo, effects and the "band" instruments.

What's inside a style file

The accompaniment patterns in the style file is in MIDI format.

Besides this MIDI section the style file holds 3 additional non-MIDI sections: CASM; OTS; and MDB.

The CASM data adds information for the interpretation of the data in the MIDI section of the style.

The OTS data sets up the instruments playing the melody, i.e. voices in the musician's right hand.

The MDB data holds information about songs which the style can be used for. This must not be confused with the Music Finder feature in the keyboard.

More about the MIDI, CASM, OTS, and MDB sections in Part 1 - 4 of this reference.

Style formats

Technical improvements have added some changes to the style file format during the years.

The newest format is SFF2 (Style File Format 2) was introduced in 2008. The newest models designed for SFF2 will also play the "old" format SFF1. SFF2 is also known as SFF GE.

The "old" SFF1 format has several sub formats. This means that a 15 year old instrument will not play styles designed for a 5 year old instrument.

However there is converting software for SFF2 format to SFF1 format as well as for the newest SFF1 sub format to older SFF1 sub formats.

More about style formats and conversions in Part 5 of this reference.

Where to get styles

Despite the increasing number of styles in new keyboard models, there is a continuous demand for new styles - often to specific songs.

A small number of companies - including Yamaha - create professional sounding styles for sale; and many hobby musicians also create and publish styles for sale or for free.

The free styles are often found in the internet - and there are thousands of these. Check the links at my Styles Page.

This means that it is easy to get new styles; but it might be difficult to get high quality professional sounding styles.

How to create a style

Style files can be created in several ways.

To some extent editing, e.g. part swap, instrument changes, volume setting can be done in the keyboard.

Creating a style from scratch can be done in the keyboard too; but many people - including the professionals - prefer to create styles in their favorite MIDI sequencer software.

It must be mentioned that creating a professional sounding style from scratch is a hard job - even for the professionals.

My Style Creation Course will explain the basics in this.

A third method is creating styles by converting MIDI files using a specialized software program. This is technically possible; but mostly some "musical" tweaking is required.

Give my midi2style software program a try!

Unfortunately there is no easy way in creating styles. This process demands a lot of musical knowledge and experience.

How to edit a style

A style is editable in the keyboard and in MIDI sequencer software programs.

For editing in the keyboard the keyboard manual describes the procedure.

For editing in MIDI sequencer software (e.g. one listed here) the non-MIDI data in the style file must be preserved before opening the style file in these software programs.

The non-MIDI data is to some extent editable in the keyboard; but some advanced settings have to be edited in specialized software programs.

For style editing there is a lot of software programs available from programmers worldwide. These are listed here.