A Non-Trained Musician's Guide to playing songs you know on your Artiphon Instrument ft. Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams'

A Non-Trained Musician's Guide to playing songs you know on your Artiphon Instrument ft. Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams'

Mastering Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams' on Your Artiphon Orba: A Non-Trained Musician's Guide to playing songs on you know on your Artiphon Chorda and Orba.

Written by: Vera Rostonics - Artiphon's Head of Digital Marketing

Fleetwood Mac - Dreams (my 2021 cover)


For as long as I can remember, certain songs have always struck a chord with me (pun intended). My journey with Artiphon instruments began from my musical curiosity. Like many of you, my first encounter with Artiphon was through social media. However, my relationship with music predates this—I've been playing guitar since my teenage years. Throughout that time, I've been drawn to imitating the intricate riffs and captivating hooks of my favorite tracks. So, when I joined Artiphon in 2021 and received my first Orba (the Orba 1), it was instinctual for me to cover a song with it. However, one obstacle always loomed: my lack of formal music theory training.

We often get questions like, "Can you play a song I know?" or, "How can I play insert song name here on my Artiphon instrument?" I wanted to shed light on this process from the perspective of someone who isn't formally musically trained but has familiarity with this experience. When it comes to playing specific songs on your Orba or Chorda, I firmly believe that the best person to play those songs and do them justice is you. After all, I can’t share the inner excitement I get whenever I play a riff or beat I love—everyone has unique musical tastes, and we all get excited about different things. But for this blog, I wanted to walk you through my approach to covering a song using Orba, provide some guidance on deciphering a song's parts, and adding your own creative flair so that you can apply this technique to your own musical journey with your Artiphon instruments.


For this exercise, I took myself outside of my comfort zone to journey with you back to that moment when I received Orba and held it in my hands for the first time. And though this story is specific to Orba, this same method can be applied to Chorda. In fact, the same pads and key apply here. I've added a few videos with the tempo slowed down to 80 bpm so that we can practice together.

This story begins with a simple yet socially memorable moment in 2021: the resurgence of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" on TikTok, thanks to the user <


♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) - Fleetwood Mac

Like many of you, I found myself captivated by the video of this person effortlessly skateboarding while sipping cranberry juice to the tune of the song. Coming out of the pandemic, seeing Doggface simply enjoying life, or maybe even not giving a care in the world, was enough of a relief to leave the melody lingering in my head for months, sparking a thought: "Wouldn't it be cool if I could cover this on Orba?"

Earlier I mentioned, my main hobby is imitating specific riffs of songs on my guitar. So when the idea struck me to cover 'Dreams' on Orba, my first challenge was translating what I already knew from guitar tabs, YouTube tutorials, and taking songs apart into this unique 8-pad circular instrument. A quick side note for those who may not know: guitar tabs are numbers associated with the placement of the note on your guitar string and fretboard. You don’t need musical training to play these notes, but you do need to have your techniques down and lots of patience to master this skill as they are often community driven and are not always 100% accurate.



And though, I've never had formal musical training, nor do I possess the ability to hear a note and immediately discern its key, I do have a knack for following rhythmic patterns and can usually find my way around the right notes if I’m pointed in the right direction. And honestly I with practice, you can too. But for me, this was Orba, an instrument unfamiliar to me and to the tools I usually use to help guide me like tabs and YouTube tutorials.

There were two things I already knew about Orba: it had a key and a tempo that you could adjust in the app. So like anyone who grew up in a digital modern world and wants to learn something new, I turned to my good old friend Google and typed in “Fleetwood Mac Dreams key.” A slew of results came up. For those with musical training, they might immediately identify the correct key via the search results. However, for individuals like myself—musically curious, but lacking formal training and the ability to know the difference between keys—we start from the top of the results and work our way down trying the different keys suggested. I’m going to go with A minor for this one since it’s the first result.



When I play out tabs, I like to listen to the original song on my Spotify so that I can rewind the different parts if I need to. Starting with one earbud tuned to 'Dreams,' I power and connect my Orba and go to my Artiphon Connect app. When selecting a sound, I often aim to find one that mirrors the essence of the original track. However, if the mood strikes, I might opt for something more unconventional and creative. After all, it is my own cover and I encourage you to express yourself creatively too. In this case, it’s “Electric bass.” Navigating to the settings, I select the key A minor, following the results from my Google search. I begin tapping out the two-note iconic bass line, using pads 1 and 2.

Bass Tabs: 


Each number corresponds to the pad numbers on Orba (or Chorda).


One important thing to keep in mind when covering songs is that Orba, is not a guitar, drum set, or a trumpet. It’s its own instrument, which is what makes the whole idea of covering something even more unique and exciting. After all, it'd be quite silly if we expected a violin cover of a famous metal song to sound like the guitar version, and the only one who can do Halo justice is the queen Beyoncé herself, so I just embrace it's uniqueness as a new instrument.



Alright, I think I've got this bass part down. Because I am aware that song structures change—for example, octaves may shift from the chorus to the bridge or from the bass part to the singing melody—I always want to make sure that whatever key I set my Orba to, I can play the main melody and foundations of the song using the 8 Orba pads (or 12 if you're on Chorda).  And though it is possible to play the full thing with octave shifts and all, I usually just like to keep it simple and focus on the beats and riffs that initially intrigued me to learn that specific song. In the case it's not possible to play a melody, I go to the next google search result.

In the same key, I played my bass part in, I begin to tap around the notes in Lead Mode of the lyrics “Oh, thunder only happens when it's raining'.” I see it’s something starting on pad 4-4-4-4-4-3-2. But there’s a higher note as Stevie Nicks comes in with the second chorus line lyrics “Players only love….” Looks like pad 6 hits the higher note we are looking for. 



Now I'm thinking, 'Okay, I want to loop this, adding the rest of the instruments.' In my Google results, I came across a page indicating that the BPM is set at 119. Adjusting my tempo accordingly using the Artiphon Connect app, I proceed to record my bass line as the foundational rhythmic loop. Pro tip: you can also record the your songs at a lower tempo and speed it up to 119 BPM once you're done. (I slowed it down to 80 BPM for this blog).

Now comes the best part: the chorus. As mentioned, you have the freedom to be creative because it's an improvisation and your own cover, so let your imagination guide you! I'm opting for the "Electric Guitar" Lead sound because of its clarity and twanginess.

The chorus tabs go something like this:





Now that I've got my melodic parts looped, I pause my Orba and return my focus back to the original song, carefully listening to the drum beat. The drums appear to consist mainly of a high hat, a snare. While you could certainly add fills, cymbals, and toms for a more intricate arrangement, I'll keep it simple for the sake of this blog. Also let’s be honest, if you weren’t able to tell already, I also lose interest really quickly and am just looking to add a fun casual musical moment to my day. 

If you've got great finger drumming techniques like some of my teammates do, you may be able to do all three pads (kick drum, snare, and high hats) in one loop recording cycle. However, I'm going to separate it into high-hat and snares and then add my kick drum. Following my bass line and metronome, I add the high-hats as heard in the original song. Now if I add my bass drum and snare. I’m hearing a 1-2 1-2 1-2 like this.



And that's it! If you're up for it, feel free to record the lead. Alternatively, you could solo on top of it and maybe even figure out the bridge parts of the song, adding your own unique flair. (I will let you do that, but know it is possible in that key 🙂) Remember, the goal is to make the song your own cover. Experiment with chords, other sounds, and solos on top of your already recorded loop—anything to infuse your personal touch. I attached this video to show just how far you can take your creativity since Orba and Chorda's synths will never play a wrong note. And that is truly that makes these instruments so powerful! The more you practice, the better you get.



Here are a few more covers I've worked on in the past that I'm proud of. Don't forget to tag us @Artiphon and use the hashtags #orbaloops and #chordaloops to share your creations with us. If you'd like to see more blogs like this or have any cover questions, fill out this form and we'll get back to you!


Thanks for reading! 🫶

I think we're alone now - Tiffany
Mood - 24kGldn, iann Dior
Scrubs - TLC

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