MUS 514A / CSC 514A

Synthesizer Key Functions
Roland XP-80 Music Workstation

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Key Functions

Because Cakewalk Pro Audio software will be used for sequencing, rather than the XP-80's internal sequencer, many of the control keys on the XP-80 will not be used.  This information covers only the basic key functions of the XP-80 for general purposes.  For further details, please consult the Roland manual.

Left-Side Panel

Disk Drive:  3.5" 2DD/2HD disks can be used.  Press the eject button located at the bottom right of the disk drive to remove a disk.
Volume Slider:  This slider adjusts the overall output level for headphones and rear output jacks.
C1 & C2 Sliders:  Various parameters may be assigned to the sliders.
Pitch Bend / Modulation Lever:  Moving the lever from left to right controls pitch bend.  Moving the lever forward controls vibrato.  Other control parameters may be assigned as well.


Front Panel

Sound Palette

[Filter/Env]:  Press this button ON when modifying filter and/or envelope settings in real time using the four sliders (Cutoff--modifies brightness, Resonance-- modifies resonance, Attack--modifies attack time, Decay--modifies decay time) (pp. 28, 32).

[Level]:  Press this button ON when adjusting volume balance in real time using the four sliders (pp. 28, 32).

Key Effects

The buttons in this section allow you to assign various functions to the keys of the XP- 80's keyboard.

  • [RPS]: Switches RPS on/off.  Realtime Phrase Sequencing allows you to play back patterns simply by pressing keyboard keys assigned to the Patterns (p.150ff).
  • [Arpeggio]:  Switches Arpeggiator on/off (p. 35).
  • [Portamento]:  Switches Portamento on/off (p. 28).
  • [Solo]:  Specifies playing a single note at a time (p. 28).
  • [Transpose]:  Specifies transposing the keyboard in semitone steps (p. 38).
  • [-Oct], [+Oct]:  These buttons adjust the pitch of the keyboard in octave steps (p. 37).  Pressing either of these buttons while holding down [Transpose] allows you to set the desired amount of transposition (p. 38).

Mode & Effects

The buttons in this section select modes.  The button indicator of the selected mode will light (p. 20).  Sound sources (patches) are selected in this section:  Performance mode, Patch mode, Rhythm mode, GM mode (General MIDI).

  • [Perform]:  Performance mode contains various groupings of patches (voices).  Individual patches may be changed.  This particular mode is primarily used when utilizing the XP-80's internal sequencer.
  • [Patch]:  Selecting this mode makes available the five individual patch groups of 128 voices each:  User, PR-A, PR-B, PR-C, GM. (See other handout.)
  • [Rhythm]:  Rhythm Set mode makes available the ten percussion instrument sets.  (See other handout.)
  • [GM mode]:  To set General MIDI mode, hold down [Shift] and press [Perform].  [Perform], [Patch] and [Rhythm] indicators will not light.  This special mode makes the XP-80 function as a GM-compatible sound source.
  • [Sequencer] / [Chain Play]:  Selecting Sequencer mode and Chain Play mode determines how the sequencer will operate.  One of these modes has to be selected for the internal sequencer to operate.  (The internal sequencer will not be used in this class.)  Sequencer mode is selected for recording, playback and editing of a song.  Chain Play mode allows you to select the order of song playback.
  • [System]:  System mode is for determining global XP-80 settings such as tuning, display contrast and how MIDI messages are received.  Please do not change any settings in this area!
  • [Utility]:  Utility mode allows the saving and transmitting of sound source settings--not a key you will use often ...
  • [Disk]:  This mode is used for saving/loading data to/from the floppy disk drive.  It also allows access to disk format, which prepares a disk for MIDI data storage.
  • EFFECTS:  The buttons in this section turn their respective internal effects on/off.
  • [EFX]: = Effects.  Switches the multiple effects unit on/off (p. 40).
  • [Chorus]:  Switches chorus on/off (p. 40).  Chorus provides a fuller-sounding timbre.
  • [Reverb]:  Switches reverb on/off (p. 40).  Reverb provides a "wetter" sound, a.k.a., echo.

Function Keys:  F1-F6, etc.

Each of these buttons (F1-F6) corresponds to a function indicated at the display bottom. The functions of these buttons change depending on the selected mode or the current display (p. 20).

  • [Local/TX/RX]:  This button opens the Local/TX/RX window for switching Local, Transmit and Receive switches on/off (p. 30).
  • [Exit] / [Panic]:  Press [Exit] to return to the Play display of a mode (p. 21), or when you want to cancel the current operation.  The [Panic] button is created by depressing [Shift] + [Exit]--used if a note "sticks" or does not sound.
  • [Sound List] / [Tempo/Beat]:  The function of this button changes depending on the selected mode.  [Sound List] opens the Sound List window when a sound source mode display is up (pp. 27, 29, 34).  [Tempo/Beat] is depressed for selecting a tempo track or beat track when a Sequencer mode display is up.
  • [a/b/c/d] / [Pattern]:  The function of this button changes depending on the mode on display.  [a/b/c/d] is used for selecting a subgroup (a/b/c/d) when selecting a Patch/Performance/Rhythm Set using the Bank/Number method (pp. 26, 29, 33).  [Pattern] is used to select a Pattern when a Sequencer mode display is up.
  • [Locate]:  This button opens the Locate window to specify and move the locate position (p. 119).  It specifies a location point in a song.
  • [Undo/Redo]:  Press this button to restore a modified value to its previous (pre- modified) state, or when cancelling recording or a currently executing operation.  Pressing this button again will restart the recording/operation (p. 24).
  • Bank [1]-[8], Number [1]-[8] / Track / Part [1]-[16]:  The functions of these buttons change depending on the display which is showing.  Refer to p.15 for further information.  We will not be using the internal sequencer, ergo, these keys.

Sequencer section, etc.

  • [=], [<], [>], [?] (cursor buttons):  Move the cursor (black box) with these (p. 23).  [Dec], [Inc]:  Use these buttons to modify (increase/decrease) values.  If you continue to hold down one button while pressing the other, the value change accelerates.  If you press on of these buttons while holding [Shift], the value will change in larger increments (p. 23).
  • The buttons in this section are used for playback and recording of the XP-80's sequencer (which will not be used).
  • [Rec]:  Press this button to begin recording (pp. 106, 113).
  • Beat Indicator:  This blinks in sync with the tempo and beat of the song.
  • [Loop]:  Press this to turn Loop Play and Loop Recording on/off (p. 102).
  • [Bwd]:  Press [Bwd] to "rewind" a song.  Pressing this button while holding [Shift] moves you to the beginning of the song.  If you hold down [Bwd] as you press [Fwd], the song will "rewind" faster (p. 98).
  • [Stop/Play]:  Press this button to start/stop playback of the song.
  • [Fwd]:  Use this button to fast-forward the song.  Pressing this button while holding down [Shift] moves you to the end of the song.  If you hold down this button as you press [Bwd], the song will fast-forward faster (p. 98).

Numeric Keys (0-9)

  • Use these to set a value.  They can be used to enter numeric values as well as alphabetical characters and notes (p. 23).
  • [Shift]:  This is used in combination with other buttons. Some buttons on the front panel include grey-printed characters.  They indicate the button's function when [Shift] is depressed.
  • [Enter] / [Digit Hold]:  The function of this button changes depending on whether [Shift] is held down.  Use [Enter] to finalize a value.  Use [Digit Hold] while depressing [Shift] to turn the Digit Hold function on/off.  With the Digit Hold on, the 100s place and 10s place will be fixed and only the 1s place will change.  This means that you can select Patches (voices) simply be pressing the numeric key for the 1s place, without having to press [Enter] (p. 27).


  • Display window shows various information for the currently selected function or operation.

Value Dial

  • This dial is used to modify values.  If you hold down [Shift] as you turn the dial, the value will change in greater increments.

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