Here’s some great news to anyone who uses virtual instruments: Now you can try many different instruments from your own computer, almost instantly. No need to download huge sound banks or demos. All you need is a decent internet connection and a sound interface. A MIDI keyboard connected to your computer would be great, but is not essential. Read More…
If you use orchestral sample libraries in your music and wish you could make them sound more realistic, here are some tested-and-proven methods you can try in your next production. Read More…
After reading in the news about your opinion on the United States of America v. Dove case, I just felt I had to react.
Imagine for a moment that I broke into a jewellery store, disabled the security cameras, switched off the alarms, broke the security glasses, maybe took a couple of jewels and then fled. Since I left the store defenseless, there was plundering; several passersby (who had no intention to purchase jewellery when they got up that morning) entered the shop and looted, say, 762 items that were in the store’s inventory.
Now let’s imagine, again, that I was caught, found guilty, and the store held me and the looters responsible for the 762 missing items and demanded restitution, and the Judge gave the following opinion:
Those who loot jewelry from unprotected stores would not necessarily purchase those jewels at the full purchase price.
This, to me, seems to miss the whole point of any type of stealing.
I know that despite the decade-old debate on this topic, many people who download music illegally do not realize that they are “stealing” another person’s intellectual property. The danger increases when the justice system begins to slight the impact of this behavior, commonly euphemized as sharing. The fact that music is not tangible seems to make stealing it easier on the conscience, but this is arbitrary.
The looters in my example have stolen, even if they would not purchase those jewels at the full price, even if they never wore those jewels or gave them to someone else. Again in the above example, I am responsible for all this because I prepared the conditions for looting. All 762 items and not one less. I can not see why illegal downloads should merit a different treatment.
Check out this funny little picture I made using “The Simpsomaker“:
Although the character in the foreground is the same in every panel, the backgrounds change, evoking different stories in our minds.
We can do the same thing in music through a process called reharmonization. We leave our melody intact (like the dude in the above picture) and change the chords that are played behind it. This will let us hear the melody within a new context and give the song an entirely different mood. A bright melody can become darker, a down-to-earth song can become mysterious. It all depends on your imagination and intent.
Let’s take a simple melody and work with it to see how we can change its mood through reharm: Read More…
Dissonance is the spice of music. Like most spices, it tastes bad just by itself, but can be used to add zest and flavor to a recipe.
Simply, dissonance is two or more notes that sound wrong when played together. Play any two adjacent keys on a piano simultaneously and you’ll know what I mean. Here is an example with strings: Read More…
There is a great deal of similarity between romantic love and a career (which is why many people find it hard to be good at both- but that’s a different topic). Take me for example: although music was a childhood love, I dated several other careers before finally getting married to music. Those dates helped me to grow and, for better or worse, become the person I am. In the very least, when I finally decided to make the commitment to music, I knew what to expect (and not to expect) from a career.
To continue the analogy, what concerned me about my student’s decision to quit his day job and pursue a career in music (see If music be the food of love… (Part I)) was that he was madly in love and he was talking about marriage. Read More…
One of my brightest students, a very promising singer/songwriter, told me that he has decided to quit his day job to pursue a career in music.
“Why?” I asked.
He was surprised. He expected me to be the ever-supporting teacher that I normally am. He expected me to pat his back and tell him that he had made the right decision; that, with his level of talent, he was sure to become a success, and I’d be there to support him every step of the way. But I didn’t.
“Why do you want to become a musician?” Read More…
An excellent example of clever songwriting, The Assumption Song proves just how genetically conditioned we are to find words that rhyme, even during a relatively passive act like listening. Often incorrectly credited (as in this very video) to The Arrogant Worms, the song was in fact written by Vito Petroccitto, Jr.
This little orchestra of computer-controlled solenoids is so much fun, it should be sold as a kit so that people can set them up in their apartments or office cubicles and click away. On second thought, that could spell trouble with roommates, significant others and bosses. Maybe it’s just better to watch. See for yourself:
This video by Andrea Vadrucci demonstrates that obsessing over video games will not necessarily impede your growth as a musician. Andrea does a hell of a job playing over several cues from Super Mario Bros 3, and the sound of live drums against 8-bit music is just super cool.