Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fast Timing Fixes for 8-note Chords and Triplets

Most people wouldn't notice that little "hiccup" in your timing of triplets or shuffle beat. Here's an easy hint I also use for pounding-out chords for heavy rock.... The pounding that hits notes together is far more forceful,  and even quiet jazz shuffles are painful to people who do notice the timing problems.

As true for all hints on this blog,  the below steps assume a GarageBand menu -- but the technique works for ProTools and ProLogic and other studio programs.

Step 1.  Do  NOT (do not do not!) "quantize" your song the usual way.  (See earlier blogs for other how-to-fix  timing hints.) 
2.  Go to Control.  Un-check  "Snap to Grid".
3.  Pull up the Notation View (snowflake, bottom left) as Piano Roll.
4.  Place your playhead (red line) at the very front of the MIDI bars for your chord to quantize.  They will not be together.  (That's why the timing needs fixing!)  So decide which of the notes is where you want the chord to hit;  usually at least 2 begin together, which is why you like the chord enough to keep it:)
5.  Put your cursor below the bottom-most note and, holding the mouse button or pad, go straight up to mark every note in that chord.  All should be highlighted (selected).
6.  KEEPING the playhead there on top of the front of at lease one highlighted note,  go to the left menu and select "Auto Align to"  as "1/8 Note".

Now you will see that your MIDI bars for each chord note has moved -- and perhaps a lot.  No matter. 
7.  Click and hold on one of the still-highlighted notes.  (The whole chord set should stay highlighted.)
8.  Slide that note until its very beginning is right where the playhead is.  Your chord is now aligned with "comfortable" timing.
9.  As always,  the final step after timing moves like this is to return to CONTROL and turn "Snap to Grid"  back on.
Much joy to you in creating your own personally enjoyable music timing!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne; all rights reserved

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quick Fixes for Slight Timing Problems

This Recording Hint reminds me of the Volcano Cake that I made for my child's birthday some years back.... everyone thought the lumps of red frosting on top of the piled up chocolate cake crumbles was a fantastic creative idea. In actuality, the cake fell apart when I took it out of the pan.... Sometimes our greatest creations start with mistakes. So here's a fun idea for fixing one kind:

Most of us have done it... feeling very pleased with a song recording, only to realize several months later that our timing "slipped" in a few places. Especially with vocals, where we focus so much on clearly singing the words (enunciating) that we might not notice that we're a tad off beat.

What to do? Trying to patch vocals later is very hard... must match the mic settings and your tone. Plus there's $$$ issues for recording the fix. It's quite tempting to say "Maybe no one will notice."

But here's a quick fix to try. It did "miracles" for my early 2010 song "Creator Joy" when I planned 3 distinct tempos within the song to match the mood.... but ended up with probably 7 or 8 tempos!

Just add a "flexible" background.... I used a Whirly Piano instrument background track for my song:
1. I doubled the instrument's pre-set reverb setting,
2. plus added more echo. These 2 changes really made the notes ring out long enough to distract from timing issues. Sure, musicians might notice. But the extra track also makes your timing appear intentional!
3. Pull in your FULL song track that you already have, into the project. Solo that track with your new track that you will create.
4. After selecting your background instrument, create the notes to play against the FULL mix. Then the only mixing needed is balancing the new track with the mix you already liked.
5. If your original notes are mid-range, play the flexible instrument at a higher note range. And in reverse, for "contrary motion."  Mid-range and higher usually stays out of the sonic range of existing bass and piano tracks.
6. Save, and Turn OFF "Control -- Snap to Grid".
7. Then play the FULL plus NEW track together with the MIDI track in your Notation view. As you hear new track notes come in a bit sooner or later than the original music, just stop the recording, shift the MIDI note a bit (extending length if needed), and try again.

The hardest part of this hint is that it's so much fun to do that you just might end up needing more time so you can add some other instruments and texture tracks!....
Much joy to you, enjoying even old mistakes for the game they can provide!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne, all rights reserved

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fix Lagging Synth Instruments

When you press the controller key for some MIDI (synth) instruments -- like bass, horns, and especially violin -- the notes often seem to be lagging.  Even after you have Quantized every note on the track (see previous blogs).  
HERE's WHY and a super-easy HOW TO FIX not only for Garageband but for any home recording studio.
WHY:   Some MIDI instruments have a "faster attack" than others. That's a fancy way of saying when you hit the controller key for a flute or oboe or guitar,   hey it's right there.  BUT MIDI instruments like organ  &  horns & strings & even synth textures are designed like the ACTUAL INSTRUMENT plays --- to "build into" the sound.  Thus, the note is quieter when it first hits and "solid" a fraction later.  Most people will never notice.  But if you are bugged by this LAGGING,  I can from my experience share a proven method for an
Reminder -- also in a previous blog It's easier to make changes if all regions have been joined.  Otherwise you will need to do these steps for every region on the track.
1.  Quantize the notes as described in previous blogs, such as August 2011.
2.  Save your project.  (a "duh" I know... but "how to" instructions should include everything!)
3.  Turn OFF   "SNAP TO GRID" (under CONTROL in GarageBand).
4.  Go into the Notation View (snowflake at bottom left in GB) and select "PIANO ROLL."
5.  Highlight at least one music note, then select all notes (Control-A).
6.  Decide on ANY single note that is Count 1 in a measure.  If that note is not "bumped" right up to the measure line, re-check your quantizing.
7.  With all notes still selected on the track, CLICK AND HOLD on the note from Step 6.  Very slowly move the note a SPECK to the left.  A fraction, a bit, a hiccup  to the left... whatever wording you'd like!  Now the "quiet" part of the note does come "early" -- but what you hear is the solid hit right on the measure bar.

8.  Turn ON   "SNAP TO GRID" and
MUCH JOY TO YOU as you continue to develop your song -- with MIDI instruments that no longer sound lagging!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved