Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Avoid 4 Handed Drummers :)

Since few drummers have 4 hands, this could be a quite useful hint!  Thanks to home studio programs with loops, we  can record drums even if we can't play drums.  But it's very helpful to know at least a LITTLE about "real drumming" when you create your music tracks. One of my 2 recording studios'  producer happens to be an excellent drummer -- and he would have shaken his chair with laughter if I hadn't caught this mistake in my home studio right before sending out my tracks:
1.   I had found a really driving Paradiddle drum loop (fast beats that alternate left and right stick drumming often on a snare drum).
2.   But even with compression, the drum track was not "thick" enough for the music -- I needed more presence.
3.   So I found a perfect group of loops that added depth from hits on toms.

     The beat was full, fit the music, gave it character....
     And then as I was doing my final review, I suddenly realized:

Paradiddles take     two hands.   
The drum loops I was using were quickly going from tom to tom --   two more hands. 
So unless I could find a 4 handed drummer for this song, I'd be out of luck.

But I WAS in luck -->  Claxton never got to crack up laughing at me for needing a 4 handed drummer!   Hint summary:  
        Analyze your loops to make sure they're possible  
in real life.  Although I'm sure real drummers would enjoy the humor 
of your "drumming"  more if you don't!
Much HUMOR in your music mistakes.... have fun with laughing at yourself!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fast New Instrument Sounds

Here's a quick fun hint if you don't have many instrument sounds in your program.  For example, GarageBand installs with only about 8 piano sounds, including wimpy plain Piano,  a deep Grand Piano on Stage, and a swirling piano.  Pretty limiting even though of course you can edit the sound effects for each of the programmed instruments for a track.

A fast way to get pre-programmed effects:
1.    Go into your loops library to look for loops for that instrument (such as bass guitar).
2.    Find a MIDI loop whose sound you like.
3.    Import that loop into your Song Project.  It DOES NOT MATTER what the notes are.
4.    Grab the end of the loop region and extend it out about 8 measures, to give you space.
5.    SOLO this track.
6.    Skip the loop's notes and put your playhead in any measure after it.
7.    Using the Metronome, play the introduction to your song.  A few measures are fine.
8.    Quantize your introduction (including 1 measure before it).  The first note -- no matter what it is -- should be quantized to 1/4 note.  (See earlier blogs.)
9.     Click on the region if it is not already highlighted (Green in GarageBand).  Then click on the region if it is not also highlighted.
10.   Place the playhead just in front of the first note of your introduction's first measure.
11.   Select Edit --  Split.
12.   DELETE the first part of the track -- with the original loop.
13.   Slide your introduction's region into place.

You can now record anything with the new instrument sound that the original loop had.
Much joy to you looking for NEW sounds!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Handling Long Texture Notes

What do you do when your background texture gorgeously grows in sound as the note continues -- but your chord is changing.  And the new chord clashes with the texture?   

1.  Find a  common note between the two chords.
Easy example:  F  to D.  Both  chords contain A, so use that note for the long texture.
2.  Find a  color chord that shares a note between the two chords.
Harder examples:  Em  to D.  The Em7 chord's D note gives a nice sound to a texture and rolls right into the new D chord.   Bm  to C.  The Cmaj7 chord with its top  B note is extremely useful for blending from one chord into another in any progression.  This is one perfect place to use it.
Hardest example:  C  to D.  I was using a swirl type background for a slow, somber song, beginning with a C chord.  But the next chord was a D,  and the extended C texture note in the background gave an unwelcome clash.  Since the song had a minor feel,  I pretended the C chord was its minor -- A minor -- and used an  A  for the texture.  The sound built up into the D chord with no clashing.

Sometimes studio recording programs have awkward problems that need a workaround.  (That's the basis for this blog!)  Often I comment to my computer, "I  AM going to win, so you may as well do what I want."  There's a sense of satisfaction when we figure out the workarounds. 
May you have much joy doing so especially in your world of music!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne; all rights reserved