Friday, December 13, 2013

Easy Tempo or Signature Switch from 4/4 to 3/4 in GB

I have written a number of songs like "Christmas with the Birthday Boy" that begin in a 4/4 rock "angst" mood -- and then switch to a comforting 3/4 swing to portray peace.
SAMPLE AUDIO (free to hear):      Click on this LINK.  

But simple (cheap:) studio programs like Garageband do not have the built-in capability to do this. I figured out an
            EASY WORKAROUND  to share with you:            

1. Set your signature info (tempo, 4/4 or 3/4 e.g.) for Part 1.

2.  Create all the tracks for the first part of the song. 
In the track name include original info. Example:
PIANO 4-4 at 120

3.  "Bounce out" (like sending to iTunes) the Part 1 song.

4.  In the Project info box, change the signature info to what you need for Part 2. You will see the tracks for Part 1 SHIFT - that's ok; they'll go back if you later revert to the original settings.

5.  Now -- important, NOT UNTIL you do step #4 --
IMPORT the bounced out song of Part 1 into a new track.

6. Starting where Part 1 ends (which you visually see from the Step #5 imported track):  
Create all the tracks for the 2nd part of the song. 

HINT:  If needed, create some interim music to switch the timing.   For example, I often use the following interlude:
---- 2 measures in 4/4 time of drums and a bit of piano, then 
---- 2 measures in 3/4 which lead to the switch. 
And the transition is easily completed.  

Other examples can be found at my main Music website

Much joy to you creating new dramatic and comforting music!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Customizing Sounds of Drum Loops, by DianaDee Osborne

Drum loops are an easy way to get an "approximate sound" as you create your song, before hiring a professional drummer. Problem is -- often they end "abruptly" because loops end on the last count of a measure: 
      Easy fix so you can    sound more realistic:    

1.  Under your drum loop track, pull in a MIDI loop of drum beats -- does not matter what it sounds like.  
2.  Begin the track at count 1 and extend past to where your loop ended abruptly.
3.  Do NOT delete all MIDI notes (yet); in GarageBand, a track with no notes often causes a problem.
4.  At the place where the original drum loop track ends abruptly, add a MIDI sound on the MIDI track.  I like to use crashes or other 'ending' sounds that will blend with the sound of the original. This MIDI sound will extend the drum sound to be more natural, tapering off as live drums do.
5.  Now delete the unwanted imported MIDI notes.
6.  Remember to adjust the volume of the MIDI note(s) 
to match the sound of the original loop.  

This easy customizing of canned loops works for any type of loop! --

Much joy to you creating new music with good sounding drums 'til you get live drummin'!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Editing Multiple Draft Guitar Tracks

It's so exciting that the new LOGIC program has incorporated many of the advantages of GarageBand !!! --
especially EASY FADERS for fast volume control!
But GB still has both LOGIC and ProTOOLS beat when it comes to super-fast access to the menu for quantizing notes to 1/8ths or 1/4ths.  I'm still 'blown away" by someone thinking to put 1/32nd notes as the top menu choice in the old LOGIC program!

Here's an easy way to take several draft guitar tracks and work them into your song:  

1.  As the complete or almost-complete project is played, play a guitar track that "fits" in timing, chords, notes.... like "comping", playing "anything" for fun.  If this is a lead guitar (mostly single notes), name the track "Lead GTR 1 draft".
2.   Create another "comp for fun" track.... obviously named "2"!
3.   Now create a few "comp for fun" tracks using rhythm guitar chords, and name these "Rhy GTR 1 draft" (2,3, etc).

Now you're ready for lots of fun!
First decide for each kind of guitar (Lead and Rhy), decide which is your favorite.  Put these 2 tracks on top.   Group the other guitars under those 2 (easier to see). 

4.  Adjust the volume of EACH track to be consistent with the project.

5. Mute all guitar tracks except the first lead one.  Play the project and.... as you find parts of the track you do not like, split around the parts and delete them.  It's easiest if you can find a "space" between note, using the Notation editor's wave form.
NOTE:  At this point, it doesn't matter if there are large gaps!

6. Mute that track, un-mute the 2nd lead guitar track, and repeat Step 5.  Then do the same for each Rhythm GTR track.

7.  Visually look at the tracks.... Where both lead guitar parts are playing, decide which of the 2 you prefer and delete the other part.  Then do the same for the rhythm guitar tracks.

8.   Finally.... and then of course check at the end! ...
A.  DELETE SOUND:  Decide where you want sonic space" -- no guitar at all -- and delete those sections.  
B.  ADD SOUND:  Copy-paste favorite guitar riffs from one part of the track to another part of the same track.  (I do this a lot for copying verse 1's special riff into verse 2 for that same music.)
Much joy to you creating fast initial edits from multiple drafts of instruments!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Super Fast Piano Intros..... by DianaDee Osborne

Here's a super-fast way to create a piano intro for a song where you've already created the piano track for the body of the song (such as verses or chorus): 

1.  Create a DUPLICATE track of the piano.  In GarageBand, you'll get an empty track that contains the exact sound (piano type, reverb, etc), of the original.  Other programs copy the piano notes as well;  for those, simply delete all music.

2.  Prepare this new INTRO track:   Record a couple of notes -- any notes. In the staff music window, extend the length of the recorded track out about 12 measures.  Then delete the recorded notes.   They were just placeholders.

3.  Go to the main piano track and DECIDE ON your favorite PASSAGE to begin your song.  It's easiest to select an odd number of measures, leaving a final even measure to hold a note before "the singing begins."
4.  COPY those notes-- including the pedal marks that look like fancy L's at the bottom.   Then put the playhead line exactly on Count 1 where the intro will begin, and PASTE the notes  into the INTRO track.  HINT:  Sometimes it's nice to leave a couple of measures at the beginning for the drums or flute to bring the song in before the piano starts.
5.  SELECT ALL NOTES BUT *NOT* the pedal marks.  Then put the cursor on a note that's on count 1, hold down the note firmly, and slide up that note exactly one octave;  all other notes will follow if they have stayed selected (green highlight in GarageBand).
Now comes the fast original composition part:  Listen to the ending measures, how they blend into the main piano track.  You probably want to adjust the length of the last notes, maybe the actual notes to give the singer both the pitch and time to hear it before singing.  Also check the volume:   Higher pitched piano may sound quieter.

ANSWER this QUESTION:  Do you want to merge the piano tracks?   Completely depends on your preference for a fast way to print the STAFF (versus creating a separate track called SCORE) or to have a "clean" looking piano track.
ADVANTAGE of separate tracks: 
a.   Fast flexibility in sound... for example, you may 
      want  a more "ethereal" sound with a slight echo.   
b.  ALSO -- during the initial recording, both the producer and vocalist have a visual clue of when to begin singing:)

Much joy to you creating new music!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Panning for Orchestrated Tracks.... by DianaDee Osborne

In March, I provided some hints for avoiding panning problems. 
Today's hint uses panning to create effects that mimic an orchestra,
             where instruments are organized across a stage.
The same hints can, of course, be used for rock music, to pan
      guitars and drums and keyboard and.......

The great advantage of panning is to provide more 
"sonic space".  Instead of each track coming out of each speaker at 100% of its volume per side,  the sound varies.
That gives other tracks "space" to be heard.  Every musician of course has a personal preference.  I've found pairing these instrument tracks to work well:

LEFT at "10:00"  and RIGHT at "2:00"
Flute .................................  Oboe 
Clarinet ............................ Bassoon

LEFT at "8:00"  and RIGHT at "4:00"
Violins ....................... Cello (the "bass" sound)

If I use guitars & bass in the same song, I often pan them
LEFT  at  "11:00"   and  RIGHT at "1:00"  for the slight offset
that lets each be heard a bit more.

DRUMS are a bit trickier.  My drummer-studio-producer says
   the main parts of the drum kit always    
             should be     centered...                  
          but some of the percussion is panned
               left, and others to the right.      
         I'll get the details for a future blog!    

Much peace to you in swelling layered tracks to exciting conclusions!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Monday, July 22, 2013

Balancing Volume for Layered Tracks (orchestration).... by DianaDee Osborne

A really fun way to built up the music to a powerful song is to use LAYERS of tracks:
- Begin quietly with a few tracks.
- Start adding tracks one by one. 
- Have a center section that powerfully combines all tracks, 
- and then slowly starts dropping out tracks to the end of the song,
             with a quiet and simple ending.

This is especially effective with "orchestrated" tracks,
    such as using oboe and flute tracks; violins and cellos; organ and tenor sax.

Here is an example of "LAYERED ORCHESTRATED TRACKS",
          from my original song "Ninth of Av Warns Us."  
                         CLICK HERE FOR FREE AUDIO. (The accompaniment track that provides a better example is still being mastered:)

As you add tracks, however, the overall VOLUME BALANCE will change.
Mathematically, this is obvious:  Each new track adds volume.
       You must choose:  Do you want the song's volume to go up?
IF NOT,  gradually lower the older tracks' volume so the new track can be heard.

Much joy to you experimenting with layered tracks volumes for your new songs for The World!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Easy Harpsichord Without a Big Library

The basic MIDI instruments provided in a program are sometimes adequate "until".  These are often both affordable and enough for doing initial tracks in a home studio.  Still.... maybe you're ready for some new sounds...

If you don't want to invest in more MIDI instruments to import into your library,  you can always edit the simple instruments already there... which you most likely know.  Here's a hint for an instrument often overlooked in our repertoire as we develop new songs:  The old-fashioned harpsichord.  You know, Bach and all.

To get a twangy harpsichord sound,
Logic would indicate that you should play around with the sounds of one of the piano midi instruments  that GarageBand and other smaller programs may have.  After all,  it's a keyboard instrument.  

But this is easier:  Use "Clean Electric" or some similar one-string-plucking guitar MIDI instrument.   Play simple, somewhat slow arpeggios of chords.  The final sound does sound much like an old harpsichord.  

Much joy to you creating new sounds for new songs for The World!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Add the Piano's Sustain Pedal Later

You do NOT have to re-do all your piano work if you recorded a "draft" track by reaching across your computer to the controller keyboard--  not using the "piano" pedal--  and decided you really like what you played.
  1.  Quantize your piano track.  (See earlier blogs for hints; 
                                              I suggest a fast quantize to 1/8th notes if you're in a rush.)
  2.  Go  to another keyboard track ("piano track")-- even one in
       another project -- where the pedal was used.
  3. At Count 1 in any measure, COPY  what looks like a fancy L
      with some dots after it under the SCORE on that track.
            (If the dots extend past the next measure line, find a different Pedal Mark to copy.)
  4. Ensuring that "Snap to Grid" is on,  go to the track you want to
      change, place the playhead (red line) on measure's Count 1,
      and paste.
  5. REPEAT  at the beginning of each measure where you want
      to add the sustain sound.

That's all there is to it! 
A hint I surely wished someone had shared with *me* before I re-played all those draft tracks over the years.... !

Much joy to you finding SHORTCUT  HINTS  for creating new music!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beating the Audio Track Joining Quirk, by DianaDee Osborne

Sometimes I find myself talking to my GarageBand program: 
        "You may as well do what I want  because I      
              AM going to win in the end!"                        

The program doesn't talk back... I'm only nicely crazy. I pray.
But I just shared this trick with a professional studio that uses ProLogic -- so one of my "WIN"s of old will help there.
So perhaps you don't know this trick.
Often we edit audio tracks, such as to cut out vocal breaths or copy in a special guitar riff.  We can join the separate regions if the first region bumps up to Count 1.

However, if the audio track starts later, the tracks won't join.
In both GarageBand and ProLogic, you have to bounce out the audio track and then pull it back in as a new track, then delete the old track.  Annoying.   EASY TRICK:

1.  Put the playhead (red bar) at Count 1 of the audio track.
2.  Hit the Record button, and then just wait a few moments, recording silence.  Then stop.
3.   You can now select each region (one at a time) and do the JOIN command.  They are sent out and then brought back onto the same track -- in a different color in GarageBand.

4.  If #2+3 did not work, you can also split out a tiny region of the audio track where there is no sound, and copy it to the front of the track.  Then do Step 3.
Much joy to you creating new music!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Improve Studio Tracks While Traveling

Do you travel a lot?  Play an instruction CD  for improving an instrument, such as guitar or bass or sax.  EVEN IF YOU DON'T play the "real" instrument but use a controller.   You truly will find that your travel time helps you learn how to improve studio tracks.  Examples:

1.   You'll learn where to add  REALISTIC BREATH  rests for all woodwind and brass instruments.  A common FLUTE TRACK mistake is to forget that the player will pass out if there are no breath spots!

2.  Hearing the actual instrument will help you USE VOLUME controls to sound more realistic. For example, STRINGS TRACKS should waver and fade off at the end of a note....

3.  And you'll learn how to better use STACCATO (short choppy notes) to break that Strings rule (#2) and do the same with other controller instruments to create a light or jazzy mood.

4.  Especially important for instruments you don't actually play -- You'll learn a "FEEL" for the instrument's natural note range.  When I began supplementing live bass tracks with controller bass tracks, at first I sometimes included a note below the lowest B of a 5-string bass!  

5.  Finally for this list of benefits (but by far not all the reasons you'll improve studio tracks listening to CDs while traveling):
        You'll gain a feel for the natural capabilities of the instrument that cannot be duplicated easily on a controller.... Such as gorgeous deep slides for a bass, or fast trills of a flute,  or the resonating vibrato of cello.

So you'll learn when to seek out friends who will record the actual instrument for your music track!
May you have MUCH joy learning more and more for your music recordings!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

TRACK PAN Mistakes To Avoid

Here's something we may not have learned just by listening to music on a stereo system over the years: 
      No matter how it sounds, the recording does not put all music of one instrument to the right side and all of a 2nd instrument on the left for "balance."  

Of course, we can play with the balance to learn this.
And if you're going "duh",  please remember that this is a blog not for professionals... Just easy hints.  
       A history bit of trivia:  I've been told by a studio producer that "back in the days" when stereo recording was first used for rock bands, a famous band panned all guitars to one side and all drums to the other side.  Only later did they remember (from complaints) --- not all people had updated their record players to have stereo capabilities! Imagine the sound difference of no drums or bass on a driving rock song!

Track pan mistakes are common for beginners.
    For example, church volunteers recording a choir practice
often mistakenly put all the choir to one speaker and all the instruments to the other side.    This is *literally* painful, tiring out your ears,   straining to hear the desired side,  unless you're directly in front of both speakers.  Which you are not in a vehicle.  
    And of course, occasionally one speaker does go out...

1.  Keep the drums and lead instrument (probably keyboard) centered.
2.  If just a single vocal track, centered it.  If there are 2,  set one to "10:00" and the other to "2:00".  Or whatever pan you prefer.
3.  Pair up similar sounding tracks (in tone), and set one to 10:00 and the other to 2:00.
I like to pair  (flute & oboe)  and (violins & cello).

Much joy to you playing with music! Including, if you move to larger studio programs, having fun "writing" pans back and forth for weird effects!

©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Thursday, February 7, 2013

FAST Note Selection for Synth Timing Fixes, by DianaDee Osborne

In earlier blogs, I've taught an easy way to quickly fix the lagging feel for synth instruments like violin.   For example,  click on this link to see "Quick Fix for Lagging Horns and Violins".

Sometimes if you click on a single note,
then do a Select All command --
You find all the notes are selected but you cannot move the notes forward that bit  (explained in the other blog).
Here is why:
If the First NOTE in the region is on COUNT 1, 
then there is NOWHERE  FOR IT TO GO.
Because all notes are selected,  NONE of them will shift forward.

      Easy  fix:  
1.  Move your playhead (red line, etc) to the first measure of the region.  Of course, you need the Piano Roll window open to shift MIDI notes.
2.  Select all notes the usual way.
3.  While holding down the keyboard SHIFT key,  move the cursor to and touch the MIDI note for the first note of the first measure.  This DE-selects it.
4.  While all the other notes are still selected (highlighted green),  shift them slightly to the left of the measure lines so that the notes begin playing a moment before the click would hit....

In this way, the full sound of the SYNTH note is playing with the click track on Count 1.
MUCH JOY TO YOU as you keep your MIDI instruments from lagging!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Carry PEDAL TONES Through Arpeggios

  Do you want a music line that MOVES but has a sort of       COHESION... a  LOGIC  to it?    Pedal Tones provide one enjoyable method to accomplish this -- and they are easy with ANY  MIDI track for an instrument that can play chords, in any studio program.  Obviously this blog is about GarageBand. But the hint works for ProTools, LOGIC, Audacity, and other programs.

Here's an easy DEFINITION of Pedal Tone:    A music note that stays playing the same while other notes continue to move with changes.   The word "Pedal" obviously indicates that this is the LOW note... the word comes from "foot" in Latin.    But if you don't care about pleasing the THEORY  TEACHERs,  it's easy to CREATE YOUR OWN RULES for your own music....
            If you like,  let the highest or the middle note in your chord be the one that stays the same. EXAMPLEs:   Listen to BACH's music sometime.  Or, if you suffered through it as I did, HANON provides great examples of the same -- that one note that is repeatedly played while other notes move on.

METHOD in your studio program -- very easy.
For this example, we'll assume you are using    FLUTE   as the MIDI track, with the HIGHEST  note being your "pedal tone."  In fact,  I like to use   SYNTH PAD - FUTURE FLUTE  in GarageBand.
        Music theorists will cringe.... "pedal tone" is defined as lowest.  But hey, it's our music to create and enjoy our own way. 
1.    Create your FLUTE track as usual with broken chords ("ARPEGGIOs").  But have the SAME NOTE start at COUNT 1  for each measure,  OR  on Count 1 of every other measure.
2.    Quantize the notes (unless jazz or swing, of course) in the SCORE bar;  see previous blogs for hints.  In the following example,   the A note is the Pedal Tone repeated through the music.  These are not typical Root-3-5 chords, but sus and 6 and etc chords (which is NOT important unless you think only R-3-5 chords can be played in arpeggio style, one note at a time!)

3.    Change from the SCORE bar to the Piano Roll (MIDI) bar.  Highlight each note and SHORTEN NOTES that overlap each other EXCEPT  for the high PEDAL TONE  note  you selected.

4.  NOW  highlight each PEDAL TONE note and ensure that it continues through 3 of the 4 counts in a measure  (for 4/4 time;  or 2 counts of 3/4 time).

5.  CHECK THE LOUDNESS ("Velocity" in GarageBand) of each Pedal Tone note and ADJUST as needed so that they are all about the same.  In the example, the 3rd note is lighter green (when all notes are selected), meaning that it needs to be a bit louder to match the other HIGH Pedal Tones.

HERE IS THE PEDAL TONES  FLUTE  for this example:    Click For AUDIO 

THAT'S  ALL  THERE IS  to having fun creating a 
COHESIVE  SOUND    with a pedal tone in your song!

Much joy to you in creating your own music --- and ignoring standard music theory when desired!
©2013 DianaDee Osborne; all rights reserved