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