I’ve got to say, the new features in Reason 7 are killer! I’m having a whole lot of fun working with everything from the new Spectrum EQ Window, to the buses and parallel channels on the Main Mixer. And of course all the rocking Rack Extension devices, especially the Korg Polysix and Propellerhead PX7 instruments, and the Pef Buffre and FXPansion Etch Red Filter effects, and iZotope Ozone for mastering. Way too much fun and not enough time in a day to play with all these new shiny toys!
And did I mention that you can turn audio loops into REX loops directly in Reason now? No more need for the ReCycle program. This is so cool!
Do remixes have a defined song structure? Yes they do, and for good reason. The object of a dance music remix is to get the song that’s been remixed played in the clubs. To do this, having a DJ friendly song structure that makes it easy for a DJ to play the remix in their set is mission critical. Also, having a song structure that breathes energy into the dance floor through dramatic rises, breaks, and drops will make your remix popular with dance music patrons and DJs alike. To this end, a well defined remix song structure is of paramount importance. Here’s my take on understanding and analyzing good remix song structure.
Rehearsal marks (also called rehearsal letters) are placed in scores to facilitate a recording session or rehearsal. They allow the conductor or producer to instruct the ensemble to begin at specific places in the score. For example, “start at letter A” or “start at letter C.” Rehearsal marks are typically placed at the beginning of the major sections of a composition so they often coincide with the form. However, rehearsal letters are not used to indicate the form of a song. If you do want to indicate the form enter text (verse, chorus, and so forth). You can read more about Rehearsal letters at:
Rehearsal Marks – Options
Sections: used in long pieces where letters and bar numbers would get cumbersome.
Sibelius: How to enter Rehearsal Marks
First choose the type of Rehearsal Marks you want to use. The default is alphabet letters.
Open Engraving Rules
Select “Rehearsal Marks”
Under Appearance choose the type of rehearsal marks you want to use.
Next, set the Bar Number options
Click on Bar Numbers
Set the Frequency and if you want to hide the bar numbers at Rehearsal Marks
I check “Hide at Rehearsal marks” if I’m using bar numbers for rehearsal marks.
Sibelius Shortcut to enter a rehearsal mark:
Select the bar where you want the Rehearsal mark to appear
CTRL+R (Command+R on Mac)
Finale: How to Enter Rehearsal Marks
Choose the Expression Tool
Move the mouse so the arrow is pointing to the appropriate measure
Double-click the mouse and choose Rehearsal Marks
Choose the type of Rehearsal Mark and click Assign.
Change from letters to bar numbers
Follow the above steps, but select <Measure Number> and click assign.
Hide at rehearsal marks
This is turned on in Finale by Default. To change it:
In the Expression Selection area, click Edit.
Here you can change the look of the Rehearsal Mark and turn off the Hide at Rehearsal Mark option.
There is a Metatool assigned by default to the Rehearsal letters. It is the letter M.
Choose the Expression Tool.
Hold down the letter M.
Click the mouse in the bar.
You can add a Metatool to the Measure Numbers option:
Choose the Expression Tool
Hold down Shift and press a letter such as N for numbers to program the Metatool. This will create a new Metatool. It will appear in the upper right of the Expression selection.
One of the ways you can speed your step-time note entry in Finale and Sibelius is to avoid using the mouse as much as possible. Rather, use the computer’s numeric keypad to set the rhythmic value and then enter the pitch with your other hand: “Look Ma, no mouse!”
If you don’t have a numeric keypad, you have several options:
use the Numpad app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The advantage of the Numpad app is it includes keypad layouts for Sibelius and Finale Simple Entry.
Numpad app – Finale: Numpad app – Sibelius:
With both Finale and Sibelius, if you practice selecting the value by touch, you will be able to select the rhythmic value and then enter the notes with your MIDI keyboard or if you do not have a MIDI keyboard, type the letter names on the computer keyboard.
I usually place my right hand over the numeric keypad and use my left hand to play the pitch. If I don’t have a MIDI keyboard available, I put my right left over the keyboard letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
To enter a rest, in both Finale and Sibelius, press zero on the keypad.
Chord symbol repeats sometimes appear in the chord symbol line of a lead sheet. They mean “keep playing the last chord symbol.”
Now, many of us think that they are redundant and just add clutter to the page, and thus avoid them. But sometimes, you see them, and sometimes you have a client who wants them, and sometimes you want to illustrate what not to do, so here’s a video that illustrates how to add the chord repeat symbol. Use them at your own risk.
Every now again I get excited knowing that I might be the one first who brings a great product to your attention. Even if the product has been out on the market for a minute, it gives me pleasure to know that you are first reading about it here on my blog.
We are all familiar with the gutsy sounds on Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies record. This is the signature Uni-Vibe sound, the pedal that was originally designed to give guitarists a touch of the watery and throbbing doppler effect of a Leslie sound. Well it might not have achieved a sound that is recognized as such, but in its own right it is an established and timeless guitar effect that is unlike any other.
I rarely hear live performances with great, authentic sounding Uni-Vibes that are not coming from the original version of the pedal created in the late 1960′s. The “chorus” effect was the industry standard for chordal effects in the 80′s and 90′s. The Uni-vibe retained its timeless and and “retro” status and as a much larger pedal, appeared on the pedalboard of a die-hard few. Lately, with the release of some very authentic sounding smaller (mini) uni-vibes, the pedal and its tradition have recently has seen an upsurge in popularity.
One of the best of these newer smaller versions comes in a pedal called The Dry Bell Vibe Machine V-1. This pedal brings all of the authentic signature sounds of the UniVibe and a great deal of unprecedented adjustability to the smallest package. Ringing up at around $295.00 The Dry Bell Vibe Machine is around the size of a Phase 90 and is a rugged quality-built product. Features include true bypass signal path with an option to switch on an output buffer, an input to connect an external expression pedal to control oscillation speed (with a Leslie acceleration option which ramps up/down to the new oscillation setting gradually), range and symmetry control (in addition to depth and rate) and the usual vibrato/chorus option. In addition, there is a Bright/Original option. In short, the level of flexibility in this pedal for its size is spectacular!
So the question is how does it sound. Well without mentioning other products, I put this pedal up against some tough and much larger competition and the result was….I want another one! So with no further ado, here is the link to the website for more information and a couple of nice video demo. The Dry Bell Vibe Machine is now one of my all-time favorite vibe pedals for chordal work. (It might even be one of my all-time favorite pedals, period!) Kudos to Dry Bell for making such great authentic tones accessible in such a small package. Highly recommended AAAAAA++
“Modulation” is one of the most important terms in music, and it gets used in so many ways! In this series of videos, made as a collaboration between Berklee and Beatport, I explore the importance of modulation within synthesis and using Native Instruments Massive and Kontakt. The great thing about these techniques is that they provide a starting point for an infinite number of sounds perfect for dance music(and other styles for sure). We start with a basic overview of synthesis and modulation, then we dive into two important techniques Risers and Rhythmic modulation. If you are comfortable with synthesis and modulation I would suggest you skip the first 3 videos and jump right in on the Massive Riser Modulation and Kontakt Rhythmic Modulation videos. Enjoy!
In a nutshell, Boards of Canada and their label, Warp, engaged in an easter-egg-hunt type of pre-release campaign that involved sneaking out different codes through key outlets, including a code on a very limited (one copy available in the US!) vinyl, a mysterious clip at the end of an NPR piece, a banner on a fan run message board, and more. Here’s an example of one of the “clues,” which was broadcasted on Adult Swim:
I loved the campaign on many levels, but one of the things I liked the most was that I had no idea it was going on before Sami called me about it. And that is sort of the point. I’m familiar with Boards of Canada, but I am not anywhere near the inner circle of fans that the band and Warp were trying to reach with this campaign. To me, this was a brilliant campaign focused on the hard core fans that share a similar psychographic with the band – a band that is known to be cryptic, intelligent, tech savvy, and mysterious. Their serious fans, from what I can tell, are similar.
The campaign was a wonderful way to engage with fans in an authentic way, provide a level of engagement, and in many ways, flip traditional promotion on its head. Instead of the band releasing a standard press release to key online and print outlets, and instead of working retail with expensive co-op campaigns, press and retail were at once in on the campaign (in the case of Radio 1, Rough Trade / Other Music, Adult Swim, and NPR), and in other instances they were reporting on what was already happening with the fans (in the case of Pitchfork and others). Also, Warp picked perfect “niche” outlets to work with on the campaign. This was not a carpet bombing campaign where the label or PR company was sending out 500 advance copied of the record to press and blogs, this was a campaign totally focused on outlets that matter to the core fans, and outlets that speak to the exact psychographic traits of their fans. Once the clues were out there, the fans did the rest.
Certainly not something that every band can do, but I think it illustrates the success a band can have once they have acquired a substantial fan base, and engage with that fan base in the way that they want to be engaged with.
Screencasting, or sharing your desktop as a video presentation, gives you the ability to record your comments and computer screen live for demonstration, teaching and sharing. There are many tools that are available, some are free, so you can begin screencasting without a large investment in software or apps.
Screencasting options for Mac
You can do screen casting with QuickTime 10 for free, so long as you are using OSX 10.8, Mountain Lion. The downside is there is not a lot of control over the recording, but the price is right.
I use Snaps Pro ($69) for my screen image capture and video capture. It has a lot of easy to use options and features such as reducing the size of the video. Check out the video I created for this blog post and uploaded to YouTube.
Another inexpensive option for Mac is iShowu ($20)
When I need to do editing of my movies, I go one of two ways:
QuickTime Pro for Mac and Windows is $29.95 and it allows you to edit your videos using simple cut, copy and paste and gives you the option to save your videos in a host of formats.
I wanted to take a quick minute with this Blog/Vlog to discuss a very simple idea… choosing the Guitar Pick right for you. It’s an amazing way to help with your practice routine (correcting bad habits etc…) while also enabling you to experiment with your Guitar tone at the most fundamental , and inexpensive, level.
A lot of folks may not realize that by simply approaching your string attack with a different pick or even pick angle can drastically change your tone. I find that I alternate a lot during live shows between my pick and fingers. The pick is for more attack and the flesh is for the warmth. If you have never experimented with these ideas I definitely suggest you give it a whirl this week.
Here’s a video I did explaining my journey to find the perfect pick. Obviously things change constantly but this is what works really well for me at the present moment:
Picks are relatively inexpensive so buy a slew and see what works for you. I wish you all the best of luck in your pick of destiny quest.
There may be times when you want to capture a screen of notation or something else and paste it into another program or save in a graphic file format. I do a lot of screen capture for my posts on this blog and in my work and teaching. I’ve found that using a 3rd party screen capture application provides advantages. It can make the screen capture process faster and offer you more options for saving and sharing. Another advantage to using 3rd party screen capture is some programs lock out the built-in screen capture (such as SmartMusic www.smartmusic.com). With 3rd party programs, you can override and take screen captures as needed.
Both Mac and Windows have built-in screen capture options.
tr.v.re·mixed, re·mix·ing, re·mix·es: To recombine audio tracks from a recording to produce a new or modified audio recording.
To this definition I would add, and so much more!
Remixing has been around for quite awhile, having got its start before even the disco years and the hip-hop pioneers (such as Grandmaster Flash and Jam Master Jay). Seminal remixing truly began in the late 1960s, with the sound of Jamaican dub (an offshoot of ska and dancehall raggae). Jamaican DJs (such as Rudolph “Ruddy” Redwood) discovered that people enjoyed dancing to instrumental versions of ska hits. To spice up and personalize these instrumentals, artists like King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry began adding their own parts (such as horn stabs and percussive fills) using a 4-track cassette recorder and echo effects. These permutations of the original instrumental where called “dubs’ (for “doubles”) and their low-fidelity, bass heavy, effected tracks (partly a byproduct of repeatedly bouncing tracks down on 4-track tape) became an integral part of the dub sound. This sound and style of the original dub pioneers has transcended time and geography to become part of today’s remixes.
Fortunately, we no longer need to struggle with 4-track cassette machines and splicing analog tape. Now we have amazing music production software tools (such as Live, Reason, and Pro Tools) in which we can remix, quite literally, anything. You could turn a country song into a dubstep tune, or a jazz ballad into an electro house banger. There’s really no limit to the possibilities.
As a result of these amazing tools, and so many wonderfully talented and creative people that have pushed forward the art of remixing, remix production has become a critical skill for many working producers and hip-hop and EDM (electronic dance music) artists. Business savvy music industry entrepreneurs recognize that remixing songs is a great way to generate income, publicity, attract new fans, and keep their catalog relevant. Remixing is also a whole lot of fun and gives you the opportunity to join a thriving online community of remixers who share their music on the Web and enter remix competitions (on sites such as indabamusic.com and play.beatport.com) with substantial prizes (from cash, to gear, and label deals)
With this current swirl of activity around remixing, it feels to me like a remixing renaissance. Not that remixing ever disappeared, it’s just enjoying a surge of popularity thanks to all the cool software tools and community support. Remixing is a wonderful form of self-expression for both novices and pros alike, and Web sites like play.beatport.com make it super easy to jump right into the mix (or, remix) with both feet and start exchanging feedback and ideas with fellow music producers from all over the globe. It’s on this crest of remixing exuberance that I am pleased to announce a series of remixing tutorials for beginners, in partnership with Berkleemusicand Beatport. Check out the videos on play.beatport.com, and feel free to let me know on my YouTube channel (Erik Hawk’s Music Education Channel at youtube.com/muzicali) if you have any suggestions for a remixing topic.
The Marathon bombs were just a few doors away from our office on Boylston Street. I was fortunate that nobody I know personally was injured. But there was blood and glass on sidewalks that I have walked a thousand times. The “second blast” devastated the Forum restaurant, which I’m fond of. Today marks a full week that our building has been closed, while it is inspected for safety issues and evidence. So, these events hit close to home, and I am sharing the complex range of emotional responses that so many of us have been experiencing, over the past harrowing days.
Outwardly, matters are settling. The suspects are no longer at large. Some Berklee buildings are open. My friends in Watertown and Cambridge have mostly stopped circulating photos of SWAT teams in their backyards. My children have been reassured of their safety, and I’ve stopped obsessively checking the news for developments.
It’s business as usual, sort of. Except, that it’s not. Because there are materials I’ve needed for a week that remain under FBI lockdown, so I can’t move certain tasks forward. People I need to make decisions or provide information are similarly constrained, and many of them are facing a host of new, complex, urgent, and stressful issues in their work, due to the major inconveniences that the tragedy brought with them.
While those of us who are so indirectly affected might no longer be terrified, or in mourning, or in a logistical nightmare, there remains a pervasive wave of general stress that seems to be permeating throughout the community, now.
That’s the trickle-down crabenomics. A system was traumatized, the major aftershocks have dissipated, but the networks of work and life remain under pressure caused by that great disruption, due to the backlog of obligations that accumulated as a result of not being able to attend them efficiently for so long.
It’s hard to peg this current phase as tragic, compared to where we’ve been. But it remains new territory.
I’ve made quite a few mistakes in the past week. I’ve delegated some tasks that I should have resolved myself, which I do sometimes when I’m feeling stressed and frantically trying to clear my desk and my head. My OCD is in full swing, and I’ve likely made a pest out of myself regarding some details that really could have been let go, which is driving people crazy. I’ve let a detail or two slip. I’ve answered some emails tersely, particularly when others are delegating things to me that I don’t have the psychic space to address. And I’ve watched a lot of others doing the same.
While the intensity of emotion is reduced this week, there is a level of residual crabbiness that I’m witnessing, and crabbiness is so contagious—even in the best of times.
Here’s how I’m personally trying to staunch this trickle, and I welcome other suggestions. First, before I click “Send,” I’m reviewing my emails with a crabometer, to reduce any unintentional acid in my pen. Second, I’m trying to leave the public swearing to Big Papi Ortiz, so as not to raise the general anxiety level of those around me. Third, I’m trying to minimize the work/stress/over-communication barrage that I generate for others, for a bit, while they join me in digging out of their ruts. Fourth, I’m avoiding checking the news more than once a day, or so. And fifth, I’m reminding myself of the good that will come from my personal work. As a colleague wrote to me recently, “We’re all on the same team, here.” And forgive me for putting this in overly grand terms, but I truly believe that the work we are doing here at Berklee is ultimately beneficial to the whole world.
It’s time to cool down and focus on making everything better. I hope you join me.
Here’s a post to highlight a wah I recently added to my arsenal of tone generators. I love wah pedals. It is a big part of the retro-funky-R&B sound of the songs I write and sing. In my on-line course Funk-Rock/R&B Soloing, and in my book, R&B/Funk Guitar: Creative Grooves and Solos, I get into the usefulness of wah sounds and even dig into exercises using a wah.
In these days of roadie-less gigs, taking a big pedalboard to every gig simply is not practical. One of the biggest pedals on a board is always the wah. You can cut down your pedalboard size, but it can never get smaller than your wah, unless you take it off and set it up separately (which defeats the purpose of convenience). So when I heard about the AMT Japanese Girl Wah I went on line to check out a couple of demos. Quite impressive I would say. A week later, I had one of these little beauties in the palm of my hand (literally speaking)
After you get used to the smaller size underfoot, the Japanese Girl Wah pedal feels and plays like a full-sized wah. A typical full size wah is sturdy enough for you to put a lot of your body weight into the operation of the pedal. This is something many of the old school cats (like myself) are reluctant to give up. Some mini wahs I have tried don’t take this into consideration. I felt comfortable leaning my full weight into this mini wah. And ,quite frankly, the tones were absolutely as funky as I ever dreamed of.
The wah is so small that there is no room inside for a battery; that is no problem with standard 9v input center negative power input that you can use with your average pedal power connection. It uses optical control instead of the traditional potentiometer for the effect, so there will be no maintenance issues with scratchiness at any point in the future!
Two bright blue led’s on both sides of the pedal cast a bright glow when the true bypass switch is activated under toe as with traditional full size wahs. Those lights can easily be seen in the dim lights of a club, so there is none of the insecurity that comes with wondering if your wah actually made it to the “off” position.
One the the big plus features of the wah is a 3 position toggle switch on the left side of the pedal that allows you to switch from three very useful modes: 0.2-1kH, 0.3-1,5 kH, 0.4-2kH. To describe it in layman’s terms, it goes from vintage to modern or almost synth like. I did a couple of gigs with the pedal and experimented with all 3 modes with great satisfaction.
The adjustable axial screw allows you to tighten the feel of the treadle and also allows you to keep it in a fixed place for some of the usual wah notch-effects.
Thanks to AMT for a great new and very practical product!! AAAAA++!! (my second one is already on the way!!)
FEATURES: - Switchable bandpass: 0.2-1kH, 0.3-1,5 kH, 0.4-2kH;
- True bypass
- Removable support feet (the option is useful when you install the AMT WH-1 on the pedal board)
- Effect on/off indicator LEDs on both pedal sides (visible when engaged)
- Adjustable pedal movement by means of an axial screw
- 9-12v DC power negative center (-), adapter or battery
- Low power consumption
- Small size: 110 x 62 x 58 mm
- Weight (without battery) 0.45 kg
Howdy folks, I am back at you again with another Guitar Woodshed installment! This time I’d like to discuss fun ways in which we can enhance our practice routines. I have been lucky enough to meet some of my guitar hero’s in person one way or another; which has helped me dig into their brains about rehearsal tips and other fancy schmancy guitar lore. One of the things all of my faves preach is practicing with a metronome or some sort of rhythmic device. That being said, they all said to stay musical in my rehearsal time. Make sure you do the same. Don’t just sit for hours and practice bebop scales… make music! Explore ideas with both hands and make sure you know where the 1 is in every bar.
Let’s take a look at some ideas I have about practicing and see if it might be something you can identify with as well:
Practicing with the drum machine really works well for me. Give it a shot and see if you feel the same way. I have noticed a big difference practicing in different grooves and time signatures; plus it has lead to me writing two new songs which I am in the process of recording for my band’s new album. The sky is the limit! Be creative, be fearless, work hard and results will happen.
This post deals with setting an initial tempo marking in a Finale or Sibelius file and then changing it as the piece progresses.
The fisrt step is to indicate the tempo above the first bar of the piece. Then, enter tempo changes where you want them to occur later in the piece.
Sibelius: Setting and Changing Tempos
When you start a new score, in the Quick Start menu, there is an option to include an inital tempo marking or metronome mark. Doing this will set the tempo to the specific metronome marking or beats per minute.
If you forget to do this when you are creating your Sibelius score, you can add one after the fact:
Select the first bar of the piece
Sibelius 6: Choose Create > Text > Metronome Mark
Sibelius 7: Choose Text > Styles > Metronome Mark
Right-click the mouse and choose the desired note value.
Type: [space] = [space] and the desired beats per minute.
To enter another metronome mark, you can follow the above steps – select the bar and choose Text > Metronome mark. Another way to go is to copy and paste the metronome mark and then edit it. This saves going to the menu.
Select the Metronome mark in bar 1.
Paste it into the bar where you want to change the tempo
Double-click on the copied metronome mark and edit the number to the desired tempo.
Finale: Setting and Changing Tempos
When you start a new score, using the Setup Wizard, there is an option to include an initial tempo marking or metronome mark. Doing this will set the tempo to the specific metronome marking or beats per minute.
If you forget to do this when you are creating your Sibelius score, you can add one after the fact:
Choose the Expression Tool.
Double-click in the first measure.
Select Tempo Marks and then click “Create Tempo Mark.”
Choose the note value from the pull down menu
Enter = [the desired tempo marking]
Select the marking you created and click assign.
You can enter additional tempo markings as needed.
I have been using an iPad for about a year now and I have found it to be helpful with my notation score creation, sharing and for practice and demonstration. This posts covers how to play back Finale and Sibelius files on the iPad and the app I use to create music notation: Notion. With the fast-changing landscape in the app world, it is hard to keep up with developments. Please post your comments, questions and suggestions about what you are using with regard to notation and the iPad.
PART ONE: Playing back your Sibelius or Finale files
As of this date, there are apps for both Finale and Sibelius so you can play back all of your files. You can’t edit the notation in these apps, but they are handy for playing back music for practice or demonstration.
With Finale Songbook for iPad you can open your Finale files and play them back. You can view the score or the part. The Songbook can also open and display PDF files so you can put lots of music into the app even if it is not a Finale file. The PDF files don’t play back, so use them only for display purposes. Check out the company promo for the latest version of the App as of early 2013:
PART TWO: Creating notation on the iPad and sending it to Finale or Sibelius via Music XML
If you want to create notation on your iPad, you will need to purchase a stand-alone app. The one app I have used successfully is Notion.
To get files out of Notion into your computer to use with Finale or Sibelius, export the file on the iPad to Music XML. Then import the Music XML into Finale or Sibelius. To go the other way, export the Finale or Sibelius file to XML and then import it into Notion on the iPad. Sibelius 7 is the first version of Sibelius to be able to export music XML directly from the app.
Moving files back and forth via the Cloud
I find the simplest way to move files from my computer to the iPad is using a cloud app such as DropBox.
Publishers often display a cautionary or courtesy accidental in scores and parts. This occurs when an accidental is in one bar but not in the next. The rule in music is an accidental is cancelled by the barline. However, it is common to include cautionary accidentals.
There are two ways to apply these accidentals in Finale and Sibelius:
manually or one note at a time or using a global setting to apply cautionary accidentals to the entire document.
Process: Global and Manual
The fastest option is for Finale and Sibelius to automatically apply cautionary accidentals. Then, if needed, I will add the cautionary accidental manually one at a time. Both options are described below.
Sibelius Cautionary Accidentals
(Finale steps below)
Global Settings (Sibelius)
In Sibelius, the global settings are located in the House Styles > Engraving Rules > Accidentals. Currently, the Sibelius 7 default setting is to have the cautionary accidentals appear without parentheses.
So, I change the settings so the courtesy accidentals are placed automatically in parentheses.
There are times when the global settings will not apply a cautionary accidental. For example, if the same note appears a measure or bar later. In these cases, you will need to apply the cautionary accidental manually:
Select the note
From the last Keypad, choose the “Bracket Accidental” option.
Finale Cautionary Accidentals
Global Settings (Finale)
Finale uses a plug-in to apply the cautionary accidentals to some or all of the score. I usually apply the plug-in when the score is complete and ready for page layout adjustments and/or printing.
Make the adjustments to the plug-in window. These are the settings that I use.
Apply the Note Spacing options.
Entering Cautionary Accidentals Manually (Finale)
There are times when the global settings will not apply a cautionary accidental. For example, if the same note appears a measure or bar later. In these cases, you will need to apply the cautionary accidental manually.
Below are the steps to enter a cautionary accidental from the Finale manual.
This post I would like to share a new product worthy of attention. Many of you have already read my earlier post about the Allston Amp Dumbalina made by Rob Lohr in the basement of Mr Music, in nearby Allston Massachusetts (Boston). This latest achievement is one for the books of Tonal History. Rob keeps finding ways to pack modestly priced (under $2500.00) hi-quality handmade amps into the space of a Fender Princeton sized cab. All this with features and tone associated with the highest end of the boutique amp world. The Allston Tremulator MKII sounds great, is so much fun to play and cosmetically looks as perfect on the outside as the work inside the chassis.
Rob builds with the best components, and each amp is custom detailed to your cosmetic specs. He handles all aspects of the build and refuses to farm out any of the operation to anyone. From start to finish, the actual building of the cabinet, to the multiple layers of tough paint and clear coat that covers the hand-fixed vinyl knob lettering and the logo that you may have chosen for your custom order, Rob does it all.
Inside the Princeton-sized chassis, the neatly wired components sit nestled in an intricate work of art. With this latest build, Rob has somehow figured out how to give you a vintage sounding, foot-switchable tremolo circuit that you cannot hear until you play! The amp is “whisper” quiet and has no annoying beating sound that indicates that you have activated the tremolo. It is one of those “How come no-one has ever thought of this before?” kind of features.
The Front face plate of the Allston Tremulator MKII has Input, Volume, Treble, Mid, and Bass controls along with Reverb level and a Master Volume Control. The first 4 knobs are all pull-pots which allow you to get just about any combination of ”face” or “tweed” in a couple of seconds. The Back plate has a +4 effects loop (all of you dumble-ator fans will love this!!).
The +4 loop allows you to connect studio-grade effects directly into the circuit of the amp (Try out some of the Eventide delays for a good time). Noise, hum, and buzz free effects are stitched seamlessly directly into your signal path.
Miniature Tremolo controls (Depth and Speed) are also located on the back plate along with a 4, 8, 16 ohm tap.
The extension speaker output allows you to simultaneously (along with the onboard speaker) connect a specially designed closed-back mini-112 16 ohm cab that gives your 45w Princeton sized amp all the 2 x 12 punch that bigger amps dream about.
The foot-switch is the size of a Phase 90 pedal and controls (in my custom-ordered case), Tremolo and Tone Bypass.
Tone Bypass amounts to an increase or boost in volume. This allows you to cut through or overdrive the amp, depending on your settings and volume. Tone Bypass is often used as crunch or overdrive. To top this feature off and make it even more practical, Rob gives you an additional independent volume control under the chassis for the volume level of your Tone Bypass. You may opt to have your foot-switch control the reverb. In my case, I never usually need to turn off the Reverb. Having Tone Bypass as an option is a plus, since it is often only found in the D-Style amps where I got used to having and using it in a practical way.
On my amp, Rob installed the optional Tilt Back legs, which, of course, in situation where you put the combo on the floor level, allow you to angle the amp toward you to hear the great tones. I will say that before my first tilt back Allston Amp, I used to opt out of having any amp tilted toward me, because they often sounded too harsh or loud for my ears. We as guitarist, get used to the sound of an amp moving air through our legs out into the audience. When I started using these amps, simply put, I love the sound, so now I play with the amp tilted upward. It makes for a more room filling sound and for situations where you are not using the 112 extension cab, I have found that a tilted- back amp on a wood floor makes for greater bass response.
The amp loves pedals and responds really well to clean boosts. If it sounds like I am in love with this amp, I will have to say yes, I am! My age pushes me into the category of traditionalist when it comes to tones. However, I like being able to use many of the technical options that we have available to us today. Rob is a builder that is able to incorporate these options into a traditional sounding quality product. And yes, packing this much amp into the small space of a Princeton is a shout out to the working musician who has 30 years of back strain under his belt from taking the necessary 40w for the average weekend gig! Thanks Rob…(who has roadies any more?)
Here is some info and website below on the Allston Tremulator MKII from Rob Lohr: AAAAA+
Allston Tremulator MKII specs:
Dimesions: 20″W x 16″H x 9 1/4″D
Tube compliment: 2x 6L6, 3x 12AX-7, 2x 12AT-7
Power output: 45 watts
Effects Loop: Half normalled line level
Speaker: 12″ Celestion G12T-75
Front panel controls:
Volume- pull bright
Treble- pull hi mid boost
Mid- pull lo mid boost
Bass- pull tone bypass
Rear panel controls:
impedance select (4,8,16 ohms)
Tone bypass independent master volume (under chassis between 1st and
Check out an interview I recently did with DeliRadio about the current and future landscape of the music industry.
“If you look at the history of the music business, there have been many radical periods where technology has come in and shaken things up and everyone was very concerned about that. And they had to endure the change and music kept evolving. I believe that’s just continuing to happen, and that the decline of the record business is part of that process.”
LAUNCHedu organized a competition for ed tech startups during this year’s SXSWedu. On March 6th, two companies won cash and consulting services from the LAUNCHedu advisory board. BloomBoard won in the K-12 category while LearningJar took home the prize in higher education.
“The LAUNCHedu competition highlighted a wealth of exceptional ideas and products that have the power to transform education as we know it today,” said Ron Reed, pxecutive producer of SXSWedu. “The field of contestants was extremely strong, and we congratulate BloomBoard and LearningJar for pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation in education.”
Bloomboard, the K-12 winner, is based in Palo Alto, Calif., and “provides free observation and evaluation tools for school districts, and then uses the data collected from those tools to build individualized learning plans for teachers.” Additionally, the company provides an open marketplace of workshops and resources.
LearningJar, the higher education champion, is based in San Francisco and has developed an online life tool that “allows learners to gather and organize information about what they are learning, to validate their progress, and to share their success.”
Venture capital firm LearnCapital sponsored the competition, while supporting sponsors included EdNET 2012; the McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas; myEdu; Top Hat Monocle and Trinity Education Group.
Everybody wants to shred right? Well maybe not everybody, but a lot of guitarists want to learn the art of playing faster…at some point. When I was young I dreamed about playing as fast as Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen! Little did I know these guys are polar opposites when it comes to technique, feel, timing etc… but that is a larger conversation so we’ll save that for another day.
Every level of guitar player hits his or her own personal brick wall at some point. That is the best time to take a step back and open up the door to the “Woodshed”. When I was younger I really wanted to learn how to play more efficiently, and thusly with more speed and mojo (like all of you). How do we accomplish this? There are millions of ways to improve your speed and dexterity! Let’s talk about a few things I have discovered (and continue to use) which have enabled me to play with more finesse and speed.
I hope you enjoyed the ideas from the video lesson! Keep practicing and you will notice a huge difference in your hands within weeks.
Remember, you can’t accomplish anything in the “Woodshed” unless you bring your tools. When you sit down in the shed, don’t practice things you already know for hours at a time; bring those tools and challenge yourself every day!
There is a lot of speculation surrounding online education and how it will disrupt traditional teaching and learning systems. Many people are looking to other industries to predict what will happen next and in this case it’s the music industry. While some parallels can be drawn between markets, it is important to note the differences between them.
In a blog post titled, “Napster, Udacity, and the Academy,” Clay Shirky likens MOOCs to MP3s. Mr. Shirky, a writer and professor at NYU who studies the effects of the Internet on society, makes many good points but his basic premise is flawed. He predicts that MOOCs will disrupt the education industry in the same way that MP3s disrupted the music business.
“Higher education is now being disrupted,” he writes, “our MP3 is the massive open online course (or MOOC) and our Napster is Udacity, the education startup.”
Disruption is inevitable and coming. However, Mr. Shirky’s arguments break down in a variety of ways.
The reason that the MP3 caused the chaos that it did is because, to a normal listener, it is a perfect copy of what we used to buy in tangible forms. For most people, there isn’t a noticeable difference between listening to the audio files that are on a CD or even on the radio and the MP3 files that we play from our iPods.
Shirky claims that traditional record labels didn’t think the MP3 would catch on because of its “poor audio quality”. He goes on to imply that the labels were wrong because consumers don’t care about quality. He goes a step further by predicting that the same fundamental collapse will happen with traditional colleges and universities because MOOCs are free and convenient.
But his statements about the disregard for quality don’t hold up because people can’t tell the difference between an MP3 and a WAV – especially now that we are listening to songs via crappy laptop speakers and ear buds. From the point of view of the consumer, we are getting the equivalent of a physical CD for free. So price is an issue, but not quality.
I would argue, however, that there is a very noticeable difference between a college education and learning from a MOOC. One can’t replace the other.
In some cases, it may be true that MOOCs replicate the experience of a large lecture class, which everybody hates anyway, and perhaps those courses deserve to die. But a massive, impersonal online course is not a substitute for an intimate learning experience. The courses that I remember fondly are the ones in which I engaged with others, built relationships, was challenged by the professor and grew outside of my comfort zone.
MOOCs represent one extreme in the educational landscape. A twelve-person class led by a good professor in a solid university sits on the opposite end of the spectrum. Somewhere in between, there is an online learning niche to be filled.
I believe that the market for online classes that are actively led by teachers will be very strong in the coming years. These classes will be interactive, personal, and made up of about thirty students (not tens of thousands). There will be group projects so that students get to know each other and learn to solve problems together. There will be a mentoring component and the instructor will provide lots of personalized feedback. The course will not be free but it will be relatively affordable. It will also require a low time-commitment and be as convenient as possible.
Jeff Borden, who is VP of Instruction & Academic Strategy at Pearson, reports that the majority of the discussions around MOOCs are characterized by fear, not innovation. He noticed an overarching sense of “being left behind” coming from educators. I agree with Mr. Borden, that the second generation of MOOCs needs to be based on better teaching models.
“Unless you are auto-didactic learner (think Abe Lincoln) who can take a piece of content, internalize it, and not only retain it but apply it, MOOCs are likely problematic for you. That likely leads to another problem – 5-8% retention rates… In MOOCs today there is almost zero student choice, no curriculum integration, no sense of brain-learning interjected into the curricula, a lack of modeling or showcasing creativity and/or critical thinking, and the top-down model promotes a sterile, impersonal experience.”
Rather than panic about what effect the Internet will have on our education system, I am more inclined to side with Mr. Borden and focus on creative ways to move forward. The next wave of online schools will be designed “with purpose, solid learning design, and good pedagogical models.” They will help more people learn and provide a substitute for the college experience for a huge market of people who simply can’t affort a traditional college education.
I agree with some of what Mr. Shirky says – but disagree that a MOOC is the equivalent of well structured teacher-led course. A learn-on-your own experience in a MOOC is not the same as an engaging class with an instructor who provides feedback and the interaction with fellow students who work together. I think that is where the argument breaks down. A MOOC might be a fine replacement for a 500-student lecture course, but so might be a book, DVD or YouTube video. I think the future of higher education is in instructor-led online classes that are offered at an affordable price and with a reasonable time commitment.
This tutorial teaches how to create tables in MS Word. There are infinite uses for tables, besides simply displaying information: making checklists, charts, and tools such as this lyric chart, aka lyric take sheet, useful in recording sessions. The version used here is MS Word 2011 for Mac, but tables have been around in Word for a really long time, so some of this info should be helpful no matter what version you are using.
(Note: You can view this larger at the YouTube site.)
Finale and Sibelius, as well as other notation and DAW software, can export files in audio format. There are two common uncompressed audio formats: AIFF and WAV. These are the file types used on CD recordings. AIFF is a Mac format and WAV is Windows. However, both formats are interchangeable and can be read on each computer platform.
What is MP3?
MP3 is a compressed file format. The objective with compressing files is to make them smaller in size so they are easier to download without losing too much of the audio quality. MP3 is approximately a 10-1 compression. So, an AIFF or WAV file that is 10MB (10 megabytes) will be approximately 1MB (1 megabyte) when converted to the MP3 file format. For more information on MP3 go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3.
Audio file size from Get Info of the uncompressed file:
Same file converted to MP3:
Audio and DAW software such as Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase and others can save in uncompressed audio and they typically can convert to MP3 as well. If you own DAW or Audio software including the free program Audacity check the documentation to find out how to do the MP3 conversion.
Sibelius 7 and earlier versions, can export files in uncompressed audio format, however, the conversion to MP3 is not built in to the software. So, you will have to take two steps: save the file in Audio format and then use another program to make the MP3 conversion. See below for converting files using Apple’s iTunes.
The current version, Finale 2012, has two options for saving audio files. If you set the MIDI/Audio playback engine to “Play Though MIDI” then when you export audio, there will be an option of saving in AIFF/WAV or MP3.
This uses the computer’s build-in sounds so the quality of the audio is not as good as using the samples that come with the program. However, if you use Audio Units to playback the file, then when you export the Audio file you will only have the option of saving in full audio format and using an external program to make the MP3 conversion.
Converting WAV or AIFF files to MP3
There are lots of ways to convert audio files to the compressed 10-1 conversion of MP3. If you own audio or DAW software, you could save the audio from Finale or Sibelius and then open it in this software and make the conversion. If you don’t own DAW software, then you can make the conversion using Apple’s iTunes, a free download for Mac and Windows.
After you have made the settings in iTunes, you can convert a file or files to MP3.
From the iTunes File menu, choose Add to Library or drag the file into the Library window.
Select the file you want to convert to MP3.
Choose File > Create New Version > MP3.
This will create a copy of the file in MP3 format.
Select the converted file and choose: File > Show in Finder (Mac) or Show in Windows Explorer (on Windows). You can also right-click on the file to get this window.
This is the location in the iTunes folder where the converted file resides. You can upload it from here or drag it to an email message. Or, if you want to move the file, you can drag it to a document folder or the desktop.
Every so often, a piece of music comes along that changes musical tastes (or at least forecasts them) for years to come. Arguably, this was the case in 1824 with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and again in 1913 with Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
With one such piece coming along every 90 years or so, could the next revolutionary piece be right around the corner? Or could it already exist? While predicting future musical tastes is a dangerous game, in this blog I will point out an existing piece that I hope becomes a musical revolution for the 21st century…
…and that piece is Christopher Rouse’s Flute Concerto.
Why? Because in the piece, Rouse had the simple audacity to use whatever techniques were most effective at eliciting each moment in the emotional contour. So there are moments that are extremely simple, incorporating tonal harmonies and clear melodies. And there are moments that are extremely complex, using dense counterpoint and extreme dissonance. All of these musical ideas are placed into a logical long-term form that creates forward momentum throughout the piece and a clear sense of completion at the end. The resulting music is extremely effective at communicating emotion.
Arguably, this is a departure from previous trends in new concert music. Serialism and related genres are built, at least in part, on the premise of rejecting tonality. Minimalism is built on the premise of rejecting complexity. Rouse seemingly rejects nothing in his concerto, instead being willing to use any technique that would maximize the emotional impact of the music.
What might one call this compositional approach?1 It is not modern era music, romantic era music, or classical era music. It is not minimalism nor serialism. It is some conglomeration that incorporates great ideas from all of the above.
One might call it the aggregation of best practices. It seems the music begins with an emotional storyline, then uses whatever techniques are most effective for communicating that emotional storyline. So if the music is about love, then triadic harmonies and diatonic melodies are appropriate. If the music is about heartbreaking grief, then extreme dissonance is appropriate. If the music is building tension, then dense and complex counterpoint is appropriate. And so on…
Notably, this seems a logical approach for the 21st century. One could make the argument that the 20th century was about experimentation—at times experimentation for the sake of experimentation. What does one do after experimenting? Well, it would be logical to pause, evaluate what worked and what did not work, and then aggregate the best ideas.
It is my hope that the 21st century becomes a century of aggregating best practices. Such an ideological movement would cherry-pick the best techniques developed over the centuries, without feeling an obligation to include or exclude any one particular technique, harmony or structure, and combine them all to create something inherently new. Such a century could produce some intensely emotional music, and if such a century came to pass, the Rouse Flute Concerto could be viewed as the opening salvo.
Now… I suspect you may want to hear it. If you are currently in southern California, Saint Louis, or Connecticut, then you are in luck. The Saint Louis Symphony is currently touring southern California with the piece on their program. They have March performances scheduled in Orange County and Santa Barbara, followed by two performances in St. Louis (Friday, Saturday). The Eastern Connecticut Symphony is also performing the piece in March.
Christopher Rouse wrote his Flute Concerto in 1993. The piece is cast across five movements that are roughly symmetrical. Movements 1 and 5 are simple and pristine, using beautiful triads in strings and a wandering flute melody hovering on top. Movements 2 and 4 are larger in instrumentation, fast in tempo, and more complex in counterpoint. Movement 3 is again slow. It combines both tonal and atonal techniques. Movement 3 is incredibly sad, memorializing James Bulger (the two-year-old English boy who was abducted and murdered by two ten-year-olds). The original program note is available online here.
A project is running late, and I’ve had to put myself in hyper-focus lockdown mode in order to rein it back in. So, I’m keeping the Internet more or less off, only letting myself use Dictionary.com, and hiding from the social media sites that call to me like sirens, from their treacherous rocks. I monitor email only every couple hours, just to make sure nothing urgent has come up, and that I’m keeping everyone busy that I can. Chat is mostly off. I’m not checking in with anyone to get their status reports, and am temporarily not giving some languishing authors any productivity pep talks. I haven’t started my tomato seedlings, I’m not peeking at my new book’s activity analytics, and I’m only writing this blog post because it’s nighttime and I’m taking stock of my strategies for keeping focused, in hopes that it will help me keep the momentum going after tomorrow, which is shaping up to be a brief reprieve from this charrette. I’ve been soaking in coffee, and avoiding sugar, red meat, and certainly alcohol, until after I’ve moved enough of the day’s ink. Okay, enough pixels. And not checking the news during my coffee breaks. Just editing. Because by nature, I would rather do any of these things than maintain this intensity. But that’s what needs to happen, for a few days, if this book is to be in print by an important deadline this fall, in seven months. It seems a little far out, but I see the potential cascade of falling dominoes that must be circumvented, so here I am.
Ideally, project managers should focus on strictly PM tasks, rather than having their hands in content. But in many environments, that purity of specialization isn’t possible. Particularly in relatively small shops, where everyone wears multiple hats. And particularly in the arts. There are many reasons why being a generalist, like this, is a bad idea. First, there are benefits for project managers to be emotionally detached from the content, so that we can focus on making cool-headed logistical decisions, regarding a project’s rate of progress and ultimate destiny. Sentimentality towards details can sabotage the over-arching project vision. (Yes, it can also save it, but for now, let’s acknowledge that it can sabotage it too.) Second, fragmented attention leads to mistakes. Multitasking generally results in loss of quality control, and when experts practice their highest trade, we get the best results, if it’s all managed well. Again, though, while that kind of division of labors is an ideal, it is not always the most cost effective. I’ve got my own hands deep into the content. It works out okay most of the time, but there are periods like this when I’ve got to stake out some territory and focus, on one side of the work or the other.
This week, I’ve had to pull my personal nuclear option for maintaining focus: keeping incense burning most of the time. The perpetual jasmine scent and slight stinging in my eyes reminds me that I don’t have the luxury to mess around. I’m not answering the phone, and only checking for messages every two hours. Strangely, the world hasn’t come crashing down around me, yet. And in the past week or so, I’ve reviewed 600 pages of galley proofs and edited about 90,000 words. Too much. And not enough.
I imagine the incense smoke rising from my writer’s garret in central Massachusetts, reaching out a gossamer strand towards the Vatican, where the College of Cardinals’ black smoke will be soon similarly wafting upwards, as they burn their papal ballots. Hopefully, it will turn white for all of us before too long.