Bill Laurance again

Here’s a complete concert, duration 1:44:48, filmed by an amateur (as he calls himself), but with good enough equipment to make it worthwhile:

Cam 1: Nikon D5300 w/Nikkor 18-300mm Lens
Cam 2: Nikon D5100 w/Sigma 17-50mm Lens
Audio: Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro(on camera) SBD Matrix } Zoom H6 w/X/Y Capsule(on stage) + Studio Projects LSD2(Blumlein on stage)

It’s black & white & so cool:

I also really liked Jamison Ross on drums on this one. Never seen him before, but what a cool cat he is! Oh, and don’t get me started on that Nord Stage piano – definitely the thing to take with you in case there isn’t a real one on stage already…


Piano lessons by Aimee Nolte

Well I have to feature someone else again – and like so many times lately, found her on Youtube. So here’s her channel, her playlists, and her homepage.

Aimee is a mother of four, and most of her videos are pretty much advanced stuff – not your typical beginner lessons. But these are definitely fun, so let me give you a short example here:

You have cool stuff like this, and it goes on for hours. Easy to recommend this, especially if you like jazzy tunes (but she also covers simpler stuff at times, like for instance Adele). I find some of her stuff incredibly inspiring and useful – and I’m not even a pianist.


Classical Guitar Lessons by Bradford Werner

I found a really good guitar teacher on Youtube. His name is Bradford Werner, and he is from BC, Canada. Here is for instance his lesson about Tárrega’s “Adelita” which I showed you played by a real master in my last blog post:

This is like lesson 79 of his series, and there are far more important ones for the beginner, so if you’re interested in exploring or learning classical guitar, make sure to look at his complete Classical Guitar Lessons stream.

He also shows useful tips from other guitarists in there, in fact his whole Youtube channel is worth subscribing to, as well as having a look onto his web page.

On his lessons page, he got the order mixed up a bit, in my opinion his lesson 3 should be watched *before* his lesson 2, but otherwise this is very recommendable. What he teaches in a 15 minute video would take a whole 45 minute lesson with a real teacher – still a real teacher makes sense of course in case you are taking this seriously.

But this is fun to watch – Zuleikha laughed about his “crab” hand demonstration for instance. Bradford seems to be a very good teacher, so I recommend watching him.


Enrique Granados y Campiña

A wonderful piece of his, this Danzas Españolas Op. 37 – No. II Oriental:

The artists are Duo Françaix – Isabella Selder and Eliška Lenhartová, more about the composer on the English and German Wikipedia pages about him. You can also find free scores for 2 guitars and the original one for piano. Oh, and the video was recorded at Siccas Guitars, Karlsruhe, Germany. They also have nice tutorials on Youtube, like the ones with Matthew McAllister for instance.


P.S.: here is the original piano version, played by the composer himself – and recorded on a piano roll:

A sad story with him. Returning from a visit to the US (they were invited by the president), a German submarine shot the channel ferry between England and France. He was on the safe half of the boat, but his wife wasn’t. So he tried to save her – and they both drowned. What a tragic loss. I love this piece.

Some first impressions

Yesterday we were at the biggest local music store for a while. Zuleikha played some electric and acoustic pianos and bought some scores. And I took some hands-on first impressions of some instruments. What I found nice was:

Yamaha CG192S

Yamaha CG192S Classical Guitar

Ibanez SRH500F Fretless Bass

Ibanez SRH500F Fretless Bass

This one is awesome. Listen to it here, in 4- and 5-string versions:

In the studio department, we saw both my microphone and also my interface for it – but there, the most impressive experience for me was to listen to some active nearfield monitors:

Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitors

Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitor

Interesting – all Japanese products. Oh, and the Kawai and Yamaha acoustic (upright) pianos were also very nice.

As always, thanks for reading.

Playing around with Qtractor and ZynAddSubFX

Yesterday evening I played around a bit with Qtractor, and with ZynAddSubFX (and with a free sample of a drumkit called the “Black Pearl“).

Why did I do this? Simple: as much as I like Ardour, the free Pro Tools like DAW (digital audio workstation) software, it has the one disadvantage which bugged me a bit: it’s a bit too much “audio”-centric, with MIDI seemingly being an afterthought. So from Ardour you can’t export MIDI tracks like with other software like MusE, or Rosegarden, or Qtractor. And exporting MIDI is nice if you want to have other programs like MuseScore converting them more or less automagically into sheet music, like this:

So what does Qtractor look like? Look here:

On the upper left you see its editing (and “composition”) window, on the lower right its mixer window – and in between my file system. You see that I’ve made two tracks actually, the first using the “Echo Rhodes” preset from ZynAddSubFX, the second with just a single kick drum sound from the “Black Pearl” drumkit sample.

How does it sound? Awesome. I exported it as an audio file as well, and converted that .wav file to an .mp3 one with Audacity:

So in case you want to hear my breathtaking composition, here it is:

(Don’t send flowers, or ask where to get the CD yet – I’m still working on it) 😉

And as always, thanks for reading.

The state of Linux in music production

I’m having some troubles getting MusE to run or even start properly on my Debian Jessie machine, which also has the KXStudio repositories to get some of falkTX’s goodies like Cadence, Carla, and so on. Seems to be something between MusE and jackd – but all other programs run just fine, so I guess it’s more of the former than the latter. If I boot UbuntuStudio 16.04 from a USB stick and install it, it doesn’t show any problems together with QJackCTL (which is the frontend for jackd).

So I’m back to reading, and also to look for alternatives. And while doing so, I stumbled over some really nice examples of what can be accomplished right now, using only free and libre open source software – or FLOSS as the community calls it.

Here are two nice demo videos of Rosegarden and Qtractor, both made by Südwestlicht, and sung in German:

You can hear a bit more from Holger and Petra on MyOwnMusic if you wish. Awesome stuff.

And here are two videos from Yassin Philip:

You can also read an interview with him on LibreMusicProduction – an interesting page about everything free and open source and music; I’m subscribed to their Youtube channel. See everything about the tools we have on LMP’s “tools” section if you’re interested.

And as always, thanks for reading.

Trying my hand on…

… mixing and mastering.

I found some midi files in the internet with which I play around, using them to just have some input for the tools I’m trying to learn, like Ardour.

Problem is: I forgot who actually made this, and where I’ve downloaded it from. In this case, it’s the famous 1959 piece from Paul Desmond, Take Five. So I have no idea if the midi file I downloaded was licensed under some free license, like GPL or CC – or if it only was freely available on some download site. So in case the author of that file reads this and has anything against me working on it and showing and making audible the result here, let me know if you can still prove that you made it.

The score looked a bit strange in Musescore:

Screenshot from 2017-04-02 00:37:19

Hm, guitar? And two bass lines?

After listening to it for a while, I decided to mark the lowest line as “percussion”, since with a normal instrument sound it was quite disharmonic. And the pattern looked much more like additional drums and/or percussions.

I also threw out the guitar which made the piece quite busy. And finally I decided to even leave out the main instrument: the saxophone. Better make some kind of accompanying piece for a real musician (or even for myself) than something which doesn’t sound that well with the (virtual) instruments I have at my disposal.

So in the end I just used 3 tracks: piano, bass & drums.

The piano is the Salamander GrandPiano by “rytmenpinne” Alexander Holm, which you can download here (you need a computer with some RAM because this sample alone is almost 2GB uncompressed).

Bass & Drums are both from the Calf Fluidsynth with a GM compatible soundfont. I changed the patch from a fingered to an acoustic bass which sounded nicer and deeper in my opinion.

So in the end, after exporting it from Ardour, it looked like this on my screen:

Screenshot from 2017-04-02 00:40:33

You see the main Ardour window in the background, while an analysis of the final output is in the front. I set the loudness according to the EBU recommendation R 128 to -23 LUFS (known as “LUKS” in the US), with true peaks at -5.2 dB. So this should have the same average loudness as your average radio or TV program:

Enjoy. And as always, thanks for reading.