Friday, March 30, 2012

The Wind, The Stars | Redux

For some reason, I didn't use the one "pro" sample library that I have, EWQL Symphonic Orchestra. And one of my friends suggested replacing the synthy choir sounds (his words, not mine :P) with perhaps a bass clarinet.

I gave that a go, and also tried out bassoons, clarinets and other deeper woodwinds, and did find the bass clarinet to be the best fitting.

This is also my first outing with Symphonic Orchestra, and apart from some interface issues with PLAY that I may want to spend time asking forums about, it all went quite smoothly. CPU time went up a bit, as well as ram usage, but on the whole it seemed very tame.

The flute does remind me of how a real flute reacts (from my limited flute experience) - cutting through the mix in the higher registers, and more mellow in the lower registers.

In the context of the song above though, I'm not convinced the flute works that well - in the higher register portion of the song, it feels very thin, while the lower notes do sound big, nice and fat.

Also fooled around with limiting, but decided to bypass it in the end as the mix sounded very forced.

Will do better next time!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Just finished listening to the podcast at about mastering, and learned a lot more about the tools I got in Logic. Tools that I should have used but have no idea about.


For example, the Limiter. Never touched it, and I applied it to The Wind, The Stars. Seems to bring up the softer bits and increased the gain so that it's near 0dB.

More to learn, more to learn.

The Wind, The Stars

:3 This is my very first original composition. Supposed to be just practice, but ended up humming a melody line, recording it, then improvising on the keyboard. After that, I fitted in the bass line, then worked in the harmony and added in a 4th part.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saxophone Log: March 2012

Hmmm not much to say here, this is my first and only take, not really into the song. Did practice a few times before though. I did spend about two hours on the mixing, ensuring that the basslines came through. Mmmm...

Friday, March 23, 2012

So, Yamaha CP33?

Quite worn out today thanks to work, so decided to check out the Yamaha CP33 instead of working on harmony/theory during lunch. I'd tried it before, and I'm wondering why I did not like it then, because today I was like "DANG I WANT THIS PIANO!"

Only tested it via headphones, and I loved the Grand Piano 2 sound (GP1 sounds very distant). With the damper pedal down. Oh my god. The FF crystal theme sounded damned amazing.

Tried against the YDP-161, and CP50 (I think). Again, it's really odd, all of them use the same keybed supposedly, but I did not like the YDP161's - velocity curve felt odd - but someone could have messed around with those settings and I couldn't reset it. C50, felt much lighter.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Piano Practice mmmmm gonna take the theory side of things slower for awhile, gonna get up to speed on the piano side of things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Finally finished a book

After more than 3 months, its complete! Now to move on to my next text, Alexander Publishing's APH101. This is a great text, and I would highly recommend it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Arrangement done, next record.

Working on the monthly sax ballad's backing track, it's done, and need the sax line to be recorded prior to mixing.

The actual song sung by Lionel Richie is just so beautiful, playing an instrumental version of it pales in comparison.

For the instruments, I'm keeping it very simple, Logic's built in piano+string samples form the chords as well as the bass line. Addictive drums is used as well... and that's about it. For now I'm keeping it simple, and focusing on the harmony component. The only thing new I'm trying this time is experimenting with shifting the last chorus up a semitone, so it's main melody -> chorus -> chorus at +1 semitones.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

More piano try-outs.

Ok first, I'll tell you which is the best piano I tried today. The Yamaha Arius C71 (If I am not mistaken on the model). Felt really, really damned good, but sadly, it is priced way above my budget, and I simply have no space for a keyboard that size.

Frankly, I was quite amazed at how it felt, so similar to the grand at my teacher's place (I just had a piano lesson shortly before the piano tryouts). Interestingly, I tried the Yamaha P155, which supposedly used the same keyboard (Yamaha GH keys) and it didn't like the feel at all. How odd.

Comparing it to the P95 once again, the differences were very obvious. As is the price ;-)

Similarly, the stage pianos I tried (CP33, CP3, CP50) didn't have the feel of the Arius. Which is very surprising, as they use the same GH keybed.

I also tried out several Casio keyboards at Music Room, The CDP100, PX3 and PX330. These felt good, but there was just something "off" about them I could not describe.

Heading over to the next store (Rose Morris), I tried out Kawai, Korg and Roland. The Korg SP170S was unexpectedly good. Perhaps not as good as the Arius (different store), but the sounds were lush, and the touch sensitivity very good. Another one I really liked is the SP250, somewhat above my budget, and it also felt really good.

The one roland I did try, a Roland FP-4 had amazing feeling keys. Didn't play with it too long (£1k+ price tag - no point) but dang, that felt good.

So once again, more thinking to do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More chord progressions!

Spent the good part of the evening figuring out interesting chord progressions for the monthly sax forum song. Although I'd already done this once, the last few days figuring out bass lines and just playing with chord progression on the keyboard has given me lots of new ideas.

The score on Wikifonia only provided a few chord changes, so it's good practice figuring out the secondary dominants, as well as figuring out that I actually like the vii - I progression alot :3

Next time I approach this, would be from an arrangement viewpoint. Sax as lead of course, but which other virtual instruments this time round? Mmmmm.... :3

EDIT: F7 in the image above is actually Adim. 
Edit 2: F7 is F7 :P

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More bassline practice

Not particularly trilled with this guy. I used this exercise for several things, first, to get more practice about chord progressions and basslines. Also, I wanted to try it in a new key, F.

Sadly, this particular exercise didn't go as well as I hoped (bass line seemed to be alright) but the cadences seemed to be all over the place, and it just doesn't seem to end wrongly.

Contrasting to what I posted yesterday, I thought that was fairly well done. I started in C, went to 4 bars in G, then back to C again, with some fairly simple progressions. Melody sounded better as well.

Ah well more practice.

Bassline Practice

Just practice.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Secondary Dominants, oh my

Practicing using secondary dominants against this month's ballad. I'm purely using the backing chord changes off Wikifonia directly and adding in my own chord changes with secondary dominants and some sus chords. The final one for the backing will be re-written as this is just homework for utilizing secondary dominants :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

VRM Box on Linux

Can't seem to find any linux drivers for the VRM Box, but the good news is, it's class compliant, so it shows up as an audio interface, and makes for a really awesome headphone amp - I usually connect my Mackie Blackjack for this, but the vrm box is just much more convenient.

So, which keyboard? >.>

Just back from Chappels of Bond Street, testing out a few Yamaha keyboards within my budget - the Yamaha NP31 and Yamaha P95. The NP31 felt quite nice for a start, felt much better than my synth action keys. There was a Yamaha NV80 displayed below the NP31, and it actually didn't feel as good compared to the NP31, odd as it costs a fair bit more.

The P95 completely blew me away. So that's what a hammer action digital piano felt like. The hammer action keys really gave a sense of playing on a grand. Trying out the NP31 again, in relatively terms, it felt like a synth keys >.>

So here's the question: What am I trying to achieve with this piano learning journey. Do I want to learn the piano more on the side of sequencing or to one day play it as a secondary instrument?

It's not something I can actually answer right now.

Price wise, the P95 double that of the NP31... I'd have to save to get the P95 but I could stretch for the NP31.

More thinking is due.