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Composition: MIDI Makes the Difference March 1, 2008

Posted by Damon Sink in : Composing, Notation, Virtual Instruments , add a comment

Composers have always pursued talented musicians in the hopes of convincing them to perform new pieces of music. The main challenge is communicating some sense of our musical ideas in a way that will let the performer know what we are all about–that is, we try to answer the questions in advance: “So, what is your music like?” “In what style do you write?”

The real question behind these polite, superficial questions is, “Will I, as a performer, find it rewarding to spend the time necessary to learn and perform your new piece?”

This is a really good question. If your art form is painting or sculpture, then you can produce new works on your own, fully formed, without ever really relying on the (more…)

Composing: Virtual Instruments 101 February 12, 2008

Posted by Damon Sink in : Composing, Notation, Virtual Instruments , 3comments

If you want to write music with a computer, no matter what software you decide to use, you will probably want to start employing virtual instruments to let you hear the most realistic playback of your sketches in real time. Virtual instruments are essentially computer programs designed to respond to MIDI messages and then play the sound(s) of a particular instrument back for you. Most often, this is accomplished through a detailed process of sampling (recording) the notes of the instrument and then programming an interface that will mediate the MIDI performance information (turn this note on, hold it for this long, make it louder, etc.) and “trigger” the appropriate samples.

For many years this sort of functionality was the province of external hardware synthesizers or the synthesizers built in to a MIDI keyboard. You would record or notate (more…)

Composing with Finale® February 9, 2008

Posted by Damon Sink in : Composing, Notation, Virtual Instruments , add a comment

The blank measures stare back at me, defying me, mocking me…

Well, not exactly. But I am getting started writing a piece for piano quintet that I am going to talk about here. Maybe even post snippets. The main thing is to go through the process of using a notation program to create a piece for live musicians to play. For me, this is where music technology started… way back in 1993 when I got my first computer. (more…)

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