Categories
Albums Organ Music Recordings YouTube Videos

New Album Release

Starting March 1, 2021 my latest album will be available on streaming sites everywhere.

Album cover art

A demo of the album is available on YouTube:

Please leave comments and questions here in the comment section.

I also have 13 other albums available on all digital music streaming sites (Scroll to the bottom for links to all the sites)

Categories
Music Software Sibelius YouTube Videos

Custom Bar Numbers in Sibelius

For those that work with orchestra or any music that requires parts to be produced, you may want the bar (measure) numbers in the parts to look different than the numbers in the score. I take a look at that issue in a YouTube tutorial video. I also talk about how to make a special staff on which to display the numbers.

The main sections to look at in Sibelius are the Appearance->Engraving Rules->Bar Numbers and in the Parts tab, part appearance.

Categories
Albums Organ Music Recordings YouTube Videos

New Album – Classical Organ Music

Cover art of the album
Album art work

Classical Music for solo Organ

I’m happy to announce that my 13th album is now available. You can listen to it on YouTube at: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mv5_JJPl9WFBnKCAV-yTDfqFEuzdGECaM You can also purchase it at https://music.apple.com/us/album/classical-music-for-solo-organ/1544011235 or listen on Spotify at: https://open.spotify.com/album/6Qz1uT9cZSc3ZQmdp6I2t5

This album is an all Organ music album. It features the following short works.

Sortie-Franck (2:45)
Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr-Telemann (2:15)
Aus Tiefer Not-JC Bach (1:36)
Schmucke dich, o liebe Seele-Telemann (2:31)
Adagio – Mendelssohn (3:11)
Christ lag in Todesbanden-Telemann 1/2 (3:28)
Christ lag in Todesbanden-Telemann 2/2 (1:21)
Ach, wir armen Sunder-Telemann (3:06)
Grave_Adagio_Mendelssohn (4:41)
O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig-Telemann (4:07)
Blessed Jesus At Thy Word-Elert (2:45)
Cantabile-Franck (4:32)
Grave_Bach (2:11)
Vater unser im Himmelreich-Telemann 1/2 (2:08)
Vater unser im Himmelreich-Telemann 2/2 (1:12)
Blessed Jesus At Thy Word-Able (2:48)
Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott-Telemann (3:46)
Christus, der uns selig macht-Telemann (3:13)
Andantino Moderato Dubois(4:49)
Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend-Telemann (2:35)
Benedictus-Elert (2:57)
Herzlich tut mich verlangen-Telemann (3:13)
Gregorian March (4:50)-Alexandre Guilmant

Categories
Arranging Church Music YouTube Videos

New Orchestra Title

An arrangement of All Things Bright and Beautiful for Solo Orchestra is now available. View a demo recording here:

To purchase this title, go to the music catalog menu at the top and scroll down or search for the title.

Categories
General Music Software

Komplete 13 Ultimate Collector’s Edition

My story of ordering it and installing it (and a few comments about the software).

I routinely update, or is it upgrade (?) Komplete from Native Instruments. I almost immediately went to the website to pre-order it as soon as it was announced.

The product page said nothing about the possibility that some libraries/programs would not be included on the hard drive. In fact, the ultimate edition page says “If you choose a physical copy of KOMPLETE 13, instruments, effects, and additional content comes on an HDD. Choose a download version, and your software becomes available right away via Native Access – your one-stop hub for easy product installation, registration, and updates.” Nowhere does it say that some products won’t be on the HD.

After the fact I did find a page, buried on the website that says “Certain products may require additional free downloads.” But that hardly means that entire programs or libraries will require full downloads. But back to ordering.

The order page had two pull-down menus, one for delivery – shipped or download only – and another for what type of product – upgrade, update and first time purchase. I definitely wanted it shipped to me as I have a very slow internet connection. I made sure to choose the shipped product option first. Then I selected the “upgrade” option.

The website then displayed a message under my choice saying I was eligible for the “update” option. Are you confused yet? I chose the “update” as it was cheaper. Without noticing it, the website changed my delivery option to download only – something I did not want.

As I went to the next page it probably said download only, but with so many companies I deal with providing physical copies and download at the same time, I didn’t notice the change on the next page or two. Yes, it was my fault for ordering the wrong delivery option, but the website should not have changed my choice in the first place.

When the product was released (October 1, 2020) I got email saying that Komplete 13 Ultimate Collector’s edition was available to download. Again, so many companies allow you download your order even when they are shipping it to you. (PG Music, makers of Band in a Box is one that comes to mind). So, I ran Native Access and saw about 30 new products that weren’t installed. When I saw the huge download size of some of the files I was glad I would be getting a hard drive with them on it.

After getting some of the small libraries I tried downloading a few of the larger (under 8Gb) files. I had to start them at 11pm and hope that the download didn’t fail overnight. Some did fail, some didn’t. I’d often had to retry a failed download in the morning. Once I start doing things that require using the internet during the day – like teaching piano lessons – I have to stop the downloads. After about two weeks I got the bulk of the files I was willing to put up with the nonsense of baby-sitting downloads.

I was surprised not to get any email telling me the HD had shipped. NI is good at providing tracking info.

I contacted support and they said that I had only ordered the download version. Since I had already started downloading products they were unable, due to their activation system, to ship me a product. I find that hard to believe and told them so. I mentioned my mistake in a tweet. The online NI Support person offered to give me direct links that should be faster than using Native Instruments. I also had the possibility of someone with a 100Mbps connection downloading the titles. Problem is they live 100 miles away. (My internet speed is never faster than 3Mbps).

I would think a company would be nice to the customer and realize they made a mistake and ship them the product. After all, it is the same content and price for either. Why they were so reluctant to fix my mistake I found to be a poor example of customer support.

I did send the person the links, but one was wrong. They sent me a thumb drive with all the titles I had yet to download. Even at that speed it took them about 4 hours to download. I got the thumb drive on October 23.

After a few weeks of their messages never getting to me – I think AT&T has way too aggressive a spam filter in place – I got a message saying that the issue was considered solved. It was not, in my opinion, solved. Apparently they had offered to send me a HD but I never got that message. I replied stating some of my issues and that I would take the HD offer.

So, 29 days later I finally get the HD I thought I had ordered in the first place. All is good, right? You would think so, but no, not for me.

Remember earlier I said the website said nothing about entire libraries or programs not being shipped on the HD? They only said that “Certain products may require additional free downloads.” That’s a far cry for me from having entire libraries or programs not on the HD.

Some of the major libraries not included are:
Cremona Quartet (4 string instruments, each about 27Gb in size)
Arkhis
Guitar Rig Pro 6
Super 8
Butch Vig Drums.

There may be more, but those are the ones I could easily determine weren’t on the HD.

I have spent days, no weeks of on and off again downloading to get the 30 products that were new to me in this version. I still have the Viola to download. I’m looking at 30+ hours so at least two days, if not three just for one instrument!

I like Pharlight, Straylight, Arkhis, Mysteria and even the Butch Vig Drums. I don’t do much cinematic, but the first four products listed are great for that. At first I didn’t think I’d need another drum library, but the Butch Vig drums have a good sound and the interface and ease of use is good. I forget if it was Straylight or Pharlight, but when using it in my DAW (Reaper) and automating the X/Y parameters, I got a fair amount of glitching on some patches. If I used the mouse to do the same exact movements, no glitching. That’s the only odd thing I’ve noticed so far and it was only on certain snapshots.

The Cremona Quartet instruments are extremely nice. For anyone doing any classical music or anything that demands solo strings, I do recommend it (although to be fair I’ve yet to download the viola or try the cello).

If I had known that the shipped version did not include so many libraries and programs I would not have ordered it. And I certainly would never have ordered a download only version.

For people like me in rural areas, the internet providers, particularly AT&T, have ignored us completely. The technology here has not changed since 2003. I’m stuck on DSL which has never been faster than about 3Mbps and the upload is barely 500kbps. What is ironic is that the entire neighborhood has fiber optics at the street. Unfortunately what I think is our switching office, or at least the DSL equipment is a box buried in the ground about 2 miles away. Why they can’t upgrade to fiber I don’t fully understand. Please comment below if you do (besides that it would hurt their profit margin). I pay about the same for 3Mbps as someone who has 100Mbps via a cable modem.

I would like to think that maybe the Space X Starlink satellite based internet will be nice if it ever becomes available in Florida. But, the nearly $100 a month and $500 up front costs that current beta testers (Oct 2020) have to pay may be out of the price range of the typical rural user. Supposedly by Fall of 2021 we might see service available here. Maybe the cost will go down. (Ha-ha).

I think music software library companies are spoiled by high speed connections at work and don’t realize that not everyone has a high-speed connection. I would love to see companies like Native Instruments offer their products, all of them, on physical medium. I’d be happy if they put the content on a thumb drive and mailed it to me in 1st class envelope (properly padded – 4 sheets of letter size paper folded works just nice). I’d even return the thumb drive if they wanted me to.

Anyhow, if you are thinking about buying a shipped version of Komplete 13 Ultimate Collector’s Edition, be aware that you’ll spend a lot of time downloading products.

Categories
General Reaper Recordings

Mixing in Mono – my recent experiences

Update: Be very careful where you put your metering plugins when mixing. It turns out I had Insight one step before the final mix. As a result, my mono mixes are now about -2 to -2.5db softer than the stereo sounds, not the same as the article below says. This is acceptable, though not ideal. The sections about compression and maximizing are still good things to do in your tracks, particularly if, as in my case, the instruments are overall not loud but do have extremely high peaks from time to time. Any advice on how to get mono and stereo mixes to exactly the same level would be appreciated. Above all, this post is to emphasize the need to make sure your mono mix sounds as good as your stereo mix, even if it isn’t always as loud.

Whether you are new to audio mixing or a veteran you’ve hopefully heard people say that you should always check your mix in mono. How come we need to do this? I discovered that a Zoom meeting I was providing music for was only setup for mono audio and even if the meeting is in stereo, all recordings of Zoom meetings are in mono. There are also many venues that only play music in mono including restaurants and clubs. Expect also that some of your listeners will be hearing their music on phones or tablets that only have one speaker or poor at best stereo playback.

Listening to your mix in mono can also point out weaknesses in your overall mix. In some cases a mono mix will result in instruments getting lost or buried in the mix, sometimes due to phase cancellation. Variations in phase, like when you take two sine waves and shift one 180 degrees so you don’t hear anything, as you go from 0 to 180 you will still hear a tone, but it will get softer and softer. Examination of your master track with various metering plugins (there are many free ones) can show if you are suffering from phase cancellation. Some areas to look for are phase variances between snare mixes above and below the snare; overdubbing of the same part with different settings or effects; stereo wideners and synthesizer type instruments that have a lot of processing applied.

My problem was that the mono version (as I found out from the recording) was 3db to 4db softer than the stereo version and softer than voices on the recording. As some people will point out, it is not unusual at all for the mono to be a bit softer than the stereo, but 3db is noticeable and more importantly the mono mix wasn’t as good as the stereo. The recording I was working on was a one instrument stereo track, a virtual software instrument piano, with various processing on it in the instrument software.

The solution I came up with was to get rid of any processing I didn’t really need in the instrument (like a stereo widener), put a compressor (Native Instrument’s LA-2A emulation) on the track aiming for about 4db in reduction, then a maximizer (I used Ozone 9) to aim for -15LUFS which seems to work best for me in Zoom. Each recording, whether with one instrument or many, will require adjustment to the compressor and maximizer settings as no one setting works for all situations. Right away this made a positive difference.

I frequently “freeze” my midi based tracks to audio so I can work only in audio and also so I’m not tempted to spend forever tweaking the midi parts. Next I found that cutting off some of the really low frequencies (below 60Hz) with a gradual (around 12 db/octave) slope as the first thing in the audio processing helps. Exact frequencies for the HPF and the “Q” will depend on the instrument. Excluding these lower frequencies helps the compressor to focus on musical elements rather than low frequency rumble. Don’t use a HPF at 60HZ on an organ, kick or electric bass, instead aim for below 40 or 50Hz, if at all. As to the compressor I used for one of my recordings, since the NI LA-2A emulation has no attack/release or ratio settings and its own HPF, I used the Peak Reduction to set the compression and didn’t use an EQ HPF prior to the compressor. While I like the LA-2A emulation, I also used the built-in ReaComp compressor in Reaper (my DAW of choice) with a 4:1 ratio and 300ms release with everything else being pretty close to the default. I found that it worked pretty good too, but I do have to say the LA-2A emulation requires less thinking and tweaking.

(See opening paragraph for corrections to this paragraph). For the final check before rendering to the stereo file that will be used for the Zoom meeting I listened to everything in mono and stereo along with an LUFS metering plugin (I think the free Insight plugin from iZotope). Exact LUFS levels happened between stereo and mono in some recordings and those mono mixes that didn’t were only about 0.2db softer than the stereo. I hope this helps or is at least interesting. I would double check everything I said before taking it as gospel. If you have any corrections, suggestions or other methods for making sure mixes are good in both mono and stereo, please comment below.

Categories
Albums Arranging Website YouTube Videos

Videos and links

Update: @JGSheetMusic is my Twitter handle

Since January of 2020 I’ve posted quite a few videos on YouTube. These videos are demos of various sheet music titles I have available. They are full length recordings along with the sheet music. You can see them all at my YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/jamesgilbertmusic

I also released a new album earlier this year called Hymns – Plugged In. See the article in this blog for details or visit my music catalog for links to the titles.

In addition to the numerous videos I have added a little more than 20 new sheet music titles to the catalog. Click on the link at the top of this page to see all of my sheet music titles. A tip for searching my catalog: Enter New Title in the search box and the newest titles will show up. (I usually consider a title to be new if it has been released in the last six months).

Long before the pandemic I was teaching piano lessons over the internet. If you are looking for a piano teacher or perhaps you are interested in learning music theory, composing or arranging, drop me a note using the contact page and we’ll get started.

For those of you new to my website, I made major changes to it in the first half of this year. Some of the links in old blog articles that directed you to specific pages on this site will probably not work. However, the content is still here. Select the most likely page from those listed in the menus above and you should have no problem finding it. Any articles that reference my YouTube, Linked In or other social media pages, be aware that the only social network accounts I have are with YouTube and SoundCloud. I find Facebook to be more or less useless for any serious business efforts. (Anyone who doesn’t have a Facebook account will have trouble using it). I find Twitter to be relatively useless in promoting my music and far too much of the content is unverified or contains comments that no sane person should be forced to have to read.

Categories
General Other Website News

Musicians and the Pandemic

Musicians Need Help too

Our hearts go out to anyone suffering from the current virus worldwide. Virus or not, there are always people worse off than any group of people I might mention. Right now musicians are already suffering.

You can help out by listening to their music via streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music (iTunes), and Amazon Music. Big name groups probably don’t need help. Instead, try to listen to people who you have not heard before. The artists make money for every song played. Also consider purchasing a track or album. If an artist has a donate button on their website, consider making a donation. Links to get you started are listed below.

If the pandemic continues very long, the economic impact to everyone could be severe. Musicians, at least the lesser known musicians, the truly independent musicians, whether teachers, church musicians, local performers or composers/arrangers are already suffering.

As a church musician, I no longer have a congregation to play for. (We do not have the financial resources or equipment to try and do live services over the internet). It is still up in the air whether I will continue to be paid. If not, nearly 50% of my annual income is gone.

Few musicians perform entirely by themselves. Even a concert pianist has support personnel. Currently there are practically no music performances for live audiences and only the big name performers, who probably don’t need any help can manage concerts via the internet. Most performing and teaching musicians will be unable to effectively do things over the internet.

Teachers can’t teach as effectively via the internet as in live settings. Recording studios, even home studios are no longer operating. And there are many more things negatively impacting musicians.

In my situation thanks to a terrible ISP (AT&T) I have a very, very slow DSL internet connection (never more than 3Mbps!) so what I hear and see is never ideal quality. *BUT IT WORKS* So, while the idea of doing things over the internet is a great ideal, the infrastructure, at least in rural America simply does not exist so far as anything of high quality is concerned.

Here are some links to get you started:
Spotify (Listen for free)

Apple Music (iTunes)

Amazon Music

And of course I can be helped with every piece of sheet music you buy or by taking music lessons over the internet.

Everyone stay safe. Wash your hands often, avoid crowds, don’t go anywhere unless you have to. If you are sick, think you are sick or someone in your household is the same, stay home.

Categories
Arranging YouTube Videos

A Little Praise

A Little Praise

Any Size Orchestra series play through

Visit https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20389663 to see more and visit https://jamesgilbertmusic.com for more music

Categories
Albums Church Music Recordings Website News YouTube Videos

New Album Released

Hymns – Plugged In

I’ve been at it again. A new album is now available. It is title Hymns – Plugged In.

A collection of traditional hymns set in contemporary styles using all electronic instruments.

Available at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083TPXRBP as well as on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and all digital music sources.

Here is a demo of the whole album:

Categories
Arranging Church Music Other Website News

New Free Music available

Free Music

If you didn’t know it, my website has quite a few complete pieces available for download for free. There are also some free titles that would be of use to teachers or students, particularly as related to music theory. Unlike many free products out there, you don’t have to register, you don’t have to give me your email address. Just download what you want.  You’re welcome to click on the donate button found on several of my pages if you’d like to help me stay out of debt.

Click on this link https://jamesgilbertmusic.com/index.php/music-catalog/#free

The original descriptions from when they were sold:

Volume one: AMSTERDAM (Praise The Lord Who Reigns Above) – BLESSED NAME (Blessed Be The Name) – CONVERSE (What A Friend We Have In Jesus) – GALILEE (Jesus Calls Us) – MESSAGE (We’ve A Story To Tell To The Nations) – NEAR THE CROSS – SALVATION – ST THOMAS (I Love Thy Kingdom)- SURRENDER (I surrender all)- WEDLOCK (God Is My Strong Salvation) -Parts are included for treble clef C Bb Eb and F instruments.

Volume 2: AR HYD Y NOS- BRADBURY (Savior Like A Shepherd) – CRIMOND (The Lord’s My Shepherd) – ST DENIO (Immortal Invisible) – WEB (Stand Up For Jesus) – CRUSADER’S HYMN (ST ELIZABETH) (Fairest Lord Jesus; Beautiful Savior) – I AM THINE – MY SAVIOR’S LOVE (I Stand Amazed) – O HOW I LOVE JESUS – PROMISES (Standing on) – RESIGNATION (My Shepherd Will Supply). Parts are provided for treble clef C Bb Eb and F instruments.

Volume 3: AZMON (O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing); CWM RHONDDA (God Of Grace And God Of Glory); TOPLADY (Rock of Ages); JOYFUL SONG (Praise Him Praise Him); GORDON (My Jesus I Love Thee); HENDON (Take My Life And Let It Be); BUNESSAN (Morning Has Broken); LYONS (O Worship The King); PICARDY (Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence); In The Garden; Love Lifted Me. Parts are provided for treble clef C Bb Eb and F instruments.

Enjoy.

Categories
General Music Theory Piano Lessons

Slurs, ties and phrases

Let’s talk about slurs, phrases and ties. As a long time piano teacher, I find many students, even advanced players get confused.

Slurs – curved line over/under two or more *different* notes.
Tie – curved line connecting the *same* note(s) immediately next to one another.
Phrase – a musical idea, often indicated with a slur line over/under many notes or more often, many measures.

Slurs mean to play the notes legato, or to put it into English – play the notes smoothly, connected or without any silence between the notes. How this is done depends on your instrument. On piano, do not lift the finger of the first note until you go to play the 2nd note. In bowed strings, like violin, it typically means to keep the bow going in the same direction. Wind/brass instruments it often means that you don’t tongue between notes. Check with your teacher on the best way to do a slur. You do have a teacher, right? Please tell me you aren’t trying to do this without anyone checking your work to see if it is correct – just because it sounds fine to you doesn’t mean it’s correct.

Example of slurs
An example of slurs

In the entire example above, all the curved lines over/above the notes are slurs, *except* for the D notes in the right hand and the E notes in the left hand in measures 7-8 & 15-16 (3rd beat tied to 1st beat). Those are ties. In all other cases, even measure 5 going into measure 6, the curve line is over/under at least 2 different notes. That’s all there is to slurs. Note that in this piano music example, there are some passages with both stem up and stem down notes at the same time. We call the different directions “voices.” In those cases, the position of the slur makes a difference. For example, the slur in measures 7 & 8 over the high (stems up) voices in the right hand part are under the influence of the slur, but not the low voices.

At the end of a slur it is common to “take a breath” before going to the next note. At measure 22 below in the right hand, a pianist might shorten the length of the  off-beat 8th notes (& of 1, & of 2, etc) ever so slightly. A violinist would change bow directions resulting in a break in the sound. How much breath one takes, if any, is subjective.

Phrase example
An example of phrases

In the above example starting at measure 26, the curved line over the right hand part is more properly called a phrase. A phrase being a musical idea implies that all the notes in the phrase are all part of one musical idea. Whether to play all the notes legato (smooth) as a slur would indicate is more of a performance choice than a requirement. In fact, in this example it is impossible to play the entire phrase connected. Can you spot why not? In measure 27 there are two repeated “G”‘s in the right hand. By definition, repeated notes cannot be played smoothly connected. One has to lift their fingers (or change bow direction, etc.) in order to play a repeated note. That causes a silence between the notes and thus they are no longer connected or smooth.

Ties. In measures 40 to 41 and 41 to 42 are examples of ties. The top note, B on the 3rd beat is tied into the 1st beat. That means play the note on beat 3 and hold the note down until the end of the tied note, in this case the end of beat 1. The F in measure 41, beat one is tied to beat 2. The C on beat 2 is tied into beat 3 *and* into the dotted half note on beat one of measure 42. All the while, there is a phrase/slur line over measures 39 to 42. Both notes in the left hand of measure 41, beat 2 tie into the next measure. In the case of the ties, all the curved lines connect the *same* note(s) to the same note with no other notes between them. Don’t be confused by the slur in measure 34 and 35. The first and last notes are both G in the right hand. Are the two G’s tied? Of course not. Because there are several notes between them it can only mean the curved line is a slur.

I hope this helps. Please comment below.

Categories
General YouTube Videos

Kontakt Player Intro

Kontakt Player
Kontakt Player

In my latest YouTube video I am taking a quick look at Native Instrument’s Kontakt Player. This is a free product that comes with a respectable amount of instruments. It is ideal for anyone getting started with sampling or interested in getting into music technology. I made the video for some of my piano students who have expressed an interest.

The video does show the full version of Kontakt, but the player version is essentially the same. The only major difference is you can’t created your own instruments from samples or edit the existing instruments and a few other restrictions.

Please leave comments here and let me know what future tutorial videos you’d like to see.

Categories
Arranging Church Music Sibelius

New Sheet Music

New Music

Available now at my website and SheetMusicPlus, are the following titles. For a list of all titles I have available, visit https://jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php

Ancient Quandary — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964252

Christ Is Made The Sure Foundation — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964255

David’s Lamentation — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964256

Heaven Above — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964259

I Remember You, My Lord — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964261

Open My Eyes – Organ — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964263

Is there a specific hymn tune you’d like to see arranged, and for what instrumentation? Let me know.

Categories
Arranging Reaper Recordings YouTube Videos

Choir Labs contest

Choir labs contest

From time to time I enter various arranging or mixing contests. Recently Spitfire Audio – a British company that makes very good sound libraries – sponsored a contest. They make available various free libraries, one of which is based on the Eric Whitacre choir. The contest was to compose and record music to fit one of 5 NASA provided videos. They ranged in length from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Here is my effort.

Thanks for reading my blog. Please feel free to comment. You can also subscribe to be kept updated on new posts.

Categories
Arranging Church Music Organ Music Sibelius Website News

Recent additions (Nov 2018)

Late October additions to catalog and Soundcloud

Listen to my contribution to a collaborative effort with Spitfire Audio. (Alas it wasn’t selected as part of the song).

I added 3 new sheet music titles to the sheet music catalog (https://jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php)

Two versions of the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah. One for solo organ and one for Brass quintet:

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20928934

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20928932

A solo organ arrangement of Beneath The Cross Of Jesus.

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20928930

I have some instrumental ensemble (orchestra) titles coming soon. If you have any suggestions for what type of music you’d like to see me add to the catalog, please comment below.

Enjoy..

Categories
Arranging Church Music Sibelius

New Choral music (and personal update)

New Choral Music

I’ve released 2 new choral titles through my distributor Sheet Music Plus Direct. As with all my current arranging, I use Sibelius for the composing and layout.

First, an unaccompanied setting of Are You Washed In The Blood for SATB choir. See more details here: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20804287

Secondly, an accompanied setting of Christ, Whose Glory Fills The Skies, also for SATB choir, although the first part only requires a 2-part choir. See more details at: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20804289

On a personal note I had a bit of a scare on Sunday, Sept. 2. I play organ for a local rural church. Short story is I passed out about 15 minutes before the service. Fortunately it turned out to be a case of dehydration. I mention this as a word of warning to those who might have done like I did. I use to drink a gallon or more of tea (and that’s it) in a day. (Maybe an occasional soda). As one gets older, the body cannot tolerate caffeine as well and it tends to dry one out. In trying to figure everything out I’m happy to say I have a very healthy heart, good lungs and am not diabetic. I did of course take it easy for a while.

Since I’ve had no comments about my liner notes for my album Sampler I will no longer be writing any more. Suffice it to say the rest of the songs were done very similar to the previous tracks. If interested in the rest, drop me a note or comment. And thanks to all who read this blog. Please share it and my website with others. I have opening for piano students or music software tutoring via the internet.

Categories
Albums Arranging Reaper Recordings

No Time To Relax (Album Notes)

No Time To Relax

Track 9 from my album Sampler. It can be found wherever digital music is available

A melancholy piece featuring pads, light drums and vocalise melody to start with. Then the track adds in some synth leads and synth bass part. The end echos the feel of the start.

The Gravity sound library is used for the bulk of the vocalise. For the drums I used Drum Lab from Native Instruments. Also used for some rhythm elements was Grid II.

The bulk of the sound in this track comes from the instruments. There is no EQ used on any of the instrument tracks. I did use the REAPER ping-pong delay and Native Instruments RC48 reverb unit with some EQ on the reverb. Only the two vocal tracks have any reverb added to it. Although I have the delay unit on a bus, I just realized nothing is being bussed there. So, just reverb is added to this track.

For mastering purposes, I did not do anything beyond a peak limiter (just to make sure nothing peaked).

To my ears at least, this piece just “worked” with the combination instruments I chose and without having to do anything besides balance levels. That’s something to think about as you compose and record music. Get it as good as you can prior to recording to audio and the mixing and mastering process will be easy.

Please, please, if you like the album or these track notes, drop a note in the comments. Even if you don’t like it, drop me a comment. Now that I think about it, I’ve not had any comments since I moved the blog here. Maybe the comments only work for me? Anyone care to test it out?

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Albums Arranging Reaper Recordings

Is Something Bad Coming (album notes)

Continuing with my series of liner notes for my album Sampler, we get to track number 8. This is a darker sounding track. It consists of 6 instruments and various effects.

You can find all of my albums anywhere digital music is available.

First up is the Bass, the Padaboom patch from the Substance library by Output.

Next is the Arp Harp Loop patch from Output’s Signal Pulse library. I believe the patch may be part of an add-on library.

Next is the After Waves patch from Output’s Exhale program. The patch is probably part of an add-on library.

It looks like most of this piece uses Output’s various libraries. The next track is Tears in Rain patch from Analog strings by Output.

The next patch is a PolyBrass 2 from Kontakt’s RetroMachines Mk2. I believe this is an emulation of a Korg PolySix patch. The PolySix was the first synthesizer I ever owned.

Finally we have Battery 4 using the Sad Flamingo Kit.

For all the instruments, I only used automation on the Battery kit and that was for some volume changes.

I must have been happy with the sounds of the instruments because I used practically no effects on anything. Only the drums (Battery 4) were processed. I sent them (-13db) to a rever bus. The reverb was the Native Instruments/Softube emulation of the RC48 using a Medium Hall preset.

I sent the reverb (0db) to a Gate buss.

On the master bus I cut out frequencies below 30hz and used the Lurseen Mastering Console from IK-Multimedia. I used the Classical (More Glue) preset. If I made any changes, it would have been to the De-esser or compressor in the chain view options (icon at top). This plugin makes a huge difference in the final sound. It isn’t just louder, but better sounding.

Any questions or comments, please let me know.

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Albums Arranging Reaper Recordings

Exciting times (track notes)

Continuing my liner notes for my July 2018 album “Sampler”

Track 7, Exciting Times, was my first experiment on doing something entirely from loops. Not audio loops, but MIDI loops. The entire track was produced from MIDI loops.

I use to subscribe to a magazine that included a download link or a DVD that had various samples and loops on it. My notes don’t show which issue or magazine name, but it was from a magazine. I took loops that came from what I think was a Trance selection. The majority of the magazine content was audio loops or samples, but from time to time they include midi loops.

Here are the instruments/patches I used for this track. My notes don’t show what changes I made to presets and it would take too long to figure out. Whatever they were, they were not dramatic changes.

Battery 4 (Argon Kit) with ReaEQ highpass at 40HZ and Supercharger GT compressor with a modified drum buss preset. Automation on ReaEQ highpass frequency.

Massive with Thelonius preset (modified). ReaComp sidechained from drum track; ReaEQ with a slight boos around 300hz and a low pass cut at 1.1K. Another ReaComp with sidechain. Supercharger GT with modified Synth Bass preset. NI VC 2A compressor, modified Electric Guitar preset. ReaDelay (modified Dehuminator slower preset). Automation on the Wavetable position and cutoff in Massive as well as the Bypass on the ReaDelay.

Reaktor Razor, Centauri preset (modified); ReaComp sidechained from Drum Buss, 0ms attack; 47ms release, 4:1 ratio, 0 to 481Hz input filter; ReaEQ highpass around 60Hz. Another ReaComp sidechained with 30-225Hz input filter. 3ms attack, 100ms release, 4.1 compression. (The two compressor settings basically end up being sidechained by only the bass drum from the drum sidechain input). Automation on two Macros in Razor. Automation on high pass filter in ReaEQ.

Absynth 5, Arcadia patch (probably modified). ReaComp sidechained similar to above examples.
ReaEQ. Automation on Pan and EQ Low pass frequency

Reaktor Monark, Sakwenzer patch (probably modified). ReaComp with sidechain from Drum track 0-745HZ input filter. 0ms attach, 100 release, 4:1 ratio. ReaEQ, low pass at 8.5Khz and high pass at 100Hz. Automation on lowpass eq filter.

Reaktor Kontour, Twin top patch (modified). ReaComp sidechained similar to above examples. ReaEQ, high pass, automated. Another ReaComp sidechained similar to above. Automation on pan.

Kontakt, string ensemble symphony series, string ensemble patch. ReaComp, sidechained similar to above. ReaEQ High pass around 60Hz, automated.

Kontakt, Rise & Hit, Heavy Fuzz patch. Automation on Volume and Rev-Heavyfuzz.

Kontakt, Exhale by Output, Backwards patch.

Four tracks were sent to a ReaDelay buss that had a 4-tap ping pong delay

Four tracks were sent to a Reverb buss with NI Passive EQ in mid/side mode. Some low mid boost in middle and some low boost on the side.

I printed all the midi to audio and produced the final mix from there.  I used an IK Multimedia Quad Compressor and Quad Image to widen out the sound a bit. I used a few sidechained compressors on some of the audio channels.

Please leave a comment or question below. You can also subscribe to this blog to be notified whenever a new article is posted.

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Albums Arranging Other

Very Confused (album track notes)

To continue with my notes on the songs on my 11th album, Sampler, we get to the 6th track. That title is called Very Confused. The description of how I did it may be as equally confusing.

As inspiration for and as a way to try different ways of composing, I took an existing piece, the first movement of the Opus 2, No. 1 Beethoven Piano Sonata. I loaded a midi rendition of the piece into my DAW. I used a function that takes all the notes of the file and extracts them to separate MIDI tracks. I forget how many unique pitches there were, but it was a large number. Based on the visual look of each track in a piano roll editor I moved tracks around and combined many with specific percussion instruments in mind.

I ended up with 16 different midi tracks. Using what I thought would sound good in combination with all the other tracks I assigned various percussion instruments to each of the 16 tracks. All the percussion sounds were from the Native Instruments sound library Percussion Symphony Series. Even the mysterious piano sound was from that library.

Processing, as with much of my music was minimal, once the desired sounds were recorded. The Claves had Replika XT (from Native Instruments) on it with a special effect patch highly modified. The Rain Stick track utilized the Movement plugin (from Output.com), 11.8 pitcher from one of the expansion packs. The vibraslap track sounds like a metalic flying object with lots reverb. That was accomplished by sending it through the Dual Crystals effects chain in Absynth. I used a little bit of EQ and compression here and there.

The original Beethoven Sonata movement, with repeats is nearly 20 minutes long, far too long for a track on the album. So I cut and chopped different sections, mainly silence and shortened it to less than 6 minutes. I was surprised by how much silence there was in the original piece when broken into its individual notes.

It is definitely Very Confused. I hope you like it. If you do or have any other comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Arranging Website News

Sheet Music: Collections vs. Singles

I’m taking a break from writing about the individual tracks on my new (July 2018) album. I will return to them.

I sometimes wonder if anyone is reading these blogs of mine, I’d love to know. With practically no comments or interaction from anyone about my blog, I’d love to hear from you in comments or the contact form on my website.

Earlier in 2018 I wrote that I was no longer selling my keyboard music as single titles but would instead be selling collections of my music. After experimenting with that for a few months I’ve decided to go back to selling titles individually. The benefits of  having only collections available were outweighed by administrative and organizational elements that the average buyer of sheet music probably isn’t aware of.  For example, keeping track of which titles are contained in which collection and which filenames are associated with those collections & individual titles.

Whether it be keyboard, bells, instrumental groups or solos, I’ve only ever had one collection sell well. That being my Huge Classical piano collection book. This is probably due to classical music always being more popular than sacred or popular music arrangements and that few of the titles in that collection are available elsewhere from me.

The thought occurs to me that maybe with digital music, people prefer to buy individual titles. Is it because the total price is cheaper? Is it because, unlike with collections, they don’t end up buying titles they don’t want. (That’s my reason for preferring singles to collections. I’ve quit buying Hal Leonard Jazz Piano Solo series books because I end up with too many titles I just don’t care anything about ).

I’d really love to see a discussion of what you like or what other musicians you know like. Are there other reasons why people don’t want to buy collections in digital form as much as singles? Or maybe I’ve got it wrong. Maybe people do like collections better than single sheet music.

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Albums Recordings

Escape Is This Way (Album Track Notes)

Escape Is This Way

This is both the 5th and 11th tracks.

Please leave a comment if you like these liner notes. That way I’ll know that you want me to continue posts for all the tracks on the album.

Track 5 is an “acoustic” version and the 11th is an “electronic” version. The piece is based on a piece from my sheet music catalog “12-tone piece for 4 instruments.”

I used instruments from the Symphony Series String Ensemble from Native Instruments. Basically the 4 parts are comparable to a string quartet. I used minimal EQ. I added some risers, orchestral percussion and Cuban style percussion. The risers from the Rise & Hit library from native instruments. The percussion from the Kontakt factory library all percussion preset. The Cuban style percussion from the Discovery Series: Cuba by native instruments.

The two percussion channels I sent to the stock delay in Reaper with a modified ping-pong, 5-tap delay preset. The riser channel I sent to the RC-48 reverb using the snare roll preset (with modifications).

For the instrument and effect channels I cut out some of the low frequencies (below 50Hz) that can creep into software based instruments. On the master channel I cut low frequencies below 100Hz. I also used the T-RackS Bus compressor from IK Multimedia with a slightly modified Glue preset. The final link in the effects was the Lurssen mastering console with a modified Classical (Warmer) preset.

On the electronic track I kept the same percussion parts but with the Supercharger compressor with a modified Drumbus on the Cuba percussion. I didn’t use any EQ or other compression in the mix. I did use the same compressor on the master track, but did not use the Lurssen console.

I did some panning automation on the Percussion channels. All the sounds were kontakt instruments. In order: 1) Gravity Natural forces pack, Hope eternal patch and Analogue strings from the Retro series Kontakt library; 2) Gravity Natural forces, Mystic Fifths – Amb01 and ChoirInt from Kontakt Retro series; 3) Retro Strings 1 and Gravity Natural forces Stacked Ahh, Eee, Ooo and 4) Matrix Pad 2 from Retro series and Gravity natural forces, Scorched Earth – Amb01

Let me know what you thought of these two tracks.

Categories
Albums Recordings

It Is Different (Album track notes)

It Is Different

The fourth track on our album Sampler

The album and audio samples available wherever digital music can be found.

Please leave a comment if you like these liner notes. If nobody comments, then I will probably not include all the liner notes for all the tracks.

This track is one of the most experimental tracks on the album. I used an old DOS, early Windows piece of software to generate notes based on fractal math. You can probably hear in the somewhat abrupt changes where the different formulas changed.

I used various electronic sounds for the 4 tracks. For the pluck sound I sent to the RC48 lexicon reverb utilizing a modified medium random hall & echoes. On three of the other tracks I sent them to the Reaper default delay, modified 5-tap ping pong. The percussion track also got sent to delay and reverb.

All tracks were fed into a parent folder. On that I had a 3-band splitter. This allowed me to send the lower end to one processing chain, the middle to one and the high to another.
I used Supercharger on the two lower bands and solid bus comp on the higher band.

On the master buss I used the Lurssen mastering console modified a bit from the EDM preset.

I did say that It Is Different.

Categories
Albums Recordings

Looking Ahead track notes

Looking Ahead

The third track in our album Sampler

The album and audio samples available wherever digital music can be found

This track is one of 3 tracks where I was experimenting with brass instruments. Please leave a comment if you like this liner notes or I may not include liner notes for all of the tracks.

For this track I used Native Instrument’s Session Horns utilizing various of the brass articulations available. I used key switching in the midi files to switch between articulations.

The rhythmic comes from the Heavyocity Kontakt instrument Damage. My notes don’t tell which instrument(s)/patch(es) were used. On that track, in addition to cutting off some low end with an EQ I also used the Native Instruments Supercharger compressor with a modified drumbuss preset. I also used some sort of riser in a few spots.

I used some EQ on all the tracks, except the master buss. It was mainly to remove unneeded low end and in a few cases a high-shelf. I used reverb on the risers. I used a Computer Music magazine version of the Acon Digital Reverb. I used the Large gothic cathedral preset, with of course, modified to fit the sound.

On the master bus, for mastering purposes, I used the Lurssen mastering console. I started with the default classical preset and made changes to fit the sound I wanted.