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.
It’s been nearly 3 years since I released an album so I thought it was about time to release a new one. This one is a sampler of various styles of music I compose, arrange or record. Some of it is available in sheet music from my website.
Look for it June 1, 2018 on CD-Baby, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon MP3, YouTube Music, Spotify and more.
I plan to post some details in the upcoming weeks about various tracks. In the meanwhile, an audio sample and part of the description on my CD Baby page is below. Please consider buying a copy of the whole album or individual tracks or stream it on Spotify.
Many of the titles are available in sheet music form at his website. Those that aren’t rely too much on specific computer sound libraries to be played by acoustic instruments. Three titles are based on brass quintet arrangements, but of course added to for the recording. One piece is based entirely on the results of fractal math formulas. Another one, the all percussion piece, Very Confused, uses a Beethoven piano sonata as the source rhythm but then highly manipulated. Another piece is based on a 12-tone instrumental ensemble piece. Yet another piece is more like modern trance music, but with James’ own twist. A couple came about as a result of experimenting with various sound libraries. Waiting and watching found its origins from music written on an iPad using NotateMe while in a doctor’s waiting room! While every title might not be for everybody, there is something here that you will like.
I’m always looking for subjects to write about here or tutorial to do on YouTube. Please use the comments section to give me some ideas.
I’ve not shown a map of where people are buying and performing my sheet music for some time, so here’s the latest (as of Mar 31, 2018)
I’m making some changes to the music catalog. Rather than offer individual keyboard arrangements, I’m only selling collections. I have 8 piano solo collections available. As time permits I will remove organ solos from the catalog and only offer collections. It is easier to manage collections.
I have no plans for anything on YouTube at the present time. This is for two reasons: 1) Nobody who watches my videos on YouTube has bothered to let me know what they want to see and 2) YouTube no longer allows me to monetize my channel and nobody who watches my videos has donated anything to keep it going.
As always, check the sheet music catalog for new titles. At least once a month, sometimes more often there are new titles.
After 15 custom arrangements for a single client I must be doing something right. If you have a beginner/intermediate instrumental group or a church orchestra in need of arrangements, let me know so I can write it for you.
I’m always “playing around” with my various sound libraries and live instruments in my home studio. Look for at least one new album out this summer, if not two.
I continue to teach piano lessons locally and via Skype. So, no matter where you are in the world I can teach you. I can also tutor on composing, arranging, music theory and more. Drop me a note if you are interested.
So, a few posts ago I mentioned that Spitfire Audio was having a contest that I had entered. The one and half minute video was provided by them. Contestants had to write music to fit the video. It didn’t matter what sound libraries we used, it was “the composition that mattered.” Given the winning entry, which isn’t a bad musical competition, I wonder if my entry made it to them?
Nobody has ever called me a bad looser, but in this case, I just don’t get it. Were they more interested in the mixing/mastering than the music matching the video or what? The whole contest was a bit odd. The entry method was emailing the final audio (a large sized file) which could have easily ended up in their spam folder or deleted. It’s never safe to email something so big. We also had to send a link to our music synced to their video. I did that. They never confirmed whether they got my entry nor did I ever see it (or any other entries) posted on their SoundCloud site as the rules said they would. They also did not announce the winner on their website, but instead at the following Facebook page. Not everyone uses facebook. Here’s the winner:
The composition is little more than a 1:15 tension builder. It doesn’t resolve the tension. When I’m looking to buy a sound library, this music doesn’t do it for me.
The music doesn’t fit the video. It in no way enhances or supports the visuals we see. (Some comments on their facebook page agree with me here).
It is so repetitive to the point of almost being boring.
When it switches from graphics to the control room, why no change to draw the viewer, who may have turned away while watching on their phone, tablet or PC, to the change?
When we see a large horn section, I have trouble hearing any horns. The only thing in the video are horns yet there are no obvious horns in the music.
The same thing when we see flutes, trumpets and a timpani player feverlishly bangs on the timpani, we don’t hear flutes, trumpets or timpani. Why not? It would be an excellent way to showcase the product and its multiple capabilities instead of hearing essentially the same thing we’ve heard from the beginning.
When the woman is showed at her computer using Albion, why not give us something electronic? Movie soundtracks aren’t all symphonic orchestra are they?
The biggest thing that bothers me is when she plays a C on her keyboard (after seeing that she has a string sound loaded up) we don’t hear a C, not even a note in the C chord, nor are strings featured. What happened to matching the music to enhance the visuals?
Any how, here is my entry. I know it isn’t perfect. The mixing and mastering need some work and it probably would have helped to layer in some more sounds to what is there. I would really like some comments as to why my attempt was not as good as the winner.
Sorry it’s been since March (nearly 6 months) since I’ve last posted. As mentioned in the last post, I’ve been doing custom arrangements for a client that’s reached about 10 titles. Plus I’ve been working on series called “Any Size Church Orchestra series” of arrangements for church groups that never know from week to week who will be there. These arrangements, now available at my website, are playable by a wide combination of instruments.
But, today I want to feature my Concert Band arrangements. I will let the demo videos speak for themselves. (Please remember, these are demos from computer software and not mixed. I have neither the time to mix them nor money to hire a real band).
PS. If you’re in the Gainesville, Ocala area on October 16, 2016 I’m giving a solo piano concert featuring TV & Film music. It is at 2pm at the Church of the Mediator in Micanopy, FL.
I know I’ve been a bit behind in regular posts here and on my YouTube channel. I probably use Twitter more than anything so if you want to know the latest, follow me there. (@MusicbyJames).
As mentioned in my last post, I’ve been arranging some copyrighted material for distribution via SheetMusicPlus. I have some new titles available including “Crazy”, “Hawaii Five-O Theme”, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and “Fly Me To The Moon.” Mostly for solo piano but also a string quartet. Visit my SheetMusicPlus page to see all I have available.
I recently finished a custom instrumental arrangement for a church group in the Houston, TX area. The group consists of ages 11-18 with a few adults. This makes a total of four I’ve done for them. They’ve all been well received. I’m available to arrange or compose anything for any combination of instruments or styles. Drop me a note if interested. Here’s a video of the group playing my first arrangement. Remember, they are beginners.
I continue to provide MIDI files for a Lutheran church to use in their services. I send the files over the internet. They hook their computer up to the organ, select the registration they want, hit play and that’s their accompaniment to congregational singing and also some background music during communion. Any midi capable instrument (piano, synthesizer or organ) can be used to play the files.
I continue to post new arrangements and compositions to my website, JamesGilbertMusic.com
Of course, I’m still teaching piano lessons locally. I can also teach via Skype if you aren’t in the area.
Being a church musician is a great way to have a steady gig as a musician. The small, rural parish church I play for had to give up its choir last November due to only 3 or 4 people (all inexperienced, non-musicians) showing up. But for Easter and weeks leading up to it we had some soloists sing in addition to some extra material from me. I offer consultation on how to make the most of your church music program and/or help in accompanying congregational singing – from a single pianist up to a large praise band or orchestra.
Is there anything in the way of tutorials or general information you’d like to see here on this page or my YouTube page.
As most readers of my blog know, I am distributing my compositions and arrangements via SheetMusicPlus Digital. It’s kind of like an Amazon Kindle author self-publishing service for composers & arrangers. They recently made arrangements with the rights holders of nearly 1,000 copyrighted songs to allow someone like me to make arrangements of those songs, without having to get permission. SheetMusicPlus collects payments for the copyright owner. I took advantage of the beta testing phase and tried my hand at 5 different titles. In the month or two they have been available, sadly only two titles have sold, but I’m hopeful as time goes by more people will find out about them and more will sell. The publisher sets the price based on the instrumentation.
Awesome God is a handbell arrangement of what is typically a ‘praise’ chorus sung by congregations. Here’s a demo:
Billie Jean, the Michael Jackson hit, arranged in a quasi-classical style for orchestra. I think this would be a great hit with a high-school, college or community orchestra.
Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) is the most unique. I told someone about the beta test and they suggested this song. I asked them what instruments I should arrange it for. They said Mandolin, Cello and Drums. So I did. Surprisingly, this was the first arrangement purchased. If I could set the price I’d set it at about half of what it is.
The Lord’s Prayer. The traditional Malotte setting. I’ve never seen this arranged for anything but 3 octave handbell choir so I did a 5-octave title.
Sound of Silence. The very popular Simon and Garfunkel piece from the 1960’s. I’ve never found a piano arrangement of this that had any sort of “wow” factor. I’ve tried to add some elements that a piano player will like to play.
I’ve had people abusing the comment capability here so I turned comments off. I still welcome comments. Contact me via my website JamesGilbertMusic.com and I’ll post the most interesting comments in future blogs.
Thanks for those that attended the movie & TV themed concert I did on Oct 25, 2015. The audience request section was more popular than I thought it would be. I got stumped on a couple of requests I didn’t know.This might become a regular/annual part of our concert series. I was able to “stump the audience” a few times with a few pieces nobody could guess. Prizes were handed out to those who could guess the hard ones. In addition to the audience participation sections I played a variety of TV and movie music spanning the years from Casablanca up to more current titles.
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