Tag Archives: iTunes

How do you listen to music

Please let me know in the comments or on twitter how you listen to music.

Listening to music

Why I’m asking this question.
I noticed in my collection of computer “junk” that I had a speaker system of a powered sub-woofer and three speakers. They were from a 2006 era computer. The sub-woofer is good, but the other speakers are not high-quality. I couldn’t remember why I wasn’t using them with my current system other than I have some nice near-field monitors. (But they don’t do low end well).

I hooked the system up and they sounded nice. The low end was a dramatic improvement over my current setup. But, after about 20 minutes the speakers started crackling and making a lot of static. Due to the unique (proprietary?) way the sub-woofer connects to the other speakers, I can find no way to use the sub-woofer without them. So, I’m back to just my near-field monitors and good over-the-ear headphones for listening and mixing.

I really liked hearing the low end in the music I was working on. I would like to get the sub-woofer to work with different speakers, but I can’t. This all got me to thinking, how do you and people you know listen to music? Is a sub-woofer commonly used?

 

Few listen to live non-amplified music

Most people will listen to music via some sort of speaker/amplifier system. Unless you regularly go to live performances of non-amplified instruments – which I do recommend – then you are listening to music via a speaker. I’d like to know what type of speakers you listen on. No, I don’t want to know models or brands, just general information. You may listen in various locations. I want to know what the most common speaker setup is for you.

 

Speaker listening possibilities

Here are some possibilities. Do you listen only in your vehicle? Do you only use ear-buds? Do you use the computer speakers that are in your laptop? What about over the ear headphones? Do you use the speakers that came with your computer desktop? Do you listen to the speaker of your phone or tablet? Do you listen through a home stereo or home theater system? When listening on stand-alone speakers are the largest speakers big (10 inches or more)? Are there multiple speakers within the speaker cabinet? Or maybe you listen via some other speaker setup?

 

To sub-woofer or not?

What about a sub-woofer? Do you listen to most of your music via a system that has a sub-woofer? (That’s the ‘point 1’ in a 5.1 or 7.1 system). What do you think of your music when you have to listen on a system without one? When I record or mix music, should I assume most people don’t listen on a system with a sub-woofer and not worry about mixing so it sounds excellent on a system with one? Although I try to mix so my music sounds good on all systems, I’m wondering as a result of this experience whether I need to spend so much time trying to perfect the sound for all systems or focus on the ones that most people listen to? Of course I’ll always strive to sound better on as many speakers as I can, I could save time by not spending so much time working on trying to please all speakers out there.

Any thoughts or comments are welcome here or via my Twitter account @MusicByJames

Visit my website JamesGilbertMusic.com for details about my sheet-music, recordings, piano lessons and more.

I Won’t Give Up (New Album)

I Won’t Give Up

I Won't Give UpThat is the title of my latest album. Available now in digital download from the sources listed below. The album is a collection of New Age titles, with pop, rock, jazz and electronica influences.

Track list:

  • I Won’t Give Up
  • Somebody I Use To Be
  • Awakening
  • Give Me A Reason
  • Lead Us On
  • I Remember A Rose
  • Don’t Stop Me Now
  • Waking Me Up
  • Trying Something Different
  • That’s The Way

Most of the tracks were written for this album. Sheet music adaptations will be available on the website for most titles in the Summer of 2014. The track “Lead Us On” is already available in slightly different instrumentation.

The first two tracks have an ethereal, electronic feel with minimal percussion. In Awakening, some of the percussive elements take on a leading role along with the melody and the ‘tinkle’ sound (as an early listener called it). Give Me A Reason has a strong ambient feel with light percussion/rhythm and a memorable melody. Lead Us On is a little more pop in style with some comedic elements in the percussion. I Remember A Rose continues the Pop/New-Age/Electronic hybrid sound with a catchy melody and nice bass part. Don’t Stop Me Now continues with more percussive/rhythmic feel than the early tracks. Waking Me Up returns some ambient feel with a folk-like feel to it. Trying Something Different returns to a more New Age feel, but with a noticeable percussion/rhythm part. It also as a Middle Eastern feel to it. To finish things out, That’s The Way features a trumpet melody with a nice string and bass part to accompany it.

I hope you like it. If you do, please comment wherever you heard or purchased the album.

I will have samples on SoundCloud soon if they aren’t already there. Click here

Here is a list of all the places you can find the album:
Google Play
CD Baby
Amazon MP3
iTunes

Spotify playlist:
[spotify id=”spotify:user:jlg-gnv:playlist:7onHYckVkOhFiKTFqqxJHO” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

Request and New Album announcement

Another album?

I know someone reading this is saying, hold on, another album? Didn’t you just release a Christmas one last October (2013) and an EDM one in Dec 2013? Yes, I did. And I’ve got another one out now and will probably have a couple more out this year (2014).  Unlike a lot of artists, I’m not stuck in any one musical style. Maybe I should be, but I’m not. Plus, I’ve never met a woman rich enough for me to want to marry, so my time is pretty much all mine. I spend that time composing, arranging, recording, mixing and releasing albums. This new album is different than the others.

A Request

I don’t expect everyone who reads this blog to rush out and buy one of my albums, but it would be nice. Different people have different tastes, so not everything I record will appeal to everyone. If you have bought an album or listened to them online, may I encourage you, beg? you to write a comment about my music? Please? Pretty please??  The nicer the comment, the better, but really any comment would be welcome. For my albums on CD Baby, visit http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JamesGilbert
You can search for my name on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, rdio, GooglePlay, Rhapsody, etc. and enter comments there.

I’ve had many requests from people I meet for physical CD’s. They either don’t know how downloads work or prefer the physical format. So, I’m in the process of getting all my albums into physical format. For the time being, I’m going with professionally printed and duplicated CD-R rather than the expensive ‘replication’ or ‘glass pressing’ that you might typically buy from a major label. I’ve yet to find any CD player that can’t play them and shelf life isn’t that much different.

I Won’t Give Up

That is the title of my latest album, available now in digital format and soon in physical format. I’ll have a new entry here that goes into details about that album. In the meanwhile, you can check it out at the link above or listen to it on Spotify.

Introduction to Music, Conclusion

Introduction to Music

for those wanting to become musicans, or improve their musicianship

Conclusion

I hope this Introduction to Music series has been helpful. While it is obviously not a comprehensive look at all there is to music notation and music theory, if you know this stuff, you have a great amount of tools to help you as either a performer or composer, no matter the style of music.

I have a number of YouTube videos that cover a range of music topics, some duplicating what was in this series, but many that go beyond this series. Here are a few below for you to take a look at.

To see and hear how I’ve used my musical knowledge, you can download any of our sheet music for Free at the website. I also have six albums (as of January 2013) available on GooglePlay, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.

If you would care to make a donation to help in my efforts with free content – blogs, videos and sheet music – your Donation is most appreciated.

Introduction to Piano Lessons and general music theory
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRdYzYjxl5M]
Introduction to Chords
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmezVWK0Ex8?hl=en&fs=1&w=425&h=349]
A Review of iPad Apps of help for musicians
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Ia92GaSrg]
12-tone, Dodecaphonic Composition Overview


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMayH_p5GS0]
Scales and Modes


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHhf7mB4180]
Some Sibelius (notation software) Tips
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OouCZ-Uz0zM?hl=en&fs=1]
Making another Arrangement using Sibelius
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yKV-GI-5KA?hl=en&fs=1]
Making an Organ arrangement in Sibelius
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B49i8EtmS-w?hl=en&fs=1]
I hope you enjoyed this. Your comments and questions are welcome here or via the contact page on the website.

 

New YouTube video – Fractal

Don’t forget, ALL of our sheet-music is now available at our website for FREE!

Fractals Geometric Pattern

I’ve uploaded a new video to YouTube. This is another with animated fractals. If anyone has questions about how I do the fractals, leave a comment and I’ll give the details.

The background music being used is my own composition. I wrote it specifically for this video. From other videos I’ve seen of similar content, I think what I did with the music is not what one would typically expect. I wanted something different. The music consists of a rhythm track that comes & goes in volume, two pad like tracks, one a bit eerie and finally a video game like lead/melody. I used Reaper DAW to do the mixing. I used the VST instruments Massive (2 different patches), Battery 3 and FM8. There is a lot of repetition. I welcome your comments on the music.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbRqnMi2QXo]

As a side note, if you’re looking for some music to listen to, please check out my albums on iTunes, GooglePlay, CD Baby and Amazon. These sites have all 5 albums I’ve released. GooglePlay also has singles not available elsewhere.

If you’d like to donate to help support the website and the free sheet-music available for download, please click here

Google Play additions

I’ve added a few new singles to Google Play. Visit my artist page to see them and listen.

In addition to iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and others that carry my various albums, Google Play has those albums and singles.

Let me know what you think of the singles as well as any of my recordings. What type/style of music would you like to hear me do?

As with all my recent recordings, I use the DAW known as Reaper to mix and produce them. Is there any interest in articles about Reaper here or new videos on YouTube?

Latest happenings

Latest happenings

I didn’t realize I haven’t posted in a while. The summer is a somewhat slow time of the year for posts. Here’s some of the things I’ve been up to.

YouTube Videos

I’ve been trying to post a music video of sorts every couple of days. These consist essentially of still images of my sheet music with an audio recording.

The funny thing is that ever since I started posting these videos, YouTube has been pulling the advertisement from the videos and demanding that I offer proof that I own the material in the video. They refuse to answer simple questions like ‘what element of the video do you object to’ and the like. I’m kinda like the guy who builds the best sand castle in the world when nobody (including no cameras) are around. Then someone else challenges them to prove it. How? Everything I post is 100% my material. It has been nearly two months since they’ve pulled the ads from some of my videos. I’ve offered more than enough proof on all the videos, but yet they still don’t put the videos back and they refuse to communicate with me at all – not even form letters.

Somebody said that they were going to click on every ad they saw on any YouTube video and any banner ad with graphics served by Google. BUT, under NO circumstance would they ever buy anything they clicked on. Never. They say that will force Google (which owns YouTube) to pay the people hosting the ads but the advertisers would not make a sale and eventually the advertisers would pull their ads. Maybe Google/YouTube would then get the point. Of course, I can’t recommend you do that, but it does sound like a plan.

Basically YouTube is interested in catering to the large Media Corporations and show how friendly YouTube is to bigname advertisers. Their latest nonsense is making anyone who doesn’t post videos or comment on videos using their real name feel guilty.  It’s too bad YouTube doesn’t care one bit about the users or about small independent artists. I don’t make much from the missing ads, but as a struggling musician, every single penny is important.

If you know anyone at YouTube, tell them to quit harassing uploaders and to monetize videos unless they have a compelling reason to believe the video shouldn’t be posted.

See my YouTube channel

Website News

I’ve made some major changes to my sheet-music catalog. EVERYTHING in the sheet music catalog is free! Just signup using the form on my home page or sheet music catalog page. I am asking for donations. You can donate here. I’d rather see this music used by people than just sit and go unused or hardly used. So, please spread the word and let people know about free sheet music.

Our recordings are now sold on iTunes, CDBaby, Rhapsody, Spotify, Amazon and of course GooglePlay.

 

GooglePlay and iTunes

Our recordings are now sold on iTunes, CDBaby, Rhapsody, Spotify, Amazon and of course GooglePlay. I’m no longer selling mp3 files on the website.

Although the bulk of my music is available at all the above sites, GooglePlay has titles that are not available anywhere else, so check it out first if  you’re looking for our latest. I’ve added several singles this month. Basically GooglePlay will have everything plus singles. The other sites will not have any of the singles.

There are now 5 albums available on iTunes and the other sites.

Piano lessons

I’m still teaching piano lessons in the Micanopy area. I’m easily accessible and not too far from Gainesville, Ocala and the surrounding areas, like Citra and Williston. If you’re looking for a piano teacher and live in the area, consider the short drive to Micanopy for lessons.

 

A musician’s thoughts about the iPad

Background

For about 9 years I’ve been using the MusicPad Pro as a way to view my sheet music rather than carry around dozens of books of music. The MusicPad is a 10×14 inch tablet with only 1022×766 resolution at I believe 72 (possibly 96) dpi. It weighs nearly 5 pounds. All it did was display sheet music and organize it, nothing else. Unfortunately, the MusicPad is no longer manufactured or supported nor was it ever improved upon since it was first manufactured.

Back in mid-March 2012, I was asked to play the organ for a special anniversary service celebrating a priest’s anniversary of her ordination. Being one of the first 100 women Episcopal priests ordained, it was kind of a big deal. In the middle of the service, on a piece the audience was singing along to, my MusicPad went completely blank. Not just froze, it went blank, no power, no battery, nothing. Needless to say, it was not an idea situation to be in. I had some similar issues in the past, always during practice, never in a live performance. So, I knew the time was coming to replace it with something else. But what to replace it with or do I go back to paper music?

Decisions

At the time I started researching what to buy, there weren’t any tablets of the same size that I could definitively confirm could run some sort of music display application. After some time of considering different products, I decided to go with the iPad. The latest, sometimes referred to as the iPad 3 had just been released. The high resolution display looked impressive in spite of the small size of the tablet (at least it was small compared to what I was use to). So, I decided to purchase one. (Please help me pay for it by referring me piano students in the Gainesville-Ocala-Micanopy, Florida area OR by purchasing my recordings on iTunes, Amazon, Google or buying my sheet music at my website).

It should be noted that I am neither a Windows nor Apple fan. I think those who are passionate about either company and/or their products might want to seek professional therapy. I’ve never cared for Apple’s almost monopolistic approach to their products and therefore high prices. Let’s face it, the PC world gives you far more choice and bang for the buck. If you want a computer that does what you want it to do and will run the majority of software out there, get a PC. But the Apple world is known for being easy to use and having good customer support. The iPad will be the first Apple product I’ve used or owned since 1983. (That’s before the Mac came out). Although, my first solo piano CD was recorded and engineered (by someone else) using a Mac.

If I’m not home composing/arranging music or doing web maintenance or design, I’m either teaching piano lessons or at a gig. One of those gigs is a steady job as a church musician. (I might add that too many up and coming musicians ignore the potential income one can make working in churches and at the same time honing one’s skills). So, I couldn’t see much point in having to pay $30 (or more) per month that I don’t have to be able to access the internet via my iPad no matter where I go. That made the choice of the WiFi model the obvious one. Not knowing how much my sheet music and recordings would take up when combined with the size of various applications I opted for the 32Gb model (the middle one).

First impressions

I won’t try to do a comparison with the MusicPad as that would probably be like comparing apples with oranges. As of this writing, I’ve only had the iPad for two weeks. The one thing that I will not be doing with the iPad is returning it. While not as big as my MusicPad pro, something I’ll definitely miss, the screen resolution and added abilities make it a worthy replacement. The ability to have other applications, such as music theory and piano teaching apps as well as calendar and note taking apps have already come in handy. I’ve already used some apps to help with my teaching. My students, adults and children, have been receptive to it.

I’ll talk in detail about the various apps I looked at and am using in another posting. For now, I’ll just talk about the iPad itself. The screen resolution is excellent.  When viewing PDF files, which are the bulk of my sheet music, it is very clear and easy to read. It is a very easy product to use. I had no problems setting up a WiFi connection with my home WiFi network. I’ve had no connection issues.

My one complaint is the iTunes software on the computer side of things. The fastest way to transfer data from the PC (or Mac) to the iPad is via iTunes using the included USB cable. (You can use WiFi, but it is slow). The iTunes software is not a program I care for. It doesn’t feel like a mature product. It feels like a bunch of different programs put together to try and meet all the needs of iTunes, iphones, ipads, app store, video store, tv store, etc. All with an emphasis on ‘store’ as in ‘buy stuff from us’ and do things our way. The software changed file associations without asking me. I don’t understand why I need to add my music and videos to the iTunes library just to transfer it to the iPad. Those libraries take up disk space and use system resources. iTunes also runs some services and apps in the background that they don’t tell you about.

I find the fact that one has no choice but to purchase apps from Apple to be offensive and monopolistic. I know I didn’t ‘have’ to buy an iPad, but why should I be forced to purchase almost everything that goes on the iPad from Apple. I don’t like it and I don’t think it’s right.

The iPad is definitely geared toward using the internet. Since my needs have little practical reason to be accessing the internet, especially when you consider the draconian data caps that ISP providers force on us, I’d rather put something on the iPad and do everything separate from the internet. If I’m going to watch a movie on my iPad, that movie better be located on the iPad, not somewhere on the internet.  I don’t care for the iCloud and am not using it. Not that I have anything to hide, but read the Apple terms of service. It makes it very clear that what you put in the cloud will be viewed by Apple and may be voluntarily shared with private companies (like RIAA and MPAA). What encryption that does happen is done by Apple and they have all the keys to view it.

Final thoughts

I may never use the Safari, Mail, Maps, YouTube, GameCenter, iTunes, AppStore, Newstand and FaceTime apps (which are the bulk of the apps that come with the iPad), but the other apps will get some use. The video and camera apps are nice and of course being able to play music examples for my students is good. The speaker quality is not so great, but acceptable for demo purposes. But, the sheet music reading apps, educational potential and the ability to use the ipad as a MIDI controller or DAW controller are very powerful and worth serious consideration if you are a musician looking for something in those areas.

I’ll write more about the specific music apps I’ve started using and those I’ve decided aren’t worth using. Look for future blogs with those articles.