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Coises last won the day on August 10 2011

Coises had the most liked content!

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About Coises

  • Birthday 01/06/1958

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    Jackson Browne, Crosby-Stills-Nash, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Steve Goodman, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, The Moody Blues, R.E.M., Neil Young

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Coises's Achievements


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  1. Does anyone have any experience or insight into the situation in which a composer and lyricist collaborate with the music being released under a Creative Commons license (specifically, in this instance, CC-BY 3.0) while the lyricist is a member of a performance rights organization (in this instance, SOCAN) and does not choose to use a CC license? I’m not sure what I want to know about it because... well, it’s what we don’t know we don’t know that’s the danger zone. I understand that no one may distribute a recording of the song or perform the song without the lyricist’s permission (which could be indirectly, through a PRO license). And I realize that no one may make a derivative work that uses those lyrics (though they’re free to re-use the music) without his permission. But... can a member of a performance rights organization waive the requirement for royalties regarding a particular use of a particular work? (I tried to research this today and so far have come up with no clear answer.) He’s given me permission to include the sheet music and my recording of the song on my web site. Is that permission valid, or does SOCAN “take over†regardless of his permission for this exception? For a different example: if an ASCAP member writes a song and posts a recording of it here on Songstuff, can ASCAP still complain if Songstuff doesn’t have an ASCAP license, even though the writer clearly intended for the work to be available here royalty-free?
  2. Imagine you’ve made your choice. Follow that... daydream it... and see where it takes you. When you hit something dramatic, try to capture it in a phrase or two. Don’t explain how you feel! Instead, paint a picture (it doesn’t have to be literally visual, although that often works best) that conveys the feeling by getting the listener to identify with you. That makes the listener do the feeling, which is what you want. Then imagine making the opposite choice, and do the same thing. Together, you might have some raw material for a lyric that conveys the dilemma. Oh... and don’t try to write a hook. Write a lyric, and let the hook make itself known.
  3. I’m just a beginner, so take this with a grain of salt... but I think it’s about keeping your head straight and not trying to wear too many hats at once. Mixing is about pulling all the performances together and getting the song to sound as good as you can. Mastering is about getting the mix to fit into a context — all the songs on one CD to match, all the music in a soundtrack to match, and all of it to match the expectations for the genre — so that when John Q. Public listens to it, it sounds “right.” There is no technological need to separate the two; but for human beings, it helps us focus on the task at hand, which is difficult enough without trying to do both things at once. That said, so far I have mixed/mastered my songs the way you describe because I have no context into which to place them; they’re just a collection of songwriter’s demos on my web site. If I ever want to make a CD of some of them, though, I’m going to have to go back and re-mix them without the master bus effects, then master them so they all sound like they belong on the same disc.
  4. Reading the Saffire Pro 24 DSP specs it looks to me as if the same two inputs that are used for microphones are used for instrument (electric guitar) inputs. The other two analog inputs appear to be strictly line level inputs. So be aware that if you’ll have, for example, two electric guitars and a voice going in at once, you’ll either need outboard preamplification or you’ll need to take at least one of the guitars as a line input from a guitar amp that has a line out. I wouldn’t recommend getting a mix board yet. You don’t need one now, and you won’t know if you want one enough to be worth the space it takes up, or the cost, or know what kind of board you would want, until you spend some time in your new studio. I would be sure to search the Internet for information on firewire and audio. It used to be, at least, that some computers’ built-in firewire ports didn’t play at all nicely with some firewire audio boxes. If you have a laptop (so that there is no practical way to add a dedicated firewire card), really be sure to check on experiences with your particular machine.
  5. The utility of a mix board depends very much on how you work. Since you haven’t started yet, you probably don’t know yet how you will want to work. Whatever you’re recording, the ideal is to have as many inputs on your audio interface as there are microphones, plus direct (“DI”) outputs and line-level outputs (possibly minus anything like a MIDI keyboard where you can record the MIDI and bounce the audio back in later) that you will be recording all at once. If you can’t do that (for example, if you’ll have several mics just on the drums, plus a couple guitars, a bassist, lead and multiple backing vocals, all to be recorded at the same time), then a mix board isn’t an option, it’s a requirement. (You do realize that the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP has two mic level and two line level analog inputs? The rest of the 16 inputs advertised are an optical ADAT (, an S/PDIF (2) and a stereo “loopback” virtual input (2); don’t assume you’ll be able to use the digital inputs for anything unless you already know how that works!) On the other hand, if you will just be overdubbing, so that you’ll never exceed the input capacity of your audio interface at once, a mix board is just a convenience on the recording side. I fall in this category, and I find that a small board (I have a Mackie 802-VLZ3) is quite convenient for monitoring during overdubs, plus general organization and control of my computer output, stage piano output and microphone — it’s just easier to reach over and turn a knob than to find and drag a virtual fader. (Also, my audio interface doesn’t include mic preamps or a headphone amplifier, so I needed those anyway, and my previous solution was aging badly when I got the Mackie.) On the mixdown side, a mix board can’t help much unless you have enough outputs on your audio interface to spit out all the individual tracks simultaneously. Even then, I’m not sure anyone wants to have to “perform the mix” as was necessary in the “old days” — it’s a lot less stressful, though admittedly less spontaneous, to use automation envelopes in your DAW software. My personal advice would be to think about whether you will need to record more than four (given your choice of audio interface) analog inputs at once. If the answer is “yes,” then you need a mix board, period. If the answer is “no,” “probably not” or “at least not right away,” then I’d defer the mixing board — you can always add it later if you need it or if you feel like working all computer is a bit clumsy. If you need one or two more mic preams instead of the line-level inputs, then it’s a bit of a judgement call. It’s cheaper to get mic preamps built into mixing boards (or audio interfaces), but those aren’t going to be as good as outboard preamps. If you need deeper advice on that, someone here (not me — that’s out of my league, so far) can probably give you some tips.
  6. Consider Reaper. The price is quite reasonable ($60 if you qualify for the discounted license, which you probably do), and there is no “online activation” or similar junk to worry about. Apparently the work flow is a little strange to some folks that are used to one of the big name DAWs, but I’ve never found it confusing at all. (I used to have a mixing board and an 8-track analog tape machine, but I never seriously used a Digital Audio Workstation before Reaper.) For percussion, if you need plausibly realistic drum tracks but you aren’t a drummer, consider Jamstix. (However, if you already understand drumming enough to MIDI program exactly what you want and just need a way to get the sounds without recording a live drum set, I think several other well-known percussion plug-ins probably have better sounds. Jamstix is particularly useful for folks like me who don’t really know how a drummer “thinks.”)
  7. Now this sounds interesting: If you haven't used it, it's a service that finally makes music social in a way that works. Basically, you and others go into a "room" which generally has a theme. Up to five people in the room can act as "DJs" and sit at a table in the front. Each of the DJs puts together a queue of songs and when their turn comes around, the next song in their queue plays (usually, it's still a little buggy on that front). Everyone else in the room can hear the song and can vote on whether it's "awesome" or "lame." though I can’t do anything with it... apparently right now it’s only open to folks who have a Facebook friend already on it. The thing about “online radio” is it’s mostly just radio moved to a new delivery path; the real next big things are usually things you just couldn’t have done with the same old thing.
  8. There is at least one substantive difference. Traditional broadcast media were placed under FCC regulation because the broadcast spectrum is limited — only so many FM stations, for example, can exist in a given market without mutual interference. That was the justification for imposing government oversight despite what would appear to be First Amendment issues. While there are laws regarding obscenity, defamation, and so on that apply, for example, to print media, these are not at all on the same level as the rules applied to broadcast media. Copyright and advertising, of course, will still provide leverage for de facto regulation by private interests... which, in my opinion, is frequently much worse in practice than government censorship. But at least the rationale for FCC involvement won’t be there, unless they invent a new one (not at all unlikely these days).
  9. From National Public Radio’s Planet Money: Jonathan Coulton's songs almost never get played on the radio. He doesn't have a contract with a music label. Yet he's a one man counterargument to the idea that musicians can't make money making music. In 2010, Coulton's music brought in about $500,000 in revenue. And since his overhead costs are very low, most of that money went straight to him. Full article plus audio at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/05/14/136279162/an-internet-rock-star-tells-all Jonathan Coulton's music (play, purchase, lyrics links) : http://www.jonathancoulton.com/store/downloads/ One of the comments to the NPR article made what I think is a great point: Dalin Abilene (Dalin) wrote: JoCo has been a staple of my listening since I first heard Re Your Brains a few years back. He's not just good. He's VERY good. Singing ability, comedy, musically; he's got it all. So, he's also become a bit of a lightning rod for the self production argument. It used to be that the self published or self released were viewed as a bit of a sad sack because they obviously wouldn't get to publish their stuff any other way. Now, that notion can really start being scrapped. Why work so hard to impress a publisher or producer when you could work that hard to impress your prospective fans instead? I figure, your chances are about even, either way. Even with talent, ambition and brains, “making it” in any artistic field has always been a crap-shoot; but it looks like the big game might be breaking up and moving to a different table.
  10. Learning to play classical pieces absolutely will not work against you. Good piano technique and the ability to read music quickly and accurately will be a great advantage as a keyboard player no matter what style and ambition you eventually adopt. The way you start is to practice doing two things your piano teacher probably isn’t teaching you: playing by ear and improvisation. Think of a melody that you know very well — something you could sing by memory — but have never played on the piano. Try to pick it out. As you keep doing that with different melodies, you find that after awhile, once you find the first note or two, you just “know” which keys to play. I’m not sure if they still exist, but 40 years ago when I was learning this, you could find books of current popular music for voice, guitar and “easy piano.” The piano arrangements are usually horrid, but the guitar chords come in really handy — by reading them as you’re playing and listening to what you play, you can begin to understand how chords in popular music work. Whether to study music theory right away really depends on what kind of learner you are. A lot of seminal popular music was written by folks who couldn’t read music at all, let alone tell you what a dominant seventh is! If you’re an intuitive learner, I’d start by trying to play by ear and reading guitar chord diagrams while playing the piano parts... Eventually you should be able to play a song you know from just the words and chords, and then you should start to be able to hear the chords without reading them first. If you’re an A-B-C kind of learner who likes to understand everything before you try much of anything, then start with some theory. Your piano teacher might be willing and able to help. Then, when you feel like you understand major and minor scales, major, minor and seventh chords, and the relationships between scales, chords and keys, start playing by ear. Another exercise that might help you get a handle on how keys work is transposition on sight; e.g., you have sheet music in the key of A, but it’s desired to perform it in C. Try to play that without re-writing it. As you’re getting a handle on playing by ear, you can begin to improvise. This is the skill that will turn into composition. (It might seem backwards, but you’ll improvise halfway decently before you’ll be ready to write. It’s like that you would be able to write a grocery list, or a personal letter, or an entry in your diary, with ease before you’d think about writing a short story.) Again, rest assured that there is nothing you will learn in classical piano training — aside from the contempt that some classical teachers have for popular music — that will be anything but helpful to you. If your teacher is willing and able to instruct you in theory and/or improvisation, that would also be great; and it doesn’t matter if it’s “classical” theory and improvisation. If you become skilled at those, and you love popular music, the transition won’t give you any trouble... you won’t be able to stop yourself!
  11. Imagine a scene... for example: It’s the morning after a one-night stand. The girl is still asleep. You’re looking around the room. You don’t know her, so you don’t know what most of this stuff means to her. Look around for awhile; then stop and concentrate for a moment on how you feel. Now write some lines about what you see, hear, smell, feel. Don’t explain, just observe. For example: Six roses in a bottle and the bottle’s dry, Coloring the darkness of the morning sun. Mary keeps on breathing, but I don’t know why. The winding on the window-shade has come undone. Grandpa in the corner in a silver frame: He’s seen it all before, and man, it’s all the same. The dishes on the radiator, drawing flies, And God, I hate Grandpa’s eyes... I hate Grandpa’s eyes. If that gets you some lines, then try to imagine other scenes that feel the same way, though they have no objective connection to the first scene. Of course, you’ll throw out half of what you get this way and mercilessly edit most of the rest, but the idea is to get raw material... Based on your examples, I don’t think you want meaningless lyrics; I think you want lyrics that have no straightforward objective meaning. Instead, they “mean” how they feel.
  12. good to see you back Randy! :)

  13. Mastering is “whatever it takes” to prepare the best possible master — that is, a source from which copies will be produced — for a given project and a given target media (e.g., pressed CD, CD-R, LPs, DVD for video albums or movies, etc.). You normally mix each track in isolation, on good monitor speakers, trying to get the best sound you can. In mastering, everything has to be brought into a cohesive whole; this involves details like getting the right amount of silence between one track and the next, but also making sure that the tracks sound like they belong together — for example, so the listener isn’t jumping up to change the volume from one track to the next. Mastering also takes the limitations of the media into account, as well as what listeners expect. What follows from that is that if you are going to have a mastering session, you should bring copies of the final mixes without finishing effects like EQ, compression or limiting applied to the full mix (you can always bring one with those effects, too, to demonstrate what you have in mind) — and obviously, keep the full resolution you have: don’t reduce to 16 bits, resample to 44.1k, or dither. I’m pretty sure most mastering engineers aren’t going to want to remix your tracks for you, but they’re set up to apply the polish. The consensus seems to be that professional mastering provides good “bang-for-the-buck” if your object is a professional product. If (like me) you’re an amateur/hobbyist, you do what you can on your own. If (like me, so far), you’re an amateur who is only producing *.mp3 files in isolation and not preparing an “album,” there’s little or no reason to have a “mastering” step that’s separate from the mixing step.1 I’m going to stick my neck out and say that’s just plain wrong. Even if you “master in the mix” (as I suggested above, a bad idea unless you’re an amateur producing only isolated, individual songs), putting non-linear effects (e.g., compression, multi-band compression, limiting) on a mix is not the same as applying the same effects to each part. (Non-level-dependent EQ and reverb are linear, so in principle you can apply those to every part separately and get the same effect as applying them to the mix... if you can keep it all straight, and your computer can handle it!) However, as noted above, ordinarily you should leave compression, limiting and EQ of the final mix for the mastering stage if you will have a mastering stage. (That applies even if you’re mastering yourself using the very same plug-ins you would use in your mix, because it’s only in mastering that you’ll be able to judge the results as they fit into a complete project.) 1But I’m now questioning my own judgment, since I notice that as I go from one song to another on my own site, the levels and sounds don’t match up very well. One day I should probably take everything I have and “master” it all to match, then try to master each new track to the same standard... yeah, that’s gonna happen soon...
  14. If your laptop is running Windows, I don’t think you can beat Reaper for multi-track recording software. The evaluation version is not crippled in any way; aside from a nag screen, you are “on your honor” to buy the software (current price $40 USD) if you keep it after 30 days. To me, that meant I could evaluate it seriously, with “real projects,” knowing that my work wouldn’t be “held hostage” if I decided not to by it. (Yes, I did purchase Reaper.) Aside from that, the other immediate suggestion I have is that your list of equipment doesn’t mention a monitoring system. You can’t produce what you can’t hear! I’d say your first order of business is to save up for a decent set of nearfield monitors. (Hint: headphones are great for finding and editing flaws in your tracks, but — at least, in my experience — it’s impossible to get a good mix using only headphones, regardless of how good they are... in a way, headphones reveal too much detail, so that you can’t tell what will be buried in the mix and what will stick out like a sore thumb when the mix is played on typical room speakers.)
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