Friday, February 13, 2009

Fireface 800 techniques

I use fireface interface and I find this one to be really cool.
Sound quality is superb.

what's interesting is their software mixer. I know lot of people dislikes software-ness but there are more advantages than disadvantages.

first you have presets. and You can toggle presets 1-8 by doing Option + preset number (probably alt + # on PC)
I have so far 3 types that I use
1. Listening/Monitoring - one with good volume setting for whatever you want to do
2. mute monitor for Recording purpose
3. one for listening back direct signal (yes you can do this if you turn up those faders for mixers.)

secondly MIDI control
you can use your motorized controller, or midi keyboard, etc to control faders.. even when the software is in the background...
it doesn't have monitor fader on the outside but you can actually add them. and for all of them. every single inputs can have different monitoring levels. (like when you don't need much of anything other than kick and snare in the headphone mic.

you can create submixes.... it works like a mixer.

Very cool. good in studio and works amazingly LIVE

Korg Kaoss Pad 3

Finally, I've bought myself a Kaoss Pad!

i've been wanting this for years but just kept delaying it just because I had to buy lots of other sample oriented things. Well this stuff is amazing. Everyone knows it has been. But I have to say THIS IS AMAZING.

This is not stuff you make music with but this makes your bad music sound like a cool music. Even if you didn't know how to use it. If you can connect it and use touch pad.

I have been thinking this stuff takes a while to learn but it's quite easy. If you've used Delay, Filters, and stuff like that you know how to use it already.

One thing that took me a while (10 tries or so) to learn was how to resample properly.
Sampling is easy you just have to press sampling button then Bank to record to. Resampling is supposed to record output.. but if you do it like you would sample you will always miss the first beat or two..

so the solution to this was you keep playing samples then you press resample (or shift + sampling) when the moment is right.
in other words you have to be looping whatever you want to combine and you have to have at least one bank open for resampling. So technically you have 3 banks + 1 bank for resampling. and you can keep overdubbing to make whatever you want to (harmonies or drum patterns or whatever.)

hmm... i wish there were more buttons.
but now a days you have computers and you can use SooperLooper or other loop utilities if you want to go crazy.

anyway, this is what you do with it

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Finger Independence for musicians, pianist, guitarist, violinist.

There has been alot said about finger independence and I've been researching myself what is it that make your finger independent.

One thing you need to know is that brain is the center of all conscious action and what you need to be able to do is to know which finger you are moving exactly and make that motion as efficient and as effortless as possible.

First anatomy:
Muscles that move your fingers are at your forearms. and you use separate muscles for bending (flexing) and lifting (extending).
3,4,5 (or middle ring pinky) share one tendon and these are usually the problem for everybody.

All tendon goes through your wrists and thus they need to be relaxed so you won't waste any energy at the wrist.

shoulder, arms, they all need to be relaxed as they are connected to the sources which is your back.

Back needs to be straight but relaxed. This gives you balance and strength.

most important thing is you need to feel absolutely no pain and completely relaxed at all times even when you are playing fast and rather hard passages.
Moment people try technically difficult thing all kinds of tension in your body starts to show up and they are all bad. Sources of injuries. So please dont' hurt yourself.

Instrument specific guides will be the next thing but If you want to move your fingers like musicians (accurately, articulated, fast, etc etc for long long hours) that is a must. If you learn how to do this at any speed or any phrase you will play your instrument like a master. (at least technically, musicality is a different mastery)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

You are making records or something

Word by those composers. Very true. This guy was talking about passing synth or whatever sounds through manley labs preamps. That's gonna sound great. Yes! but you are making records or something right? We're scoring for Film & TV. Oh that sound so good and you can do that forever. You will miss the dead line. that's the last time you receive a pay check.

Brutal. Sometimes how busy these people are really impress me. or Just everyone driving each other nuts. Not sure where you stand but certainly how many hours you should work on something. Needs to be part of the budget. If you can get amazing stuff super quick you'll get a gig. If not someone else will. That's how it is. You might get lucky for one or two but to be consistent in this field is a serious business. - Film & TV Composer Seminar

It was very inspiring to listen to what real professional composer have to say about composition, samples, orchestration, budget, demo, rigs, etc, etc.

Chris Stone started the event speaking about orchestral samplers being "Additive" like organs. For example for divisi passages you'd want one section to divide their section into 2 or 3 or whatever number and play a chord. Most samplers now if you double note you get that much more players in the mix. That's Hazardous. Audio Impressions has this library that's supposed to do that .. for 3500 just for strings.. Cool what they can do yes. If you have money go for it.

What's interesting though is they all use these things but still they say "Mock up sounds like sh*t"
It never sounds like a real orchestra. Doesn't work like how real orchestra work... These guys are one of the top composers right now.. can they run total 7-10 computers when they score film or TV. yes and still the real thing sound way better.

It's always debate whether you should hire real person or use samples. Depends on budget, etc etc. Emotional impact director wants. That's what you need to take care of as a film composer.

Having said this... I still want great orchestral samples. Just because I still can't write for whole orchestra on piano. I do need to hear some thing like strings to write for strings. I wish. Possibly soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Recognizing chords

I was with my violin teacher doing ear training and I realized I cannot recognize chords when there is not enough length.

0.3 second chord for example is much harder to recognize. What she test me on was play 3 chords consecutively in different register and tell all chords. I could only get half of them right.. pretty hard. but it is necessary to keep music that I hear for the first time in my head. Very important skill when you are trying to transcribe something into a sheet music/score.

This lets you train on that if you'd to try for free check

i did 147 bpm and 32, with sound effects (sound for correct and wrong) off pretty easy.
You can see list of short cuts by going to Help > ___Phobia Help and clicking "Keyboard Shortcuts" on the first page.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Overtone Series

I'm learning theory with a very good teacher right now (privately) and I feel always so inspired. Right now I'm learning chord substitution. Very elementary stuff. People try to find great chord against melody on the piano. But when you present a sheet music of a melody and tell them to harmonize. Often times they realize, It's not easy to harmonize without piano (or any other instrument) But this can be done.

We've started with doing every thing with I, IV, V. yes three chords to harmonize everything.
V-I progression usually is call perfect or authentic cadence. IV - I = Plagal Cad. ends on V = Half Cad. those are choices when you do this.

Next time we talked about substitutions. I had more choice to work with so it became easier but feel of this I, IV, V had to stay there. (again all in your head)

I = iii, iv
IV = ii
V = vii dim but you have to be careful. (so forget about it for now.. almost)

other than that.
you can suspend V with approaching I 64 or I with 5th on the bass. if the melody allows.

very simple but chords starts to flow really well this way. At least in the classical/pop manner.
i believe if you don't understand this very very very very well you can't play jazz or other things.

And of course later on you verify your answer on the keyboard.
When you do this I always DON'T voice lead. I play everything in root position unless it's specified. (like that 5th on the bass chord)

4 part - why you don't double third? not very many book explain that.. they all stop there?
but If you look at overtone series. Overtone series created by the root will clash with those created by the 3rd.
Although 3rd is the character, root defines the fundamental or the bass and that is the one you'd want to emphasize. not the clash created by 3rd. (like people only used parallel 5th motion in polyphonic music)

and.. if the 3rd was the Leading tone - if you double, you'll create parallel octaves. two notes that needs to resolve up a half step.

Etc. there are more but i'll stop for now..

Physics of music is another interesting topic. Overtone series and their connection with chords and music of course. There are so many other thing you can come up with or try to apply when you think about BEST sounding BEST AMAZING music. You can just feel them if you are genius or if you want to be genius of one particular thing or genre..

Monday, July 21, 2008

Logic Pro Keyboard Shortcuts Tips

When you start working on different platforms - Pro Tools and Logic Pro for example - you will need quick way to remind yourself of what keys you had to press. Even know if you were once an expert if you don't use them your memory can't keep up with you sometimes...

Or you know other software pretty well and you want to quickly get to know other software.. You can read books. .yes but that takes lots of time and energy..

so What do you do? For logic pro it's pretty easy.. Go to keyboard shortcuts, that lists almost all the things you can do. Basic editing skills remains the same but HOW and HOW FAST is often the question right? and key is Shortcut.
Shortcuts to auditioning, navigating, making edits, etc etc. those are the thing you need to know and I thought I'd compile a list of keywords you can search with.

go to


(I'll keep adding to the list, bookmark if you liked it, or send me request to add something to the list)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

SHOULDER OPENER yoga exercise for anyone

I have very stiff shoulders and I think many of you have same problem.

Hours of sitting in front of the computer without watching your posture and things like that really disorient your joints, messes your blood flow.

This exercise seems to be really great. Simple and just gives sense of freedom to your shoulder. To it slowly, breath deeply as well. That's what you need to do.

Piano Technique (10A of 38): Your Fingers

Here is video of describing sort of what i've been talking about through out couple of post.

You have to do every motion like you should...Very hard to do.

All you have to do is relax and do nothing.
But you are playing the piano but you are doing nothing. Very hard to understand.

or only the absolute least energy is used. Highly concentrated energy where you need them..

You have to be aware of your whole body..

Maybe it's like Thai Chi. You have to feel everything. Very hard to achieve that.

But now you have it and you can practice that habit or new way of thinking.

try watching all videos: he has playlist for you so you can just let it roll.