Enjoy Free Backing Tracks From NotesAlive Music

Hello there,

Check out these backing tracks for you to jam along. backing tracks are built to improvise your instrument with it. they are like support tracks to whatever you play, or you can do just plain practice (Scales, Chords, Arpeggios) while staying in a particular key. Practicing with backing tracks will help you to get deeper understanding of your instrument, jam in every octave, every possible scale shape, start with any scale degree and find new techniques and discover new melodies, i’ll be glad if you share your improvisation track here.

Happy Improvisation 🙂

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5 of the best: Portable Soundcards for the Mobile Musician

Music Tools

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Its not unusual now to say most musicians have considered having a fully mobile recording set up. ie Laptop,  software and or course the all importan soundcard. Some soundcards are suited to being fixed in postion to a table were others strenghts are their portability an compact size.

This is a look at 5 of the best souncards for the mobile musician. Taking into consideration portability, design, stability, durability and of course sound quality.

Behringer U-CONTROL UCA202
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Behringer U-CONTROL UCA202

With this ultra-compact, bus-powered interface, you can link your Windows® and Mac® computer with any audio gear. There is no setup or special drivers needed—simply plug the interface in a free USB port on your computer and get into the groove. The UCA202 provides 2 analog inputs and outputs, as well as an additional S/PDIF optical output for direct monitoring. Very inexpensive solution.

M-Audio Fast Track
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M-Audio Fast Track

If you make music with GarageBand or…

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Limit Your Options

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Too much plugins, softwares will not only take your hard drive space but it will also create huge mental clutter. At some point you will find yourself stuck choosing which plugin to use, This is happening because you have given yourself too many options. Limit your options so you don’t have to worry about anything else besides creating great music. Yes you can have countless pieces of gear, but sometimes that amount of gear becomes a problem.

There are two main areas to declutter.

  1. Software Plugins/tools: keep one or two plugins to serve the one purpose e.g. One plugin for compressor, one or two for EQ, and so on for the reverb, delay and other inserts. Don’t waste time to go through every tool every time, you would never get any work done. Try this, pretend you have hardware console, you can’t change new effects every time. Use this idea in your DAW, if you have console you will not go and buy new hardware effects for every new project. Treat your DAW as console. You install countless tools just because you can, is pointless. Keep few but best tools.
  1. Hardware stuff: Same thing goes for your physical stuff like your instruments. Keep your signal chain simple. Too many stuff is too much hassle. Limit your instruments, effect pedals, amps, cables. This will also help your studio look more clutter free. Use less but use it fully. Use one hardware tool and tweak every possible combination to create a tone rather than having 10 and never touched any button on them. With simple signal chain you’ll make decisions faster.

Minimal mind-set: Minimalism is lifestyle. It helps us focus on what’s important. If you take a close look in your system and your studio you will find that we unknowingly own things that we’ll likely never use. Strive for a minimal setup and you feel light because now you don’t carry so much junk, you don’t own so much junk and you can focus on what’s really important to you. By keeping your choices limited you can use all your energy for the most important thing, “creativity”.

The Top 10 Music Technology Websites On The Web

Guys,This list still works in 2015.

Music Tools

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1.  SOUND ON SOUND

http://www.soundonsound.com/

SOUND ON SOUND has consistently remained at the forefront of music technology since it was launched on Channel 4 TV’s The Tube in 1985 by the visionary SOS Publications Group, championing the convergence of MIDI, computer technology and recording equipment that continues to revolutionise the music production industry today.

The magazine is excellent and the website is no exception!

sos

2. YOU TUBE

Youtube can teach you lots of useless and wondeful things, music technology and software is no exception. If you have query or a problem simply ask yOUTUBE and chances are 14YRD old from  Milwaukee will tell you eveything you need to know!2 Audio tuts+

youtubedol

3. Audio Tuts+

Audiotuts+ is an in depth blog for musicians, producers and audio junkies! It features tutorials on the tools and techniques to record, produce, mix and master tracks. Audiotuts+ also features weekly articles for the music obsessive…

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My 3 Favorite “FREE” synths.

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Noisemeker by TAL 

(click on name to get download page)

Very much warm sounding traditional analogue-modeling synth.and also easy to use, it has  2 oscillator and 1 sub osc square with 3 LFOs, and effects are chorus and reverb. and with plenty presets to start with. highly recommended and one of the best free synths.

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superwave_p8 

It has that typical software synthy type sound. good for techno, trance. With multimode filter oscillator and two panoramizables oscillators individually with a good assortment of waveforms basic convertible all in Dual (two forms of the same wave oscillator).bring back the era of 70s and 80s.

zampler1

Beat zampler

Industry stranded beat and sound shaping its best. you can make your sound with integrated multi-mode filter types lowpass, highpass , bandpass and bandstop filters.it is not only produce beats it got powerful engine to create ambient cinematic effects. This was very quick and technical and Why i am talking about only three? because talking about free synths could take my whole blog. But dont stop reading yet, i am giving a small list of names of free synths for you to check out. So download and enjoy music making.

synths

  • The blooo by Full Bucket Music(Windows)
  • TS-Substance by Tactile Sounds(Windows)
  • Tyrell N6 by Urs Heckmann(Mac, Windows)
  • Charlatan by Dominique Wurtz(Windows)
  • Crystal by Green Oak(Mac, Windows)
  • Daedalus by Northernbeat Audio(Windows)
  • Free Alpha 3 by LinPlug(Mac, Windows)
  • SQ8L by Siegfried Kullmann (Linux, Windows)

6 Ways to increase your productivity as a composer

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Like in other areas of life productivity is important, the same way it is important when it comes to composing. Composing is creative process. And creativity can be time consuming. Creating something new means messing with lots of ideas. And if you don’t have some planned structure it can take forever to create something new. Here are some ways to reduce that time.

  1. Decide what and for whom you are going to compose today before actually sitting down. Just sitting in front of computer and pressing random chords and notes on midi keyboard not going to take you anywhere. Have a purpose or goal in mind. Is that a 30sec music or full 3 minute song? What structure will be needed? What instruments to use? What chord progression will go with melody Decide thing like these before turning on your DAW.
  1. Keep your samples and synths handy. Have your samples and sound folder structure in mind. You will not waste time in finding the right sound. If you need that reverse cymbal sound you should know where it is located in which folder and sub folder. When ideas are flowing it is not a good thing to searching the files in the mess.
  1. Be specific. Experimenting is good thing but it has its limits. You can mix n match instruments and styles forever. Be specific with genre choose instruments as per the genres requirement.it will also save your computer’s memory from loading heavy unwanted plugins and make your session heavy unnecessarily. And if you are going to use software synths know what synth is good for which sound.
  1. Practice not only composing but your theory and instrument playing. The more you practice the more you compose fast. If you got melody in mind you will quickly know what chords will fit. Also, you will reduce the takes while recording, by practicing your preferred instrument.  
  1. Make schedule of daily composing time. It will help your creative mind to flow even more smoothly. Benefit of scheduling is your mind get in habit to use those hours fully and not thinking about other thoughts. And by practice your mind will also get active for composing ideas. If your schedule start at 5 for one or two hours, your mind will automatically get in the composing state between those hours. 
  1. Take breaks! Productivity does not mean always working and torture your creative mind. It needs a long breath, go out, enjoy a cup of hot coffee, I prefer green tea (it’s amazing). That will generate new and fresh ideas

 

Introduction to composing for Production Music Libraries

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It is not that different than writing normal music. It has certain criteria you have to follow, balancing with your creativity.

Production music used for visual mainly, for TV ads, corporate videos like training videos, company profile video, YouTube videos, games, which is huge industry for music. Short films, animated films or other visuals.

Production music’s purpose is elevate the content. it should go with the feel and match the vibe of the content. Watching some TV is good idea to know where and how it is used.

Reading the points below will give you basic idea of how to approach composing for Production music. 

  1. Quantity matters when you write music for libraries. Write maximum number of tracks in every possible genre. Make schedule of composing like 3 track per week or 2 track per week, whatever suits you. But do it regularly don’t procrastinate on schedule.
  1. Edits are very important. Make 30 sec, 60 sec and 1 minute version of each track. Also make version of muting some instruments e.g. same track available with only drums or only melody or any particular instrument solo only. This can give client good options so that he can buy exactly what is suitable for his project. Making Loops is also a good idea. 
  1. Listen to other artist’s music. It helps a lot listening to lots of music by people who are actually making it or to understand what markets trend is, learn the genre and master it. Composer should not bound by any particular genre, Yes, having personal favorite genre is not a bad thing but you should be good at composing in different genres. 
  1. Market yourself make a website to showcase your tracks. Make soundcloud, YouTube channel, Facebook page work for you. Work on promoting your music and show your work as much as possible.

This was very brief post of the topic. I will write more in depth on composing techniques especially for library music. Till then keep composing and write lots of music.

What Is Production Music?

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As on Wikipedia

Production music (also known as stock music or library music) is the name given to recorded music that can be licensed to customers for use in film, television, radio and other media Oftentimes, the music is produced and owned by production music libraries.

We hear production music everyday on TV or radio ads,documentaries,short films. the music used in movies is called “Background Score”that is totally different genre i will write the dedicated post on this subject. The purpose of this music is to support and elevate the content.

WHAT TO LISTEN IN SONGS

band-592983_1280Its weird!!
I know you said it when you first read the post title. it is, in someway, what should i listen in songs then. i can hear the drums the voice the guitars the synths as simple as that!! whats more in it? well, you are missing a lot then.

It is normal to listen to songs while working, or in the car, or while having coffee in coffee shop. (feels nice). but that music or song is more like the background music of your activity. you hear some part of the song then do your activity and then it moves to next song and the same process repeats. you were listening that songs Passively and that is absolutely fine its not bad thing. but as composer, songwriter, producer you should not consider to yourself that you heard those songs while doing other activities.you should listen actively, without any other activity if you want consider you heard a song carefully.

So what exactly is Active Listening?

Its not hard, just 3 simple steps – listen to that song for 3 times.

1.Listen the whole song without any judgment without making any firm statements. just to get the feel and vibes of the song. what atmosphere it creates what is the message is in the lyric. what is the basic mood of the song is that happy or sad tragic or it leaves with no certain mood, just plain music.

2.The second time listen to find more musical details. this time listen with musician’s ear. focus more on musicality like what is the genre, how it is structured and formed, what instrument are used, how many melodies used, try to find out the chords, scale, key.

3.And finally listen with engineers ears. listen to every detail of production process. how the reverb is working in whole song, how the vocal treatment has done, ups and downs of overall dynamics, listen to instrument panning, compression, what recording techniques they used. try to figure out what is real instruments and what are midi.

Overall you will get very much idea after 3rd step of how the song is made from composition to recording to final mix-master on CD. this idea works best in the scenario when client refer you a song and hit hard with giving you very tight deadline. take these 3 steps and you will find what to do with your new composition for that client.

And keep practicing these steps to get better at it. and yes these are not written rules or gospel. i am sharing a method with you that worked for me. i strongly encourage you to develop your own method and stick to it.

Till then goodbye and happy music making.

(share this post if you find it helpful).

Basic principles of knowing the fretboard

musician-414080_1280For many guitarists its frustrating to apply theory on instrument. These are both different things that learning any instrument and learning music theory. And to apply theory on instrument means using your physical ability to play guitar and theory knowledge will go hand in hand. Here are some main aspects to start with.

1.Know all notes on fret board the open strings are from lower to higher are E(1),B,G,D,A,E(6). So if you choose 3rd string that is G count G as open string and then press the first fret that will be G# the next fret will be A and so on till 12th fret G note. By this way practice knowing all frets and its notes.

2.How to spell chords chord spelling means the notes that make chord. E.g. spelling of C major chord is C,E,G. F major chord’s spelling is F,A,C. Once you learn the notes on the fret board you can easily apply this theory.

3.Play major and minor chords after knowing the notes in chords start practicing major and minor chords. try simple progressions like C,F,G or D,A,G play slowly but clearly.

4.Try scales major and minor first try C major scale first. learn the shapes of scale there are mainly 4 types scales

  • Major Scales
  • Minor Scales
  • Harmonic Minor Scales
  • Melodic Minor Scales

Start from major scale then master others.

5. Arpeggios helps us to play more fluently in the key. Arpeggios are notes from chords one benefit is you will play more notes in short time. Like in scales we have same parts in arpeggio

  • Major Arpeggios
  • Minor Arpeggios
  • Harmonic Minor Arpeggios
  • Melodic Minor Arpeggios

These are some basic points you can add in your guitar practice schedule, Make weekly schedule for each topic for best results.