Performer or artist
Up in my office, I’ve got a keyboard, a couple of guitars, mics, amps and effect boxes. I bought them because I wanted to make music.
From time to time, I’d take a run at it. I used a teaching app called Yousician to try to train myself to play guitar and keyboard well. But now I realize that’s not the answer for me.
That’s the road to being a performer. But there’s another way to make music.
Inspired by Mike Posner, who I wrote about here I started creating the
Digital tools for music will let me create songs and other compositions the same way that digital tools for writing let me create blog posts and other written pieces. You keep making mistakes until you’ve got it right.
Inspired by Mike Posner, when he said that as an artist, “your job is to create the art that you want it to be in the world, the art that you want to exist.” I started writing a song based on one of his: “Cooler than me.” (YouTube official video, Genius Lyrics).
If I could write you a song to make you fall in love
I would already have you up under my arm
I used up all of my tricks, I hope that you like this
But you probably won’t, you think you’re cooler than me
You got designer shades just to hide your face
And you wear ‘em around like you’re cooler than me
And you never say hey or remember my name
And it’s probably cause you think you’re cooler than me
I started writing it and after several iterations came up with this:
I’m gonna write the right song to make you see that you can,
And I know that it’s gonna blow your mine and mine
I used some digital tricks and came up with this mix,
And I’m gonna show how you can do it like me
Am I a special guy? No. You’re as special as I,
We can all be creative; we just have to try,
This is all that it takes, you keep making mistakes,
The way to create is erase and replace
Anyhow that’s version 10 or 22 or who knows. Like the poet says: “This is all that it takes, you just keep making mistakes. The way to create is erase and replace.”
So who’s going to play it? And who’d going to sing it?
Answer: me, with a little help from my digital friends.
Same way I found and integrated the tools that I now use to make written stuff, I’ve been finding the tools that I’ll use for my music.
I’ve been using an online app called SoundTrap for a while (free version, good enough for messing around). It lets you compose music with a MIDI keyboard or by drawing notes on a piano roll. It’s got hundreds of virtual instruments and all kinds of effects. So I started there.
I found a site that sold a MIDI version of “Cooler than me” bought it and which some difficulty isolated the lead track and pulled it into SoundTrap.
Then I found a program called Vocaloid5 that synthesizes a human voice and does a pretty good job. What the hell, I bought it and started playing with it.
Vocaloid integrates with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW, in cool-guy speak) called Cubase. When I started digging into what I could do with that, I hit paydirt. I think it’s the answer to everything. Holy crap! It’s what Hans Zimmer uses for all his music. Why not me.
And it’s got a thing called “VariAudio” that lets you take a song and fix it. You can set it up so that you sing a phrase at a time, over and over, until you’ve got one that you like. Then you use VariAudio to fix it up. Quantize it, so it’s on time. Adjust the attack and release. Screw with the pitch. Everything you need to do to make it perfect.
I’m downloading a trial version of Cubase right now,
Future Me, I think you’re going to have a blast. Too bad I won’t be there to enjoy it, but I’ve done my job.
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