Computer-Music.com contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music. Computer-Music.com is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com

Computer-Music.com  contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music.
Computer-Music.com is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com



 

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Making Music using MIDI and Digital Audio

There are many programs available for both Macs and PCs that allow you to compose, record, play back and print music in a variety of ways using MIDI and Digital Audio together. They can range from well under $100 to over $800. They have a surprising variety approaches to the same problem and it has been my experience that none of them is without glaring flaws. Some, however; are excellent in spite of those flaws while others are just mediocre and flawed beyond comprehension. Most of the best programs are available at prices between $200 and $450 street price and I have found that I always need two complimentary programs to do everything I want to do. Make plans in your budget to eventually purchase a second or even third program as your skills improve and you develop a better idea of what features you will need. It is best to start with some research and try to get a program that has a good variety of capabilities (you may indeed need most of them right away) without being too complicated. It is hard to learn a whole new technology while still learning more about music while also trying to learn to compose and record music while wrestling with an overly complicated interface. It is also tragic when a beginner buys a cheap program thinking that it will be easier to learn not realizing that better programs best feature is how they lay things out logically and make everything more accessible. The beginner then gives up because he is thinking MIDI is hard when the only real problem was badly conceived software. All software is written by programmers who tend to think at a very technical level and then convert that into a user interface instead of being a musician first, thinking of what would work best musically, designing an appropriate interface, THEN designing the code modules to back it up. Ask lots of questions until you are comfortable and don't expect everything to make sense immediately. MIDI is a whole new skill. I had to take time out of music for a year or two to feel comfortable working in this new medium but the results have been tremendous and I would never go back.

Since I wrote this article in 1995 many of the programs described above have gotten better in ease of use as well as gaining features. Fortunately, and Unfortunately there is a while new crop of niche or accessory programs that give the user more possibilities and can easily confuse the user to the point of giving up because there are just so many possibilities it can become overwhelming to figure out what to do next. Because of this it is more important then ever to try to figure out what kind of work flow would be most productive for you and to only purchase and learn software and hardware that will enhance your work flow, not complicate it. It can be incredibly tempting to try each and every new music making tool and method but take it from one who knows. You can end up getting nothing done awfully fast.

Although this is the first article on this site it will also probably turn out to be the largest. If you decide to take the plunge you can be assured the you will find more detailed articles on MIDI, digital audio, and the creative muse as well as reviews of hardware and software and my favorite tips. Feel free to submit questions by clicking on the address at the bottom of the page. Whether I answer your question at all or answer it with an email or with a whole article (in which case I will email you a notice when it is finished) and in what time frame the answer comes will depend on the relevance of the question to the focus of this site, whether it has already been answered in an article on this site, whether I have enough free time from composing, sound design and consulting to answer it promptly, and lastly, whether or not I can find out the answer my self. If I can find the information on another site I will post the name of the site and may establish a link to it.

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