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



 

to this article's front page

>> to next page >>

Why Is Organizing A MIDI  Studio So Important?

Learning about, and becoming comfortable with  making music using MIDI is a major undertaking. While I did not find learning MIDI as difficult as learning the Trumpet (my first instrument) it still took me most of a year before I was comfortable enough working with MIDI that I could concentrate on composing using MIDI sequencing software. My father once told me of a famous jazz musician who commented that he no longer plays his instrument; he plays music. Obviously he would still hold his horn and blow air through it and finger the keys but his point was that he had become so familiar with the process of playing the instrument that he no longer had to think about it consciously so he was free to concentrate on the music itself. There have been a few simple statements I have heard in my life time that have had an impact out of all proportion to the statement itself. This was one of them. It has been about twenty years since I heard those few simple words and I am still amazed at how useful they have been. My first response was to concentrate on becoming so familiar with my instrument that I could think a tune and it would come out of my horn as naturally as words came out of my mouth. While I never achieved precisely that degree of mastery, what I did achieve was close enough for me to get the effect I was looking for. I started concentrating on how the notes should be played, then on deciding what notes I wanted to play, then what melodies, then many variations on those melodies. In short, I was able to make music instead of working hard just to play the instrument. This was the crucial first step in my development as a composer. Attaining a similar familiarity with MIDI and basic MIDI equipment was the crucial first step in my development as a MIDI composer and essentially moved me from bicycle to a motorcycle in terms of productivity.

Lets take a broader look at the this concept. In a general sense it means that every aspect of a task that you can become so familiar with that you no longer have to think much about it allows you more freedom to think about other aspects of that same task. In addition; every whole task that you can place in this category frees up more of your mind and time to work on other tasks. Composing music in a MIDI studio requires you to do many complex tasks at the same time. Just for starters you have to play a musical instrument while composing music while operating complicated software on a computer. Depending on what kind of equipment you are using these three tasks may be only the beginning of a long list of things you must do all at about the same time. Each new piece of equipment you add to your studio carries with it the potential to take all your concentration while you try to utilize it if effectively. For example: Lets say I just bought a nice new reverb unit. It has the potential to add a lot of realism to the sound of my computer generated instruments but to really get the best use out of it I should try each of the different presets to see which one sounds best with this composition but this could take several hours. Should I go even farther and program a preset myself to get just exactly the sound I am looking for? This could take all day! Fortunately I probably won't have to think much about that reverb unit once I get it set up right. Except from now on it is one more piece of equipment I have to turn on each day before I can get to work. Here is a better (hypothetical) example: I am a sax player (not really, just go with me on this) so I just bought a Yamaha WX-11 MIDI sax controller (that part is true). I can play it like a sax (almost) and the notes go right in to my MIDI sequencer software. The problem is that it doesn't play just like my real sax and it takes some concentration to get used to the differences in fingering and the different feel of the artificial reed. So while I may be playing the notes in from a more familiar instrument I am so distracted by this new piece of equipment that I am finding it hard to concentrate on my composition. I keep having to pick it up and put it down and if I want to just listen to how a new instrument sounds it is easier to reach over and hit a key on my controller keyboard. I also have to set up both devices to play into the computer at the same time or switch back and forth. This has cost me the initial set up time and the time it takes me each session to turn on one more gadget. Maybe you are starting to see how more junk can really restrict or even completely dam up your creative flow. If you are new to composing then just think about how hard it is to create even if all you have to deal with is a pad and pen or a simple tape recorder?

As I am prone to do I have spent quite a bit of this article on telling you why you should read the rest of it but if you have read up to this point the rest is just details. Since I have made the point that a MIDI studio can quickly get very complicated I hope you can understand that this article could also get very complicated and lengthy if I tried to go into detail about every thing I have learned over the years in the process of  making my studio more capable and flexible while demanding as little of my precious concentration as possible. Because of this I will try to make a few general observations and a few detailed ones and hope you can infer much more from these few points. Since the goal of organizing your MIDI studio is for it to operate in a way that is easy and logical for you it is natural that each person will end up with a different configuration. What I am hoping to do with this article is to help you to spend as little time and money as possible making your studio take as little effort as possible to operate.

to this article's front page

>> to next page >>

 

 

For questions or comments contact the webmaster at
(you will have to remove the parentheses and  spaces; sorry but spam is a problem)
 dgriffin (@) computer-music (.) com
Copyright 1996-2004 Donald S. Griffin - Computer Music Consulting. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 04, 2004.
Privacy Policy