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Friday, 23 January 2015

Spectrasonics Announces Omnisphere 2!

Spectrasonics has outdone themselves with Omnisphere 2! 

Here's a quick run through of some of the features we can look forward to!

Introducing Omnisphere 2 from Spectrasonics on Vimeo.

Watch out for release dates!

Great news! Spectrasonics has announced that new owners of Omnisphere 1 will be entitled a free upgrade to Omnisphere 2 when it releases on April 30 2015.

Chris Hein Horns Compact Doodle

Just got myself the Chris Hein Horns Compact Library. Boy it is so good!

This is me completely playing nonsense (no note edits) on one patch of each instrument in the sax and clarinet section.

 It starts with saxes of the highest registers down to the lower ones, then clarinets from the higher to the lower ones.

 Please note that with exception to the bass and contrabass sax and clarinets, most of these have at least 1 other variation, (like the Eb and Bb clarinets, and Soprano Sax A and Sop Sax B) There is a whole other section with brass (trumpets (with & without mutes), flugel horns, trombones, tuba, etc) 

There are 65 instruments in all, a really great value for great sounding and playable instruments! Chris Hein Horns Compact sells at VSTBuzz.com at 50% discount (until 28 Jan 2015), at the price of 72.49 Euros (regular price 144.99 Euros). Grab it if you can!


At the time of writing, the deal will run for 4 days and 13 minutes.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

New Track: Oriental Canon in D

Listen on Soundcloud

My new track is an oriental rendition of Pachelbel's very popular Canon in D. I created this oriental arrangement at a friend's request for his oriental themed wedding.

I always have had reservations about oriental instruments sounding less authentic when they are not playing in their native pentatonic scale.

Living in Singapore I have heard a great many tracks that use oriental instruments to play western melodies, some even pop tunes in the 80s or 90s. Many times in the past when I encountered these oriental adaptations, they were played at more traditional Chinese restaurants, maybe at a relative's wedding banquet or an auntie or uncle's birthday. I feel this was one way these traditional restaurants were trying to add a modern twist to their traditional ambience.

Chinese new year is another big thing for Chinese folks. In the last 10 years the Chinese community in Singapore and Malaysia has been under the onslaught of oriental festive tunes infused with Techno beats and bass (always the same pattern, same sounds and same arrangement). Maybe another attempt at reinventing the otherwise evergreen new year songs with a modern element.

Hence among many younger folks they probably find oriental instrumental adaptation of a western work to be cheesy, or low-class conversion.

That was my greatest worry when making this track.

My first attempt was a very resistant attempt that tried to conform the melody to a more oriental phrasing and in the area of scale used too. The outcome? The track became unrecognisable by my friend/client, who isn't a musician. That would disqualify this track as an adaptation.

This final piece is also not an exact transcription of the original, but it has enough elements to make the listener recognise the piece. Also I applied changes to the main melody very sparingly. Maybe a bit of pentatonic scales here and there in the supporting instruments.

I hope you enjoy it :)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

New MIDI HD Protocol has Reached a Milestone

Here's an exciting article from Synthopia I have just read: New MIDI HD Protocol has Reached a Milestone.
Dave Smith, the man who proposed the MIDI standard
Dave Smith again

I'm a huge supporter of the MIDI format. It is really matured and reliable technology. Being still relevant after more than 30 years has proven it to be a really well designed protocol.

Without devices that connect to computers through MIDI via an affordable computer with an affordable soundcard, I would never have had the chance to started my journey into music.

While being a solid and reliable, our demand for more data, more channels and increased control over our devices has prompted the MIDI Manufacturer’s Association (MMA) to come up with an additional set of standards to guide the implementation of additional feature and information that allows MIDI compatible devices to share information with each other.

Taking information from the Synthtopia artiicle, new capabilities of the standard will feature:
- Backward compatibility with MIDI 1.0 to ensure wide-spread adoption
- Plug and Play network connectivity over USB and Ethernet for easy integration
- Thousands of Channels for handling large complex systems
- A massive number of high resolution Controllers and Parameters for channels, groups and even individual notes, for unrivalled precision and adaptability to new controller technologies
- Precise Pitch Control and Articulation messages for expanded expressivity
- Time Stamped messaging for accurate timing and tight real-time performance
- Plenty of room for future expansion to eliminate obsolescence

The MIDI Manufacturer’s Association (MMA) will host an open discussion at the 2015 NAMM Show about this "HD” version of the MIDI standard.

I look forward to hearing more details about this.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Creating and Posting Cover Songs on the Internet (YouTube, SoundCloud, etc)

So 3 posts ago, I posted about a cover version of My Grown Up Christmas List that I created and uploaded onto SoundCloud.

I was wondering if it would be infringing any copyright laws, especially if I am not intending to make money out of the track.

On the other hand, I see a huge number of YouTube artists performing cover versions of songs. Has anybody wondered if it was legal at all?

I searched and found an article in NewMediaRockstars,com that held some promise of answering my question.

From what I understand from the article, it is actually illegal to upload and produce our own cover versions of copyrighted songs without permission from the creator.

However, quoting from the article: "Back in 2012, YouTube made deals with major US publishers that allowed creators to keep up their covers while publishers took upwards of 50 percent of the revenue generated from them. Unfortunately, we’re still not sure which publishers officially signed on. This means that even though YouTube has made it legal to upload a great deal of cover songs, we have no clue what those cover songs actually are."

Therefore if we really want to steer clear of copyright infringement when posting cover recordings of copyrighted songs, we have to  check with YouTube's list of publishers and which songs fall under the coverage of that deal.

For those who have uploaded material that publishers have flagged up to be infringing their copyright, that video will have the following notification on his/her video.

Another consideration for content creators who upload cover songs on YouTube, is the "three strikes" policy. YouTube states that for any user who receives three strikes of having claimed to be infringing copyright, his/her account will be removed, along with all his/her videos. Thereafter, he/she will be barred from creating a YouTube account, and from accessing YouTube's community features.

So it looks like in order for us to be on the safe side, we need to find out the publisher of the songs we want to cover, and to see if those fall under the list of songs included in the YouTube deal struck in 2012.

That is how much I have found out at the time of this post. 

I will continue to read up and find out how other music hosting platforms deal with the issue, and what are the proper procedures to go about doing this, if it is legal at all.