Loops for Real Drummers: Musicianship, Technology Don’t Have to Compete

Loops have gotten an unfortunate reputation as being a stand-in for real musicians or real musicianship – perhaps because, too often, they are. That’s why it’s always refreshing to see a discussion of how looping can incorporate musical technique. Like many electronic musicians, I have zero background in drumming; I’m a keyboardist and was trained in Classical Piano. But then, part of the gift of being a composer is getting inside the heads of musicians who play instruments you can’t. And when it comes to understanding rhythm, there’s a limitless supply of work to explore from around the world. Ryan …

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Read, Write Music Notation Digitally, on Windows: $100 or Less

Proprietary systems like FreeHand’s awkwardly-named MusicPad Pro Plus (Pro Plus, eh?) have offered digital manuscript paper for some time. But the idea there is you buy dedicated hardware; the MusicPad Pro Plus is US$899. With tablet PCs starting at about the same price, and the convenience of having your mobile computer also be your music notation, it seems like the convergence of the manuscript page and the computer isn’t far off. Enter MusicReader for Windows XP and Vista. It runs just US$69-99; bring your own laptop. Better yet, bring your own tablet PC and you have a form factor that …

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