musescorexmas

Lovely Christmas Songbook for iPad, Built with Open Source Scoring Tools (More Platforms Coming)

Have an uncommon yule with tools and music from the Commons. That’s the pitch (so to speak) of the Ultimate Christmas Songbook, an iPad app built with 50 Christmas songs and a fully free and open source notation engine. Making use of public domain songs, the number of songs available continues to grow as the community contributes tunes. (Those contributors got the app for free.) As notation proliferates on tablets, the app also suggests that “commercial” doesn’t have to mean “closed.” The scores themselves are available in open, cross-platform formats (MIDI, MusicXML, MuseScore, and PDF). But by generating revenues, the …

READ MORE →

From Christmas Tree Lights, A Lo-Fi Ableton Synth

It’s that time of the year, when the halls echo with the sound of … horrible electronic synthesized Christmas tunes, playing on endless loops from strings of lights and other cheap electronics! But wait – what if you could take those sounds and embrace their low-fidelity, chippy sounds to more inventive musical purposes? Turn to our friend AfroDJ, who has gradually built up several dozen Ableton Live racks. The latest samples Christmas tree lights for a festive, chiptastic holiday timbre. I just put up my Christmas tree and put on some lights that play Christmas songs. The songs are comprised …

READ MORE →
disco_ornament

What’s on Your Holiday Wish List – Beyond the Usual Suspects? (Open Thread)

Disco Christmas! Photo (CC-BY) paparutzi. Yes, it’s that gift-y time of year again, which naturally means among lovers of music technology, thoughts turn to gear wishes and dreams of new hardware. We’ve asked in the past what readers want in their stockings and presents – and, just as interestingly, what they’d give to others. And you’ve come up with fascinating ideas. This year, I’ll frame the question a bit differently: what, beyond the usual suspects, would you love to have? Books or music collections? Handmade or boutique items? Unique tools and toys that’d help you be creative? And what would …

READ MORE →

Thanksgiving Open Thread, Delivering in Beta

On US soil today, it’s Thanksgiving. I’m over 3600 miles away, myself, from the place that began as home this year in New York, but ready to celebrate a day off anyway as I take in Eindhoven’s STRP Festival and prepare for performing on Saturday back in Berlin. But whether you’re in the US or in one of the many other parts of the world where we count readers, let’s pause to consider what makes us thankful. I’m immensely thankful to have the opportunity to make music. I find it’s always worth reminding myself of that, and reminding to fight …

READ MORE →
hallopresets

Happy Halloween; Spooky Sound Presets for Moog’s Animoog on iPad

Instruments like the Theremin may be trying to shake off their association with fear, dread, and the unnatural. But the synthesizer has no such concern: after all, the Moog is pretty much a rock star, literally. So, for anyone fiddling around with the Animoog – hopefully including iPad owners who are newer to synthesis – you can now grab a bunch of presets to provide the perfect sonic accompaniment to this Halloween. The sounds are the work of synthesist/sound designers Drew Neumann and Kevin Lamb. And as if the app, currently on sale for $.99, weren’t already a steal for …

READ MORE →

Digital Fireworks: A Very Audiovisual 4th of July from Nalepa + Johnny de Kam

For a very different aesthetic take on the United States’ Independence Day celebrations, here’s electronic producer Steve Nalepa joining visualist superstar Johnny de Kam for a collaboration. I find it makes for some nice, chilled-out Monday, July 4 inspiration, wherever you are – no marching-band bombast required. Nalepa has been sharing his Ableton skills with the Dubspot school, online and off, and Johnny de Kam, if you don’t know his work, is one of the leading visualists on the planet, a skilled craftsman of motion and live visual performance, as well as a founder of visual software maker Vidvox. See, …

READ MORE →

LEGO Christmas Tree Plays Carols, Courtesy Max/MSP, Custom Electronics

Desmond Dodecahedron has the craziest way of celebrating the season I’ve seen this year: just build a giant Christmas tree from LEGOs, then use visual programming environment Max/MSP and some custom electronics to trigger tunes. Desmond writes: Once I discovered that the word “advent” was actually an abbreviation of “audio event” and the fact that we have had lots of snow in London – I decided to create this Christmas Carol note filtering tree. (in this case it is actually a midi event tree – but you get the general idea). Each pitch class of a Carol i.e. all the …

READ MORE →
monomexmas

A Very Monome Xmas: New, Free, CC-Licensed Christmas Album

With takes on the Vince Guaraldi Trio and Tchaikovsky, the sound-slicing members of the monome community have turned their button-encrusted devices to spreading holiday cheer to you, for free. A new, CC-licensed album is available for download. (One caution: CC licenses don’t cover sample clearance for works sampled on these albums, so beware.) They wouldn’t be geeks if it didn’t have an acronym: http://mcrpmusic.bandcamp.com/ There’s some really creative stuff in there. I’d love to hear this live. Found other favorite holiday downloads? Let us know in comments and we’ll do a round-up later this week.

READ MORE →
iso50-midi_therm

A CDM Holiday Gift Guide: Musical Goodness, All Under $200

Photo (CC-BY) JD Hancock. We users may sometimes gripe, but music technology gives us an impossibly wide variety for which to be thankful. From free (as in beer, as in freedom) to high-end and spendy, from software plug-in to acoustic instrument to solid-state electronics to toy, you’d run out of time and money long before you ran out of exceptional, music-inspiring choices. I think the passion people feel for music is the cause: economics and logic be damned, we’re all glad to make music part of our life, both as makers and consumers. Tools aren’t everything – it can be …

READ MORE →

Wintry Samples: Recording Snow, Free Snow and Ice Drum Samples, Gnomish Choirs

Photo: Frank Bry, courtesy his blog The Recordist. It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere. For some of us, there’s little need to remind us of snow and ice. But if you fancy adding some frozen sounds to your music, we have both free samples and expert recording tips to help get your cold on. Frank Bry, a master sound designer, apparently has plenty of access to snow in his home of Idaho, but that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for the white, fluffy stuff. He’s devoted an entire library to Ultimate Snow with some 300 locations. You can read an interview …

READ MORE →