47

Wave is an uncompressed or lossless format, whereas MP3 is compressed or lossy. Technically .wav is just a container format and can hold various types of compressed or uncompressed audio, but typically you'll see it containing LPCM uncompressed audio (the same as on audio CDs). With .wav files, you are essentially getting a raw bitstream representation of ...


41

'In general' is pretty hard to nail down. There is so much to say about this era I could write a book - perhaps I should ;-) Late edit - Let me add a quick TL:DR Hardware sequencers were such a pain to programme is was simpler just to play it most of the time. One good bit of diddley-diddley sequence could make the whole track sound "electronic". It didn't ...


31

Computer: You're using one right now. You don't need a fancy new computer to make music. DAW: There are many free DAWs. REAPer is free if you don't mind a nag screen, Audacity is free and open source. Keyboard/Synth: You can get an entry keyboard for $100 that will work fine. VSTs: There are many free VSTs available from plenty of websites. Samples: Free on ...


29

One of the most common pieces of advice I hear about this is to take breaks. You're right that in some situations (extremely tight deadlines, for example) this may not be practical, but in reality, it's the best way to achieve the results you hope for. Listening fatigue is a real thing, and the phenomenon you describe, coming back to a song you liked only ...


25

This is a difficult question to answer, because you say you already understand synthesis, and that you're good at it - so it seems you should already know what synthesisers are capable of, and how to make them do it. So you'll know there are many different kinds of synthesiser, and they can be combined - there's nothing to stop you from controlling an FM ...


23

In principle, the answer is yes, with software instruments it is feasible to (re-)set the tuning so that you can realize music with modulation that stays in just intonation across these changes. The frequencies are directly accessible in sound synthesis environments like PureData or Overtone, and even just by setting the tuning information in a set of MIDI ...


21

He's just showing off. There's a few major reasons why what he describes doesn't matter. First and foremost, sheet music is a guide. It's not actually the music. You are always expected to put your own experience into the notes before they get called music. Thus, you would never want to play an exact transcription of the black toner on the page. It ...


19

I'll give this another spin: Can music time signatures really be rational? Which I'd answer: no, not really. Rationality is a mathematical concept, depending on an exact, axiomatic notion of numbers. Now, sure, any ordinary piece of music will use a rational signature given by integer numbers on paper, or in the DAW you use. Time is conceptually divided ...


18

There are indeed new languages, as well as libraries within other languages. I'm going to list a few that spring to mind off the top of my head, and maybe come back and expand my answer later. edit 03/17: I have slightly revised the answer. Notable that to a great extent, SuperCollider is often used as a back-end for systems based in a range of languages &...


16

You cannot even realize "just temperament" reliably when you are working with continuous-tone instruments like singers and trombones. Take a look at even something as old as J.S. Bach's mass in B minor, like the "Confiteor" which goes off-tonality somewhere after 2:30 (in this recording) and loses tonal center rather thoroughly between 3:00 and 4:00. The ...


16

Taking breaks has been mentioned, and is obviously a good idea! Other ideas: A change is as good as a rest: work an a different project for a while, and come back to the first one listen to other music in a similar style - or even a different style - to get your bearings again, and tune yourself back in to what's normal listen on different systems, and ...


15

This is actually called sidechain compression. It is usually applied to pads, or basslines with higher frequencies (but not always) and then a kick drum is often used as the 'input' for the compressor. The kick drum hits and just like when you listen to the radio, when the dj/presenter talks over the music, the volume dips. The attack, delay, hold and ...


14

General Midi specifies a mapping. Roland's GS standard adds to it as does Yamaha's XG standard. Your exact keyboard (and possibly drum preset itself) may vary. see http://pianocheetah.com/midi/drum.html and wikipedia:


14

The only thing that matters is if the sample sounds good. You have to listen to it and decide whether you want to use it. No numbers or waveforms or analysis programs are going to tell you whether the sound is good. But be aware a sample that sounds good by itself might not sound good in a mix, and other sounds that work well in context might sound bad when ...


13

Learning production is like learning any musical instrument in a lot of ways. You first need to practice a lot to become very familiar with your software. The software is your instrument, you need to know it inside and out to become proficient at creating songs. For instruments, daily practice is the fastest way to improve, and the same goes with digital ...


13

The executive summary of Charles' very detailed answer is: Use WAV for recording and editing. Use your audio editor's native file format with references to the WAV files to keep disk space under control use MP3 for distribution. 44.1 and 160kbps is lots, unless your audience has a home stereo that is worth more than their car and ears to match.


12

It's a bit more complicated than may appear at first glance. Within a single key, if Just Intonation makes the I,IV, and V chords all (4,5,6) ratios, the ii chord will be off. The other question is what note to play as a melody note. Often, melodies are somewhat independent of the underlying chords (at least in CPP if not in Jazz and other Pop theories). I ...


11

Additive synthesis can be more than just stacking a bunch of sine waves to emulate an instrument. For instance are the sine waves following the harmonic series or some other series of harmonics? are the sine waves at a constant amplitude? are the sine waves in the same phase? The key thing to remember is that almost all natural sounds will have dynamic ...


11

What you need to be looking for are VST - Virtual Studio Technology - instruments. The good DAW's all let you use VST plugins to synthesise instrument sounds, using various parameters, including different breath pressure, volume etc. Many libraries are available for free online, you tend to get free ones with Digital audio magazines (often a DVD full of ...


11

Expensive compared to what? If you looked at learning sax, guitar, piano etc., and bought new, as you appear determined to do, you would shell out a load of money with those.Especially electric guitar, because you would feel you need a decent amp., then effects, et al. When you learned to ride a bike, you hopefully didn't go and buy a $3000 racing road bike,...


10

This sounds similar-to (but more general than) the so-called Speech-to-Song effect, a musical illusion discovered and described by musical psychologist Dr. Diana Deutsch, whereby a repeated phrase of speech comes to sound like music. I think the effect you're discussing is a more general effect, since it involves any repeated sound, and does not necessarily ...


10

"just intonation better than equal temperament" Judgement call there. When instruments are slightly off perfect ratios, there can be very appealing beating and chorus effects. Piano strings are intentionally mistuned from each other by slight amounts. Nothing but perfect ratios can sometimes lead to a very thin sound. Depends on context. "instruments which ...


10

Well, this is not an electronics forum, but I am an audio electronics engineer as well as a musician. I'll try to keep technical jargon to a minimum. The HD650 is a great pair of cans, but it is quite high impedance - 300 ohms. That basically means it needs lots of voltage swing to get volume. (You can get headphones in a range of different impedances, 8, ...


9

In the 1980s we had home computers with Microsoft BASIC interpreters that had a "PLAY" command where you could type notes and other musical instructions as text. The system is called MML, Music Macro Language and it has its roots all the way back in the 1970s: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Macro_Language According to the Wikipedia page, some ...


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