Saturday, 23 June 2012

Music Editing Gap Filled

As might be known, I'm like a church DJ. I guided the installation of a new sound system and have since provided the music for singing and meditation. I get music from a variety of sources: the Unitarian choirs CDs and odd cassette tapes here and there. There's the Clyde McLennan Australian website of organ and piano music, and he knows that people are going to use free Audacity to slow down the tempo and lower the pitch of some .MP3 organ and piano pieces (do the two together and the integrity of the music is maintained). There are numerous .MID samples. These are computer generated sounds with internal instruments and so can appear inside music composing software. I use the free Musescore which is comprehensive. It produces its own .OGG, .WAV and .MP3 output with internal instruments, as well as .PDFs to display scores and .MID files. The latter do not speed up or slow down from the score's editing (as far as I can tell) but instruments get changed, as well as new or lost notes are included. So it is possible to edit inside the composition software and inside audio software. Audio as .WAV and similar sounds better, but whilst we might identify its origins in instruments and voices a computer cannot. It is just a wave form that makes one skwark rather than another.

Imagine if some could. Then you could find a .WAV, get it processed, and then enter it as computer digital information into a composer. Suppose you compromise, like tell it the tone of an instrument and give it an instrument. In fact there is software that needs this initial assistance. Now let the software discover the notes and their length and loudness and save them to .MID. Ones you pay for produce the file result but limit the saving. Crumbs if I didn't find a freeware one, Amazing MIDI and less ambitious, completed in 2003.

It completes the loop. You can take a .MID sample, but it in composing software, output as a .WAV with lots of improvements. Perhaps there are derived introductions, longer notes for a final verse etc.. Audio editing software can play with the sound and repetitions and bring things together. The best to send back to .MID is the clarity of piano playing, but now I can fill the gap. I can get a .WAV to become a .MID and some of the clever playing is retained in incredibly dense and complex scores. You do get extra notes and trailing notes, but the result can be quite clever.

I don't think closing the loop is the intention, but rather having the ability to produce a score from a .WAV or audio file. So you have a nice song, you process it and can produce, say, a .PDF of a score.

I also have tried a .PDF to .MID program, that attempts to read the score. I don't know its limitations, if it fails say when the score is derived from a picture. The one I tried saves one page only trial a time, though you can do it page by page, but I found some missing notes or not giving a note long enough, when the .MID was made.

It is all grist to the mill. I can download You Tube and similar videos and convert to .WAVs, so I wonder which video will end up displaying as a .PDF of a score? And of course I can copy the score out of a hymn book to produce an acceptable .WAV file of my creation with better instruments than in a .MID file.

To think I once bought a computer mainly to type and make corrections. Now the multimedia has transformed use. Small software with specific tasks is the best, but I have much that makes being a church DJ a practical proposition, creating, sourcing and remaking sound material.

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