Saturday, October 08, 2005

De ja Vu

I like what we're doing in the MITC. It's really neat how we are learning to notate music on Finale. The program is so nice - the quality of a finished project is professional and the program is user-friendly. My only problem with all of this is that we are learning the exact same thing in my Intro to Music Technology class! Only we are doing it slower!! I have it right after our seminar, so I have to sit in the same seat for two hours doing pretty much the exact same thing. Oh well. Extra practice, right? Overall, I think this is a practical thing for us to do and I am enjoying it!

My head is spinning

This past week has been amazingly interesting. Starting to learn how to use more and more things in Finale is great; well at least that is what I think. I know for a fact that in the rest of my four years in DePauw, I will be using Finale frequently. Now, I would only use this when I need to because sometimes I do get frustrated not knowing where to get something I need for a piece (an example is where is the slur tool). Once again, it will be useful in the future. Better to learn it now then to struggle later, and I really don't need anything else to struggle on.

computers

I have never been very excited about computers but as I have been at Depauw I have definitly learned to love my laptop and many aspects of computers. While I really enjoy creating music with Finale, I really prefer composing by hand. Keep in mind that most composing I have done has been for piano and has not been very complex. Nonetheless, I still feel that I prefer to begin pieces my hand. I think that Finale isn't so useful in my own personal brainstorming. This first week has been very easy, probably because I was already somewhat familiar with the program. I am interested in what we will be working on next week.

techNOlogy

Well, I have to say I do love finale; it's such a great program and I love writing my tunes out on it. However, there are some tasks (especially the tricks with the keyboard) that I can just not handle. Back in my day, I wrote out everything by hand :), so this is kinda weird for me. But I like the simple entry tool, and that's still the fastest method for writining out music. The real amazing part to me, is when you can save a any midi file you find on the internet, and then open it in finale, and it will transcribe each of the parts of the tune you downloaded. Crazy stuff man.

The week from, well, you know...

So there i was sitting in this cold dark room... No pencil, no paper, no problem, right? Wrong. This has to be the worst week for me. I don't like the fact that we don't do much of anything except rewrite something that's already been written. Re-inventing the wheel? Yes, all over again...

This week and next, we are in the MITC lab. We are learning to write music with a fairly expensive computer program called Finale 2005. This past week, we have rewritten pieces ranging from "Ode to Joy" to a piece from the Magic Flute. Fun. To accompany this joyous technically "fun filled" week, we had to buy a piece of equipment which, outside of this particular class, is completely useless unless you're trying to use your headphones with an amplifier.

The only cool part about this class so far is learning to import midi files and rearrange them to your liking, as well as inputing your Finale file into a web site (in my case, as soon as I actually learn to do it, Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" will be blaring from my Xanga site). Other than that, this whole class is over my head, along with pretty much everything else in the world.

I hope that this week has gone well for the rest of you all, and see you on Monday for yet another exciting, technically fun week! See you next week; same bat time, same bat channel (same bat channel, at least!).

O where, O where have the pencil and paper gone?

It is official...I HATE TECHNOLOGY! While I agree that Finale is useful, and something I should definitely learn how to use, it has served only to aggravate me this past week! I miss the "old" days of pencil and manuscript paper, although computer generated parts will undoubtedly be easier to read than some of the hand-copied chicken scratch I've had to wade through in the past. What's really sad is that I've nearly resorted to calling my brother (my LITTLE brother) for help with my homework!! He's been using Finale for quite a while is able to copy and print parts in mere minutes. How I wish I'd let him teach me when he offered! This week would have been much less stressful. There are just too many little nuances and shortcuts for me to master in one week. I'm not too much a fan of the hyper-script either; it only serves to multiply my mistakes, thereby taking up more time for me when I have to fix them. I'm pretty partial to the point and click "slow" method!

I guess I should restate that I think it's great that we're having to learn this technology. It's something that's only going to grow in the coming years. Prof. Edwards is a very patient person; I'm really impressed with all she knows, not just about Finale, but about to many music software programs. I'm just lamenting my own technological awkwardness!!

OPPORTUNITY!!!

This module (MITC) within our First Year Seminar is an amazing opportunity. Since my junior year of high school, I have been composing and arranging jazz charts, but I've never had the means for putting my arrangements on to programs such as Finale or Sibelius to make them legible. In fact, when I tried to get parts out to people, the copies that I made ended up eliminating notes due to the fact that I used pencil to write my scores. But now, I have the means for using Finale so all parts will be clear and easy to read. Plus, with Finale's amazing playback option, I can listen to all the parts and the chords to make sure I didn't make any mistakes. Although this option's playback, stylistically, is somewhat hokey (like that word?), I would listen to it for just the chord structures, not much else.

Friday, October 07, 2005

MITC Lab

I thought that it was really cool that today we could go online, find a midi file of a song, and then have the computer write the music out for us. It was a bit screwy in terms for notation, but I found it fascinating that computer can actually do this nowadays. Of course, I don't know anything about them--as far as I can tell, they are somewhat mystical little boxes that hold huge amounts of data stored on tiny metal and plastic disks...and break on a fairly regular basis. I'm exaggerating..but not that much.
I'm glad that we are learning how to use Finale because it's pretty accessible and very handy. As a pianist, I was dissapointed in my first attempt at recording a piece in HyperScript (real time), but I got the hang of it after a little while.
I want to get real Finale on my computer so that I don't have to use NotePad for musicianship--simple entry is painstakingly slow.
Webpages are I think will be hard but Prof. Edwards is a good teacher--I'm sure it can't be that bad...

The good, the bad, and the... Well- that's it...

This week has been pretty exciting so far. I've always been interested in composing music and being able to learn how to use a program that helps you create music is great!! Sometimes I find that "speedy" scribing is easier than hyper scribing because my piano skills aren't exactly that great yet, but hyperscribe is definitely useful when having to enter chords that are spanning more than an octave! I think next week will be very interesting as well because I don't know how to make web pages or anything- so it all should be VERY helpful for setting up my personal web pages in the future!!

Hey...don't I work here?

Okay, this session would really be useful if I didn't work here. The only thing that I have learned is how to use the little nuances in Finale that can sometimes be hard to find. It is nice, however, to have even more experience because I am currently working on a musical. However, I have already written music in Finale, saved and exported it as a graphics file, and used it as a MIDI file, converted it to an MP3, and used it in a Podcast. It may become interesting when we work with DreamWeaver, but I've already made a webpage in my first rotation...so I don't know. I guess what I'm trying to say is haven't learned much.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

MITC

Music technology is great and shows music in the new age. What is cool about it is that you can see that eventually music will evolve into an even more computer based art as time goes along. Of course preserving the old tactics and moving towards new things. This week we have done some transcribing, hyper-scribing and every other kind of scribing you can think of :-). Like I said it is new age and cutting edge but on the other side of the coin it is kind of annoying trying to figure out how to get the note to go on the line you want to. I mean really does it have to blur them together like that. Once you get the hang of it though it is definently worth your energy and efforts. All though, pianists have an unfair advantage I guess I can overlook that as well :-).

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

John Adams and Technology

I've long been a big fan of John Adams. I've only been able to play his once so far, my sophomore year of high school, when my orchestra did The Chairman Dances from his opera Nixon in China. Because Adam's style is so unpredictable, organized into tiny repeated units that are never quite consistent, the was piece hard as all heck as was really a lesson in counting for your life as an orchestra musician. But it wasn't just the difficulty of the piece that stayed with me, afterwards; something about its essence really spoke to me, though at the time I could never have named it.
I've also long been an enemy of technology. It's not that I don't know how to use it, or don't see it's usefulness. I just don't like it, or, more accurately, I don't like how it is often used. When my family first got the internet, my sister used to spend hours and hours online, talking to her friends or whatever else she did, and was always holed up in her room with her computer. Other members of my family and friends are often very similar. To me, it seems that technology has crept past the line of its usefullness and has started taking too much away from life in the "real" world, and real connections between real people. The conflict between things mechanized and things creative is not a new topic, either. Working in the technology lab this week has made me wonder where the line is between technology being helpful to musicians and it being harmful. Also, how do we, living in a highly mechanized, technological world percieve music differently than generations past? I've read about studies that show that technology-use actually changes the brain, that scientists are seeing the human mind working in completely new ways as a result of learning to work within the framework of technology.
One of the functions of art is to represent what we know, and by getting it outside of our minds in some tangible form being better able to understand it, and therefore, ourselves. I think the reason John Adam's music resonates so deeply with me, and with many, is that it is so reflective of a technological world, in which we deal with mechanical repetitiveness almost constantly. Even in classical and romantic music, repetitiveness often has the function of communicating a kind of desperation, since our ears expect and usually want music to develop harmonically and melodically in certain ways. I think the genius of Adams is his ability to create music almost entirely from small scale repetition, and yet still retain and quality of unpredictability and randomness.
If you're interested in John Adams, I recommend listening to The Chairman Dances from Nixon in China, as well as his piece for piano and orchestra entitled Century Roles. It may also be worthwhile to read some reviews of his newest opera, Doctor Atomic, which opened only last week in California.
>Emily

Sunday, October 02, 2005

fun stuff

I really enjoyed hearing everyone perform this week. I enjoyed being able to witness so much talent in such a small group of people. The resume ended up being much easier of a task than I had forseen so that was nice as well. I think that creating this resume will help me a lot for when I create resumes in the future. I can't wait to hear everyone perform at different times throughout the year and our next years at DePauw.