Spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to convert a PDF to MusicXML, so that I can import into Notion. I have some melody PDF from Berklee classes that I would like to pull into some composing software and lay down the final tune. There doesn’t seem to be a free way to do this. Hmmm….
I woke this morning with the intent to sit down and learn a couple of Jazz songs and recording a couple takes this morning. I copied the Jazz-Blues play along track from iRealPro over to my DAW and started to record a guitar track onto that. I have been experimenting with rhythms and practicing beat a lot lately, so wanted to try some variations on swing and shuffle and record myself. I have a Kemper profiling amplifier, so get very good guitar sounds through the powered monitors, but after recording and while listening to playback, I was rather unsatisfied with the sound quality.
After a bit of research on Kemper forums, I realized that the best way to resolve this issue was to purchase a sound interface that would take an S/PDIF input from the Kemper digital output. This led me to realize I would need to purchase a better audio interface than my Audibox VSL44, so after a bit of looking around, I found a great deal at the local music store (I live in Tokyo) on Focusrite 18i20. I just tested it and it sounds much, much better. Now my recordings sound exactly like what I am getting through the monitors.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week I spent a total of about 12 hours of logged and unlogged time covering rhythm and focusing on rhythm alone. Most of late Sunday and Monday were focused on the timing of rhythms, using hand claps and foot taps. This was supplemented with some drum time, which I do believe helped immensely. Then yesterday (Tuesday) I kept on focusing on timing within the rhythms, while also listening to the actual rhythms and practicing many of them until I could play them. Rhythm is really the other half of what we are doing, and I have realized that I have not paid enough attention in this area.
Today I am looking forward to starting a Jazz and Blues song list. To start with I have the following songs from iRealPro:
1) Kindhearted Woman Blues – Robert Johnson
2) Freestyle Blues Jazz 12 bars X6 – warmup
3) Adam’s Apple – Wayne Shorter
4) Gravity – John Mayer
This is a mellow start and not too complex, but at least gives the start of the playlist. I will also add the Croatian Waltz to the mix to make it an even five.
I woke up this morning and worked on music for about 3 hours. I did some guitar/song writing for the first hour, then did a long rhythm practice session on guitar. As a result of the rhythm practice session, I think I will purchase Justin Guitar’s Understanding Rhythmic Notation as it comes highly recommended from a drummer/guitar friend. The book covers the notation thoroughly but it also covers reading of rhythms and many rhythm practice exercises.
After practicing rhythm for a while, I embedded the exercise a bit further by practicing drums for about an hour. I am liking the exercises and courses over at Drumeo. Drumeo is one of the online music lesson services that is paying for itself. I purchased a one-year subscription, but only really dug into it over the past couple weeks.
After all that, I backed this up with a short session on working out a cover song by Oasis. Getting kind of bored with drudging over cover music, so have been taking a long time to learn cover pieces recently.
After all that I went to the Shinto Shrine to pay respects for the new year in good Japanese tradition.
Actually, the Japan time doesn’t make a difference now, since the day has probably come for the rest of the world by now. This morning I am sitting at my music workstation and trying to figure out a rhythm for a blues song I am conjuring up. Using my ’92 Deluxe Strat and the Kemper Profiling Amplifier. Fun, but kind of stuck on one part right now.
I spent a bit of time thinking about my post from yesterday, especially when the Kohaku (year-end Japanese entertainment show) featured Arashi. All electronic VSTs and a bunch of pretty boys in super-gay attire dancing around on stage to fake electronic music. Before that the band Tokio was featured, which was cool. I did get a giggle out of the song Be Ambitious though. It sounded like a song for a private university commercial… super corny. But whatever, they’re making the bucks and I am just a mere critic.
Watching Joe Walsh describe his ‘Analog Guy’ approach or lifestyle (or is it a new album name?); he makes some good points about how things have changed in music with the digital age. Part of what I understood appealed to me that sounded like a has-been that hasn’t aligned well with the internet age as a performer. It sounded like something similar to Jimmy Cliff’s performance about how the ‘internet killed music’.
However, Joe made a real good point that is so true to what I have seen and understand to be the current state of music. He stated that ‘nobody performs’ a couple times during the interview, and when discussion of his post-recovery reincarnation, Joe pointed out the changes now with the digital age. He made a very strong point that I agree with is that nobody performs anything now. It seems like a very large portion of music performed now do not involve any performers. A drum machine track is put into a song project, then virtual instruments are used for all other parts, and a song is produced without a single performance.
I agree with this so much that I refuse to watch many J-Pop or K-Pop stars or most music in modern R&B.