Sacred Music for a Sacred Space

St George from Choir Loft

Sunday afternoon the Greenville Chorale Chamber Ensemble presented its annual concert at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The concert was entitled “Sacred Music for a Sacred Space” and featured sacred music by contemporary composers. The pairing of music with venue was well-planned, and somewhat modeled the liturgy that might be followed in a traditional service.

Saturday morning we had our dress rehearsal in the cathedral, and I brought along my camera to get a few shots of the interior. I started with exterior shots…

St George Exterior 1

…then moved to the interior to photograph the stunning mosaics above the altar.

St George Interior 1

St George Interior 3

St George Interior 2 Continue reading “Sacred Music for a Sacred Space”

iPad as Effects Processor

Bell Sound Waves 1

So far we’ve looked at iOS devices as digital audio workstations, notation readers and scorers, and as musical synthesizers. This time we’re going to take a look at the devices as effects processors.

The phrase “effects processor” is a catch-all term that refers to just about any way that sound is manipulated before its amplified, recorded, etc.  This could be as basic as adding reverberation to make it sound like your in a large auditorium instead of a small recording studio, or as complex as auto-tuning, looping, or otherwise radically altering the sound.

Effects devices typically took two forms.  There were rack-mounted devices that controlled EQ, compression, reverb, delay, etc.  Then there were performance devices.  These were usually geared toward guitarists, and included the Fuzz, WahWah, Flanger, and distortion peddles.  Now a whole range of effects peddles can be found.  Rack-mounted effects are still important in studio work, but most of those effects can now be found on performance devices themselves, such as keyboards, etc.

Effects apps for iOS seem to look more like performance level devices, and this makes sense.  The portability of the device makes it a great alternative if you needs some quick effects and don’t want to lug all your gear with you.  If you’re doing a jam session or just practicing, these are great.  I’m not sure how it would work in a studio setting, though. Continue reading “iPad as Effects Processor”

iPad as DAW

Lpk25

A couple of years ago I purchased a little Akai LPK25 keyboard. I was exploring MIDI sequencing and notation input on mobile devices such like my netbook, and was looking for a quick input device. I was sorely disappointed in what was available inexpensively, and I never seemed to be able to get the keyboard to work with either my netbook or my laptop. The keyboard sat on the edge of my desk for months, unused.

akai-LPK25-front_face-900

When I got the iPad one of the first apps I found was Garage Band. It was cool, but the virtual keyboard on the device just didn’t seem natural for playing. I missed raised black notes.

I had purchased the camera connection kit for the iPad, and found out from several online forums that the USB connector in the camera kit would work connect the LPK to the IPad. This started my first serious delvings into using the iPad as a digital audio workstation, or DAW.  I’ve now had a chance to work with several DAW apps. Here’s a quick rundown with my impressions. Continue reading “iPad as DAW”

Electronic Music Primer

moogrc6

I figured that before I dive into the musical capabilities of the iPad, it might not hurt to define some of these terms and acronyms that I’m tossing around. As with any field, electronic music has its own jargon that can be quite confusing. These are roughly in order of how frequently I’ll be using the terms over the next several posts. I don’t pretend to be an expert, and will probably get some of this wrong, but here goes…

Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) – MIDI was developed as a communications protocol in the late 1970’s, early 1980’s. It allows musical keyboards to control other keyboards and devices such as computers, etc.

Even though it was developed thirty years ago, MIDI is still very much in use. Back in the day when computers didn’t have much memory, MIDI was also a very efficient way to create complex compositions. A computer or external sequencer only had to record key-on/key-off, pitch, and duration data. The actual sounds were produced by the external keyboards or sound modules. Other capabilities were added to the protocol, such as the ability to detect velocity, or how hard a key is pressed, and the ability to control various settings on instruments such as sustain, and to trigger events such as changing lighting, changing settings, etc. You could also play multiple keyboards from one controller keyboard, creating thick sounds and tonalities from multiple instruments.

MIDI has 16 different channels, and different instruments can be assigned to various channels. On most keyboards you will find a MIDI in, out, and through port. On many modern keyboards the MIDI signal is now transmitted through a USB port. Continue reading “Electronic Music Primer”

iMake Music

It seems timely that the lowly Commodore C64 was introduced 30 years ago this week. The C64 was my introduction to music technology, and my gateway to the larger world of instructional technology. I used the C64 with a MIDI interface and some very basic sequencing software to control a Casio CZ101 keyboard, a Korg … Continue reading iMake Music

Speed of Lightning, Roar of Thunder

underdog

There’s no need to fear! Underdog is here!

When criminals in this world appear
And break the laws that they should fear
And frighten all who see or hear
The cry goes up both far and near
For Underdog! Underdog! Underdog! Underdog!

Speed of lightning, roar of thunder
Fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog. Underdog!

When in this world the headlines read
Of those whose hearts are filled with greed
Who rob and steal from those who need
To right this wrong with blinding speed
Goes Underdog! Underdog! Underdog! Underdog!

Speed of lightning, roar of thunder
Fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog. Underdog!

‘Way back in the 1960s Underdog (along with Space Ghost, Spiderman, and the Fantastic Four) was part of may pantheon of Saturday morning superheroes. I loved the opening theme song, and Underdog’s rhyming discourse and over-the-top battles with Simon Bar Sinister and Riff Raff. I never did care much for Polly Purebred, though.

Of course, the best part of the show was the theme song:


Continue reading “Speed of Lightning, Roar of Thunder”

Music Nomenclature

I was listening to a new music show on my XM radio, and heard the terms “record” and “album” applied to an upcoming release by a new artist.  It caught me a bit by surprise.   I hadn’t heard the word “album” used to refer to a musical recording in quite some time. I don’t … Continue reading Music Nomenclature

The Keys to the City

Laura had a meeting in Denver, and as long as someone else was paying for a nice hotel room, we decided to take advantage of it. So despite having been in Florida last weekend, and Washington State the weekend before that, I decided to fly out and join here. I met up with Laura just … Continue reading The Keys to the City

Rapturous Music

I’m falling a bit behind in my blogging. I would claim that it was, indeed, another busy weekend with concerts, birthday parties, family illness, and all the other things that go into keeping a person hopping. Actually, I thought about giving up blogging all together since the world was supposed to end last Saturday, but … Continue reading Rapturous Music

Slave Songs of the United States

This past week one of the ETV channels was rerunning an episode of History Detectives. This particular episode had been produced to air during Black History Month, and featured stories about African American history. It originally aired in 2008, and I remember seeing it once before.

In the first segment investigator Wes Cowan visited Avery Clayton, president of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in Culver City, California. Clayton had found an old song book from 1867 entitled “Slave Songs of the United States,” and wanted to know if it might be the first collection of slave spirituals. The rest of the segment involved Cowan’s investigations into the origins of this collection.

Given my interest in old hymnals, this segment really caught my attention. There were other connections, as well – the investigations took them to Cal State Dominguez Hills, where Laura did her undergrad work, and to the sea islands of South Carolina. Continue reading “Slave Songs of the United States”

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