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Your PC Is An Awesome Singer... If You Let It!
As an amateur songwriter, who struggles with a computer far from powerful enough to run the necessary software to record vocals of good quality, I have looked for good solutions. And I've found a few.
In a short while you will hear songs that are totally computer made ? including the vocals. Yamaha made the technology, and licensed it to various companies. Vocaloid is the name ? remember it if you like music!
I have had the pleasure of testing Leon, the Virtual Soul Vocalist, from www.zero-g.co.uk.
The complexity hid behind the seemingly simplistic interface is astonishing. I hardly had to look at the manual at all while exploring ? quite atypical for music software.
You draw your vocals using the mouse, and then add lyrics on top. Then, add harmonics, vibrato, attack etc. as you want, tweak the phonemes (your words are automatically converted, and you can edit them as you wish using the reference guide in the manual) and go. Record the vocals as WAV and import them into your favourite sequencer to add music, or use the program as a VST plugin.
On their site, Zero-G describes Leon:LEON is a virtual male soul vocalist modelled on a real professional singer, and when he is installed into your PC he will literally allow you to create singing of superb quality and realism. LEON will sing ANY words you ask him to in English - literally anything - be they beautiful lyrics or comical trivialities, Monteverdi madrigals or manic chants. You can create vocal tracks of soulful singing in any lyrics you want. You just type in lyrics, and synthesize. Then add expression to taste. LEON is under your total control, and the really mind-blowing thing is - he can truly sound like a professional singing voice. With very little practice the results you get from LEON will completely fool your friends - they will believe they are listening to a real singer performing. The question you will hear will always be "WHO is that?", and not "What is that?".
I quite agree. Leon is astonishing. You need a powerful PC to run the Vocaloid programs. My 1 Mhz AMD Athlon with 512 Mb RAM had problems. (Windows XP, Pentium 4, 1.7 GHz +, 1 GB of RAM or more is recommended). But still ? I was able to use the program ? and the night I received my copy, I didn't get to bed until 4 am?
You can find a distributor for the Zero-G range at www.zero-g.co.uk. The retail price for both Leon and Lola is $329.95/£199.95/?289. More info on the technology can be found at www.vocaloid.com and a link to raving reviews in various magazines and newspapers (among them one from the New York Times titled Could I Get That Song in Elvis, Please?) are linked to from both sites.
I am now about to enter the vocals for one of my songs using Leon. Gotta go. Drop by www.haakon.nu to listen to the results!
Band in a Box is the perfect companion to these plugins. Enter your chords, select the style (from hardrock to soft ballads and classic Mozart) and generate your music. Read more at www.bandinabox.com and buy it for $88 ($249 for the MegaPAK with a multitude of styles). BiaB 2005 also allows you to record vocals and to harmonize them ? in addition to a great variety of other features. If you wish, you can have BiaB 2005 create your whole song.
Haakon Rian Ueland is a former columnist of the Mensa International Journal, where this article was first published. smartsoftware.org is dedicated to various Cellphones and to his column.You can contact him at hueland (at) gmail (dot) com.
This article is designed to help anyone to enjoy karaoke and improve their singing performance whether it be as a "virgin" karaoke singer or as someone starting out on a singing career. It contains tips designed to help old hands and newbies alike achieve a better karaoke singing style. The best piece of advice is to bear in mind that one of the whole idea behind karaoke is that it doesn't matter how good(or bad) your singing is - you are singing for your own enjoyment. The people in the karaoke bar are there usually because they enjoy karaoke too, so it is not expected that you perform like the next American/Pop Idol. In fact some of the most boring karaoke nights I have been to have been spent watching a succession of pretty decent singers. If I wanted that I would go and see a show.
How to Buy an Electric Guitar Online
With the increased proliferation of online guitar and musical equipment stores, as well as the lower prices and greater selection that these stores generally offer, most people are now turning to the internet to help them make their guitar purchases. Shopping online is simpler and more convenient than shopping in a store and, since all major guitar manufacturers have good websites, product information and specs are more easily accessible online than they are simply by asking a salesperson in a store.
Creating Your Own Unique Music
Have you ever dreamed of penning your own compositions? Writing music has been a dream of mine for the longest time. And it's a dream I am fortunate enough to have realized.
Celtic Music: The Japanese Connection
My friend, guitarist Brian Hughes, toured with the Chieftain's in Japan as an opening act with Loreena McKennitt. He then went on to perform with the Chieftains in North America and Europe when they were promoting their album Santiago. In Japan they played about ten shows between Tokyo and Osaka, mainly at soft seat classical concert halls. The seating ranged from 1500 to 4000 capacity. They were booked through the agent Plankton who specializes in Celtic music. Although the audiences were enthusiastic Brian felt that Celtic music was still a niche market in Japan.
10 Top Reasons You Should Learn to Play Chord Piano
There are roughly umpteen zillion reasons why you should learn enough chords to be able to "chord a song" at the piano. By "chord a song", I mean the ability to play 3 or 4 chords on the piano in some sort of rhythm while you or someone else sings the tune. To do this, you don't need to be a Van Cliburn; all you need to do is learn a few basic chords and be able to more back and forth between them in some organized rhythmic pattern. For example, did you realize that all of these songs (and hundreds more) can be sung or played with just 3 chords?
New Age Music - What Is It Good For?
Let's face it. The world will not end if there isn't another new age music CD on the market. So why bother? Why play when most people don't care or want to hear the kind of music you like? The answer lies in the nature of art itself, for the world really does not need art. It can survive without painting, sculpture or music. It can survive, but it would be a pretty dreary place.
Why Play Guitar?
As a full-time guitar instructor, I am constantly faced with people in all walks of life who, for all different kinds of reasons, believe that playing the guitar will add something to their lives. Most people that are just starting the guitar for the first time are young (pre-university) although certainly not all. One of my favorite students last year was a 65-year-old retiree who wanted to learn enough to be able to start a bar band with his friends.
Fiddle Tab Makes Learning Fiddle Fast and Easy
Learning fiddle tab is so intuitive and so easy that a student picks it up in five minutes. This is true even for five-year-olds.
Guitar Performance - Make The Most of It!
Getting ready for any type of guitar performance can be a little scary at first, but if you are well prepared, you will find the experience much easier to handle. Whether you're playing with a band, or by yourself; are a seasoned performer, or a rookie; there are several things you can do to make the most of your performance. First and foremost, realize that you are not the first one on the block to ever feel jittery about playing your guitar in public. It's a common experience among musicians, and being a little nervous can even work in your favor.
Writing Hit Songs
There are a lot of factors to writing a hit song. First, you should focus on writing a good song. Once you've done that, you are not far away from writing a hit.Like most other things in life, it takes persistence, patience, drive, knowledge, belief and maybe some luck.Stop and think about your favorite songs. Really analyze them and figure out what it is that you like about those songs.Different factors may come to play here. Maybe it is the good beat, lyrics that hit home, a beautiful melody, something spiritual or patriotic, or maybe even that it is humorous.If you include one of these elements in your songwriting you are well on your way. If you combine two or more of these elements, you may have yourself a hit.A Good BeatRhythm is important in music. I have to laugh and think of Jerry Van Dyke on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" years ago trying to play the banjo and sing, "I've got rhy-rhy-thm, I've got mah-mah-music..."But, unless you are very funny like Jerry Van Dyke, your audience is not very likely to stay with you. Your music not only needs to have a good beat, but must fit the genre of music you are trying to write. A Metallica beat in a George Strait type song may not get you very far. A song with a good enough beat might be a hit even with no melody and no lyrics. Remember "Green Onions?"Along with the beat is the tempo. Country music is easy to write (I did not say it is easy to write well) because it is about people's lives and everyday experiences. However, too often people write slow songs for country music, when in fact the industry is starving for upbeat country material like "Country Roads" and "Rocky Top." It is much harder to write a good up-tempo country song than it is a tear jerker.Lyrics in popular music can range from broken relationships to political issues, and just about any point in between. Those that tend to be the most popular are about situations you and I may encounter in our everyday lives; "Workin' 9 To 5," "I Just Called To Say I Love You," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "God Bless The USA" (which ingeniously incorporates spiritual, political and patriotic views).A beautiful or interesting melody can get you into the ranks of hit songwriter with no lyrics required. Going back in time to prove a point about beautiful melodies, you might consider songs like "Last Date" and "Sleepwalk."Songs with great melody lines are very easy to be found in many hit TV show themes like "Peter Gunn," "Hawaii 5-0," along with many of the 60's surfer songs like "Wipe Out."Well done humorous songs usually find an audience, such as Ray Stevens "The Streak," and Jerry Reeds "She Got The Goldmine, I Got The Shaft." If you have a knack for both humor and music, you might make a fortune.Spiritual and patriotic songs, if they are well done and come out at the right time, are easy hits. Every time the U.S. gets involved in any type of world conflict, the songwriters get their pens out.Keep your ears and eyes open, and keep a shoe box to put your ideas for songs in. Every time you think of an idea for a song or a song title, write it down and drop it in the box. It could be your first, or your next, big hit.
Is Your Child Struggling in School? Get Him (Or Her) Music Lessons
This is counterintuitive, I know. Our natural response to seeing our child struggle is to find a way to help, not to add to the burden. If a child is struggling, why should we risk setting them up for failure in music lessons?
Guide to Finding Music Online
Are you frustrated because finding your favorite songs on the net has become more of a chore than an enjoyable activity? Read this simple guide to finding music online and your troubles will be out of mind before you download your next Green Day hit!
Getting Rhythm - Three Tips for Guitar Beginners
If you are just starting out learning guitar one of the hardest things can be getting a good rhythm and keeping that rhythm going while you change chords with your left hand.
The Strange Days (mostly nights) of Guns N? Roses
Kenny "Axil" Rose (Lead vocals), D.J. "Slash (Lead guitar), Joshua "Duff" McKagan (Bass Guitar/backing vocals), Terry "Izzy" Stradlin (Rhythm guitar/backing vocals) and Chuck "Matt Sorum" Johnson (Drums/Percussion) make Guns N' Roses. The group has ridden a wave of success and failure spanning decades, which is almost unknown in the Heavy Metal music scene. Many fans of Guns N' Roses believe that Guns N' Roses is a Heavy Metal Rock band that is larger than large and has a collection of songs and hits not known to the Heavy Metal music scene since the Sex Pistols.
Music to Echo Your Mood
In what way do the kinds of music (rock, rap, classical,instrumental, etc.) change or alter our mood and in what waydo our moods effect what music we listen to?
What All Do I Have to Know to be a Really Good Piano Player?
Many students ask me a question that goes something like this:"What all do I have to know to be a really good piano player?"
How to Create Interesting Textures
A lot of new age piano music consists of repeating patterns, or textures in the left hand while the right hand improvises a melody. This approach is really a good one! It frees you up to create in the moment. First you decide what chord or chords you'll be using in the left hand. You then create an ostinato or arpeggio that lays the foundation for the entire piece.
Ibanez SR400 Bass Guitar
The Ibanez SR400 bass guitar is very comfortableto play. The neck is thin up at the headstock, youcan move your hand along it well because of thenecks finish. The SR400's neck at the back hasa matte finish making it very easy to slide your hands up and down the neck. Its easier to playthe higher frets because the neck is a bolt-onwith a curve where the neck bolts.
Facts about MC Big Proof
Facts about MC Big Proof"If I was you, suicide would be a way of life. If you was me , you'd kill you." (Proof)Before I start talking about D12's gifted Mc Proof, I would like to thank and to give credit to the webmaster of the following Derty Harry website for the rare info I found about Deshaun Holton aka Derty Harry aka Proof:http://angelfire.com/bxc3/dertyharry/main_bio.htmlDeshaun Holton aka Proof was born on October the 2nd 1975 in Detroit.Although they didn't attend the same High School, Eminem and Proof have been friends since 1988. They used to live in the same street in Detroit.Proof used to go to Osbourne High school while Eminem was attending Lincoln High. Both friends used to skip high school in order to rap together: in fact Eminem skipped Lincoln High and used to come to Proof's school very often, because both friends wanted to rap together. This is how they met:"I was skipping school, and he was skipping school also, passing out flyers for his concert he was having in Centerline. That had to be, like, '88 or something." (Proof)Some (white) underground Mcs from Detroit like Backstab the Kingpin are convinced of Proof's racism. But Deshaun's statements seem to prove the contrary. CDNow has asked Proof how he felt about Eminem's skin color at the time they met:CDNow: Did you wonder what this blond, white kid was up to? Proof: "You know, I went to Catholic school and had a great, great friend of mine who happened to be Irish; we were best friends since the sixth grade. So when I saw [Eminem] was white, I didn't even jump off like that; when he rapped, he was dope. What made us get dope and become great friends was we both rhymed "first place" and "birthday," and we've been tight ever since [laughs]."Eminem and Proof have been real friends since the beginning. When Eminem was kicked out of his home, he would sleep at Proof's house.It is well known that Proof is an amazing freestyler.He won the freestyling competition in the Source magazine in 1999. He his a better freestyler than Marshall, but Marshall's force is in the way he handles his words in his lyrics. That's exactly what Proof states about their complementary talent:"We were both impressed with each other. The advantage I've got over Em is freestyling; I'm the kind of guy who freestyles off the head, right? The advantage he had over me was that he knew how to write intricately; he knew how to put a song together and bring feelings about. That's why I journeyed under him, like, "Yo, show me the ropes, homeboy." The idea of the D12 group composed of talented MCs and sick aliases with popped into Proof's mind:"I was in New York; I had this deal with Tommy Boy that didn't work out, unfortunately. But I just had this idea that we could put together a team of dope MCs, put a lot of Detroit on as far as having MCs with skills. Everybody's solo took so we'll make aliases, like Eminem's Slim Shady and I'm Derty Harry, and call it the Dirty Dozen -- and at this time, to be honest with you, we thought The Dirty Dozen was a Western movie; we didn't know it was an army movie [laughs]. That fits us, army rather than Western, 'cause we see ourselves more as gun-slingers, lyric-slingers. Then the idea was to form a pact whereas this team, whoever gets out first comes back and gets the rest of the group."Proof has always been confident in Eminem's loyalty, even if some other members of the group may have been worried:"Not me; I've been there since day one, almost. I think the rest of the group may not have been there, but Proof has been beside Eminem all this time. I play a leadership role in the group, where I talk to everyone else; Em is like the president, and I'm the general. I talk to the rest of the fellas and put 'em in line and show 'em the direction. It's a family, too, so there'll be a lot of fighting and bickering, and some people might have felt it might not be the way it should be. So, yes, there were times when people felt funny about things. But now everybody thinks back to that, and we were tripping out over nothing."Acccording to Proof, Eminem's success was the best thing that could have happened to D12:"Right. Some people look at us like, "You're gonna be Eminem's group. You're gonna be in his shadow." They don't realize how positive and great that is to hear; if you're in the shadow of a guy who can sell almost 10 million records in just the states alone, great. That's not a dis to us. But when they hear the album, they hear the individuality of each person, how everybody holds their own."It is so true that each D12 emcee has his own talent and ability to rap.It is less known that Proof's first stage name was "Maximum". Proof has always been appreciated in Detroit for his raps and his freestyling qualities. He changed his nickname when people started calling him "Living Proof", because in many people's minds, Proof was the "living proof of the living MCs in Detroit".Proof has collaborated and still collaborates with numerous artists such as Dogmatic.Proof's first released Cd was called "From Death" and was co-produced with Da Goon Squad.He has released a CD called "Promatic" with Dogmatic and a six Track solo EP called "The Search For Jerry Garcia".As well as for Eminem, Detroit has been very influencial to Proof who describes his hometown as "the type of place where eye contact can get you killed" and also as " a city where the sun never shines, full of pot holes, snow and con artists ready to jack everything you got".
Music: Uniting Nations, Dividing Generations
Cultures around the world since the beginning of time have appreciated, enjoyed, and incorporated some form of music in their everyday lives. However, just as one man's trash is another man's treasure, one man's music can often be another man's noise, and vice versa. Still, certain universal aspects of music can serve as a means of communication between two people who have little else in common.
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