In past columns I’ve told you about my own personal experiences using MIDI files as well as some of my experiences playing for the past 43 years. I’ve shared with the Cybermidi readers some playing and sequencing tips I’d picked up here and there. I’ve described various hardware and software that has helped me with my solo performing jobs. Well, what you’ve gotten so far from me was just from my point of view. Suppose you could pool the information from dozens of solo performers and reap the benefits at one site. Well now you can. Here’s how.
In my line of work, which is a solo MIDI artist, I’m constantly on the lookout for new and easier ways to do my job. In my columns and the column from Dave Gash, we explored the procedure of converting MIDI files to WAV or MP3 so that performers without a MIDI capable keyboard could do a solo job using only an MP3 player or perhaps a CD player. That way you could add background vocals–an option not available when using just MIDI files. The programs are pretty plentiful and often free (or shareware).
The other day I came across a song title on the web. It was a tune by Lisa Stansfield called, “You Can Do That.” At first glance I thought it was a typo and that she was really doing a remake of The Beatles’, “You Can’t Do That.” But such was not the case. It did, however, get me to thinking about all the contradictory song titles out there. You know, where one title says one thing while another popular song with a similar title says the opposite. You younger readers may not remember, but 45 rpm records came with music on both sides, unlike the CDs of today. Here are some songs that would have made for interesting two-sided hits.
Did you know that Clint Eastwood is a pretty good musician as well as an actor? I was surprised to learn that, too. It made me think of how MIDI acts remind me of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” Stay with me and I’ll wrap this up neater than a Christmas present for you.
Last December some guy named Mike was trying to get booked into a local bar. The bar owner insisted that he only books duos and bands in his establishment and since Mike was a solo MIDI act, he couldn‘t get his foot in the door, so to speak. Turns out Mike and I had the same agent and my agent thought he’d be doing me a favor by giving Mike my name and phone number.
Back in 1966 B.C. (Before Computers) I started my own band while still in high school. It was a labor of love-my love for the music of the time and, as of 2001, I’ve stayed with it for 35 years and counting. I’m still out there playing on weekends but the music scene has changed drastically. My original band consisted of six friends with a common goal-to make some music, make some money, meet some girls and have some fun. And we accomplished all these things.
Last night I watched one of my favorite music-themed movies—“Mr. Holland’s Opus” with Richard Dreyfus. He’s a composer who supliments his income by teaching high school music classes in the mid-60s. In one scene he plays a piece on the school piano and asks if any student can name it. All hands shoot up and a dozen voices answer, “Lover’s Concerto” by The Toys. To which Mr. Holland answers, “Wrong! That was “Minuet In G Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach and it was written in 1725.” Their mouths drop open as Mr. Holland plays the minuet version and explains that the original was written in 3/4 time while the pop version was converted to 4/4 time. This scene got me to thinking about how many other so-called contemporary tunes are actually the product of a much older beginning.
Since Cybermidi’s inception more than seven years ago, I’ve been contributing not only this column, but a lot of the song/artist facts you see when you click on the latest demo on the home page. I’ve been too busy lately with the column and my own musical career to contribute to demo descriptions of late, but perhaps this column will make up for my absence. Here are some more behind-the-scenes facts about some of Flash’s sequences.
I told you in the last two columns how to utilize the midi files you either create or cultivate from the web. You’ve see examples of how useful they can be and how flexible a single performer or duo can be. ‘Well, it’s not all glitz and glamour when working with midis. I suppose I should also tell you some of the pratfalls that await you when using sequenced music.