Make MuuusicAugust 11, 2007 at 10:46 pm | Posted in Music, Software, Web Apps | 1 Comment
Back in the day when I studied digital audio, you needed a pimped up system to handle ProTools and make music on a computer. You gathered sounds, adjusted and fiddled with them to get them to sync with other samples, then played them in with a keyboard and sequencer or laid them in as sound files. Oftentimes the great sound would not work with other sounds as it was off-beat and a fix would mean too much distortion.
In the ’90’s, the Sonic Foundry folks (of Sound Forge fame) changed the landscape with Acid. It was a low cost program that would run on a pretty standard computer. It would magically allow you to adjust the length of a sound file to tidy it into a synced loop, without distorting the pitch. That turned music making into simple drag and drop – in a low cost multi-track recorder that handled sound loops and sequencing. Suddenly you could make your own soundtracks on the cheap, easily.
Of course, just like the desktop publishing revolution that preceded it, it didn’t mean you would make good music, but you could make music and have a lot of fun. A number of similar programs, such as the Mac GarageBand followed.
More recently, Sony bought Sonic Foundry and has released an older, lighter version for free. You can get it here.
But what prompted this article is a surprisingly sophisticated on-line program. A web app built in Flash that allows you to design, build and share your own loop music tracks. Its called Splice. www.splicemusic.com
Click “Make Music” and scroll down to watch the video to get an overview of controls. Its not 100% intuitive but is easy to learn. You can start by Remixing someone else’s public song. You can lay in sound samples or use sequencer instruments and click out the notes.
You might notice that some clips have waveforms – these are the sound samples. Some have little dashes. Those are sequencer files that use MIDI to make the music. They store sound data, rather than sound itself.
Its very cool what you can do for free now. If only we could open up time as easily as Acid opens up a sound file…