Friday, June 24, 2011

Creating Music

Listening to my iPod this morning, I wondered about what it is that allows people to write songs. My dad used to do this thing where he could have someone pick out three notes on the piano and he would compose something right there on the spot. I was always amazed at that. He explained that music, like conversation, has questions and answers. The three notes are the question and the response was another three to four notes and soon you have a melody that can have harmony added. I often listen for that structure when I hear music, and in today’s pop it’s not hard to pick out. But creating a tune that is catchy enough to make people want to hear it over and over again is a skill. A skill I don’t possess, even though my father is so talented in that area.

I recently read about a new technology designed to bring music to everyone. It’s called UJam and it is now in Alpha testing. This software can help you turn a tune in your head into a studio-quality piece of music, without any musical training. The site lets you hum, whistle, or sing into the computer's microphone, and then turns it into whatever style of music you want, all fully formed. The creator likened it to digital camera software that can help you turn bad pictures into good ones.
The technology to create this software is pretty amazing. It apparently uses the same digital quality that one can get in a studio, so anyone can sound professional. So you can sing a song and have your voice backed up as if you were in a studio and then decide if you want strings or guitar, or any other kind of music instrument added. Or if you want you can take that tune running around in your head and make something of it even if you are not a musician. Add AutoTune to your singing, software that helps your pitch if you are an off-key singer, and presto-changeo, you may just sound good enough to go on American Idol. Ahh, the wonders of technology.

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