Things I Learned in a Forum

I mustered up some nerve to post some works at the Sonikmatter forum. These are from an animated series, released somewhere in Asia. Have a listen to some of the cues if you like:

(Copyright Carmel House Studios)

I got some pretty straightforward and brutally honest comments. Yes, I think I needed to hear them. Being a musician whose specialty is writing for live players rather than working with virtual instruments, I suddenly realized that I need to put more effort into the latter if I am to make convincing mock-ups for film scores or whatever.

I posted the link here because this can be very beneficial for those who are beginning to work with virtual orchestras.

Visit the forum topic here

Musically, there was nothing wrong with the pieces, but the mockups do sound very MIDI, and not at all real. There is still so much more for me to learn with regard to MIDI orchestration, and though I did get some experience during the past few years, I am still a newbie at this.

If you read the advice, I guess deep down I knew I needed to work on those things, but many other projects needed attention at the time, so I wasn't able to improve on the mockups anymore. (Stop making excuses...) Most of my gigs are for live players. Still, working with a virtual orchestra is an art which I'd like very much to improve on.

Next thing I want to know is if there is an efficient way to automate samples using Logic, with the samples all residing in external PC's and their own standalone samplers - Gigastudio and Kontakt. As of now, I haven't stumbled upon an intuitive workaround. There are ways to do it but they're not that straightforward. Hmm. Maybe I need to buy new gear?

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Books I Have Read This Year

These are books I've finished this year. These are a lot, for me, considering I barely have time these days. I've managed to sneak in reading time during car trips, while waiting in line, before bedtime, and in-between arranging and orchestrating.

(Click on pics for more info about the books)

twilight series Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. Four books. I am now a fan of Stephenie Meyer's storytelling, stories, and characters, after reading these. If you like Twilight, it's very hard to put it down once you've started. But if you hate it, I doubt if anyone can convince you to read the whole series. Looking for a certified page-turner, with lots of romance, and vampires and such, get into these. I was sure that they were written for girls and women only, but then witnessed my husband enjoying the stories too. Though I won't go so far as to characterize these as great writing, it's really great storytelling.

wuthering heightsWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I picked up the book (or rather, the ebook) because it was mentioned a lot in Twilight's Eclipse. It piqued my curiosity about these "dark characters". I loved the book, the cadences and pacing of old English - even the maidservants spoke in a tongue that sounds regal to these ears - and I liked the story and development. It's mostly dark and understated, which I enjoyed especially after a long hectic day.

pride and prejudicePride and Prejudice. Even watched the movie. I liked the book better than the movie. It has a good story, although it isn't story-driven, but more dialogue-driven. I believe that the witty exchanges make this book a masterpiece. This is one of England's best-loved literary pieces of all time. Also, something I plan on reading again.

everything's eventualEverything's Eventual, short story collection by Stephen King. These stories are strange and border on the horrifying, but are good for readers like me who like a bit of strangeness but not extreme horror (I can scare myself enough with my own imagination at night without the gruesome horror stories, thank you very much). This collection includes 1408, which was turned into a movie, and an excerpt from The Dark Tower. Stephen King writes fiction like no one else, and I'd say if you like fiction, missing out on Stephen King is missing out on a lot. He has a lot of non-horror fiction stories (Shawshank Redemption, Hearts in Atlantis, etc.)

nodame4nodame5nodame7nodame6Nodame Cantabile series by Tomoko Ninomiya, books 4-7. My favorite manga. These comicbooks revolve around music students and musicians, specifically orchestra musicians. The main character, Megumi Noda, is an extremely talented piano player with a twist: she can only play everything in a Cantabile style. Also she is very messy, disorganized, and all in all is an oddball. She is in love with the budding orchestra conductor, Shinichi Chiaki. I love the illustrations, the dialogue (although I am very sure it is much better in Japanese),

gs1gs6gs3gs2gs4gs5Griffin and Sabine Series by Nick Bantock. Six books. Jaja lent these to me (and I haven't returned them yet because Dex wants to read them). These are collections of letters and postcards sent from one character to another. I think these would be a great series to own. And I really enjoyed this series because of the rich artwork and unique story. I've read the whole series twice, and I'd read it again, to fully appreciate the artwork.

the hostThe Host by Stephenie Meyer. While Twilight is about Vampires, this one is about Aliens. While the sci-fi is not as compelling or as thorough as Michael Crichton's, again, this one is a great story. It was hard to put down my Treo (again, I read this in ebook form) once I started. Tear-jerking in some moments, too.

the namesakeThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. The young author is fast becoming one of my favorite authors of all time. Her works so far revolve around topics such as settling in a foreign land, roots versus new identities. I love her sensitivity, pace, the way she describes things (such that there could not have been better ways to write it). I also loved her short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies. Both books received numerous prestigious awards. Again, someone I'd read over and over.

I'll just update this post when I get new books to read before the year ends. Thanks for visiting! Also, I'd appreciate recommendations.

(Images courtesy of Amazon, Stephenie Meyer website.)

You Know You're A Music Major If...

Got this from Teresa's Multiply.

The ones that are true for me (at least in my perspective) are in bold and my side comments are in italic

You know you’re a music major if:

*You try to talk to your non-music major friends about your classes but you give up because they just don't understand

*You had to convince your parents that your life would be ok if you majored in music instead of business - and to think my parents were both music majors! I had to convince them that I was really, really serious about it

*You're pretty sure you're probably going to be kind of broke for the rest of your life because you majored in something you actually liked - yes and I'm still ready to be if it comes to that

*You’ve ever had to sing to yourself in class to understand the point the teacher was trying to make

*Someone’s cell phone goes off in class and people try to name the interval, including the professor

*You took more semesters of keyboarding than you can count, and you STILL can't play the piano

*You're pretty sure it's going to take you more than four years to graduate college

*Everybody in your department knows everyone else, if not by name then at least by face and instrument

*Two people in your department start dating, and it’s all anyone can talk about for the next week - and I was even rumored to be dating guys I didn't date... too many times!

*You’ve ever turned down a good time because you had to practice - but many times, practicing/writing music IS the good time Happy

*You actually know what “juries" mean, and no, it has nothing to do with the law - NO I DON'T KNOW WHAT "JURIES" IS

*Recital attendance credit will be the death of you

*You actually have some classical music and show tunes on your iPod

*You know the difference in between baroque, classical, and romantic music, and that Beethoven did not write all three - But didn't Beethoven's music kind of overlap in these three?

*You know the beauty of manuscript of paper, one packet can last you for years - one packet didn't last me for long... Compo majors kami eh

*Your reputation has become defined by your instrument or voice part

*You understand there is a silent war between the vocalists and the instrumentalists - or many times it's between composers and performers

*You've wondered if God created more than one semester of music theory simply to torture you - I loved theory (but can't remember half of it now)

*Your classes are randomly interrupted by the sound of someone loudly practicing down the hallway - although I seldom thought of them as interruptions. Come on, it's a music school! Practice comes first!

*Someone says the words “sight-singing and ear training" and you feel a sudden urge to cry
*Even if you try to stay under the radar, most of the professors in your department actually know who you are

*You decided to skip one your classes for the day, so you had to skip them all. They were all in the music building and you would get caught by the professor who’s class you were skipping

*You have more than one class with the same professor on the same day

*You've ever turned a pop song into an opera or classical piece

*You get excited when key modulations occur - only if they're done in good taste

*You know what a key modulation is

*You've ever had to write a paper that was more than five pages long on a freakin piece of music

*You feel like less of a musican just because you'll be getting a B.A. in Music instead of a B.M. in whatever - I got a B.M. but it does not make me feel "more" of a musician

*You understood what that just meant

*You're brave enough to eat lunch in the music building when you're skipping a music class to eat your lunch. You don't know where else to go.

*You've pretty much been in classes with all the same people since your freshman year - at least till third year

*You would count your private instructor as one of the people who know you best in this world - not really. But they have more insight into some important things about me that don't occur to others

*You've been in music history for a few semesters now and you still haven't bought those NAWM cds - eh ang mahal nun para sa student! Pag-iipunan ko yan pramis (gotta get the anthology). I still have the cassette tapes I copied from the library though.

*You know what NAWM means - no I had to google to learn the abbreviation.

*Sometimes you pretty much hate making music, but it's such a part of you that you know you're not changing your major

*You’ve ever gotten dressed, slept, or gotten busy in the music building

*You could consider the music building as one of your residencies - at that time, yes

*When you tell people you're a music major they give you a sceptic look and ask "What do you plan on doing with that . . . teaching?" If you say no, they look kind of sad for you - more commonly: People ask you WHY you need to study music in the first place, di ba basta may talent ka, ok na yun?

*You keep catching yourself randomly conducting music, even if it's "Money Maker" or "Bye Bye Bye" - yes even if I have bad conducting skills

*You've ever laughed at a really corny joke that used a musical term - Michael Williams's unintended SPORTS SANDO joke

*You've ever MADE a really corny joke that used a musical term, then actually laughed at your own stupid joke

*Meter changes in pop music make you cheer - if done in good taste

*You even realize a pop song just had a meter change

*The most common pick-up lines you hear are "You want to play a duet sometime?" and "Do you need an Aural Skills tutor?"

* You associate Beethoven Symphonies with certain moods during your day

* You laugh when TV ads come on that have instruments in them and you know that the person is holding it wrong.

* You know that the person on TV playing the music but rather, Joshua Bell, or YO-yo ma dubbed over the person. - exaj naman Joshua Bell or Yo-yo Ma, papayag ba yun sa ganun?

*You’ve ever spent more than an hour in the music reference/musical scores section of the library - yes, libre na, airconditioned pa

*You know where the music reference/musical scores section is

*You and your library’s local copy machine are very, very good friends

*There's all kinds of randomly assorted furniture around your department's building

*You own some type of clothing or accessory that clearly indicates that you are a musican: Anything with a musical note or symbol all over it, anything that says "Rock on," a guitar tshirt, and you're a freakin singer! - but most of them end up getting worn by my husband

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