A digital music composing program

A digital music composing program

Decades ago, there was no sign of digital revolution in music. There were musical instruments and there were sweet music played with the real instruments. At that time, all music performers strictly needed to  perform together.  That used to be a tough time for music recording, since record producers had to pay performers extra for over and over retakes. So music production was costly and quality music production was limited to people with heavy pockets.

A Synthesizer

A Synthesizer

Gradually some electronic music equipments were came in notable uses in the mid of 70’s. Music producers took time to adapt these electronic equipments in their studios since the equipments were not as sophisticated as analogue equipments at that time. These equipments, called Synthesizers, are used for recording the sound and some for producing sounds.

Introduction of  electronics gave music production more flexibility and quality. The electronic synthesizers gave producers infinite number of musical sounds. And a number of new kind of music came in light. And quality in music and sound kept going higher and higher.

After revolution of personal computers, Music production got more storms of development. It got a lot of new things in music. Like Digital Work Stations (DAW) and Virtual Instruments which changed the music production’s methods.

You can record vocals and each music instrument separately and then mix all of those on a computer based audio work station with infinite flexibility. Today, almost every studio, big or small, uses a Digital Work Stations. These DAWs give music perfection and a very high sound quality.

Roland Piano Keyboard

Roland Piano Keyboard

Virtual Instruments (Software Synthesizers and Software Samplers) are computer programs or physical equipments, which synthesize sounds or make sound of real instruments. There is a huge number of available software synthesizers. All you need is a good computer, virtual instruments, a good Digital Audio Workstation, a Piano MIDI keyboard (similar or same thing to the Roland, Yamaha, Korg keyboard, which you see a lot in different music concerts or TV etc.) and a creative music mind. You might also need some equipments like mixer controllers, microphone for recording vocals etc.

Usually virtual instruments/synthesizers are used along with recording with real instruments and performers. But there are large amount of music now which are done using only virtual instruments.

These digital things gave birth to types of music which were never possible with classical ways. Now there are some of music for which you will need 4 or 6 hands to play with real instruments. Another advantage of these computer based composing is that composers can compose music with roughly sounding virtual instruments and music sheet based composing programs and later do final recording with real instruments and performers. And of course, you can produce very high quality music without needing to record with real instruments sometimes.

These technologies gave a golden chance to try composing music to people who could never afford going into music composing due to financial issue etc. Now they can write good piece of music just on PC and show their creativity without spending much.

A Virtual Music Studio

A Virtual Music Studio

However many people argue that this type of music is fake music and music made by real instruments is the real music. I would like to say to them that you are talking same like, when a typewriter guy asks a page/ graphics designer that he/she is a fake designer; because typing on typewriter is the real typing and page designing. So don’t be typewriter age person and accept technology. Still you need to use a creative mind to compose music like you needed before and skills on music sheet and piano keyboard. Only thing less is that it’s in reach of so many people who can compose good music but couldn’t  afford music instruments, studios and performers. (Some old fashioned composer have problems with it because they can’t put their steps with technology though). Also those people need to understand that these technologies have given birth to music type which are not possible with real instruments at all. After all, music is piece of sound which you enjoy; music is not a circus which  necessarily needs to be performed live.

Virtual instruments’ quality is going better day by day, but it’s still hard to use these in final music instruments for conventional music types. Making those instruments on computer is harder than hiring a performer with real instruments. So still real instruments are used mostly in professional productions.

Today digital technologies are integral part of music without which, there is no modern music.

PS – I’m also a rookie music composer, using digital methods primarily.

Rainy Season in India

June 20, 2009

My Village

Rainy season or the Monsoon arrives during 15-25th June all over India, usually. But it’s not being like usual this year. It’s 20th June already and no sign of a single cloud in the sky. And It is leading lines worrying  on our foreheads. Of course fear of a drought comes in mind.

The Monsoon is always so uncertain. Some times its too much rain, and sometimes no rain. There are unfortunate places which suffer from drought and just couple of months after, from floods.

Rainy season is much awaited in India, in northern part of the country specially, because of warm and dull summers. In India, in summers, temperature goes up to  47° C (about 116°F). There’s a deadly warm wind blowing whole day as well, which is called “Loo” in North and West of India. And daytime in summer means try to be indoors. South and east India are luckier that west and north India in case of getting rain.

After 3 months of hot summer, when the rain drops touch the ground, it naturally feels like life is back. Environment goes greener and greener.  And this is start of the season of festivals of Hinduism. For 3 months of summer, farmers have nothing to do but rainy brings them back to their job and this is start of new academic year in schools and colleges.

This is time of celebration and joy. With a lush green environment. And beginning of a series of Hindu festivals and occasions one after another.  My city, Banaras (or Benares or Varanasi), one of most sacred place for Hinduism and Buddhism, enjoys this season a lot. Saavan (or Sraavan) month according to the Hindu calendar is dedicated to Hindu deity Shiv. And Banaras is city dedicated to Shiv. The city is buzzed while month with religious activitis and fairs. The month of Saavan is seen a month of romance as well.Me

The next month Bhaado (Or Bhadrpad) gets heavy rain too. And the series of religious festival is continued in this month also. Before the month Saavan, there is month Aasaarh which is beginning of the monsoon. Aasaarh get heavy rain which fulfils the earth with water.

After Bhaado, it’s almost end of this season with some rain. Then country prepares for the winters.

The rainy season can be said the most important season for India; since it decides how much rain different parts of the country gets. Some places have drought, some places have floods, and some places have both in same year. Monsoon is responsible for deciding the fate of farmers here because agriculture is so much depended on monsoon. So this season decides if farmers are going to have good year or bad. In north and west India, most of the rain of whole year comes in this season and rest of year can be quite dry. So water sources has to be filled in this season as well. That’s why I’m this much eager to have rain.

while writing these lines, I was really lost in the fantasies of the monsoon. I love the evenings of rainy season when there are different beautiful designs of clouds appear in the sky in different colours. And the little wet and sweet breeze (and something yummie to eat). But alas, I see no cloud outside my window. Recent years haven’t been good for monsoon. It has become more uncertain. And this year no sign of its arrival so far. But we are very hope full. :)

Last year in dull summer, while fantacising about rainy, I decided to compose a New Age music track for Monsoon. Personally, this track pushes me fantasy whenever  I listen. You can have a try too :

I live at a place where people know that Windows is the everything in the computer operating system world. Few people use Linux distros though, but Macs are very very rare things here. In the world, most of personal computers use Windows, while Mac  computers and Linux based OSs have their little shares too.

Personally, I prefer Microsoft Windows based PCs for the most. For it being easy to use and it supports largest number of softwares and hardwares. Most of people in the world use Windows, so help and support is fantastic always. With windows you have softwares which do stuffs what you can only dream with Mac or Linux. And gaming… gaming means Windows. But also, since windows are most popular, so there is risk of malwares a lot as well. But do not worry, there are numbers of anti-virus programs available for Windows. Windows based PC is the best choice. With Windows you have right to choose what you need.

Apple Mac, is good for people who just want to stick with their works, without doing anything extra (or people who don’t have to do much with the computer).  Mcs are usually more expensive and you don’t have options to choose with Macs. Macs were once known for their good look, but now most of people would find Windows Vista/ Windows 7 looking better than Mac OSX. Apple tries to show that Mac is stylish and zestful and Windows is dull,  while with no much games etc available for Mac and with a dull grey looks, Mac doesn’t seem to stand before shiny and dynamic Windows which suppors most of games and fun stuffs available. There are some malwares seen in Macs these days too. Mac is used by graphic designer, video/audio editors a lot. And you might have a try with it to do something different too, because you must be seeing Windows around you so much.

Linux isn’t an operating system itself. It is actually a technology and there are number of Operating Systems based on Linux. Biggest plus point with Linux Operating Systems is that they are mostly free and have so many free programs. Ubuntu is most famous Operating system of Linux type. And It’s absolutely free. it comes with inbuilt office suite (called Open Office, which is very similar to Microsoft Office) and a graphics/photo retouching suite (similar to Adobe Photoshop). You have a number of other free useful programs available to install for free on Ubuntu.  Ubuntu doesn’t look as shiny as Windows Vista/7… but it can. If you want some shininess in you computer like Vista/7 then try Kubuntu, a shiny version of Ubuntu and still free. (Ubuntu with KDE installed is best option, click here to know how to do this). And usually, Linux is virus free.

In nutshell, I can say, Windows is yet the best option for most of us. As an alternate, there’s Mac, but it really doesn’t stand as good as Windows based PCs. If you want all free and yet useful, have a try with Ubuntu.

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US Soft Corner

June 5, 2009

US loves Pakistan

A normal Indian sees USA as an unfavourable nation, for certain reasons. These certain reasons involve soft corner of USA for Pakistan. Pakistan has been being funded by the US for its defense means. And Pakistan uses that fund mostly against India in direct wars or in raising terrorism. US knows it very well, but continues on the job.

No one know what’s reason behind this soft corner of US for Pakistan, while US is in threat itself because of the terrorism. Taliban is the name which keeps Washington always in worries. Taliban, which was once helped by US against Soviet Union (Current Taliban is just a new form of them, whom US helped at that time). And Pakistan is found involved in helping Taliban on some extents too.

The reason behind the soft corner may be the old friendship of India with USSR. USSR was a firm friend of India and now Russia is. From Kashmir issue to Funding Pakistani defense (to be more precise, offense) means, US is always anti-India. But USSR and Russia have always been standing with India, there have to be a natural affection. US might have thought about balancing  India with Pakistan, thinking India to be in the side of USSR. However, US failed to figure out that India, still was just friend of USSR; not a member in Warsaw Pact or any other group and always stayed neutral.

Whatever the reason is, but it can be said a big diplomatic fault of US. For US, it was a lot better to support India and it could do better for China as well as Islamic terrorism. Then perhaps Islamic terrorism wasn’t going to be so strong ever.

There could be more worries for US because of the soft corner. Russia, years back, wanted a group of Russia, India and China. of course, this was going to be difficult for US. India and China didn’t show interest in that possibly because of the bad relation between the two nations. But who knows about the future. Indo-US Nuclear Deal

Infamous US president George W Bush, during his last time of being in the White House, started a new era of Indo-US friendship though; by a peaceful nuclear deal between the two nations, with The Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006, also known as the Hyde Act. This was a good effort to let both nations closer. Now Indians were able to see some traces of friend in US.

This little favour of US for India might be the result of Russia’s effort for the group of India, Russia and China, but it was good in favour of US too. China seems to be good with Russia and India has been always with Russia. So US need to keep India neutral. Otherwise it may be a threat for world peace.

Before elections, US president Barack Obama had stated that he won’t hesitate to attack Pakistan if needed. Well, it was better if US really does so, otherwise Islamic terrorism isn’t going to have an end. Most essetial thing is getting nuclear weapons of Pakistan secured (it means it shouldn’t be in hands of Pakistan). Sooner or later US is going to be in Islamabad. And that will be biggest favour for a peaceful Pakistan and this time India will welcome this one.