Monday, November 14, 2005

Software to Make Music

It's insane how easy it is to make music these days. For a few hundred dollars and a PC or Mac, you have more tracks, audio effects, and instruments than the Beatles ever had. What used to take a big room of expensive synthesizers, amplifiers, and microphones can now be done with some programs on your computer. Now you can even do that annoying artificial-sounding voice thing like on Cher's Do you Believe song.

Here are some programs I like to use on the PC (though Ableton and NI can be found on the Mac as well):
  • Ableton Live - This lets you queue up audio files and trigger them live, with complete tempo & pitch control, plus effects.
  • Cakewalk Sonar - A complete multi-track music making system.
  • Goldwave - A great shareware 2-track editor for more precise editing and recording. It's really fast too.
  • Native Instruments Komplete - Virtual keyboards from different eras. Sound like the 60's, 70's, 80's, or beyond.
  • Sony Acid - The original audio looping software. Available in different versions depending on your budget. Many of my tunes online were made with this and Goldwave.
Other choices include Pro Tools LE, Adobe Audition, Arturia Storm, Reason, Fruity Loops, and Steinberg Cubase.

For the Mac, Apple's GarageBand, Soundtrack, and Logic are excellent, but there's also Mark of the Unicorn's Digital Performer, and Steinberg Cubase.

None of these tools will make you a great composer or record producer, but a little creativity, practice, and lots of listening to music will help you make original and distinctive stuff.

Harmony Central and Tweakheadz are great websites for learning about music products and how to record and edit computer music.


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posted by Brian at 9:00 PM


Blogger Sagepaper said...

I was befuddled by all the software programs available for music composition. I finally chose Noteworthy Composer as being the least intimidating. I don't play a MIDI instrument, but you don't have to with NWC. After a great deal of practice, I finally got to where I had five staves, each with its own instrument, sounding just like high school band warm-up exercises. I'm not ready for the expensive stuff yet ;-)

November 15, 2005  

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