|Switch It On: A Juno 106 Synthesizer|
Various software and hardware products are available that you can easily use to create and produce your own music. In fact, anyone with a PC or Mac at home already has the basics for a music studio.
From making your own CDs to podcasting to creating personal ringtones, industry stalwarts such as
A PrimerI've been a professional composer-arranger for many years, arranging and orchestrating for entertainers such as George Benson, John Denver and the "Rat Pack" (Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin) in addition to my own band. As I've learned, if you're going to get involved in digital music, you'll need to understand a few basic concepts first. MIDI, invented in 1983, stands for musical instrument digital interface. It is a computer communications standard that allows electronic instruments to send and receive data in real time. What this means to musicians is that synthesizers and other instruments from different vendors can be connected together and all be played at the same time. Pretty much every PC or Mac made today has a sound card built in; if you get serious about digital music, you'll want to buy a specialized digital audio card, such as those made by
Composition SoftwareA simple choice for Mac users is Apple's
Notation SoftwareFor centuries, composers used lined manuscript paper and a pencil to write out parts for each instrument. Not all instruments play the same notes at the same time, and not all instruments are in the same key, so each part had to be written by hand.
|In The Days Before Digital|
|Photo: Wendy Carlos|
Recording SoftwareFor songwriting, studio production, live performance, post-production and mixing, software has replaced the big recording studio; even the pros now often record directly into a laptop. There are lots of music recording packages that are accessible for the beginner or hobbyist, delivering a range of features to help you to write a song and burn a CD or MP3 file.
Keys to CreativityThe digital keyboard arena is dominated by Yamaha and Casio, with
Power ChordsOver the last several decades, the guitar has remained an purely analog device, with pickups translating string vibrations into an electric signal sent to an amplifier. However, if you want to plug your guitar directly into your computer you'll need a preamp to boost the signal. You might get an external interface that combines a soundcard and preamp and connects to the USB port, such as the
|Line 6 Variax|
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