Long Time No Updates: Here’s Some Piano Sheet Music!

So it’s been quite some time since I’ve written any posts (and even longer time since any of them were music related!) so I’ve uploaded 3 new pieces of piano sheet music to my Music page!

(Special thanks to Iker Estalayo’s YouTube channel for providing the basis of these beautiful piano renditions of music from DBZ Super’s OST!)

I’ve been wanting to get back into transcribing pieces for piano, so if you find these interesting or would like to make a request please leave a comment! I find that transcribing pieces from anime and games is pretty relaxing and helps keep my music chops fresh. I’m definitely hoping to do more of these for the days to come.

In addition, I should note that this year I plan to shift the focus of the blog towards game development. Up until now I have spent most of my time in the professional web development space, but my true passion is games. I hope to share all sorts of knowledge I’ve amassed over the past decade – hopefully something I’ve learned will be useful to you readers out there!

Music Software Review #5: Audacity

 Audacity

Audacity Logo

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

For the last of this series of posts we have Audacity – a cross-platform audio editing/recording software. Audacity is a must-have for anyone working on music, since it makes basic audio tasks quick and simple. I tend to use it mainly for when I want to convert file formats, but it has many other uses and comes with a lot of useful plug-ins for manipulating your audio. It’s not exactly the type of software you would use to produce an entire song from scratch, but it’s definitely a great tool to use amongst your other programs.

Pros:

  • Light-weight and free software
  • Easy to use (cutting and pasting audio samples is a breeze)
  • You can export /import many popular audio formats

Cons:

  • Lacks the advanced features of a full-fledged DAW
  • Requires downloading LAME MP3 Encoder before you can export to MP3 (At no cost but a slight inconvenience)

And that’s it for this series of music posts! I hope that some of you check out the software I’ve recommended for yourselves as well!

Music Software Review #4: Reaper

Reaper

Reaper Logo

http://www.reaper.fm/

Reaper is a cross-platform Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that I started using towards the end of college. Before Reaper I had used the industry standard software called ProTools. Again, I’m not going to get into the details of old software I used to use, but I’ll at least say that I had lots of frustration dealing with ProTools due to all of the crashes from heavy RAM use, bugs, and other things that resulted in lost work. So I was glad to have found Reaper.

In brief, Reaper is similar to most other DAWs in functionality but to me has a much lighter and more intuitive interface. It can record audio, load VSTs, and export top-notch sounding work. I’ve experimented with other mainstream DAWs in the past such as Logic, Acid, and Ableton, and in the end I found Reaper to work best for me.

Pros:

  • All the features you would ever need out of any commercial DAW
  • Very affordable pricing, and free for personal use
  • Usage is similar to other DAWs without the price tag or required peripherals

Cons:

  • May seem overwhelming to beginners
  • Some of the default plug-ins it comes are limited or can be complex to use
  • Mediocre MIDI editor

Music Software Review #3: Reason

Reason

Reason Logo

http://www.propellerheads.se/products/reason/

Reason is a cross-platform music production software that I started using after I began college. During high school I used a similar software which you might know of called FL Studio. I’m not going to talk about the problems I had with FL Studio in this article, but I’ll at least say briefly that I didn’t really like the extra emphasis on organizing your music in blocks of loops and patterns. I tend to use long melodic passages, so when I need to modify them I don’t want to deal with large loops.

The most notable aspect of Reason in my opinion is the sheer freedom the user has in manipulating the various devices within the program. You essentially have your own personal rack of synths, compressors, reverb machines, effects, and more, all crammed into one program. And the best part is that you can literally re-wire these devices to your liking to achieve the sound you want. (And by “literally” I mean actually go into the back of the devices and re-route the wires!) Also, while the default instruments are great (and of course you can always buy more), you can easily create your own sounds from scratch if you have the technical know-how.

Pros:

  • Extremely customizable
  • Easily work with imported MIDI files and recording MIDI via USB keyboards
  • Compatible with most DAWs
  • Comes with thousands of great default patches

Cons:

  • A somewhat intimidating interface (especially for complete beginners, or those coming from an FL Studio-like environment)
  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t allow VSTs or other plug-ins (although you can buy “refills” which are essentially instrument patches unique to Reason)
  • No audio recording capabilities (Although you would tend to use reason with a DAW anyway)

Music Software Review #2: Finale

Finale

Finale 2012 Logo

http://www.finalemusic.com/

Finale is another musical notation software that I began using about half-way through high school. It’s cross-platform and contains many features that Noteworthy has, although I personally don’t use it for much except for when I need to print quality sheet music. When it comes to general audio work, I tend to start with Noteworthy. I would have liked to discuss a comparison with Finale’s popular competitor known as Sibelius, though unfortunately I have only used it very briefly. For me, Finale does exactly what I need it to, so I don’t have many qualms about it. I recommend searching some other websites if you are interested in the details as to what music notation software is truly best for your purposes.

Pros:

  • Great for producing professional quality sheet music
  • Lets you export to many formats such as .mid, .wav, .mp3, and Music XML
  • Lots of freedom for arranging articulations, expressions, etc.
  • Allows the use of VST plug-ins for audio playback
  • Contains tons of advanced features

Cons:

  • A bit expensive
  • Very strict musical notation rules
  • Can be a bit buggy at times