My New Guitar Practice Companion; iLift iPod App

Thanks to Praise Weekly: P & W For the Not So Gifted (cute subtitle) for sharing this tool.

The ability to slow down complex riffs on guitar has become a necessary evil. How else do you think people have written out guitar tab for Lincoln Brewster’s monster solos.  They slow it down and reverse engineer the guitar playing.

Here’s an iPhone application that will do just that. No need for a computer or separate device — it’s now in your pocket.  From Praise Weekly…

My New Guitar Practice Companion; iLift iPod App

I always thought that it will be really nice to play, slow down, loop, change keys directly from iPod. Last week, it dawned on me that there might be a iPod app out there that can do this. With some researching, I finally found one! It is iLift app. It does exactly what I was looking for and it is free!. (Free version only lets you add 3 songs in its playlist, but it is enough for me for now) I hook this up with my POD Live x3 playing “Savior of the World” by Ben Cantelon from key of B to G and it worked really well. I was able to loop the intro so that I could repeat it again and again.

It is really difficult to practice with songs with keys that we don’t really sing with. iLift will help you to do this much easier. Try it out and let me know how it you like it. Enjoy!

via My New Guitar Practice Companion; iLift iPod App.

3D Building Projections – light show of the future?

How to transition when using click tracks and loops #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists #WorshipSet

There’s a problem in lots of churches when it comes to worship participation — there’s lots of standing around waiting to be led in worship. You know what I’m talking about.  There’s that 16 measure rippin’ electric guitar solo, the 12 measure outro that’s the same as the intro, the 2 second pause between songs, and then the 8 measure needed intro to establish tempo/key/feel.  That’s a lot of ‘waiting around’ for worshippers who are used to more of the ‘sing only when directed to’ type of format.  More charismatic influences use these times to allow the song and worshipper to breath.  But it’s a problem in my churches who do not follow that more charismatic/free worship structure.

The solution is to turn these non-participatory moments into participatory ones can greatly increase the tracking of worshippers.

Here’s what I mean…

The most difficult part (and crucial part) of any musical worship environment are the transitions from song to song. Once you establish a key, maintain tempo, get a groove, and begin singing — a song can virtually run itself.  However, once the song is over, getting to the next song can be a challenge.  There may be a tempo difference, difference in key, a mood/texture shift, or even needing room for something else to happen (pray, scripture reading, video, etc.).

Using click tracks to create “transition click tracks” can create a smooth flow from song to song.  This means there are clicks/loops for the songs, but also click tracks and loops that guide through the in-between times.  These loops can create a smooth live feel that link songs into a more seamless set.

Worship Set from mymusicwriter.com

For example, this past week we had these three songs in a row.

Sweetly Broken (B)
New Doxology (E)
You Shine (E)

Began Sweetly Broken with the full intro (to establish key/tempo/feel). When we got to the end of Sweetly Broken, we simply played an Eno3 chord on the final word — leaving a deceptive/unsettled feel.  It’s typically OK to leave a song hanging at the end on a dominant (V chord) or subdominant (IV chord) if it sets up the next song’s key.  For example, if a song is in the key of B…the the deceptive chords to end on would be either an E or F# (subdominant and dominant respectively).  The *Eno3 chord played at the end of Sweetly Broken sets up the beginning of New Doxology (Key of E).

*no3 simply means the chord doesn’t have the third played in it, so you’d play an E and B…or sometimes called open fifth

The more tricky transition is going from the New Doxology into You Shine. Yes, they are the same key — but they are drastically different in both tempo and style.  The solution here is to sing a SLOW version of You Shine’s ‘pre-chorus’ in order to denote that we are transitioning to a new song.  This means after the last note of New Doxology, while still stirring the last Eno3 chord — a NEW click track would count off into You Shine’s pre-chorus at a slow tempo.  Once the pre-chorus is completely sung at that slower tempo, another click track triggers for the actually You Shine song.  Also, the proverbial 8 bar intro into You Shine is stripped down to simply two measures of Eno3 vamp to launch into the first verse.

It sounds complicated, but all these transition loops are automatically built into the click tracks & loops available at mymusicwriter.com — so all the work is done.  Figuring out transitions can be daunting at first.  It takes time and fore-thought.  And if you are using click tracks, the live timing and feel are critical for the end result for worshippers who are following.  Minimizing timing distractions and working out flow in advance can increase the opportunity for worshippers to be in an environment that guides them smoothly.

And as for those electric guitar solos or extended piano intros, try displaying Bible verses that keep the worshipper engaged.  It will point their eyes to God, and maybe take them off the stage for that moment.

Here was our line up…

  1. ___ TEST AND SOUND CHECK TRACKS BELOW
  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  5. ___ WORSHIP SETS BELOW
  6. Set 1 – Beautiful One, Jesus Messiah
  7. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  8. Set 2 – September 14, 2010
  9. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  10. ___ END click here (cue)
  11. ___ SINGLE CLICK TRACKS BELOW
  12. Beautiful One – loop and click 126 BPM
  13. Jesus Messiah – loop and click 86 BPM
  14. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  15. Sweetly Broken – loop and click 93 BPM [Bb]
  16. > Invite to Stand
  17. New Doxology – loop and click 86 BPM
  18. You Shine – loop and click 128 BPM
  19. > Greet & Move Table Cue
  20. ___ END click here (cue)
  21. ___ FULL SONGS BELOW
  22. Beautiful One (A)
  23. Jesus Messiah (A)
  24. Sweetly Broken (Bb)
  25. New Doxology (E)
  26. You Shine (E)

How to make an alternate key of your worship loops and click tracks

A common question is how to edit audio files.

For example…

  1. How can I take off the vocals of a music file?
  2. How can I put the song in a key tailored for my voice?
  3. How can I take out the middle section of this song to make it shorter?
  4. How can I make the song slightly faster, but keep the pitch?

Let’s address just one of these — changing the key of an audio file, such as a loop with a split click track.

Let’s say you just got a tasty loop/click track from mymusicwriter.com to use in your worship gathering. The loop is in the original song key of F#.  However, let’s say you prefer to lead the song in the key of E instead of the loop/click file’s key of F#.  This is because your guitarist would get a hand cramp before measure 8 in the key of F# because he’s too cocky to use a capo.

So here’s how you can change the key, even with a split-track or loop/click track.

1. Download the free open source software Audacity. Then use Audacity to open up that MP3 click track or loop track.  The file will open in one stereo track in Audacity.

2. Then, clicking the pull down menu (arrow), select “Split Stereo Track” so that Audacity will take the stereo track and split it into two tracks, one LEFT and one RIGHT.

3. Highlight the entire track where the LOOP is located. To do this, click just above the SOLO button in a blank area on that track.  This will highlight the entire track.

4. Change Pitch. From the menu in Audacity, we are going to go to Effect > Change Pitch…

5. Select your origination and destination key. In the “Change Pitch” dialog box, simply select the key the loop is already in (from) and select the key that you desire to do (to).  In this case, the original key was F and we are going to G.  Once you’ve established the “from” key and the “to” key — click OK, and you are all set.

Voilà! Almost done.  You’ll notice that when you click the play button — the loop is altered, but the click track and vocal cuing on the opposite panned side is left unaltered.  The tempo is not changed each (since we selected Change Pitch earlier, instead of Change Speed).  By the way, if the loop/click is slightly slower or faster than you’d like — Audacity will bump the tempo from BPM to where you want it.  Simply select Effects > Change Tempo and follow the dialog box.

6. Export to MP3. The final step is to export the track as an MP3 file.   Be sure to rename the file with the new key — to circumvent any rewrite of the original loop/click file.

Happy key altering.

Kids write song for VBS – Saddle Ridge Ranch

You may may think this is a strange combination for a church’s VBS song — but when your hear a candy-wrapper-fire, flute, slide whistle, urban back-beats, and a GONG…it’s wonderful to know the kids were actually recording the instruments.

We let the kids play their instruments and the keyboard right into the computer, did some quantization to help out, and they did the magic.

Enjoy.

Behind the scenes we used a MacBook Pro, GarageBand, AT2020 USB mic, and an M-Audio Axiom 25 MIDI controller.

garageband

AUDIOTECHNICA_AT2020_HI

05nuevo_macbook_pro_oct08

preview

How to remove the annoying “Vuvuzela” horns using #audio EQ

Vuvezela Horn

If you are watching the World Cup of soccer and you are tired of hearing those blasted Vuvzela horns…here’s how to get rid of them using EQ settings.  If you have a TV that has detailed EQ controls…simply apply these settings and you are gold.

A 20-40dB cut at 465Hz and 235Hz with a narrow Q (or as close to those numbers as you can get).

via lifehacker.com

This reminds me of the control a FOH (front-of-house audio mixer) engineer has.  It’s the most important instrument in the room at any time.  An audio engineer can do one of three things:

  1. Make you sound like you really sound.
  2. Make you sound better than you really sound.
  3. Make you sound worse than you really sound.

What does your #church #tech power-up list look like? #ctdrt

I’ll admit it — I’m a list junkie. So here’s a quick scratch list of what we’ll need to power up.  What lists do you keep?  Care to share?

POWER UP PROCEDURE June 14, 2010
  1. Unlock doors and lights on
  2. Turn on lobby PC computer
  3. Lower Auditorium initial power up
    1. Turn on LA FOH
    2. Recall Aviom memory #1 on both units
    3. Unplug Aviom if sounding
    4. Turn on LA amp
    5. Turn on Hearback IEM
    6. Main Projector
    7. Side TV monitors, white remote
    8. Video toggle switch UP on wall panel
  4. Lobby computer, copy announcement PowerPoint slides from Dropbox to Desktop (7 urgent slides, setup slide show, check advance slide)
  5. Four breakers and cupola stain glass light
  6. Turn on audio studio rack and amp
  7. Grab camera from audio studio, put on tripod, shutter open (three plugs, white balance to A, iris to 2.2, level camera, leave wide shot with Sony remote)
  8. Power to balcony LED clock (weddings sometimes unplug this)
  9. Power up FOH (light switch, kill toggle UP for on, test CD in house)
  10. Lyric projectors and leave up video audio channel to test later
  11. Light console to video studio with adapter cable (if left there from a wedding)
  12. Stage power up: drums, Aviom, keyboards
  13. Video studio: see my video
  14. G5 pull over announcement slides to desktop
  15. Graphic announcements put in PC
  16. Test videos/audio on PC
  17. Leave set of lyrics up before leaving
  18. Run loop test on stage
  19. Jim’s mic on table, batts, tested
  20. RF batts, vocal mic announcement mic
    1. pastor’s countryman
    2. lead vocal
    3. announcement
  21. LA check Aviom click and loop
  22. Boom stand with wide mouth at piano for final song

POWER DOWN PROCEDURE…go in reverse