Monday, May 22, 2006

Something Light and Fun

I've been trying to think of something light and fun to write about all day. However, everytime I turn around, someone wants to remind me that my uncle-in-law died last week. He fainted and fell down a flight of stairs and was in a coma for a week and then he died. It's been tough for the family since it was a sudden accident sort of thing, rather than a long illness.

So, I'm going to tell you about Finale, a company that makes music composing software. Actually, I'm not going to tell you about the company, but about how wonderful the software is, and how much I enjoy using it.

I don't know how much most of you have the need to arrange a piece of music for a 4-piece band and vocals, but I have to just about every week. I'm not a very good arranger, but most of my work involves taking existing music and putting it in a key/range that is workable for most mortals. On a 4-minute piece of music, this can easily be a full-day's work, but this software allows me to get in done in less than two hours. And it's only that long because I'm an annoying perfectionist, and I want every slur demarked properly, and I have to check the guitar chords really changed properly. Once I've got everything set, I tell it to play, and I get the chance to make sure everything goes together. Tweak a chord, add an accidental, and try it again. It's the perfect tool for the person that has as much uncertainty about their musical abilities as I do.

The really great part is that afterwards I have both PDFs and MIDIs that I can send to the group and tell them to know the music before they come to practice. Anyone wanna take bets on whether any of them will actually open the files before Thursday night?

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