When I Need Your Love

Audio Recording, Composition, Education, Guitar, Songwriting 1 Comment

So… congratulate me!!

I just finished the second of two Master Certificate programs at Berklee College of Music’s online campus – Berkleemusic. The first was Theory, Harmony and Ear Training, completed last term. This one was Arranging & Orchestration, where I just posted the last scoring assignment for Film Scoring 101. I’ll be re-doing that submission in SONAR with EWQLSO before posting it here. Right now it’s still being exported from Sibelius, which is great for writing but not so great for rendered audio.

However, the final project for Brad Hatfield’s Songwriting for Film & TV came out rather well, I think. It’s a tune called When I Need Your Love and works as a replacement for Can’t Hurry Love, which plays over a montage in the film Alchemy (if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m referring to).

Thanks to my brother Tony for providing the May-style guitar work in the interlude, and to Ken Daniel for providing drum fills that made the drum track come to life. Also thanks to Brad for suggesting the bells (actually, he meant glock, which I interpreted as tubular bells… but it works).

When I Need Your Love – MP3 – VB – 4.8MB – 2:38 min.

Have a great summer everyone!

Fold Over Me

Audio Recording, Composition, Performance, Songwriting, Video 3 Comments

Hopefully I completed my first Master Certificate (in Theory, Harmony and Ear Training) at Berkleemusic last week (update: with a 4.0 average! …uh-huh… uh-huh…). Still waiting for the final grade to be posted for my last class. It was a lot of work, but it sure doesn’t seem like it’s been over two years.

This term should be the last one for the second Master Certificate (Arranging and Orchestration). Both classes look to be extremely interesting: Film Scoring 101 and Songwriting for Film and TV.

We hit the ground running in Songwriting – the video below is my submission for the first week’s assignment, which was to write a song for a snippet of an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, which I’ve never watched. All week I kicked around ideas but nothing really gelled. Then yesterday on the way home from band rehearsal a bit of a verse melody came to me, then some bridge melody and, before I got home, I pretty much had the whole tune composed in my head. Pardon the ugly vocal – I’m fighting a really nasty cough right now. If this thing lives beyond schoolwork, hopefully I can get my daughter to sing it.

This was done in SONAR 8.5 Producer (32-bit version) since QuickTime doesn’t yet support 64-bit and I didn’t install a 32-bit version of SONAR X1 (which, so far, really hasn’t even been worth the nominal $99 I spent for the upgrade). Drums are Session Drummer 3; guitar and piano are both EastWest PLAY instruments, played/sequenced by me; bass is me, live. I think I got the audio file a few seconds too long (whiteout at the end). Hey – it’s my first time ever trying this…

Video is below (just click). Enjoy.
Read the rest…

Long Weekend – Time to catch up!

Audio Recording, Composition, Education, Software Comments Off on Long Weekend – Time to catch up!

Got a chance to catch my breath this weekend. The extra day off is much appreciated. Lots been going on here. I finally got my music ‘studio’ about 99% finished, work has gotten pretty busy for the first time in a couple years and the two courses I’m taking this term have been surprisingly time-consuming (but in a good way).

On the music room front, over the past several months, I managed to take our largely unused faux dining room (which used to be the TV room / den) and turn it into a serviceable office / music room. We went from this (that’s a close-up of the unfinished bookshelves I removed, stained, sealed and reinstalled):

to this:

to this:

to this:

to this:

Here’s a detail of the denim and striped fabric we used to cover the walls:

There are a few small spots left to fabric-cover and I need about 12′ of chair rail to go over the fabric seam. Other than that (and a good cleaning), it’s complete.

It’s a very lovely, breezy work environment with the big picture window (instead of staring into a corner with the old corner ‘cockpit‘ upstairs) and now there’s more than enough room for the sorely-needed two-monitor setup, with space to one side for my work laptop. Kudos to Patty for coming up with the idea!

Not much actual music composition going on, per se these days. This term I have Orchestration 2 and Keyboard Method (basic piano), so I’m essentially orchestrating and learning to play lots of OPM (other people’s music). That said, the term has yielded some interesting work, posted below. I also realized there were a few things from the Harmony class I never posted, … so here we go…

Cadence at a Gallop

After the ‘Battlestar‘ theme we worked on various types of progression cadences, and in a couple of assignments we (or, at least I) worked those cadences into a musical idea that ultimately became another theme. That theme worked its way into this term in Orchestration 2.

The first the assignment actually included five different cadences:

|| E | A E | A | Esus4 | E | – I IV I IV Isus4 I – Plagal

| C#m | F#m C#m | A | A | B | – VIm IIm VIm IV V – Half

| A | D A | B | C#m | – IV bVII IV V VIm – Deceptive (w/a touch of Mixed)

| A | A | B | E | E | – IV V I – Full

| C | C | D | E | E || – bVI bVII I – Mixed

Cadence Series – MP3 – 192kBps – 1MB – 0:45 min.

This grew into what turned out sounding like a nice little homage to the late Michael Kamen:

Horns and Strings – MP3 – 192kBps – 1.25MB – 0:55 min.

Fast forwarding to last week or so, I did a proper orchestration of this which came out quite fun:

Full Orchestra – MP3 – 192kBps – 1.25MB – 0:55 min.

Why Must You Love This Way

One of the last things done for the Harmony course was a nice rumba tune titled as above. Here’s the first two minutes:

Why Must You Love This Way – MP3 – 160kBps – 2.3MB – 1:59 min.

On to Orchestration 2

We’ve done a LOT of really cool and interesting stuff this term. Some of it has been a bit tedious, but even the activities involved in that have been a learning experience. Once again, Ben’s course provides more than I can absorb in one pass.

One of the first fun workshops we did was compose and orchestrate a short piece derived from a passage containing only accented rhythm (i.e., no melody, etc.). I took the Copland approach here (sorry about the low signal level):

Accent Workshop – MP3 – 160kBps – 900kB – 0:44 min.

During Week 3 we orchestrated the theme from Harry Potter. Since I’ve never seen the film(s) or listened to the music, this was an interesting exercise. We were given the basic melody / countermelody:

and we had to come up with two different orchestrations:

Potter #1 – MP3 – 160kBps – 650kB – 0:33 min.
Potter #2 – MP3 – 160kBps – 570kB – 0:29 min.

During Week 4 one of the things we covered was the different sample types in our sampling synthesizers (I use Native Instruments’ Kontakt 3.5). The following piece, which was written by Ben, I believe, required the combination of a number of different sample types for each instrument.

Combining Samples – MP3 – 160kBps – 341kB – 0:17 min.

That week we also were given a chord progression – no melody – and we came up with a composition / orchestration to match.

In the first, I experimented a little with the different sample types we’d just covered. Might’ve gotten a little heavy-handed with that. And in the second I tried to employ some of the stuff we’d done up to that point on crescendos.

Progression Orchestration #1 – MP3 – 160kBps – 1MB – 0:54 min.
Progression Orchestration #2 – MP3 – 160kBps – 828kB – 0:42 min.

Moving on to Week 5, we were introduced to The Flight of the Hornet Toad and asked to orchestrate it for a workshop. I think this is one of Ben’s, I’m not sure. It sounds like his sense of humor. Here’s what it looks like:

Here’s what it sounds like (on piano):

The Flight of the Hornet Toad (Piano) – MP3 – 192kBps – 539kB – 0:22 min.

Here’s what it sounds like (in my head):

The Flight of the Hornet Toad (Orch) – MP3 – 160kBps – 481kB – 0:24 min.

I’ve since found a better snare roll… 😉

The assignment for Week 5 was to orchestrate an excerpt from Frederic Chopin’s Prelude No. 20 in C minor – probably one of the most depressingly beautiful pieces of music out there. I hope I did it some level of justice:

Chopin – MP3 – 192kBps – 2.3MB – 1:35 min.

Jumping forward to Week 7, we started working on layers. In the following workshop, we were given a melody and harmony, and asked to add a middleground layer with the remaining instruments, as appropriate. Here’s the original, the added layer and the combined mock-ups:

Original – MP3 – 192kBps – 747kB – 0:31 min.
Added Middleground – MP3 – 192kBps – 747kB – 0:31 min.
Combined – MP3 – 192kBps – 747kB – 0:31 min.

Week 8 was all about chaos – not really appealing to me. But we did do one cool workshop, which opened up an important door in terms of making better-quality recordings. This is a piece composed by Ben. He provided left and right channels for each of the instrument tracks (which includes a really nice-sounding cello sample) and we needed to produce them by setting the panning roughly the same as an orchestra would sound like to a listener in the audience:

Panning – MP3 – 192kBps – 2.3MB – 1:40 min.

While doing this workshop I discovered that my level settings for most of the stuff I’ve been doing is set quite a bit too high. Ultimately, this creates some distortion and muddies the overall sound before the signal gets to the (software) compressor, which I use as a last stage to kick up the signal level without going over 0dB. Lesson learned!

That brings us up pretty much to date except for this week’s stuff, which I’ve already done (gotta take advantage of those extra days when they come along). Last but not least, here’s an orchestration built form a basic piano sketch – an excerpt from a Beethoven piano sonata:

Here’s the piano version, followed by my orchestration:

Beethoven Sonata – Piano – MP3 – 192kBps – 711kB – 0:30 min.
Beethoven Sonata – Orchestra – MP3 – 192kBps -600kB – 0:25 min.

Yes – it’s been a BUSY few months!!

Deep Star Space Trek Voyager No. 9

Audio Recording, Composition, Songwriting, Synthesizers Comments Off on Deep Star Space Trek Voyager No. 9

Another week, another chord progression experiment.

This one really got away from me, heading in a Jay Chattaway direction before I could slow it down.

Now I just have to write and produce a new spin-off series so I can persuade myself to use this as the opening title music.

Hey… it’s late and I’m getting punchy… 😉


Fanfare for the Common Battlestar – MP3 – 192kBps – 1.9MB – 1:21 min.

Hard Road Down

Audio Recording, Composition, Guitar, Performance, Songwriting Comments Off on Hard Road Down

Been a while. I’ve been getting a handle on songwriting harmony in BerkleeMusic’s BMW-133 Songwriting Workshop: Harmony with (the awesome) Shane Adams. This week was the first I’d actually put something complete together. I’ve upgraded to Win 7, which meant saying good-bye to the Tascam FW-1804 and replacing it with a PreSonus FireStudio Mobile. This is the first stuff recorded with that unit, which – especially considering it’s about 1/10th the size and has almost the same capability – is pretty darned nice.

Harmonically, this tune stays primarily Ionian for the most part, but borrows the Lydian II and the Mixolydian bVIImaj7 at different points.

The verse section uses two distinct “power progressions”: I IV and I VIm IIm V, which are both in the list of Ionians in the book. The second pass through the verse replaces the Ionian IIm with the Lydian II – actually II7sus4 & II7, followed by a V with falling bass.

The chorus uses an idea that’s similar but not identical to the last Ionian power progression in the book – the one with the falling bass line, i.e., prosodically (Shane?) ‘going down’. The progression is IV IV/bIV IIm V I I/VII VIm VIm7, repeating, and ends with bVII IV V.

Sorry if the audio is a little hard to follow and the vocal is a bit strained. I literally wrote, threw it together and rough mixed it in about 4 hours – that’s two acoustic guitars, electric guitar, bass, electric solo, MIDI drum track and a vocal. *pant* It sounded incomplete without at least these parts. Strings and piano will be added later, I’m thinking, and of course this needs about two more verses, another chorus and maybe a modified repeat of the bridge. Right now I’m just trying to figure out where to go with the lyrics.

Hard Road Down – MP3 – 192kBps – 6.5MB – 4:31 min.

Rainy Day Rag

Audio Recording, Composition, Guitar Comments Off on Rainy Day Rag

At least that’s the title for now.

Inspired by this guy, of course. First attempt at a Travis / fingerstyle composition.

Rainy Day Rag – MP3 – 160kBps – 5.2MB – 4:31 min.

Volo Flamenco – new and improved

Audio Recording, Composition, Education, Guitar, Software, Synthesizers 1 Comment

Hey, I just uploaded the final project MP3 for Orchestration 1. Here it is below – the new and improved version, first 2:30 of the full Allegro for Guitar and Orchestra.

Also linked below is the full six+ minute, guitar-only version, for reference. Might be fun to listen to that first if you haven’t heard it before.

It’s getting there.

Volo Flamenco – guitar only – MP3 – 128kBps – 6.4MB – 6:42 min.

Volo Flamenco – using SONAR 8 & Kontakt 3 – MP3 – 160kBps – 2.9MB – 2:27 min.

Bruckner No. 5

Audio Recording, Education, Software, Synthesizers Comments Off on Bruckner No. 5

Prior to this past week we also had an assignment to sequence a passage from Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5. I held back to the letter of the assignment and only sequenced the melody.

Ben has since provided the score and I located the section containing one of the two examples he used. Here’s my stab at the full (string) orchestra arrangement. A little heavy-handed and not nearly as elegant as the original, but we’re making progress…

Bruckner Symphony No. 5 Excerpt – MP3 – 192kBps – 1.28MB – 0:56 min.

Ear Training: Only The Beginning

Audio Recording, Cello, Composition, Education, Guitar, Software, Songwriting 2 Comments

This week is the last one for Basic Ear Training at Berkleemusic – the Spring term is winding down. As I mentioned to my instructor Roberta Radley, it’s been one of the more enjoyable educational experiences I can recall. Matt Marvuglio and Roberta have put together a great introduction to exactly what’s been missing from my own musical endeavors over the decades: a formal understanding of what I’ve been hearing, musically, all my life. Literally: ear training.

We’ve been doing pretty interesting assignments each week in this course – conducting, singing lots of solfege (“do – re – mi – …“) to learn interval relationships between notes in the scale(s) (yes Bob, you told me!), transcribing popular music to understand both rhythm & melody, recording ourselves singing various scales and harmonies, learning the chord and rhythmic structure of “The Blues” and analyzing some basic song forms.

Unlike the other weekly lessons, our final project assignment is one of our own design. Normally the ‘anything goes’ type of assignments kind of bug me, but here at the end of the term it feels appropriate – especially because the last week or so has made it crystal clear what I’ll be offering: a discussion of how ear training helped in the composition of Volo Flamenco and a short analysis of that piece as well as some transcription excerpts.

Basic Ear Training (BME-115) – Final Project

My favorite pastime has always been – and is still – composing music of various forms, which probably sounds silly coming from someone who’s never studied music theory. Until recently, when I began taking cello seriously a few years ago, I’d also never studied a musical instrument, couldn’t read music very well (at all) and generally did everything “by ear”.

One of the many problems associated with being musically illiterate has been the limitation it imposes with respect to (a) making sense of the original music that I hear in my head, and (b) getting it into some form where I and others can actually hear it. The SONAR software program has been great for that, since you can write entire orchestral MIDI compositions using something called a “piano roll” that gives you a graphical representation of the notes (as opposed to the indecipherable notes on a staff for which I have always seemed to have a mental block). But even with that, there’s this timing issue…

The trick for me in writing anything remotely complex is in remembering the melodic themes, accompanying lines and harmonic combinations from the point of inspiration until I can physically get the thing written down or recorded as musical information. The two times I’m most often inspired with a new melody or rhythm are (1) while driving to and from work and (2) when I’m asleep – and dreaming. I guess the common denominator there is “delta state”.

Needless to say, neither of those two activities is conducive to getting a musical idea “written down” in some form – especially when my standard “m.o.” is to fire up SONAR and draw the notes in the piano roll. Also needless to say, a lot of nice melodic themes have vanished into the ether between the time the inspiration hits and the time I can get to the computer.

But now I have solfege.

Do – – Sol Do Sol Le Sol-Fa …

Parallel with Basic Ear Training I also enrolled in Berklee’s Producing Music with SONAR course this term so I could finally, hopefully get beyond just scratching the surface of the software. For the final project in that course I’d decided to create a production based on an acoustic guitar piece I’ve been playing for about a year or so – Volo Flamenco – which you can hear here. Go ahead and fire it up in the background, and I’ll continue. It’s kind of important to hear it in its ‘raw’ form in order to appreciate what’s coming.

The problem was that although I had some ideas, and there’s a literal swirl of orchestral stuff lighting up my brain every time I play the thing, I’d been having a devil of a time coming up with anything that I could actually build into a recognizable theme, let alone all the rest of the stuff I thought should go with it. The problem is the guitar part is very rhythmically dynamic, but it’s just arpeggiated chords. And ‘cool-sounding’ as those chords were, there was no real melody line to speak of. Until there was.

Anyone who’s had ear training can ‘hear’ that heading caption up there: do–sol do sol le sol-fa. It’s solfege for the initial phrase of a melody that was still echoing in my head at 6am last Monday, as I was awakened from a really deep sleep. I’d only gone to bed 3 hours earlier, because I’d pulled another late-nighter trying to find the rest of the music for Volo. Waking up with music still echoing in my head is normally the point where I think, “oh, that’s nice… but I’ll forget it by the time I can drag myself out of bed, get dressed, fire up the computer, make coffee…” And besides, I was on vacation, and not really interested in jumping out of bed at 6am after only three hours’ sleep.

So while trying to fall back asleep, I drowsily resigned myself to losing what sounded like another great theme, as I had in the past. But unlike in the past, because BET has drilled it into our heads for weeks now, without consciously choosing to, I also started doing what I’ve been doing now for a couple months every time I focus on a melody of any kind: I started “solfeging” it. Right away I recognized “do – sol – do” from one of the many warm-up exercises we’ve been doing in BET. That led to a few more notes… and a few more… and finally I had mapped out an entire musical thought, all while still laying comfortably, half asleep.

But the best part was this… I didn’t forget it. Because the inspiration had been translated into information – because I had an actual “sentence” to remember later – I was able to get the melody written down. But it gets better.

When I say “written down”, what I mean is that – for a change – I didn’t open up the piano roll and start drawing notes one-at-a-time, listening to the playback to get it right “by ear”. Instead, because the intervals were already built into the solfege information I’d kind of memorized, and because working through the various BET transcription assignments has helped erase the irrational (neuro-associative? Patty?) response I’ve always had to seeing musical notes on a staff, I was able to go about this in a completely different way, and it’s transcribed here.

I knew the tonic, I chord for this tune was E Maj (to paraphrase my cousin Alessandro’s disdain for the key of C Maj, on guitar, E Maj would be considered the Key of the Destitute) . That made do E, and do-sol-do became E-B-E. I thought hey, cool, I can just transcribe this using SONAR’s handy Staff View, and skip the whole piano roll thing – and that’s exactly what I did. In fact I was able to solfege my way through a lot of the string lines as well, transcribed here and here (please pardon SONAR’s choice of formatting in that first one).

To be sure, there was still a good deal of aural hunting-and-pecking involved – SONAR’s Staff View will enunciate the notes as you drag them around, just like Finale Notepad does, and that’s handy for recognizing accidentals. Also, SONAR doesn’t understand notated slurs, so it’s necessary to actually enter MIDI notes to simulate those; you’ll see these as strings of 32nd notes in the transcriptions (yes, MIDI gurus, there’s a better way to do this… one thing at a time). But even with all that, it’s hard to describe sitting down for the very first time and composing a complex piece of music by transcribing the notes on a staff rather than the functional equivalent of scribbling them in crayon, “by ear”.

Who am I kidding… it’s easy to describe: it was awesome!

I know – musicians out there are thinking, “yeah, big deal – you scribbled out a few lines of music.” To those folks who’ve forgotten what it’s like NOT to be able to do that without thinking, I’ll reiterate the discussion comment I left the other day for Lesson 11, which I’d forgotten about and Lyn reminded me of (thanks, Lyn!). The question was, “How has your music making changed as a result of all this ear training study?” My response: “It’s a bit like hearing Italian all one’s life. It’s a beautiful language even if you don’t have any idea what’s being said. Reaching a point where one just begins to understand what the words mean is … exciting.” I think this timely experience – a complete departure from the way I’ve pursued composition in the past – answers that question.

With all this done, I finally had the pieces I needed to put together at least a rough sketch of what Volo Flamenco will eventually sound like: click here to hear the first two-and-a-half minutes of what will be a seven-minute Allegro for Guitar and Cello. I’m still getting a handle on shaping synthesizer instruments, mixing, and all the rest, so the synthesized solo cello sounds a bit like an oboe, and the whole thing still sounds a little ‘thin’, but this should provide some sense of the amorphous symphony I hear in my mind’s ear, when all my physical ears can hear is me playing this piece on guitar. It’s not James Horner (uhm… I hope), but I think it’s pretty exciting.

When I first registered for Music Theory 101 at Berklee last year, just to see what the school was like, I watched the excellent series of videos recorded during John Mayer’s clinic there. At the end of the third one, after discussing and performing Stop This Train, he says, “There’s information and there’s inspiration, and I could not have written that song if I didn’t go to Berklee School of Music. That is a fact.” When I first watched that I thought it was just hype. It wasn’t, of course, and now I can see that both objectively and subjectively.

Song Form

In terms of the song form – one of the other topics we discussed this term in BETVolo Flamenco is fairly conventional. At least rhythmically. It begins with a 36-measure Intro, followed by an AA section, that is, two similar 8-measure statements. Each of these contains antecedent/consequent pairs of 4 measures each. This first AA section is the initial statement of the theme. That’s followed (after a small explosion effect) by two 32-bar AABB sections which follow the 32-measure form described in our Lesson 10 lecture: “four eight-measure phrases or statements”.

It’s nice that the song structure is pretty conventional rhythmically because harmonically… well, things get a little weird.

The 4-bar phrases mentioned above each have two measures in the I chord (tonic), which is E Maj, followed by two measures in a chord which – as it turns out – doesn’t really follow a conventional western musical harmony pattern. This threw me for a loop, and trying to figure it out in the context of I – IV – V type changes has been an education in its own right.

Here’s the second chord, followed by the rhythm of the arpeggio as played on guitar:

VI Chord Arpeggio

Ultimately, it turns out this second chord is rooted in the type of harmonic style that inspired this piece in the first place: flamenco. After a bit of Googling about flamenco style, I ran across some comments regarding the nature and history of flamenco. The Mojácar Flamenco site was particularly instructive. I discovered that flamenco has a harmonic ambiguity – at least as compared to the standard cadences of western music. I think this is probably due to Spain’s history as a “bridge” between eastern and western culture, having had strong cultural influences at different times from both Europe (España) and Persia (Al-Andalus). That’s a complex and fascinating subject in its own right, but it’s beyond the scope of this project.

The important thing is that this harmonic ambiguity inherent in flamenco style pretty much explains the confusion I had in identifying what I’ll just call  the “tension” chord in the second half of each 4-bar measure of the A section(s). As it turns out, the flamenco F chord is often played in exactly the way I’ve voiced it here. Notably, I originally composed this “by ear” through trial-and-error, not through any sort of instruction or study of flamenco guitar style – very much like the originators of flamenco itself, who typically were not classically trained. Er… like me.

The A sections shift back-and-forth between the tonic and this “tension” chord, which my mathematical left brain wants to call f(F Maj) – the flamenco of F Maj.

The B sections move to the IV7 and the rhythm changes considerably as the chords go from the IV7 to another ambiguous flamenco chord that can be heard as Am or FMaj7, depending on the melody and accompaniment which, as of right now, don’t yet exist. Eventually these will be antecedent/consequent pairs ‘spoken’ by the guitar and cello as a kind of musical conversation. I’m still working on that, as well as the remaining 200-odd measures in the piece. Fertile ground for continuing on with this in Orchestration 1.

Well, that’s about it. Assuming I don’t discover that the theme is actually unconsciously lifted from one of Horner’s Zorro scores, or from some old Morricone score I forgot about (always a danger when running with something one remembers from a dream), I’m extremely happy with it. And I could not have composed this in anywhere near the time I did – if at all – if I hadn’t taken Matt and Roberta’s Basic Ear Training course at Berkleemusic. That is a fact.

Volo Flamenco gets wings

Audio Recording, Composition, Guitar, Software, Synthesizers 1 Comment

[UPDATE: messed up – those were the ‘raw’ files I originally posted. The mastered versions have been added for that subtle… ‘mastered’ feeling.]

We’re winding down on the Spring term at Berklee and closing in on the final projects. The piece I’ve been working on for the SONAR course (mentioned back in April) is called Volo Flamenco which, by the way, means ‘Flamenco Flight‘, not ‘Flamenco Skittle‘ (it’s a Babel Fish joke).

This is the first 2:30 or so (the whole thing is over 6 min. long!).

Everything except the guitar is coming from two TTS-1 synthesizers (including the flamenco dancer), which is a software synth that comes with SONAR. It’s interesting trying to get TTS-1 strings to sound anything close to realistic, and these are still a little one-dimensional and “video-gamey” to me, but hopefully they’ll suffice for the purposes of this exercise. At least until I can pick up a copy of Kontakt 3 next term (for Orchestration 1… yay!!).

Hard to get a good gauge on the overall EQ. My speakers are junk (I’m shopping for some KRKs) so this is mixed using a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M40fx headphones, which are supposed to be pretty flat. Since 99% of the world listens to music as MP3s through IPods and cell phones these days, it seems a little obsessive to worry about it, but I did burn a CD with the 24-bit WMA version of this and it sounded pretty good on the home studio DVD player downstairs as well as Patty’s CD player.

The WAV file for this comes out to almost 26MB, which is kinda hefty, and since this week we’re supposed to be mastering these for commercial production I figured I’d just post the non-dithered, 24-bit WMA version, which is how a lot of music is published these days, and weighs in at a more download-friendly size of 4.6MB. To be honest, my system doesn’t produce any difference between that and the 16-bit, Pow-r 3 dithered version, rendered to MP3 at 320kbps.

We record, you decide.

Volo Flamenco (no dither) – WMA – 261kbps – 4.6MB – 2:30 min.

Volo Flamenco (Pow-r 3) – MP3 – 320kBps – 6MB – 2:30 min.

Mastered versions:

Volo Flamenco (Mastered with VC-64 “Master Mix” no dither) – WMA – 265kbps – 4.8MB – 2:30 min.

Volo Flamenco (Mastered with VC-64 “Master Mix” and dithered to 16-bit with Pow-r 3) – MP3 – 320kBps – 6MB – 2:30 min.

Alternate version with different mix, EQ, compression choices:

Volo Flamenco (Mastered with VC-64 “Master Mix” and dithered to 16-bit with Pow-r 3) – MP3 – 320kBps – 6MB – 2:30 min.

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