I have been off newgrounds for quite a while and figured I would come and give a quick update. My previous plans are kind of sinking fast. I'm sort of abandoning them for a new system of doing things. if I want to make any money I need to first establish myself as an educational/performance composer. I need to get out some percussion performance and etude books and start making some money before I can make these bigger projects come to life.
What I will be doing is working really hard on some smaller, simpler, and quicker projects, such as my snare, timpani, and marimba etude books, my series of beginner snare drum solos with piano accompaniment, and some duet material for snare and multipercussion. I will be doing these while slowly chipping away at some larger projects, such as piano books and educational musical contemplations for certain musical ensembles, including string orchestra, woodwind choir, brass choir, flute choir, saxophone ensemble, etc.
As for what I'm putting on Newgrounds, I've decided that classical music isn't really working out here, so I'm just going to be uploading drumline pieces from now on. They are getting better ratings than my previous classical music, but I'm still having trouble fitting in here.
The good news is that i finally got approved to upload music onto Newgrounds! Yay! The bad news is that while trying to upload my second piece, I found out that Newgrounds has an audio upload limit of 8mb, which my second piece exactly fits! So now Newgrounds won't accept that song until it's smaller, and of crappier quality. This means even more bad news because the song I was trying to upload was only 7 minutes long and for one instrument. Most of my works are shorter than this, but some of my best happen to be a bit long, featuring multiple instruments.
It looks like I'll have to take care of this in two different ways: For songs that are just barely over 8mb I'll have to shrink the file, taking just a minimal cut in sound quality (just for the newgrounds versions), and for songs that well exceed the limit I'll have to upload them in movements. Another solution, I suppose, would be to just leave newgrounds for a website that's serious about classical music, but I don't think I'd have any luck there. What a delicate quandary.
I suppose I should do an official update since I said I would a little while ago. Let's get right to it, shall we?
CD I: Ten Contemplations for String Orchestra. I now have a full set of 10 pieces lined up for this CD: however, I am finding it exceedingly difficult to complete them. I know where they are coming from, and I know where they are going, but I can't seem to get them there. I'm having sort of a writer's block issue, I suppose. I hope that fixes itself soon. I've been listening to music lately to et my mind off of things and open it up, but I haven't seen any results yet.
CD II: Ten Contemplations for Recorder Choir. I now have 4 pieces lined up for this CD, 2 of which are older pieces that still need to be arranged and tweaked, 1 of which is complete, and the other is near completion. I also need to buckle down and write some pieces truly for recorder choir. Most of the 4 so far are for a full scale recorder assault, so I might write some trios, quartets, or quintets soon.
CD III: Collection of Challenging Piano Solos. I've decided to split the solos into two categories based on form and style. The first category will be called "Three Hand Rhapsodies." This will be for pieces that change shape often and are difficult in more ways than just speed. There are 4 lined up for this so far, though 2 of them are just two movements of the same song. The next category is for songs that are a bit slower and are more experimental in sound. They have a bit of an impressionistic flavor but are still rather difficult. I have 3 lined up for this category, 1 of which is actually completed.
As another point of update, as I mentioned before, writer's block is giving me a rather staunch trouncing. If anyone has any tips, pointers, or otherwise random home remedies for writer's block, I'd be glad to hear them.
It turns out that whenever a user posts their first audio file to the portal, that user has to wait for audio moderators to check the first song and ok the user, making it possible for them to post on the portal further. Apparently there are too few moderators, they are all too busy, or there are just too many users to approve, creating quite the lag in production. I would be willing to bet it's actually a combination of these three things, maybe even more.
Oh well. All I can do is wait.
(audio mods, don't think I mean any disrespect or anything, I'm just being silly ;] Loooooove you guuuuuys.)
So a few things to update on. I'll have some specific updates later once I get things a bit more organized.
First of all, I changed how I'm going to go about this whole thing. I'll be selling CD's from CreateSpace for a good price, still, but I won't be selling written music in packs. It actually takes quite a bit to print out a full score and parts, so I'll need to price and sell each song individually. I'll be selling them for print at SibeliusMusic.com, and will find a place to sell hard copies as well. Even with individually pricing and selling songs, the prices will be much cheaper than big publishing companies, which is mainly what I'm going for.
Second of all, I plan to be uploading music on here before I get the CD's finished and the physical files of the music polished. I figured I really just need to start getting music up here to have people listen to it; if need be I can put up changed or bettered versions of stuff later. I'll try to keep them organized, though, too. That said, I still need to get my sound sets fixed before I can put anything up here, which brings me to my next point of update.
Technical difficulties still reign, but they will hopefully be taken care of soon, since I don't have much going on this week and will have time to be looking stuff up and fixing things.
My final update is that I have entered a new music competition here on Newgrounds that is about orchestrating a theme. I'll post it after I send the file to the person doing the competition, so that will probably be the first thing I post up here. It will be a tiny 2 minute window into what I like to do with my time.
That's all for now. More later.
I wish I could say things are going swimmingly, but they aren't. Things are a bit slow, but at least I know why. The maine reason is because of drumline (not complaining, though, because I just got my band camp pay check for $500). Bandcamp starts the 19th so practices have been getting crazy with pre-camp and rookie camp and all that. Furthermore, because the durmline is a bit below par this year, I had to rewrite all the music for the snares and basses, as well as reformat the music for cymbals. This along with 7 hr-a-day practices, you can imagine I don't have much time for composing. That said, I still have some official CD updates and some other random ones.
First come the specific CD updates.
CD I: 10 Contemplations for String Orchestra. I now have 10 songs lined up for this CD, however, it might turn back into 9 because I'm considering scrapping the song piece based on a twelve tone matrix and turning it into a short piano solo piece. That's the only real spot giving me trouble. 3 are mostly done, with just short bugs to be worked out, 1 is still being arranged, and 6 are on their way, and I know ppretty much where I want to take each one. The new song is being arranged from a percussion ensemble I wrote a while back.
CD II: 10 Contemplations for Recorder Choir. The bad news regarding this CD is that I went from 4 songs lined up to only 2. The good news is that the 2 are both ones that needed to be arranged, 1 of them is already finished, and the other is about half done.
CD III: Challenging Piano Solos. Not much new here. The twelve tone matrix I was working on for the string CD will probably end up here, so that might change, but other than that, things are pretty much at a stand still.
That's all for specific CD updates; here are some general or other ones.
Over all, things are progressing smoothly. Unfinished songs are slowly moving along, and songs to be arranged are being arranged and rearranged quickly. I'm getting better and better at arranging, which is good considering that a lot of my music is rendered from older stuff. Things seem slow now, but once I create a beginning, a middle, and an end of a song, the rest falls in and is usually completed in a couple hours. That is to say, the first step of writing the music (getting it from start to finish) takes the longest for me, but once it's there, the rest falls in quite flawlessly. After that comes revisiting for aesthetics and professional look.
The drumline collection I started up is moving along alright. I have about 22 cadences to be reconfigured and cleaned up. Some of them are from a long while back and might not make it into the final cut, but once 'm done with this collection, I should have 2 CD's, one with 10-15 easy/medium to medium cadences, and one with 10-15 medium/hard to advanced cadences. I have also considered that I might need to write optional parts for 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 bass drums on most songs, as well as parts for quads, quints, and hexas. This will take a lot of time and work, but as I am not in so much of a hurry on this small project, it should get done sometime next year.
I ran across my old SIbeliusMusic.com account and got a few ideas. First I will be wiping it clean of all my music (of course after getting a few lost songs off of it), and then will be using it to sell individual printable copies of my works. I figure that with createspace.com I can sell a CD and a set of scores separately, the CD for 10$, and each song separately for a few dollars each. This way people can either buy just the CD or they can get the CD along with only the scores they want/need. Then I will be selling individual songs from SibeliusMusic.com for the same price as the individuals at create space. The difference there is that at SibeliusMusic the buyers can look at ever single score I've uploaded right next to each other, as well as listening to each song before they buy it. I might decide to do something different, but the more places I have featuring my work for sale, the better. More on this later (don't want to ramble [too late]).
General equipment and software update.
Still haven't gotten the sound sets configured the way I want, and can't find how to use the drumline sounds I desire. I'll contact Sibelius Help or maybe just go to the technical website and post a thread there (of course after searching for what I need).
Anyway, that's all for now. I'll post another update in a few weeks since not much will be happening soon because of drumline. So stay tuned (all six of you).
I find that things are going quite swimmingly. It is a slow and steady swim, but things are moving smoothly as intended, so here are some official CD updates.
CD I: 10 Contemplations for String Orchestra. I have 9 songs lined up for this so far. 2 of them are completed start to finish, but still have small aesthetic bugs to be worked out. 1 of them is technically finished but is being arranged from an earlier, less elegant version. The other 6 are about half done, excluding one based on a twelve-tone matrix that I might scrap later.
CD II: 10 Contemplations for Recorder Choir. I only have 3 or 4 songs lined up for this so far, but they are all songs being arranged form earlier versions, so there is just a lot of grunt work to do there.
CD III: Challenging Piano Solos. I have 5 songs lined up for this cd so far. 2 of them are actually one twelve minute solo that I am expanding and splitting, so performers can have the option of playing one or both of the pieces. 1 new solo was completed just recently and there is another that I have just finished arranging from an earlier version. The last song I am working on is taking quite some time and might turn into another two-parter. I might try and write a sonata for this later, but I'll have to see.
That's all for specific CD Project updates, but there are still some non specific ones to address. First of all, I have figured out how I want to organize the Etudes for snare, marimba, and timpani that I'll be writing. I think I will be writing 6 etudes each, 3 intermediate difficulty and 3 advanced difficulty. Second of all is that i have added a new project. I have a collection of kind of weird/not so well written songs form when I first started out composing. I will be arranging and adapting these songs to a symphony format, and hopefully, once I'm done with it, I'll have a five-movement symphony around an hour long. This will take lots of work, but it's another thing with which to occupy my time. The final non specific cd project update is that I have simply made more progress on more of the songs i each progress, and am steadily reaching my goals. yay.
Final thing to address! I'm still working on the technical issues regarding sound sets and sound editing of my music. Once I make breakthroughs in this, the way will be paved for me to start churning out cds once I finish some of the projects. Once that happens I'll be uploading as much on here as I possibly cane. I only hope that newgrounds takes to my music well. I don't think I will fit in with the trance loops, techno blasts, and "beats" that normally get high ranks here. Oh well.
My band's lead singer/screamer/lyricist just quit. Our last concert together is July 26.
Needless to say we're looking for new members to join, but it's going to be hard considering the fact that our lead singer was really three people in one. We could disperse the jobs between the other members, but that would take lots of extra work (our music is pretty intense) and with all members having separate careers and schedules we don't have time to pick up extra duties. What makes this even harder is that our sound is a bit unconventional and we don't really have any quality recordings of our music. What we really need is someone who would be willing to really work on building quality music in their spare time.
So we're looking for a new front man. We need someone who can sing, scream (at multiple pitches), learn music, and write lyrics, and who has time to practice and write songs at least once a week, playing shows whenever possible (usually on weekends). We are looking for anyone that lives in the Jackson area of Michigan, or anyone who lives between Leslie and Livonia, preferably with their own equipment and means of travel.
If by some random chance someone reads this and is interested, pm me to ask about details.
So while I was messing around with sound sets I stumbled upon a set of sounds that came with Sibelius. It is a set of drumline sounds from tapspace. This is great news because before this I had no way of recording my cadences and drumline features to audio without using crappy midi sounds that sound absolutely nothing like tenors, snares, basses, or cymbals. In short, I can now release a bunch of quality drumline CD's and put a bunch of drumline songs on here as well. This is great because drumline music is selling like hot cakes right now, and while it is a "band" thing, it sounds awesome and is widely recognized by everyone as a legitimately awesome genre.
That said, I have no idea how to make these sounds play with the instruments that I am using. When I create instruments to play in Sibelius, it calls up automatic default sound sets to play from. it also calls up default sound sets to choose from, but none of the sound sets I want to use are on the lists of things I can choose. I know it is possible to apply these new found sound sets to these instruments, but it is going to take a bit of digging, troubleshooting , and programming. It should take a bit of work but I know that I can do it with no money spent, and once it happens I will have a whole new world of possibilities in terms of music I can get off the page and onto a CD.
Hopefully this stack of weird technical difficulties doesn't get any larger...
One of the biggest problems I have been facing with getting my music recorded is that I simply do not have the money to pay studio musicians or producers to get the sound I need. In fact the price would be ridiculous, and the sales income would in no way cover any of it.
However, I used to have a sound set with my 3.1 version of Sibelius that emulated real sounds and could give me pretty convincing recordings. If I tweaked with a song long enough then I could have a pretty much studio quality version of the song, though I needed to store two versions of each song (the one that visually makes sense for those reading the music, and one that is manipulated for sound that is not ready to be printed and distributed). Even though I have the newest version of Sibelius and thus do not ahve the same sound sets as before, I set to tweaking to see if I could get the same quality as before. This was proving impossible because the sound set I need to use this time around really sucks.
While viewing the sound sets through a mixing window I noticed that though I was using the crappy sounds, I still had an updated version of the older sound sets I used to use. I then tried to load up sounds from that sound set and it could not find them. This is both good news and bad news. It is bad news because I am stuck with crappy sounds for the moment and don't yet know how to get those delicious sounds back. It is good news because I know that there indeed is a better sound set for Sibelius 5, and that the quality and amount of sounds it has will be extremely helpful in the production of my music, posting it here, and getting cd's made. If I can manage to get these sound sets back for no money then the only thing I'll have to worry about pouring money into will be the copyright for the songs I will be publishing.
Anyway, that's just a little development that is affecting progress at the moment. I am still trying to work on music while taking care of this new found problem, so there will still be updates and the first CD will still hopefully be out before this year is up.