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October 10, 2011

Avid Scorch: An Insight Into Burning Away Wasted Time

Written by Hans Tanner

 

Chapter two!  As you may remember from my last post we focused on the iPad app known as Garageband.  This provided an easy and efficient way for beginning or mobile songwriters to get their ideas out.  So at this point we have your song, which you can now travel around listening to. You enjoy it more and more every day and it’s mixed just the way you like.  A great point to be at but there’s one problem: it’s exclusive to one person… yourself!  You’ve just realized you want to share this song with your friends who also play instruments with the intention of seeing how they could contribute to the components that make up your song. 
Option 1: You gather your friends together and explain to each of them the melody, the chordal movements, the arrangement, the key and tempo.  All the while doing your best to translate for each specific instrument.  Unfortunately you keep hitting snags whenever a particular question arises regarding a part of your tune that wasn’t properly communicated. 
Option 2:  Utilizing an iPad equipped with the Avid Scorch app in conjunction with Avid Sibelius, you create a notated document of your song also known as a score or sheet music.  This score has all the notes written out for each instrument with clearly indicated sections for your arrangement i.e. intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc.  You now have an exact representation of the song within Sibelius, which you can then upload to Scorch and have your song right on the iPad in front of you. 
Hold on a sec… I can hear the questions coming through the computer at me right now.  “But Hans!” you ask, “what if every member of this unique and awesome band lacks their own iPad to view this beautiful score I’ve created?!  Why don’t I just print it out directly from Sibelius?” Keep calm little one.  This is where the Scorch app truly shines.  You not only have the ability to have Scorch play the score for you with the option to solo various sections, but you also have the ability to transpose to any key you want.  Vocalist not feeling the key you’ve written the song in?  Transpose the score to fit his or her range. Bassist confused about a line?  Isolate the part and have the player hear it directly.  Any trouble from there and you can just hand the musician the iPad to see for themselves what ultimate confusion busting looks like!  On top of all this, you have the ability to mix the song on the fly to your taste.  All while staying in the comfortable space you are jamming in as opposed to crowding around a computer.  Gotta love technology.
And now for my favorite part: dissecting what the main thing wrong with option 1 was and how we can incorporate its solution into what we do on the Lennon Bus.  Lets use Math as our analogy.  Mathematics is referenced as the one true universal language as it does not rely on any syntax derived from French, English, Spanish, Latin, etc.  It is its own language autonomous of any region or country that can therefore be spoken worldwide.  Music notation is the exact same.  Having your notated song in Scorch you are now able to take this score to any musician in the entire world and have them immediately recognize how your song is played.  This cuts the time passed from explanation to understanding by a significant degree.  Everything we do in our recording sessions on the bus has to be done in an equally efficient manner.  When students or artists come together to record a song, so much time can be wasted trying to communicate how the song is played.  Especially when dealing with a pre - written tune i.e. recording a cover.  Having Scorch handy on the iPads with the quick option of loading up the sheet music and playing that song back, transposing that song on the fly if needed, soloing certain sections for better clarity, the list goes on.  In the end the result is a HUGE time saver.  And that, my friends, is absolutely invaluable whether you’re on a bus or not.

Below are some pics highlighting various functions of the app.  I’ve also included a tutorial of Sibelius should you choose to dig deeper into your musical notation endeavors.  Enjoy learning one of the few universal languages around!


 

 

Next entry: The Theory of Making Music Videos- Part 1 (Pre Production)

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