UNME Archive #01

1996-05-09 to 1996-05-14

Trav tripalot.com/travis 1996-05-09

Serverless RealAudio

Okay, maybe you guys can help me with this:

I have some RealAudio files ready to be downloaded and played. The problem is, I don't have the RA Server (I am holding off on getting the RA Personal Server until I get a feel for what interest in the site is like).

What I'd like to do is configure Netscape so that when I click on one of my RA files, it downloads it and plays it, much like what happens when you click on a WAV or AU file. I don't want to have to download it via shift-click and then open RA Player and then select the downloaded file and then play it. I want Netscape to do this for me.

One thing I tried was renaming my files from test.ra to test.rax but when it came time to set up the Helper Options to handle the .rax extension, I was confused. I have no idea what MIME type to use, since the computer I have the RealAudio files does not have a RA server and I am not in the position of being able to modify its http server either.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!


Trav tripalot.com/travis 1996-05-14

Saving Songs

This Sunday was an important day for me! A glorious, victorious day!

I sat down and recorded my first song in 15 months!

Actually, I recorded two songs: the first was a 36 second instrumental that I needed to get off my keyboard in order to have enough room to finish the "big" song.

The "big" song I wrote for my mom (Mother's Day). Actually, parts of the music itself are over a year old. But the lyrics, chorus and bridge are all new. Hooray!

One thing I've been noticing more and more these days is that the part I most enjoy about song writing is the brainstorming/improvisational period.

You know, you're noodling on your instrument, experimenting with different chords and finger tricks and then all of a sudden you stumble upon something that sounds great! And you play it again, and jazz it up a bit and then begin trying variations on it. It's neat to have that first glimpse of an until now hidden treasure.

But then, when your fingers are becoming sore and you are getting hungry, you have to face The Question:

What do you do about your song fragments you've just played today?

Should you write them down on a piece of paper? This usually means you have to break down everything you just played into components. You have to simplify, quantize and effectively water it down. If you're lucky, when you stumble across your scribblings later, you'll be able to play the simplified version and then jazz it back up again.

But there's no guarantee that you'll ever be able to capture the initial, exicting "mood" of the music. And that's the whole point of music, isn't it? To convey and create moods

What else can you do beside scribble the notes down?

Well, one thing you can do is try to remember your song in your head. Try to play it again the next day. Get the patterns etched into your synapses. You'll be capturing the SPIRIT of the song this way, instead of the technicalities like what note to hit and when. And if it's indeed as great a song as you think, it will probably run around in your mind anyways.

However, like most ideas, song ideas fade, lose their emotional impact. They don't really become watered down in your mind, but they do become warped, through compression and decompression. They lose the "moment."

Well, is capturing the moment hopeless, then?

Maybe not. One thing I have gotten into the habit of doing recently is carrying around a dictaphone wherever I go. That way, if I'm in the car and have a brilliant musical brainstorm, I can sing all my ideas onto tape and go onto the next one. The same if I am sitting down at the piano and generate something interesting.

The problem with this is that I end up with a tapeful of whimsey. All those moods, all those moments, unpolished snippets, jagged and embryotic. A confusing collage of 80% junk, 15% iffy and 5% gem-in-the-rough.

So how do you do it? How do you preserve a song and its mood/moment long enough to get it recorded "properly?"

Or is all recorded music second-hand, warped, pretentious?


John Hedges jh3@cencom.net 1996-05-14

Re: Saving Songs

Travis posted something about recording songs recently:

> So how do you do it? How do you preserve a song and its mood/moment long enough to get it recorded "properly?"

Not that my opinions or whatever are worth doodly, but when I'm noodling around and trying to come up with clever guitar or keyboard bits or whatever, I never record any of it or write anything down. That, in itself, is my form of "quality control" (not that any of it's actually quality material of course).

I call it "musical Darwinism" -- if it isn't good enough to survive in my head for one or two days/nights until I can memorize it, it probably wasn't worth keeping to begin with.

>Or is all recorded music second-hand, warped, pretentious?

Second-hand, obviously. Warped? Only if you leave it in the car on a sunny day. Pretentious? *Moi*?

Some would say that the feeling one has at the moment of conception is better than the effect of hearing the finished product, but if I can't hear something approximating the finished product as I conceive of the song or whatever, I usually end up forgetting it. Which is probably as it should be...

-John H.

UNME Archive #01

1996-05-09 to 1996-05-14