MuseScore in 10 Easy Steps: Part 7, 8 and 9

OK, I have a confession to make: I’ve been very slack in keeping my poor blog updated. I have plans for a redesign and a new blogging regime (I think they’ll be part of my New Year resolutions), so stay tuned for that in 2011.  In the meantime, here is a catch-up post about the latest 3 MuseScore videos:

The 7th MuseScore video was uploaded back in mid-August and covered repeats and 1st/2nd time endings (also known as Volta brackets in MuseScore).

[Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVmXhlpOpa4%5D

Part 8 – all about creating codas – appeared at the same time as part 7:

[Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04XTa6IrzGg&feature=related%5D

I’ve had a list of possible video topics for parts 9 and 10, but the most frequently asked question via Youtube is “how do I create drum parts?”, so that became the focus of the ninth video in the series.

[Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFj7v5S4Akw%5D

I’ll be planning the next video – part 10 – in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for it in the new year.

Musescore in 10 Easy Steps: part 6

Here is the 6th video tutorial in a 10-part series titled MuseScore in 10 Easy Steps.  Part 6 focuses on how to add new instruments to your score, as well as adding articulation and empty bars.  Part 7 on the way soon….

[Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQn-qlkMHLQ%5D

Quick Karaoke: Remove Vocals from CD Recordings

You can easily create your very own Karaoke CDs using the latest version (1.3.12 Beta) of the free audio editing program Audacity, which is available for both Mac and Windows users.  To download Audacity 1.3.12, go here.

Before we get started, you should be aware that removing vocals from a recording it not a perfect art.  There will always be some residual vocals left on the backing track, but once your singer is performing along with the backing, they’re generally not too noticeable.

Import Your Song

The first step is to import your song into Audacity so it’s ready for editing and there are a couple of different ways you can do it.

Method 1 (if you use iTunes to manage your music):

  • Open Audacity
  • Open the iTunes window and re-size it (or position it) so you can see the Audacity window behind
  • Locate the song in iTunes
  • Drag the song from iTunes on to the Audacity window
  • After a moment (be patient!), the song will appear as a wave file in Audacity

Method 2 (if you don’t use iTunes)

  • Open Audacity
  • Go to File > Import > Audio
  • Locate the song on your hard drive
  • Click Open and after a moment, the song will appear in Audacity as a wave file

Removing the vocals

  • Once the song is in Audacity, you can play it back using the playback controls in the top left-hand corner
  • To remove the vocals, go to Effect > Vocal Remover (for centre-panned vocals).  Leave the settings as they are and click OK

    Vocal Remover

  • Play back the song to test the results.  If you get a poor result, try running the effect again with different settings

Cool Online Instruments and Games for the Music Classroom

There’s a growing list of fantastic online musical “instruments” and games that are a great resource for teachers in the music classroom.  They can be effective when used with students on laptops and desktops, but they also work really well in a one-computer classroom with a large screen or better still, an interactive whiteboard.

Get Creative with Pentatonic Improvisation

1. Tone Matrix by Andre Michelle

  • Add (or remove) sounds by clicking on a box on the grid
  • Press the space bar to clear the whole grid and start again
  • Based on the pentatonic scale

2. iNudge

  • A layered version of the Tone Matrix
  • Create multiple patterns with different instrument sounds
  • Share your creations via email or embed them in your website or blog

3. AudioTool

  • The big brother of the Tone Matrix and iNudge
  • Add drum patterns, other sounds and change the tempo

Online Instruments

The next few online “instruments” are a bit of fun and would work really well with an interactive whiteboard.  Many don’t allow you to record or export your songs, so don’t go composing your masterpiece using these apps unless you’re notating it as you go!  The better ones allow you to play notes using your computer keyboard in addition to clicking on keys or buttons with your mouse.

4. Virtual Keyboard

  • A large on-screen keyboard
  • Includes alternative instrument sounds, drum beats

5. Virtual Piano

  • Another one!

6. Virtual Drum Kit by Ken Brashear

  • A photo image of a drum kit that you can “play”

7. Drum Machine

  • A loop-based rhythm generator

8. Drum Set

  • An online drum sampler

Online Music Games

9. Incredibox

  • A cappella fun
  • Create your own arrangement using vocal percussion, backing parts and lead vocals

10. Don’t Worry Be Happy game (Bobby McFerrin)

  • Another a cappella “game”
  • Also good for discussing arranging techniques
  • Activate parts in one at a time by dragging the part name across to the white area
  • Notation allows you to follow each part

11. Ball droppings

  • Physics and music combine
  • Draw lines across the screen to make the balls bounce and create different pitches
  • Good for interactve whiteboard

12. NY Phil kids

  • Excellent collection of educational music games for primary and middle school students
  • Create a minuet
  • Match composers or instruments
  • Beat Polly Rhythmic in the percussion showdown
  • Sort instruments into their families
  • Experiment with instrument sounds in the Orchestration Station
  • and more

MuseScore in 10 easy steps part 4: note entry with a MIDI keyboard

Here’s the fourth installment in the 10-part video tutorial series about free music notation program MuseScore.  This tutorial covers note entry with a MIDI keyboard and looks at the basics of playing back your score.  It took me a little longer than hoped to find time to make this one.  I’m aiming for a quicker turn-around on the next few!

[Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVlKTrCcl9A%5D

MuseScore in 10 easy steps: part 2

Here is the second tutorial in the Musescore series.  In this video, we take a walk through the Musescore screen.  In case you missed part 1, you can see it here.

[Vimeo http://vimeo.com/8668551%5D

The next tutorial in this series is coming soon and will cover the basics of note entry.

Musescore in 10 easy steps: part 1

Happy New Year!  Well, one of my new year’s resolutions is to post more frequently to this blog and I thought I’d start off by sharing a series of tutorial videos about the free notation program MuseScore. MuseScore is a good cost-effective alternative to professional notation programs like Sibelius and Finale and is being adopted by many in the education sector.

This series of 10 short videos will cover the basics of using MuseScore: setting up a score, moving around the screen, note entry and sharing your scores.

[Vimeo http://vimeo.com/8668507%5D

If you’re interested in seeing other how-to videos, there are a series of Sibelius videos here.