Phase IV. The Studio Wizard is here. Howard is spending a couple of days living with us, doing the wiring and kit install. He has caught conjunctivitis from his pony (now there’s a sentence you don’t hear every day) so he’s in a lot of eye-drop-related discomfort, but is struggling manfully through. He’s also on a deadline (to retrieve the pony from the animal hospital) so is running on 4 hours’ sleep to get the job done in time. Hero!
Here’s the full list of hardware. This is added to the Mac & Digi002 setup I already use, plus the mics I already own (SE Z5600, AKGC3000, Rode NT4).
- BEHRINGER ADA8000 – AD converter to provide 8 extra inputs (combines with Digi002 – so studio total is 16 simultaneous input channels)
- TLA M1F – valve desk
- PROKEYS88 MIDI controller keyboard
- DBX 266 stereo compressor
- FOCUSRITE ISA220 preamp
- JOEMEEK MC2 stereo compressor
- EXT DVD SUPERDRIVE (DVD burner so I can keep the Mac in the cupboard)
- BELKIN 2X FW / 6X USB COMBINED HUB (remote hub on the desktop so the Mac can stay in the cupboard)
- BEHRINGER HP AMP HA4700 – 4-way headphone amp
- SE 2200A x 2 (cheap but excellent large-diaphragm condenser mics)
- SE1A (pair of small condensers)
- BEYER M201 (2 mics)
- SHURE SM57 (2 mics)
- AUDIO TECHNICA ATM250 (large-diaphragm condenser)
- FOAM WINDSHIELD FOR LARGE DIA VOCAL MICS 2
- BOOM STAND TALL (8)
- BOOM STAND SHORT (2)
- XLR-XLR – 6M (2)
- J-J FABRIC COVERED GUITAR CABLE 6M (4)
- HEADPHONE EXTN CABLE (2)
- SAMSON SDIRECT DI BOX 3
- SMALL SHELL DRUM SET:
- SONOR 507 SERIES COMBO DRUM KIT – 8″ x6″ bass drum, 0″ x 8″ &2″ x 9″ toms, 4″ x4″ floor tom, 14″ x 5.5″ snare drum (steel), 2x TA 503 tom holders, 9-ply covered basswood shells, tunesafe tension rods. 00-series 4-piece hardware set containing HH-174 hi-hat stand, SS-177 snare drum stand, CS-171 straight cymbal stand & sp-273. Single bass drum pedal. Cymbal set: paiste01 series brass set 3 -14″ hi-hat, 6″ crash and 20″ ride. Extra cymbal boom stand. Set Remo pinstripe skins
- PATCHBAYS AND DISTRIBUTION BOARDS
There was quite a bit of ‘cost engineering’ when we realised how far over budget we were originally. For the drums, I bought some decent Sonor shells (drummers, correct me if I’m wrong!), but decided to save on cymbals and get a budget set of Paistes. Drummers reading this – I do realise the importance of good quality hammered cymbals in terms of harmonic balance etc, but don’t actually play drums (although will now start to learn), and figure that if I hire a kit player for projects s/he will bring their own cymbals to a session. So cymbals will be upgraded to pro quality one day when I become a good enough drummer to justify it.
This principle, BTW, I reckon applies to lots of music kit purchases – there’s no point in having gear that’s substantially better than you are. It’s why our MusicLab at the University is usually only used by third year students – it takes time for them to develop the quality songwriting and performance skills that mean the subtleties of room design make a difference to the quality of the track. A piece of music is as good as its weakest link, so there comes a cost point where you get diminishing musical returns if the kit outstrips your skill at using it. In my case, the weakest tool I have is my singing voice, which is why I prefer to work with proper singers.
We’ve worked out how the rack will work ergonomically, with the things I’ll use the most (ISA220 and patchbays) in the top rack, and the things I use less often (DVD burner, headphone amp) in the lower one. Howard’s pre-made all the looms, and has added a cable tray under the desktop, to which they are attached. The only thing we didn’t account for is that the M1F (being a project studio desk) doesn’t have stereo insert sockets, so Howard has rewired the insert points to two jacks so we can get all the channel inserts coming up on the patchbay.
The only thing we won’t get done in this phase (before Howard’s next visit) is the tie lines through to the live room. This is not a problem because I can physically throw XLRs through the the hole in the wall for now. I’m also proud to say that after a quick refresher session with Howard on soldering skills, I’ve made up my first stereo lead – the first soldering I’ve done, in fact, since about 1987 (a difficult teenage phase where, for reasons now unclear, I decided to resolder my Strat so all the pickups were wired in series. I blame Adrian Legg).
So everything pretty much works OK. We have 8 simultaneous input channels instead of 16 (the ADA8000, which supplies channels 9-16 to Logic via the Digi CoreAudio driver, still needs configuring so it acts correctly as a digital clock ‘slave’ over optical to the Digi002 – BTW if you’re reading this and have any tips on optical-syncing these items, get in touch!). But given that I’m only one person, I’m unable to generate more than 16 simultaneous musical sounds, so this can wait until I get bands or drummers in.
I’m also going to need to adapt my working methods to encompass more handshake between the analogue and digital worlds. After years of doing all the dynamic processing with Waves plugins, I’m going to make an active effort to use the outboard gear, so that when both methods (on-screen and analogue) become equally transparent ergonomically, so I can then make musical decisions between digital and outboard. Today I mixed the first track (a Techno remix of James Taylor’s ‘Shower The People’) and took stereo output pairs from Logic into the M1F so I could EQ and mix using the analogue input channels of the mixing desk. There’s something pleasingly perverse about mixing Techno using 1930s valve technology…
And that’s the end of phase IV. Howard will be back sometime in September to ‘sort out the room’ (spectrum analysis and speaker configuration etc), wire in the tie lines and XLR plates to the live room, and fix any wiring faults I find in the next few weeks. He’s now off to pick up a pony from a geezer in Norfolk.
He’s done an amazing job (he also did the overall design of the whole building) and I’m really pleased with the intelligent decisions he’s made on my behalf about the patchbay layout – and studio usage in general.
Coming soon – rugs, sofas and drums!
The build is finished. Jeff and Artis have done an amazing job and I’m completely delighted with the building. Wiring and electric install goes ahead next week with Howard. For now, it’s beers, hugs and handshakes all round. Great job, fellas!
And that’s it! Phase 3 of the build is now completed, so the studio is now ready for the wiring to be installed, which will be happening early next week. Howard and Jeff sorted out a few details on the phone. The original large panel tabletop had too much mass, risking creating sympathetic resonance, and also making the space under it into a resonant cavity. So Artis chopped even more off the back of it, and added a vertical support underneath to take the weight – the M1F being the heaviest item. I also learn that all-valve desks have a slight acoustic resonance (being made partly of very thin glass valves) which has to be taken into account in studio design – it’s important to ensure that no sympathetic vibrations make it through to the body of the mixer.
On seeing the photos and videos, Howard still wasn’t convinced that the desktop would be acoustically neutral in the room. So he phoned through some more info & suggestions to Jeff, who got Artis to cut the desk down even more.
The holes in the tabletop were cut to the size of Howard’s speaker stand design. There are various ways of making studio speaker stands (including buying them commercially) but the rule seems to be simply to stand your cabs on something as dense as possible. Artis was telling me that sometimes they just stack concrete blocks then paint them or cover them with hessian. In this case, he’s made tall rectangular vertical wooden ‘boxes’ out of chipboard, which are then filled with sand to provide the density (ensuring no transmission of vibration to the floor or desk).
So my tabletop is a completely unique shape that no other studio has – it’s been cut to shape to take account of the M1F, Digi002, over/under rack, and all of course at the right knee height for a short bloke in a swivel chair. They even cut it to ensure the smoothest ergonomic travel for the mouse (so I can’t work with any left handed co-producers!).
Now that everything’s in, I can get back to sofa purchasing. The consensus seems to be that ‘wipe-clean’ surfaces are best for studio sofas (euwwww) so I’m on the look out for antique leather ideally – second-hand of course. So if you see anything, send me those ebay links!
Tabletop half built. Howard has some reservations about the potential resonance of the cavity underneath due to the size of the MDF top. It’s going to be cut down, so I’m sending him updates via video as Artis makes the cuts. Here we are pre-cutting…
And here’s some kit placed in situ for discussion of cable runs etc.
Here’s a rare thing – a post about e-learning where I’m not wildly enthused!
Since 2006 I’ve been unable to figure out whether Second Life is a huge opportunity for live real-time collaboration in HE, or whether it’s a declining online video game with a clunky interface that encourages trivial levels of thinking.
My dilemma seems to be shared by the sector, too. Second Life actually predates Facebook but hasn’t grown at anything like the same rate; in fact, adoption of it by HE stakeholders seems to have drifted a little. In 2007 UCAS bought an ‘island’ (a server) in SL – here’s a picture of my avatar (Jon Duvall – find me in-world sometime if you’re an SL user). Look carefully at the picture. You’ll note that the island is currently advising students that places are still available… for 2007 entry.
Think about SL intellectually and you can see immediately why some early-adopter academics got excited about it. It’s a metaphor. Everything in it is a metaphor – even onself. And the quasi-social interactions in-world have obvious parallels in pre-Internet higher education.
5 reasons why SL is like traditional education
- It’s synchronous, real-time interaction. Learners and teachers have to be online concurrently in order to meet in-world
- It’s geographically specific – you have to be within ‘earshot’ of another character/avatar in order to communicate with them
- Educational establishments in SL have auditoriums where large numbers of people can sit
- SL environments are limited to a small number of participants due to the bandwidth involved – only about 60 users can inhabit the same island space. That’s a very small lecture hall…
- It doesn’t support viral growth of ideas, information or concepts because nothing in-world is recorded
Of these, the first point is the most obvious downside – and also, in an e-learning context, the most significant. I’ll come back to real-time vs asynchronous learning in a moment…
Academic researchers, intoxicated by the SL ‘sociology metaphor’ perhaps, were keen to explore opportunities. There are even some in-world conferences – and the JISC were keen to fund these investigations so we could all evaluate the possibilities of the technology/game/metaphor/experience. I’ve met songwriters in-world, of course, but never written a song. I’ve met researchers but never read one of their papers. In ‘first life’ (i.e. my real lectures) I demo’d SL live to a group of students back in 2006 (we attended a covers gig in-world with a real singer and an animated avatar), and we discussed whether it might be an intriguing marketing opportunity for nascent bands and artists. A few tried it – but no-one got any more gigs or punters as a result (contrast with myspace and Facebook, which is the bread and butter marketing platform of every new musician).
Lots of Universities signed up to SL in 2006-7. Here I am at the deserted campus of Southampton University. They took an innovative approach, creating a remarkable (looking) campus in-world.
It seems, in Southampton’s case, like their primary strategic motive was marketing. And (IRL) they have an impressive campus. Here I am walking over an interactive 3D map, which builds the environment of the building you’re in around your avatar; this is their concert hall.
It’s clear that someone has seen a possible marketing opportunity to be directed specifically at overseas students. Sitting in the outdoor in-world cinema auditorium, my avatar watched a Quicktime video of some international music students discussing why they like studying at Southampton.
My perception of Second Life is that it’s an amazing technical achievement and an intellectually fascinating social concept. But any user (or learner) benefit it has can be provided more effectively by other online means. Further, the bandwidth requirements of the environment combined with its real-time nature mean that it’s actually a very poor medium for delivering information, learning or social interaction online.
Contrast SL with Facebook (as an example of online interaction between people), which came out around the same time (2006-7).
5 reasons why Facebook is not like traditional education
- It’s asynchronous – users can engage with it when they want to
- It’s geographically all-encompassing – users can access it from anywhere, including mobile devices
- Educational establishments don’t have to ‘build’ communities or virtual presences – they build themselves from fragmented groups of users who find each other voluntarily
- FB environments can have an unlimited number of users
- It survives purely on the viral nature of content – memetic communication. There are no rules of (social) engagement – ideas and relationships live or die based on their popularity
It’s worth noting that points 1, 2 and perhaps 4 are also provided by VLEs.
And now let’s look at the democratic evidence. SL adoption rates (beyond ‘Try Me’ experimenters) are small – see this early article from 2006. Contrast this with the growth of Facebook. To compare stats -
- 42,000 users are currently using SL as I write this, and 1.3 million users have used it during the last 60 days.
- More than 120 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day.
Of course, SL & FB are very different tools – but I think they show an interesting contrast between the relative popularity of synchronous and asynchronous interaction.
IT colleagues often get very excited about the idea of webcasting a lecture, but I can’t see the point of going through all that hassle – the balance between technical setup and user benefit isn’t right. If you’re going to arrange for lots of people to be in the same virtual ‘place’ simultaneously, you’re giving participants a slightly poorer (and often technically underwhelming) version of a real life lecture. You’ve saved them some travel, but beyond the environmental advantage of reducing travel, you haven’t really enhanced learning. Webcast a lecture and people can access it once. Record it and post it online and people can access it forever.
I hope this blog entry demonstrates that despite my often breathless evangelism for e-learning and all things Web 2.0, the SL example shows that just because something is online, it’s not necessarily a better tool than its traditional equivalent. When I teach rock bands about arranging, we work ‘live’ with guitars and drum kits – because they’re the most efficient tools for the job. Even the live lecture/seminar still has a place, despite its limitations as a method of information exchange, discussion and enquiry. But if the lecture has a part to play in 21st century learning, so does the blog, wiki, BBS and email exchange. And these asynchronous methods provide positive advantages for the learner, precisely because they can be accessed at the user’s convenience.
And that, really, is my (e-learning) point – what web users seem to want is asynchronous interaction. When we build e-learning objects we need to empower students by giving them access to learning when the tutor is not online. And this means generating great content, and ensuring people can build online communities around that content – and around each other.
Jeff and Artis are back. And we’re into the final phase. The basic studio is now built, so there are just three things still to do.
- Door seals (it’s amazing how much sound can leak through a 1mm gap!)
- Build the aircon exterior heat exhaust
- Build the studio furniture
They have two other jobs on at the moment – a listed building house in Suffolk (a rare non-studio-related job) and a suite of several studios for Coventry University. Jeff also has his wife with him, and they’re doing some tourist & family stuff around Bath. So Artis is on his own for now. Luckily for Artis, the studio now has broadband and a phone line fitted, so he has real-time streamed audio of Latvian radio – nice and loud through Genelec 8040As, no less. We did take a moment to put on some Sepultura, Machine Head and Metallica this afternoon. Just to test the soundproofing, of course. It works.
I forgot to mention that while the guys were away I’ve been encouraged to set up my gear and try out the ergonomics of the space in readiness for their return. So the plan, apparently, is for Artis to use Howard’s drawings as ‘a guide’ – so I think some negotiation between designer and builder might still be needed. I’ve now taken delivery of the M1F and it looks enormous in the room, so we need to work out carefully how I’m going to reach to the gain and high EQ of a fairly deep analogue desk.
Here’s a pic of my makeshift setup (garden table with a blanket thrown over it).
Jeff dropped Artis off with a van full of kit, including the (Sonor) drum shells, all the mics and stands, Behringer ADA8000 converter and some of the outboard rack kit. In my young and excitable teens and 20s I would have ripped open every box to look at the goodies inside (actually it still took great restraint not to do this) but in the interests of tidiness I’ve left everything boxed up until the furniture is built.
So the first job for Artis today was to sort out the aircon. We found that if we just switched on the aircon unit in the room, its cooling power was cancelled out by its heat exhaust. So we need to get the hot air outside – without, of course, compromising soundproofing. The answer? Power tools and a big hole in the wall.
So the plan, tomorrow, is to lay out all the gear (keyboard, Mac, Genelecs, monitor, M1F and Digi002) on the floor and work out furniture design around the 2 racks (one under, one over) that we’ll be building.
That’s the short-term plan. The long-term plan is to, er, learn to play the drums…
In other news, Artis is teaching me origami. Here’s the Peace Crane, the first complicated one that everyone learns, apparently.
My K6 is still in progress at Carl’s workshop (click the red telephone box category on the right or read the original blog post about this). Here’s a new product from Remember When UK that caught my eye. There are so many levels of postmodernism in this phone that it makes my head hurt…
Excerpt from Remember When website below.
Modelled on our classic K6 Red Telephone Box, this impressive fully functional mobile phone is a real winner. It features a 65k colour TFT screen, camera, full SMS and MMS functionality, polyphonic ringtones, and GPRS/WAP 2.0. You can set your wallpaper to display one of fifteen different iconic images from old Blighty, plus you can select from Rule Brittania, God Save the Queen, or one of twenty other ringtone melodies. London Calling measures 102mm by 43mm by 21 mm, and weighs approximately 100 grams. As an unlocked GSM phone, all you have to do is plug in your current Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin or Cingular SIM card and start talking.
The London Calling mobile phone comes with the phone, travel charger, battery and the Getting Started guide. Additional accessories will also become available include a serial data cable, handsfree headset, and additional batteries and chargers. The London Calling mobile phone comes with a 90 day manufacturer’s limited warranty against defects.
Features of the phone include:
It is an unlocked tri-band GSM phone which will work in the UK, US and throughout Europe. Comes with pre-programmed ringtones including Rule Britannia and God Save the Queen.
Additional features include assorted wallpaper images of noted British landmarks. Perfect if you are traveling abroad to different countries.
For more information, or how to place an order, please contact us.
Well done for those who’ve completed the MJ quiz. Highest score so far is 14 out of 19. If you’re new to the blog and want to catch up, here’s a download link to all the quizzes I’ve posted so far; the latest one is at the bottom of this post.
- Beat The Drum quiz MP3 download (drum intros – name the artist and song)
- Backwards Quiz MP3 download (backwards audio – name the artist and song)
- Michael Jackson Quiz MP3 download (MJ song titles – name the artist)
- There’s a Place MP3 download (lyrics with place names – name the place)
Post answers on my Facebook page, or via the contact form below. So here’s a new one. This has already run at the pub in London, so it’s OK for general release now.
Copyright note; given that all these quizzes contain tiny excerpts of copyright audio, I would love to do these legally and pay a small PRS royalty for use of this material in the (online non-profit-making) context of this blog. But if PRS can’t reach agreement with Google about YouTube, I can’t believe that their various licensing schemes will be flexible enough to support downloadable MP3 major-label content in mangled 1-second excerpt form! So here’s a disclaimer for any (major label or artist) copyright owners who might be reading this. I want to get all these excerpts licensed legally for the 100 or so people that will download these quizzes (which technically infringe both copyrights – recording and publishing), but can’t find a mechanism. So these non-profit-making excerpts are used without permission, and I will take them offline (or pay the going rate) on request – OK?
So, to business! This quiz is entitled ‘There’s a Place’ and each example is a song lyric with the place names bleeped out (the bleeps are diatonically correct, naturally). No Googling the lyrics, now – you’ve got to promise!
There’s a Place MP3 download
(place names lyric quiz – name the bleeped-out places)
Technical note for audio geeks. Most of these quizzes are done using Logic Pro, with some limiting and multibanding applied using Waves Gold plugins (L1 and C4). In some cases the examples are re-gained in Logic’s audio editor or automixed, and many of them (e.g. the MJ quiz) use very quick/subtle crossfades. The ‘There’s a Place’ quiz was done when the studio was being built, so had to be compiled on a Macbook Pro laptop using Garageband while all my studio kit was temporarily mothballed. The reason I’m explaining this is that the ‘bleeps’ masking the place names here are provided by a Garageband soft synth on a square wave preset. As such they don’t quite have the ‘classic bleep’ sound, which is of course a sine wave. Now the studio is back online I have access to the blank EXS24 no-audio patch setting, which defaults to a sine wave. Future bleeps will be more authentic.
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Here it is at last – sorry for the delay, but I had to be sure the Hampsteaders had experienced the full pain of this quiz before putting it on general release. I should apologise in advance that a lot of the repertoire in this quiz bunches around the 1970s – I normally make a point of ensuring an even balance of popular music from 1950s-present. In this case, this is partly deliberate, because the demographic of this particular pub quiz is people in their 40s and 50s. And as everybody knows, all the best songs in the entire history of pop music were released in the year that you were 17.
Anyway, on to the quiz. This is another ‘high concept’ one, so it takes a bit of explaining; it’s an unusual quiz because you start with a list of all the answers!
Michael Jackson Tribute Quiz
Our covers set includes seven Michael Jackson songs, performed a few words at a time by various artists (using excerpts from original recordings by those artists). Name the (19) artists in our ‘tribute concert’.
Each song title is played three times, with a 5-second pause (approx) between each one, and a 10-second pause before the next example.
Song 1 – Billie – Jean (2 artists)
Song 2 – Rockin’ – Robin (2 artists)
Song 3 – Blame – it on – the – Boogie (4 artists)
Song 4 – Don’t – Stop – Till You – Get Enough (4 artists)
Song 5 – Man – In The – Mirror (3 artists)
Song 6 – Earth – Song (2 artists)
Song 7 – The Way – You Make Me Feel (2 artists)
Download the audio file – MJ Quiz questions.mp3 (10MB)
Post the answers on my Facebook page. And you should admit to the world how many listens it took you!
How well did you do?
- 19/19 – you are clearly using audio analysis algorithms, or you work for Shazam.
- 14-18/19 – excellent pop music knowledge. You must be a songwriter or a Commercial Music student – or both!
- 9-13/19 – You’re in the great homogeny of averageness. But at least you listen to Radio 2.
- 5-8/19 – Do you really care about popular song at all?
- 0-4/19 – there’s a straightforward treatment available to you.
Some past and present Bath Spa students will know that I occasionally compile the ‘audio round’ for a pub quiz in London. My quiz-making partner prides himself on setting particularly tortuous questions, and the audio rounds have to conform to the same brief. This has the added benefit of creating some quickfire pop song knowledge quizzes to entertain/annoy Commercial Music students.
When we started putting these together, we used simple audio quiz tricks such as playing excerpts backwards.
2004 – backwards audio quiz MP3 download.
Then we started getting more adventurous. Here’s one we did in 2005 that was purely based on drum intros (MP3 download). Give you a clue. The first one isn’t a Motown hit. Subsequent quizzes have become ever more cryptic and high-concept. You’ll see what I mean soon.
So what has all this to do with the late great Michael Jackson? Well, we felt that we couldn’t let his passing go unacknowledged by a tribute in quiz form. The quiz runs tomorrow night (Monday) so I can’t release the audio file for the Jacko quiz just yet – but I’ll post it up here early next week after it’s had its public debut. If readers of the blog start getting into these, I’m happy to post up other past audio rounds. Use the comments option on this post, or send a message using the contact form. I do try to set up the quizzes so they can’t be Shazammed. This is not a problem when the quizzes play live (mobile phones are banned of course) but if you’re going to download these and have a go, I’ll just have to trust you!
In the meantime, use the box below to give your answers to the backwards and drum quizzes. This is the quiz version of ‘market testing’ so this feedback does actually help us in compiling future quizzes.
Thanks to all the musicians who offered to play on the Widcombe song. The consensus was that my original proposal (FTP-ing Logic files and hoping for the best with plugin compatibility) was just too impractical for the different tech setups you all have. So here’s a simpler solution.
- Download the MP3 of my demo (done in the new studio, of course!).
- Using whatever multi-track kit or software you own, add a track of yourself playing your instrument (or singing) on it.
- Send me the audio file (320kbps MP3 should be fine) of your part only and I’ll drop it into the mix. Don’t worry about lining it up – I’ll figure all the tech stuff out.
I’m looking especially for ornament folky-ness – there’s an approximation of a whistle/recorder part on the final chorus. Plus, of course, you need to join in the main theme after each chorus.
If we find a male vocalist who’s improved on my guide vocal (shouldn’t be difficult!) we’ll use that for the final version.
We’re in G major BTW. Well, of course. And it’s 95 BPM. See this previous post for the full brief.
Widcombe Rising – MP3 download
Widcombe Rising – pdf of sheet music download
Words and music by Joe Bennett, May 2009
English Morris feel, 2/4 bounce; crotchet=95
So let’s all join the Mummers
Listen can’t you hear?
It’s the sound of Widcombe Rising
G D7 Em C
and we sing it every year, oh yes
G/D D7 G
we sing it every year
As I walked down this fair Parade
One sunny day in June
I met a man along the way
Who said good afternoon
C G C G
I asked him for directions to get to Pulteney Weir
C G D G
He said if I was going there I wouldn’t start from here
I asked him if he had a job
He cheerfully replied
“I sit by the canal all day
(Just) watching for the tide
And since I started working, I think I’ve done some good
From Allie Park to Beechen Cliff there’s never been a flood!”
So let’s all join the Mummers…
He said he lived in Abbey View
Had been there all his life
And now that he was ninety-two
He wanted for a wife
He said “I’ll love her truly, and give her all I can
As long as she lives less than fifty paces from The Ram!”
So let’s all join the Mummers…
Right. Muso mates, I need your help. I need to do a recording of the Widcombe song, and I don’t play fiddle, accordion or (much) mandolin. Here’s what we’re going to do.
- I’ll demo the song with guide vocal & drums, plus acoustic guitar, (possibly) banjo and bass. It’ll be a Logic Pro file – around 50-100MB, best guess.
- You’ll download the file (and a .pdf of the sheet music) and use your own copy of Logic Pro to record your performance/s (I need at least fiddle, accordion and mandolin, plus many vocals on the chorus).
- Send me back your own .zipped version of the Logic file (via YouSendIt or similar) with all the audio files included.
- I’ll drop your part into the full arrangement.
Performance brief as follows -
- we all need to sound like a Morris band – so fiddle or accordion (or both) can take the melody
- keep it folky, light, bouncy and authentic
- you don’t have to play all the time – parts can drop in and out
- there are some obvious harmonies in the chorus – please do go for it
- vocalists – no American accents please!
- Shakey bells – well, if you must
Your payment will be a performance credit, a hyperlink from this blog, and a beer next time I see you. In the event that you’re not in the Bath area, you may have to get drunk on my undying gratitude instead.
Contact me via Facebook or whatever if you’re up for it. The Logic file download link will be available in a couple of days. Now download the sheet music so you can start practising.
Widcombe Rising pdf download.
I’m grateful to Megan Poore (online learning consultant to various Australian Universities) for this and other links. Here’s a link to her excellent tumblr blog – http://meganpoore.tumblr.com/. Being a much more concise thinker than I, Megan tends toward microblogging rather than the swathes of prose I tend to spout on this site.
The man in the video (Jim Groom, University of Mary Washington) is, believe it or not, sponsored by BlackBoard. And even he suggests that the VLE (or the ‘LMS’ as the rest of the world calls it) can’t compete with open-source or other free tools. His prediction BTW is that Google are most likely to come up with the ubiquitous solution for online learning.
VLEs serve certain administrative functions well – particularly sensitive central services like assessment, where identity, authenticity, privacy, Intellectual Property and submission timeframe are crucial in order to achieve fairness. But I’m not so sure that a VLE is the best tool in providing learning – the interface may be (by necessity of technical implementation) just too clunky compared to free web tools, many of which have $millions spent on R&D.
Perhaps there’s a continuum of control that looks something like this.
Centralised account admin ———————————- User-based account admin
Authenticated ——————————————— Unprotected
Closed VLEs ———————————————– open websites
Then perhaps there’s a continuum than comes out of these
Centralised admin ——————————————-user customisation
And, to extrapolate further, perhaps this leads us to a straightforward choice
University-administrated online learning ———- teacher and learner-controlled online learning
Does this equate to a darker, more controversial choice, where centralised University admin systems actually mitigate against optimum online learning? If so that’s a powerful ironic tension between the raison d’etre of a University – to create learning – and the current methods of delivering it online.