Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 80

I've been distracted by something else, away from my writing. I know, yet another excuse, but it's so difficult to resist when I have so many different creative interests. :) Anyway, as a customer of Celemony, I've been keeping an eye for their future flagship program called "Melodyn Direct Note Access (DNA)." I've been looking forward to the software since they announced their ongoing development about 2 years ago. As a composer/songwriter who can't play instruments worth a damn, DNA would be a godsend. And for other musicians, it's going to change the industry the way MIDI did 25 years ago.

What is DNA? Until now, software programs can only manipulate "blobs" of analog sounds and fine-tune the tones and amplitudes as a whole. Studios have been using such technology to fine tune performances and correct out-of-tune singers. DNA, however, allows them to actually access the INDIVIDUAL notes within the polyphonic performance (whether it's a chord or a guitar strum, etc.) Of course, it only works with single instruments (sorry, you can't reverse-engineer a recorded symphony or rock song into a complete score).

So what? You ask. We already can do that with MIDI. But remember, MIDI is nothing but data that describe the note, the velocity, amplitude, etc. But it's still just digital data. The sound itself still requires a synthesizer or, at least, sampled sounds. DNA works with real-instrument and real performances. What it means is, DNA can turn Jimmi Hendrix's solo guitar performance into a MIDI like data that can be changed, altered and rearranged.

Now, that's huge. Can you imagine what we can do with the huge library of musical "loops" available? Now, we can get one guitar loop (say, a C chord), and turn that into any chord imaginable. Or we can have a pianist come in the studio and record for five minutes and then send him home (since they're so expensive to hire!) and manipulate that performance into anything. Or, like I said, we could turn a Jimmi Hendrix or Yo Yo Ma recording into a workable sound loop. That's like having Hendrix or Ma play for me while I compose my music. That's amazing.

Right now, Melodyne DNA is in beta phase, and I'm privileged enough to be testing it. So far, I'm really impressed. The technology is so new and the software is still in beta that there are still lots of kinks to fix and sort out. Still, from what I've seen so far, this is going to be amazing and I believe it's one of the most important innovations for the music industry since MIDI. In fact, Melodyne is able to turn the musical performances into a MIDI sequence -- that's also amazing.

Right now, I'm working on a song using DNA. I'll post my progress and the final version soon. Stay tune.

100 words, 28200 words total
285 days and 157300 words to go

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