Making my music shareable!

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Technical Difficulties & Uncooperative Schedules

It’s been a while since my last post…and here I planned to post something, even if it was old, once a week!  So much for good intentions, I guess…

I have a “side job” of substitute teaching, and even though I’ve resolved to take fewer assignments so I can have more time to compose, it doesn’t always work out that way.  And even when I don’t sub, there’s no guarantee I’ll work on music!  I have a house to clean, a dog to walk, bookwork to do for the business my brother and I own, grocery shopping to do, and all sorts of distractions that are built in with working at home.  In the music time I’ve managed to squish in, I’ve been working on revising a cue for an imagined movie scene from the beginning of David Weber’s book On Basilisk Station.  (Basically, I scrapped everything except the main theme from my previous cue and started over, which wasn’t such a big deal since it is only a minute and a half long, but it does take additional time to come up with everything when you’re as out of practice as I am!)  I finally got the music written in Sibelius, but about the time I was ready to make the mock-up in Sonar–which was going to be a pain since there’s no way my laptop could have all the samples I wanted loaded at the same time, which means doing it in pieces–my husband persuaded me to invest in a really good deal on a new laptop from, so I decided to wait to do the mock-up until I had the new computer with FOUR gigs of RAM (as opposed to the 1-2 GB on the old laptop–not sure it was really using the extra gig I put in a couple of years ago…).

The computer came about a week later…but then we had to install everything, which always takes forever, and THEN we had to convince my old programs to work in Windows 7.  When we finally had things working–or so I thought–I opened the cue in Sonar and started loading samples.  I loaded 32 with no error messages about low memory and potential issues for my computer.  It was great!…until Sonar and Windows 7 decided they really can’t get along, and Sonar began its protest against the new OS by causing Windows to give me “Sonar has stopped working” messages with disturbing frequency and at the most inconvenient times–since mock-ups in Sonar are all about making existing music sound like music, rather than creating anything new, I mostly work continuously.  There are very few good “pause and let me think” times when it is natural and easy to save and when I won’t have to sit and wait for it to complete the save while I’m in the middle of something.  So either I waste lots of time saving every 30 seconds, or I run the risk of losing several minutes worth of work that I will have to redo later if Sonar quits again before the next time I save.  Add the lost time waiting for the program to unload from the processes so I can open it again, and then wait for it to load the samples so I can start working again…and you have a very inefficient use of work time.

Solution?  Probably going to be buying an external USB audio interface that will double as a better sound card and a MIDI/audio adapter (so I can record! Once I get a microphone) and comes bundled with Sonar LE, a newer version of the software that is actually compatible with 64-bit Windows 7 and hopefully has all the basics that I need for what I do.  But it’s probably going to be at least a couple of weeks before we can coax the money for that out of the budget, so in the meantime, it’s back to the piano to work on a choral piece based on Psalm 40 and to trying to remember to track down .wav files for older pieces that I can post on here (since I’m trying to get away from and therefore may as well post some of my good oldies over here). *sigh*  I love my piano, but…I was reeeaaally looking forward to getting that mock-up done.  What I hear so far sounds SO good, and I’m SO excited about hearing the finished product!  I wanted to get it done first…but no sense wasting time when I could do it more efficiently later. *sniff*

And that’s my pathetic explanation/list of excuses for why I haven’t posted in several weeks–or is it a month yet?  Hopefully, I’ll have an old piece soon.

Till next time,