On the Trail of Writing a Rap Song

This year, I’m volunteering to write songs for each of my extended family’s birthday’s.  There’s a lot of them.  It started off with a remake of Taylor Swift’s 22 for a 13 year old, and then a Surfin USA remake for my spouses’ dad.  And then my ten year old nephew has asked for… Thriftshop.  By Macklemore.

Not a problem.    

Two days later, I’ve gotten a very rough draft of what the first two verses might be like, and it was time to look at the music.  I’ve taken to downloading MIDI files, removing tracks, and then recording over with a live guitar and singing.  *I do not sing well.

The free version of Thriftshop MIDI was dysmal.  So I found: GeerDes Midi Music.  And their version was phenomenal.

However, opening up the file in MusicStudio on my iPad yielded a problem.  They were using a C#7 drum note, but the drums in Music Studio only went up to I think C6, which got substituded, which was a very awful sound.   Editing those notes in the iPad was possible, but I thought hey maybe I can do something on the desktop computer with this.   (actually, I left my iPad at work, so I was using the iPhone, and hence the desire to edit elsewhere – that screen can be tiny)

So I downloaded Anvil Studio, and found it .. meh, actually harder to use than MusicStudio.  And it sounded horrible – the General Midi Synth in Windows is very meh.   But it did have support for VSTi’s

Which lead me to (not linked here) various VSTi downloads, which turns out there are several that will play “.sf2” soundfonts, so I downloaded one, but it was a .sfark, so I had to get the decompressor for it, but then the VSTi ended up only playing a single instrument rather than multiple, and so I abandoned that..

But in the mean time I did a search for “Best DAW Midi”, which lead me to FL Studio, which I downloaded the trial for, and OMG! it installs polyphonic VSTi!  and it edits MIDI!  And layers audio!  And there’s a wicked DJ looking thing that I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT!   And its so frickin complex that my head hurts!  And it might even be affordable! Which lead me to…

Lynda.com, my favorite video learning website covers Adobe products pretty well, but not FL Studio.  But Groove3 does.  for $15.  I might do that.   4.5 hours.  The reviews are not great, but there’s nothing else out there…

Then again, I could just wipe out that one line of notes with MusicStudio and move on.

But my curiosity is definitely up around FL-Studio.    Its much more geared towards music creation than Adobe Audition 1.0, which is what I’ve used for the last 8(!) years for audio editing work.  It might be time to upgrade my toolset.

Some day, I might even do voice lessons.

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