Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crash Course

I got a new computer a few months ago that is just shy of nuclear powered. It runs a 64-bit version of Windows XP to take advantage of its multi-many gigabytes of RAM. I don't know the technical stuff. I just know that between all that memory and the quad core processors (I think there are two of them), all the computer's programs run lightning fast.

The ones that are compatible with XP64, anyway. That's my problem. Few of my existing programs play nice with XP64 and I'm having to find either updates, workarounds or, in some especially unfortunate cases, replacements for my programs.

It took forever to diagnose the problem with my new sound card. I knew it was operator error, I just didn't know where I was erring. Once I learned how to make simple recordings again the next problem was that my Guitar Port software that enables me to replicate many different electric guitar sounds right in my computer didn't work any more. I couldn't find any updates until I discovered that I had to download an entirely new program called Gear Box.

Now I can play and record guitars again. Yay! Here is my latest effort:

Crash Course
The hurdle looming now is getting a new MIDI sequencing program. That lets me record music from my synthesizer and fix it up later. I can make the playing more precise; I can speed it up; I can even change the key of the song. My old sequencer was a Windows 3.1 program called Midisoft Recording Session I had originally installed on my first Windows 95 machine.

Here is the first piece I ever composed using it:

It's called "Trem" simply because it featured a synthesizer sound called "StrTrem." You can hear how the program allows me to layer sounds. None by itself is too intricate or complicated but together they create a much richer and complex arrangement.

Recording Session dutifully followed me through every new computer and new operating system with no complaint. Until now. Now when I click on it, I get a message reading something like, "This is a valid program but not on this machine."

Crash Course © 2008 John McQuiston
Trem © 1996 John McQuiston

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