Monday, April 14, 2014

Glory Be To Jesus - A MIDI Hymn Project

Here's an example of the MIDI Hymn Project you are about to embark upon:

The procedure for making a MIDI hymn is (simply) as follows:
  1. Set the key of Garageband to match the key of your hymn (see red annotations in second screen shot). Input the four voices of the hymn Glory Be to Jesus (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) into separate tracks in Garageband. 
    First four tracks in Garageband
  2. Tracks must be green (software instruments) to enter MIDI information in Garageband. Notes can either be clicked into regions by first command-clicking (hold down the Command key while clicking with your mouse) in an empty track, then command-clicking onto the staff in score view as shown below:
    Adding MIDI notes to a track
  3. After entering the SATB tracks, then it's time to start researching the ranges of orchestral instruments and their families (woodwind, brass, and string) to see which instruments can play in the ranges of the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices.  A good source for finding the ranges of orchestral instruments is Wikipedia.
    Wikipedia: Trumpet range
  4. We've been using Apple's Jam Pack 4: Symphony Orchestra (manual) to get high quality samples of real orchestral instruments in Garageband '11 (6.0.5) in our Music Tech lab. When you double-click on a track header (or click the "i" button in the lower right corner of your screen) you'll be presented with the instrument panel.  Choose "Jam Pack Symphony Orchestra" from the dropdown menu, select the instrument family you need (Horns = Brass) and select the orchestral instrument that can has the same range as that voice of the hymn.
    Selecting Orchestral Instruments in Garageband '11(6.0.5)
    5. Make new tracks for each new instrument you add to your project.  Option-drag (hold down the Option key while dragging) a soprano region into a soprano instrument's track (such as Flute).  Some instruments sound more natural when played in a high or lower range.  You can adjust the octave that an instrument plays in with the pitch slider in the the track editor.  +12 = an octave higher (up 12 half steps).  -12 = an octave lower (down 12 half steps).  Bass instruments sound good an octave lower than written, but just make such the range of the instrument can handle it!  Sometimes an entire instrument family can play an octave higher than written.  Sometimes it works well to have one instrument playing at pitch (+/- 0) which it's doubled either an octave up (+12) or down (-12).  Listen carefully and go for the most natural sound of each instrument you choose.

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