Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My brain is blue.

Your Brain is Blue

Of all the brain types, yours is the most mellow.

You tend to be in a meditative state most of the time. You don't try to think away your troubles.

Your thoughts are realistic, fresh, and honest. You truly see things as how they are.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your friends, your surroundings, and your life.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I bought a new piano.

It's a Casio CDP-100, which I bought primarily for the quality of the keyboard and the reasonable price. I'm a little busy for the next few days, but I'll post a review as soon as possible.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Something for Valentine's Day

I've written many, many songs, most of them with my lyricist friend, William Hoover, and most of which have been played only for close friends. I had a chat with William, and I think that's going to change. I need to invest in some equipment first, but we'll be putting up a new website with the lyrics and give the flavor of the tunes... simply to share and let other people hear what we've done and play them better.

Here's a quick one for Valentine's day. It's a bit old, but fortunately it's one of the few that can be played on my ailing keyboard. I think of it performed with Scottish flavor, perhaps with a snare drum.

To Be Here With You
Lyrics by William Hoover
Music by Dave Leigh

I would wait a thousand days
And just as many nights
Joust a million fools
To be here with you

I spin in my skin
For my armor's way too thin
But I'd do it all again
To be here with you


There is no castle wall
That could ever be too tall
To climb or to break through
To be here with you

I'd lay down my sword
As my honor is my word
And if it's the last thing I ever do
I want to be here with you

ToBeHereWithYou.mp3 ~2.8MB

Creative Commons License

This music free to share under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Silly Songs with Dave

This is the part of the programme where Dave comes out and sings a silly song.
Since I recently bought a new computer, I no longer have a MIDI interface (that's Musical Instrument Digital Interface). This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I could do sheet music with MIDI but really had no good way to record audio (the built-in audio in my old machine was, shall we say, not up to the task).

I'm still going to add a MIDI port, but while looking for one I got a nifty new LightSnake from SoundTech. It hooks up a microphone and my keyboard. So now there's audio. Though it comes with a DVD, every software title on it is a demo. So I hit the Web and Audacity and Lame. Audacity is a free audio recorder/mixer. Lame encodes files as MP3. I didn't need the entire Lame distribution, just this DLL.

With Audacity, I can record, edit, export to MP3 and burn CDs. There are 92 plug-ins freely available that let you manipulate the audio files, adding echo, chorus, or any number of customizable effects. My needs aren't that hard to meet, though... I just wanted to record a song and encode it as MP3.

The first effort sounds really scratchy to me, like an old phonograph. Part of that is the fact that the keyboard I've had for 22 years(!!) is finally beginning to wear out. I can only play at full volume because one of the keys has lost its touch sensitivity. This means that I can't play anything with finesse on this thing. Part of it is that my microphone is just about the same age. So.... it looks like I'm going to have to sock away some money for some new equipment. I tested a Casio CDP-100 and it's EXACTLY right, but I can wait for my birthday, I think.

In the meantime I'll practice with some noise reduction software and see how well that works before I record anything serious.

Anyway, here are the stupid songs (and I mean that!)
http://cratchit.org/music/ImGonnaBeSad.mp3 ~2.1MB
http://cratchit.org/music/DownHomeInUnion.mp3 ~1.6MB

About the songs:
I'm Gonna Be Sad is a stupid little song I use when my kids are pouting and feeling like martyrs. There is a "sad dance" that goes with it, during the instrumental bits. At that point I usually shout "Dance sadly, now! Heads down! Be morose! And by all means, keep time!"

Down Home in Union was written for Boogaloo Folklife Productions production, Comin' Up a Cloud. It was written in response to a song called Killin' Time in our first production, Turn the Washpot Down. The songs in Washpot were written by a professional songwriter, as we had hired a production team to get us going. But it was pretty clear they didn't have any idea what life in the rural South was like. So their idea of teenagers killing time was sitting on fenceposts and communing with animals or some such (the communing with animals part does happen, I suppose, but even here you tend to get arrested for that). So they wrote a really boring song to reflect that boring scenario. In reality, there's a lot of sitting around at Heart's Drive-In, or in the Wal-mart parking lot, and just talking. Then there's driving to another parking lot and more talking. Sounds exciting, doesn't it! My perverse and ironic sense of humor leads me to take this mundane situation and set it to some bouncy music. The more boring the lyric, the more exciting the music. This version is a little too fast, but slowed down a bit it's great music to clog to. Clogging is popular here.

BTW, I'm not a performer, I'm a songwriter. So the purpose of my recording any songs along isn't to show off prodigious talents which I don't possess, but rather to get the idea of the songs across. Fill in the rest with your imagination, or ask me for permission to record them yourself.

Creative Commons License

This music free to share under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License.