Archive for the ‘Music’ Tag

Walk Through The Desert   Leave a comment

As Promised

I spent my entire day today working on this awesome song, which I’ve titled “Walk Through The Desert”. It’s a sort of rock balladish thing, and I’m quite pleased with what I managed to knock out in ten hours. Yesterday I randomly decided to listen to some “Ramble On Rose” by The Grateful Dead, and jammed along with it for a little while. I got an interesting chord progression out of that jam, and I was in a bit of an interesting mood, so I sung along to the riff and came up with some random lyrics for it. Today I decided to flesh it out a bit, so I got the guitar out, plugged along and came up with some lyrics that actually made sense. Because I’m not wonderful at keeping time, I made up a little drum beat using Hydrogen. To record my guitar playing, I used a rather old webcam microphone wrapped in a (clean) sock. This produced surprisingly good results!

My Mic Setup

I then spent a good few hours coming up with an interesting guitar accompaniment, which I am very pleased with. When I developed this accompaniment, I basically had an idea of what it would sound like in my head, but I didn’t bother to figure out what scale (if any ;) it was actually in. I find that this approach actually lets me experiment more, as I’m not constrained  by what I “should” be playing. While I was figuring out my guitar part, I made sure to record all of what I was doing, using chord charts, and tabulation. I used audacity for all my recording, and it took plenty of takes for me to actually hit it right, so it was good to have a good method of recording in pieces.


It snowballed from there, and after spending a good few hours coming up with some guitar accompaniment, I can now present to the general public, “Walk Through The Desert”.

Walk Through The Desert

Before I forget, I also need to note the command that I used to turn it into a video

ffmpeg -ab 192k -i logo.jpg -i walk_through_the_desert.mp3 desert.avi

-ab is the bitrate I want the music to be, which I’ve set to 192k, a fairly typical rate
-i logo.jpg specifies the image to use as the background (I’m pretty sure it needs to be jpeg)
-i walk_through_the_desert.mp3 is the mp3 file to use as audio backing.

Also, for those who are interested, here’s my studio :)

My "Studio" :D


Posted 21/09/2010 by Emmanuel Jacyna in Music

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Information Dump   Leave a comment


It’s been a while. I purchased an electric guitar about two months ago, and from the moment it arrived, I’ve been pretty much playing guitar in my free time. So yes, not much work has been done on SICP in that interval, but I’ve certainly learned a lot about guitar in that time.


It seems a bit spontaneous, to me, to decide to pick up guitar, but I’ve had this ache since I got into listening to rock music (~age thirteen) to learn to play guitar. Of course, when I was thirteen I lacked two things. The perseverance to actually keep going with it no matter the boredom, pain, and whatnot, and also the money to actually buy the equipment I needed. That ache has been on the backburner for a while (read 3 years :), but recently, when I began to listen to some really great guitar it was reawakened. Hearing Joe Satriani smash out a solo, or just some meaty power chords from deep purple made me wish I could experience that. So when I decided to get a guitar a couple months ago, I had a clear goal in mind. I knew that I wouldn’t be JS in a month, but what I could do, was have fun! I decided for both cost purposes and the interest of fun to forgo getting professional lessons. I believe this is the right approach, at least for me, because I’m not burdened by the boredom of running through the same exercise fifty times ’til my fingers seize up; I can just grab a tab or two and practise.

The Equipment

It was also in the interest of “fun” that I decided to purchase a Squier Stratocaster electric. There’s just so much more you can do with an electric, and after hearing a lot of my friends recommend it as a good beginners guitar I was set. It was also cheap, only ~$150. I also needed an amp, and after a fair amount of research I decided to get an orange crush 10. Orange make beautiful amps, and my ~$200 solid state amp is testament to that. Of course, the best way to save money is to use eBay, so I bought my gear from there, saved about $50, including postage, of course.

My Amp

My Amp

My Guitar

My Guitar

So, yes, I’ve managed to learn quite a bit in the last two months, and I’ve had a heck of a lot of fun doing it! Guitar is a really great instrument to play; it’s very expressive. It’s quite easy to bend strings, add a bit of tremolo, and you can apply numerous effects to modify your sound. I personally have also got an MXR Carbon Copy delay pedal, for stretching out rhythm pieces, and giving a bit of sustain to reggae sounds.

I’ll leave you with that, my next post will feature a song I’ve composed, and the method I used to record it.

Happy Hacking!

Posted 21/09/2010 by Emmanuel Jacyna in Uncategorized

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