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Showing posts from December, 2007

Animation in Final Cut Pro

Like many contemporary composers, I am fascinated with the correlation between music and the visual arts. The cross-pollination of the arts has given birth to many great compositions and visual works. Dr. Kristine H. Burns (see link in Artist Links) at Florida International University has mastered an animation style utilizing Final Cut Pro's Video Generator features. She used it for her amazing video piece, Copper Islands.

Final Cut Pro has a variety of Video Generators available. You can create a simple color matte, text, shapes, bars, noise, etc. For electroacoustic composers, think of these as the basic sine, triangle, and square waves (and noise, of course) that a composer manipulates electronically through sound synthesis. These are building blocks.

You need to be familiar with the KEY FRAME feature available in Final Cut Pro. By setting KEY FRAMES you can alter an effect over time.

Start with something basic, say a basic Color Matte with a Mask Shape (ex. a circle) over it. N…

12 Ways to Expand the Percussion Palette

Nearly every piece that comes a Percussionist's way will consist of the following:

A run-of-the-mill SNARE DRUM part

A BASS DRUM part which plays monotonously on beats 1 and 3

A MALLET part (usually bells --ouch--- or xylophone) which mimics the woodwinds

And a TIMPANI part which copies the tubas or basses

Oh, and let's not forget the CYMBAL part, which consists of enthralling cymbal rolls and exciting CRASHES!!!!

Now, not much can be done for those currently de-composers who had to write for this instrumentation. After all, if the reigning monarch or local cathedral had a set of kettle drums, a military drum, and a couple of metal plates, that was what you had to go with. Writing for the army? Ditto. The Church your patron? Just try incorporating hand drums. Heretics, for sure.

BUT...this IS the Third Millennium. And PERCUSSION has come to mean pretty much anything, yep ANYTHING, you can hit, beat, scrape, blow, whistle, bow, shake, roll, kick, turn on, pull, push, squeeze, …