Tuesday, May 31

Piano with computer AT LAST! … and melting reeds!

I finally got my laptop to communicate with my Yamaha Clavinova (CLP-150) NoteParty smile. I did so by installing a 2nd operating system on my computer (Ubuntu Studio) Hot smile. For those who don’t know about dual-booting: I can use either Windows 7 or Linux (Ubuntu) on the same machine Computer. studio_setupWith a powerful computer, you can even use both operating systems at the same time (I do that at work)…

The great advantage of Ubuntu Studio over other Linux distributions is that the most important “behind the curtains” packages are already included. For instance, because MIDI is an international standard (decades old), it has a module that detects MIDI connections and allows you to connect them to your performance/recording/printing software. mscoreThis is how I only needed to plug-in my Piano and “ta-da!it works: no drivers no nothing! If you have ever tried to install hardware drivers on Windows, you’ll appreciate the value of this. But more still (for frustrated Windows users), booting up and shutting down are lightning fast and the updates hardly ever require restarting the computer…. they certainly don’t shut down the computer when you’re turning it on for a presentation! Smile with tongue out And for those who really know how to use the operating system, program crashes don’t break anything else!… really not as easy on Windows.Linux is what I use at my job: it’s built solid, dependable and fast. Any task (any at all) you do on Windows or on a Mac can be done on Linux.

Unfortunately, the really powerful (and expensive) software is for Mac or Windows. Ubuntu studio comes with a selection of programs for recording, composing and so on and you can easily get some much better ones (all for free – legally! Open-mouthed smile). However, almost all programs can export/import in MIDI format, which means the heavy work can be done on the big programs in Windows and the performance and recording work can be done in Linux using the same files!

I still have a bit of trouble getting these files to make the piano play and record what I play on the piano directly to a musical score writer. But that should not be too hard to figure out: the really aggravating part is getting the computer and the piano to communicate: blueReed_meltedas I said, completely automatic in Ubuntu Studio.

Dog days for oboe reeds…. a bit early this year.

In an earlier post, I mentioned how cool dry weather can ruin reeds. Well, hot muggy weather is not any better! Reeds that were playing well enough have now “melted”: they don’t respond until I blow hard, but if I blow harder, they also want to stop playing!

Some reeds do play well, those that were made with hard cane. They are hard to play, but they are responsive and they do allow for a good dynamic range… they are just murder on endurance. The fantastic reeds from a few weeks ago are still playing very well… but you know what? I think I’ll save those and protect them from potential aggravation!

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