Tag Archives: sopranino

My new song

Firsts

So… the first thing you might be thinking is, “If this post is about a new song, why is it illustrated by a picture of a bunch of ukulele?” Gosh, I’m glad you asked!

It’s because it’s not only the first song I’ve completed in way too long, it’s the first one I’ve ever written on my Ohana sopranino. The sopranino is at the far left in the pic. It was the best shot I could find of the little guy. (Because I didn’t want to mess with taking another one, that’s why!)

In any event, I finished the song about 5 or so days ago, took the time to learn it (yes, they are two different processes), and got a recording of it. For you “tl;dr” folks the recording is just below, you can probably see it scrolling up by now. Under that is the strange, circuitous route I had to travel to get it out in the wild. I wrote it up for the rest of you.

(Though come to think about it, I speak in paragraphs. I can’t fathom why a tl;dr sort of person would follow me online in the first place. <shrug> )

So here’s my brand new tune, a light and hopefully humorous rant on aging. If you like it, please leave a comment and share it with your friends on the social media things. If you think it sucks, go ahead and leave a comment and then share it with your enemies on social media. It’ll serve them bastards right, eh?

The Process

I had decided that I’d do a Digital Demo Tape level recording, strictly using only program(s) I could run on my somewhat aging Samsung Tab E. I got one take several days ago, but wasn’t quite happy with the result. Turns out that the two apps I used for the actual recording had strengths and weaknesses and I needed to play to the former in order to make up for the latter. I reshot the vocal (the ukulele and harmonica tracks were saveable) so the process looked like this.

  • Record the tracks using the J4T Multi-track Recorder app
  • Export each track as a separate file (you can do it quickly and easily in one process in this app. It does more than the cassette 4-track I recorded my first release on, way back in the early 90’s. Further, that cassette unit cost me $400 back then, while a few years ago I picked up J4T for $3.99.)
  • Import them, one at a time, into the Lexis Audio Editor (a free android app similar to Audacity, which does not run on android.)
  • EQ and add any track-specific effects. I kept it pretty sparse, only adding a pale wash of reverb to the vox and harmonica, and a really spare slapback echo to the uke in order to “thicken” it a tad. I also normalized them so that I had some volume to work with whilst mixing.
  • Re-import the altered tracks to J4T
  • Mix down to one stereo track
  • Reimport into Lexis (Getting dizzy yet?)
  • Trim, add the fade-out, a light touch of compression, and normalize
  • Save it and import it into Audio MP3 Editor. Another free app which does several things including transcoding, cutting/trimming, making ringtones, etc.
  • Transcode from WAV to MP3 format and add metatags
  • Done. Raise a big cheer!

But wait! Now we come to the first of the tech bombs.

Tech Bomb 1

Now that I have a finished recording, I’m going to want to host it somewhere. Oh, look! I have an old and rarely used Soundcloud account. That’s the ticket!

Ummm… did I mention that nowadays I do the greater majority of my computing stuff on my tablet? ‘Cuz that’s going to be important real soon now.

I have both the Soundcloud app and access via web browser.

It turns out that Soundcloud, despite being all about streaming to mobile devices (for all you hip kids), does not allow you to upload a recording from your phone or tablet. Dafuq?

So fine… I pass the recording up to the cloud and fire up my one remaining “general purpose” computer. The problem here is that it’s a 10 year old Dell netbook, running Ubuntu 12.something, an OS upgrade that slowed it way down. Also it doesn’t like my browser.

Despite all that I manage to get the track uploaded to Soundcloud. From my earlier tries on my tablet I know that I can’t get the embed code except from the web version. So I copy the long paragraph of obscure HTML code and paste it into a text document on the Linux box and upload it to the cloud, something I’ve done tons of times before. Then I go to download it onto the tablet so I can embed the player here in WordPress.

Here comes the second tech bomb.

Tech Bomb 2

Despite all past history, neither Google Drive nor my tablet will open the text file, they’re all saying “I don’t recognize the file type.” OMFG! It’s a plain text file, ffs! Who’s Wheaties did I pee on to make the tech gods so angry with me?

Fine!

I’ll just open the file on my netbook and laboriously type it into a note on my tablet. (Using the stylus just so it’s an extra fussy process.)

Done!

Now I open up the WordPress app and start a new post, giving it a title, a brief bit of “lorem ipsum…” placeholder text, and copy/paste the embed code in. Then I save it as a draft post so I can view it to make sure the embed actually works.

Oh look. Here comes another tech bomb.

Tech Bomb 3

My WordPress app seems to be broken. It keeps giving me “you’re not permitted to edit nor save” errors. So let’s try it through the web interface. Broken. Instead of the WP login page, I’m getting an empty page with a popup asking for my login credentials. I don’t think so!

Luckily (?) this has happened before. Some eager young beaver at my hosting service has decided my security isn’t tight enough and set the permissions on the WP folder to clear that up. Locking me out in the process. They’re actually pretty good about fixing fuckups, whether mine or theirs, so this one was cleared up within a few hours of me sending the email.

Leaving me with one final tech bomb. (sigh)

Tech Bomb 4

Remember that vast paragraph of embed code from Soundcloud? Didn’t work. Fortuneately I remembered that WP has a shortcode for Soundcloud. It works. That’s why you can see the player up there and, hopefully, play my new song.

So here I sit, finishing up the last of this blog post. Please remember that sharing is caring! If you share my stuff around, it’s better than a dollar in my tip bucket. And it only costs you a few minutes time.

Thanks much for your patience. Hopefully my next song (or video or whatever) won’t be so long coming

New Video. Sorta. 3rd Time’s The Charm.

So. What’s this “3rd Time’s The Charm” thing all about?

Around ten years ago I wrote a song called Daisy Fraser. Shortly after that Snake Suspenderz was playing a gig at Egan’s Ballard Jam House and we put it on the playlist. Someone in the audience recorded a video of the song. I can’t for the life of me remember who right now (maybe my sweetie?), but the video turned out horribly. It was recorded on an extremely low end camera in a venue so dimly lit that out of the four of us, only Thaddeus and I can be seen. We look more orange than the Thing from the Fantastic Four but, worst of all, I completely vapor-locked on the lyrics. That’s right, the lyrics to my own song escaped me!

But, since I’d passed off several choruses to Thadd (on trombone) and Dean (who played bass with us then and also did a hella mouth trumpet), I decided to put it online anyway. Part as an homage to them taking up the slack and part for the same reason we get blooper reels. And there it languished for awhile.

Then about 3 years back I got to thinking about it again. I’m reasonably pleased with the tune, having after all both riffed on Shakespeare and channeled a little bit of the Dixie Chicks vibe ala Goodbye Earl.

By this time I had a bit better video editing capability, but the darn thing still turned out a wee darker looking than I liked. About the only thing to say for it was it’s (I think) the first time the humbone appeared in one of my vids. It’s pottered along and gathered about 200 views. *yawn* Which brings us to now.

With LumaFusion I’ve got the best video editing capability I’ve ever had, though I’m still learning the software. The video is still somewhat dusky. *sigh* Nevertheless, here’s Daisy again, this time done like I’ve been busking it recently, on my Ohana SK-21 Sopranino with a kazoo solo.

Daisy Fraser – Third Time’s The Charm edition

A new ukulele songsheet

This one is for you sopranino players, especially if you’ve tuned it up to F tuning (CFAD) though it can be used to learn the tune with any instrument—even… gasp!… guitars—by simply ignoring the fingerings I’ve given in favor of the appropriate ones for your instrument and tuning.

The song is Teddy Bears Picnic, nearly 100 years old now and still popular enough that my video of the tune is approaching 12,000 views. I usually only make songsheets for my own tunes, but this one is well and truly into the Public Domain and is one I really enjoy, so I thought I’d share it with you.

The story behind the songsheet is in the songsheet itself, so I won’t repeat it here. You can download it by right clicking its title (above) and saving it to your computer. Or you can visit my free ukulele songsheets page to download it and a number of other tunes.

Let me know what you think of it in the comments!

Enjoy…