Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Transposing the MIDI backing track

I love to learn playing using MIDI tracks because every note of music is represented here and it's scale position can be checked exactly and easily using the MIDI music editors such as Harpingmidi or Cakewalk Home Studio (CWHS). These programs let you transpose the MIDI tracks easily too. You don't need to listen repeatedly some clip trying to figure out by the ear what the note to play. Instead you just look at them on the computer screen represented by the names on a notation or piano roll window. Harping software even shows you the draw or blow notes and the hole position on the harmonica.

When you open the MIDI file with the programs mentioned above just look for the menu command Transpose to change the key of the song.


Let's say we want to change the key of the original Gb blues clip to the key of G, suitable for the C harmonica to play in the key of G in the second position. We make it by changing the pitch of Gb clip transposing it up by a half position (1 semitone).

Try both clips with the key of C diatonic harmonica (click links above) and you will hear the difference and easily feel which one is suitable to play along.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Transposing the audio backing track

If you have chosen the audio file (.mp3 or .wav) as a backing track for playing along, but it's music key does not match the harmonica's key you have, it is possible to align keys by transposing the sounds (changing the pitch) in the file using the software program (e.g. Amazing Slow Downer - ASD). Changing the pitch up or down by one or few tones may align the music to the key of your harmonica. The transposing may help not always, but in many cases you will succeed, if your chosen audio file is suitable.


Let's say we have the diatonic harmonica in key of C which is suitable for playing blues in the key of G in the second position and "Manic Day" mp3 backing track clip in key of A. To play along this clip on key of C harmonica we need to transpose it to the key of G. We can make it with ASD, lowering the pitch by 2 semitones, so that resulting key of G backing track will sound in line on the key of C harmonica.

If you own the key of C diatonic harmonica, give a try (click links above) to play along your self with both sample tracks to feel the difference.

Using the method of audio file transposition you will enjoy many sound tracks of your favorite groups or artists which you would love to learn playing on your current harmonica while you have not decided yet to buy a whole set of harmonicas in different keys to be able to play all the music you want.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

What is it all about?

When I bought my first diatonic harmonica (key of C) and started to learn playing on it on my own, I discovered that it is not so simple to find backing tracks for play along, especially in appropriate key of my instrument. Searching on Internet and pre-listening to the tracks (free MIDI or audio files) to make sure if they are suitable for me, took so much time, so I decided to find a better way to find backing tracks for my harmonica quicker.

I looked at few of music PC software products that could help me in my learning process and in some of them I found very useful features to adjust the original music e.g. the tuning, transposition and tempo. Now when I find on Internet a melody I like, I can adjust it's sound to my harmonica key using software.

I will share the ideas on my next posts soon, how I do it using a PC and more other things to improve self learning process of playing harmonica.

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