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May 27, 2012

I, Musical Hack

This year, the big trend in music is a genre called dubstep. Like it or hate it, it has inspired a lot of musicians, and even more non musicians, to learn how to use their computers to produce music.

Despite knowing a couple of tunes on the piano, my small hands sort of make it difficult for me to do chords on the piano. (Maybe I need to find a smaller piano?)

But I have these tiny hands
"But I have these tiny hands."

Regardless, today I though I'd take a few hours to take some advice from YouTube on how to create a song using music software. As usual, the amount of software out there for Windows and Mac users out numbers what Linux users have. But what we lack in quantity, we make up with quality. The music I made was made with LMMS

At first, I though I was following one of the piano tutorials correctly to create some Benny Benassi song that was remixed by Skrillex. Turns out that after I though I was baking a cake, I ended out with a roasted turkey dinner instead. (That's a good thing!) In retrospect, I'm glad I made those mistakes. I'm not a fan of Benny Benassi to begin with and the orignial song was so soft. The song I made was more upbeat, probably because I used so many 1/8th notes. At any rate, these mistakes were so worth it.

Now keep in mind, this song I made was just to demo LMMS's capabilities to produce music. I didn't ad any special effects or make any edits. And because I'm only using a tiny netbook to do it all, don't count on me making any 10 minute songs. I'm considering using this song for a few demonstrations in the future than involve HTML5 Audio and Video elements. Here comes one right now.

Feel free to download this song!

Of course, if .ogg isn't your format, you can always use ffmpeg and convert it to .mp3. This is a definite must if you want to play the song in mpeg321 or MOC. (Note the command for the latter is mocp due to some other software.)

$ ffmpeg -i Diligencia.ogg Diligencia.mp3
$ mpg321 Diligencia.mp3
Convert .ogg to mp3 then play it on the command line!

I love using the command line music players, especially since I like using programs like tmux, vim and irssi. I'm of the opinion, the more command line stuff you use, the more you can remember and stay focused with coding projects.

MOC (Music on Console) is pretty cool. But the default theme is a big blue nightmare. Forunately, you can change the theme and the programmers of MOC realized for a lot of folks, blue just isn't their color. The MOC themes are located in /usr/share/moc/themes/. You will likely need to create a config file. Using vim, create the file ~/.mog/config and write the following line.

Theme = transparent-background
The file ~/.mog/config

Then save the file and quit.

You need to change the permissions of the new file. If you forget to change the permissions on the config file you will get a fatal error and MOC won't run.

$ chmod 755 ~/.moc/config
$ mocp
Change the permission of the file. After that, you can fun it any time with the second line.

There is one other hack I'd like to share before I wrap this post up: Using Shell-FM to play Last.FM. Basically, all you need is a Last.FM account, Shell-FM, a config file (which I will show shortly), and this shell script that I whipped up. Install shell-fm. Download my script. Create ~/.shell-fm.rc

username = yourusername
password = yourpassword
default-radio = lastfm://user/yourusername/playlist
The file ~/.shell-fm/shell-fm.rc

Save and quit. Read through my shell script for a few other instructions. Then run my program: ~/lastfm. This should start playing your radio station. For instruction using shell-fm type ?.

Finally! That's everything! Enjoy your Memorial Day!

One last thing before I close this post. Happy 101st Birthday to Vincent Price. If Jody Price is reading this, you still owe me a pair of egg feet!

Vincent Price's Egg Magic
"You should know that the grave can never tame me!"


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