Bass and Piano

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post about the song idea I've been revisiting. The song will hopefully be sung at some point by Send Judah First, the gospel choir at GLCC. But first it needs to get finished!!

When we left off, I had just finished building the drumline in Hydrogen. The next step is to get it into Ardour, the DAW I will be using. There are two ways to go about that. The "Cool Recording Studio Way" is to sync Hydrogen to Ardour using a program called Jack. Jack is a real-time audio server. In a nutshell, it can connect various audio programs and hardware together. Not only can it exchange audio between programs, but also transport commands and time signals. This is the preferred method for final, studio quality recordings, because it involves a direct exchange of data without any coding or compression.

For a quick-and-dirty method for making scratch tracks and such, it is simple to export the Hydrogen track as a wav file, then import the wav into Ardour.

Once the drum track was in Ardour, I wanted to add some melody and bass. Again, since this is a quick-and-dirty scratch track, I decided not to go the whole midi-sequencer route, and instead decided to capture the keyboard audio directly. Each track in Ardour shows up with two inputs in Jack. The way I record over existing audio is to connect the output 2 of the drum track directly to the System Playback 2 connection. Then I put the System Capture 1 to the track's #1 input. Connect the masters, and you can hear the drums playback without it copying over to the new track.

When connecting an instrument to the soundcard of my PC (since I don't have an audio interface), I prefer to use a mixer in the middle. Why? Because it gives me better control than the instruments volume knob, and is easier to adjust on the fly than the computers sound controls. I use a Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer. That way I can see the levels in the Ardour mixer and make easy adjustments on the 802, without having to flip windows.

The rest was just playing. One track for a bassline (I cheated and used the keyboard) and one for the piano.

So now I have a scratch track to take to our choir director for comments. My next plan is to re-record it with a real bass (or possible a bass synth) and use the MIDI capabilities of the keyboard to make a nicer piano track.

Here's a short clip of the first verse.


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