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Memory and the lack there of,
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 Posted: Fri May 18th, 2012 01:00 am
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Red Rogers
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I can write a song and come back to play it tomorrow and I will have forgotten it or the melody. This is very frustrating and I have lost many tunes in my life this way. What is the simplest ways of getting around this besides Ginko Biloba ?

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 Posted: Fri May 18th, 2012 08:03 am
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LechlerFan
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Hopefully you're not actually looking for someone to fix your memory! My advice is record it in whatever way you possibly can. Obvious, right? I have gone from a Tascam 4-track, to various Dictaphones, to mini-disc, mp3 players, computers, and now three different cell phones. It's a hassle when I'm trying to find a specific song and I have to dig through all those devices, but at least I know it's there somewhere.

More specifically, I recommend getting a cheap mp3 player that has voice record (make sure of this before purchasing!) and keep it with you, or close at hand, at all times. Then maybe have another setup at home on your computer.

There are plenty of free, simple recording programs out there that require only a cheap mic to record through your built-in sound card (Use Google to find one. I have Audacity on my laptop but there are tons of programs out there). Then you can make a quick recording with your mp3 player when it strikes you, come back to it later, work on it some, and then re-record to your computer. And never forget to have a back-up of your computer drive! External hard drives are too cheap now to have an excuse for not backing up.

Barring all of that, which certainly happens, I have used to methods. One is to write down as much as I can about the idea. If you have your instrument handy, figure out the melody and write it out as painfully clearly as you can, even if it's just the "tab" of a guitar part. Write out any lyrics that might bring the though back to mind.

The other method is: find a phone (a pay phone, a friend's phone, a stranger's phone, whatever) and call yourself. Leave yourself a voice mail of your song. Check it later.

Maybe the most important advice I can offer is: when you get a new song idea, avoid at all cost places where you're likely to hear music. Grocery store Musak has ruined more than one song idea for me.

Good luck!

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 Posted: Fri May 18th, 2012 11:30 pm
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Red Rogers
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Thanks Lechlerfan lots of great ideas. How do you like Audacity ? Are you running it on a mac or pc and do you need a DI box ?

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 Posted: Sat May 19th, 2012 02:27 am
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LechlerFan
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Audacity isn't terribly powerful. It's the only freeware audio editing program I've tried. Others might be better. I'm running it in Windows Vista.

I haven't tried to direct in with an instrument in Audacity. I just have a cheap mic with a 3.5mm connection plugged directly into the mic input on my laptop. I just point the mic at whatever instrument I'm using. A mic intended for podcasts would work fine.

Not sure how DI'ing would effect that(impedance-wise), especially considering you'd likely have to go from an XLR out on the DI box to a 1/4 inch jack, and from that to a 3.5mm mini-jack.

In other words, just grab a cheap mic or a podcast mic. You're not looking for mind-blowing sound-quality, right? If I understand your question correctly, you want just enough to not forget the song idea. Audacity and a cheap mic can do that.

I actually have three stages of recording these days. I flesh out mp3 player or phone ideas into Audacity (where I can have multiple tracks for harmonies/additional instruments). Then, when a song idea starts to really take shape and I decide I want to put more time into it, I record it my desktop PC, using Pro Tools.

If you have an Android smartphone, there's a program called Four Tracks Lite, which is free and pretty awesome. You can record, as the name suggests, four tracks. It's super basic (with only volume and mute controls for playback), but the paid version has more stuff, from what I've read.

Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help.

Last edited on Sat May 19th, 2012 08:34 am by LechlerFan

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