The Indiana University School of Music, a leading institution of music education, offers an extensive electronic music curriculum. The Web site of the school's Center for Electronic and Computer Music (www.indiana.edu/~emusic) is intended primarily as a resource for university students, but it's also useful for anyone interested in electronic music.
The site includes an explanation of the MIDI specification, a digital audio primer, microphone and mixer basics, mixer troubleshooting tips, a historical overview of electronic music, and extensive coverage of the sound-synthesis language Csound. You'll also find links to valuable resources such as the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), the International Computer Music Association, and the Electronic Music Foundation.
Musicians seeking resources and contacts to further their careers will find Musiceditor.com (www.musiceditor.com) well worth exploring. Billed as "the new online A&R resource," the site provides several valuable services. For a $45 fee, you can submit a demo package and receive a thorough critique of your music production, vocals, lyrics, and presentation. If the reviewers consider your material exceptional, Musiceditor.com will shop your package to labels, publishing firms, and others . . . Fans of analog circuit design and other DIY types should bookmark Music Synthesizer.com (www.musicsynthesizer.com), the fascinating online meeting place for synth designers, builders, and enthusiasts worldwide. It's made up of links to pages that describe highly personal, one-of-a-kind systems, often including schematics and other useful design information. Many of the people behind the smaller analog synth companies (including Grant Richter of Wiard, Eric Barbour of Metasonix, and Bruce Duncan of Modcan), as well as more well-known names (such as John Simonton of PAiA, Don Buchla, and Bob Moog), are represented on the site . . . If you've ever struggled with placing MIDI files online, go to Charles Belov's MIDI Web Tips Home Page (www.cabelov.com/midi/midi.shtml). This site provides casual Web surfers, musicians, Webmasters, and Internet service providers with information on browser plug-ins and uploading and configuring MIDI data, tests to check your browser's MIDI response, and links to related sites. You can download HTML code for streaming MIDI data and incorporate it in your Web pages. The site will also tell you which MIDI plug-in your browser uses. Best of all is the extensive section on troubleshooting MIDI-related difficulties.
GoldWave 4.19 for Windows (www.goldwave.com) is a shareware
2-channel digital audio editor with an intuitive interface and an extensive feature set. Provisions for configuring RAM (for fast operation) and your hard disk (for large files) help you optimize the program for any application, such as editing files up to 1 GB in size.
GoldWave lets you automatically convert samples during paste operations and perform direct sample editing using the mouse, and it gives you real-time amplitude, spectrum, bar, and spectrogram graphs. Standard effects include distortion, echo, pan, volume shaping, invert, resample, transpose, noise reduction, and time warp. Among the other features are drag-and-drop cue points, CD audio extraction, and the ability to import and export a number of formats, such as WAV, AU, IFF, VOC, SND, MAT, AIFF, MP3, OGG, and raw data. (To work with MP3 files, you must also have Windows Media Player 6.4 and the LAME or BladeEnc encoders.)
GoldWave 4.19 has modest minimum system requirements: a 486 processor, 16 MB of RAM, Windows 95/98/2000/NT, 3 MB of free disk space, and a sound card. GoldWave 3.03 is available for users running Windows 3.1.
OnlineConservatory.com (www.onlineconservatory.com) is an interactive Web site that offers one-on-one keyboard lessons through the Web. You can study any style of music and choose your teacher. OnlineConservatory.com is available for Windows only and requires two applications: the company's free Melodus software package (which lets you play live over the Internet using MIDI instruments) and Microsoft's NetMeeting 3.01 (a real-time conferencing application).
Getting started is easy. When you register, the site will ask you about your musical preferences and equipment. After registration, download and install Melodus and NetMeeting, and turn on your keyboard and playback system. Next, arrange for the company's technical support department to test your system. A teacher will then contact you to schedule a free lesson.
At the appointed lesson time, log in and go to OnlineConservatory.com's student waiting room, where your teacher will meet you, establish a connection, and begin your lesson. Once you complete your first lesson and become familiar with the entire process, you can search for the teacher of your choice. The minimum system requirements for OnlineConservatory.com are a Pentium/120 MHz, 16 MB of RAM, Windows 95/98, a 28.8 Kbps modem, a MIDI-compatible sound card, a MIDI keyboard, and a microphone (preferably on a headset).
Liquid Audio's Liquid SystemAlthough there are numerous encoding and playback systems available for downloading audio over the Internet, Liquid Audio (www.liquidaudio.com) is popular with artists and labels because it protects intellectual property rights through watermarking. Liquid Audio is not a retail site but a service provider; think of it as a warehouse (in the form of Liquid Audio's server) for music distribution. Links within an artist's Web page connect customers to the server, where they can preview and download music. Once you establish an account and upload your music to Liquid Audio's server, your product becomes part of the Liquid Music Network database, which contains more than 900 affiliated Web sites, including Tower Records Online, Virgin Jamcast, and CDNow.
You can open a Liquid System account by contacting Liquid Audio's sales department. Basic hosted accounts for distribution and e-commerce cost less than $100 a year. Expanded hosting packages, which include additional storage and service options, are also available. Liquid Audio provides optional encoding and uploading services for artists and labels with small catalogs - just fill out the required forms and send them in with your CD.
The Liquid System is made up of three parts: Liquid Audio's server, Liquid Player Five, and Liquifier Pro. Liquid Player Five, available as freeware, is Liquid Audio's online version of a CD player. It's the key to conducting e-commerce, because it lets your customers preview and purchase your music. The player can also show graphics, lyrics, liner notes, and promotional material, and it includes built-in CD-burning software. You determine which permissions (such as a one-time right to burn a CD-R of the downloaded material) the consumers receive. Liquid Player Five supports a wide variety of file formats, including Dolby Digital (AC-3), Advanced Audio Coding, Sony ATRAC 3, and MP3.
Liquifier Pro, which you can download once you establish an account, is for encoding and uploading content. It also includes audio-extraction tools for transferring audio from a CD to your hard drive. Creating a file with Liquifier Pro takes six steps: (1) enter your text and graphics in the Media window; (2) import your audio; (3) prepare separate audio files for previews and downloads; (4) preview each component from the consumer's perspective; (5) create a Liquid Master file by integrating all images, text, and audio files; and (6) upload the Liquid Master file to the server using Liquifier Pro's simple drag-and-drop methods.
For Liquid Player Five and Liquifier Pro, PC users need a Pentium/166 MHz; 32 MB of RAM; Windows 95/98/NT 4.0/2000; 50 MB of hard disk space; a 16-bit DirectX-compatible sound card; Netscape Navigator 4.x or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x; and a 28.8 Kbps modem. Macintosh users need a PowerPC/150 MHz; 32 MB of RAM; OS 7.6.1; 50 MB of hard disk space; Navigator 4.x or Internet Explorer 5.x; and a 28.8 Kbps modem.
Monty RocayLa ClaveLatin music is hotter than ever. Monty Roca y La Clave (http://artists2.iuma.com/IUMA/Bands/Monty_Roca_y_La_Clave/index-0.html), a New York City-style salsa band with a huge sound, has taken to the Web to deliver its musical message. Hailing from Middletown, New York, the eight-piece ensemble infuses its Latin arrangements with a number of jazz elements, producing a sound reminiscent of Tito Puente, Machito, Ruben Blades, and Willy Rosario. The music is replete with sophisticated harmonies, colorful and dynamic horn arrangements, and driving percussion.
"We started as a group of friends who were playing with other bands, but we wanted more control over our music," says bandleader and pianist Monty Roca. "We decided to produce a CD and promote it on the Internet. The Internet seemed like the ideal vehicle to accomplish what we wanted because, without the restrictions imposed by a record company, we were able to craft our musical vision as we liked."
Music fans everywhere have shown their support. "The Internet has made it possible to reach people around the world who otherwise would have never heard our music," Roca says. "We've sold CDs in Europe, Russia, Latin America, and all across the United States."
Roca first uploaded the band's music in May. "In just a few short months, we've had several record labels contact us about the handling and distribution of our CD, and we've played at both the Copa Cabana and Casa Blanca nightclubs," he says. "I have also been hired to create musical arrangements for other bands that heard our CD."
Roca is a true believer in the Internet's ability to further a musician's career, because it allowed him to develop a following that would otherwise have required a substantial marketing budget. "You upload your music, and the public is the judge of what you create, not some executives at a record company that might stop you from reaching the masses because you did not agree to their terms," Roca says. "Out of necessity, record companies are taking notice of the Internet's potential."