Rockin' Memories' - Pam Barker & Bruce Rudolph

How The Music Is Created

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The fact that you're reading this means either I have peaked your curiosity about how I create my music arrangements, or you had to let the dog out to pee and you're just killing a few minutes until you have to let him back in. Either way, I am truly grateful for your visit here! As any artist will tell you, many, many hours of hard work and creativity overload go into our projects, So it's for that reason we must appreciate every person who takes the time to appreciate our work. If it wasn't for each of you, the feeling of pride and accomplishment we as artists get from doing what we do would be non-existent. For obvious reasons, I'm writing this for the benefit of my non-musician friends, since they would generally have no reason to be familiar with things such as arranging, recording, engineering, mastering, how intsruments are utilized, or any of the other things that come into play in the creation (arrangement) of a tune. As long as it sounds to their liking, and reaches them in some positive way, that's all that really matters.
That having been said, let me expand a bit on just what it is I do here, and allow me the opportunity to clear up some possible misconceptions about the world of "midi" musical creations.


Duplicating instrument sounds on a keyboard is not new. Organs have been doing that for decades now - just not very well or accurately. As technology evolves, the artificial reproduction of instrument sounds just keeps getting better. Some "synths" use actual sounds which are "sampled" in. For example, when you "punch-up" a trumpet sound, you're actually hearing a digital "sample" (recording) of the note you're pressing being played on a real trumpet. Some synths, like my Alesis Quadrasynth Plus and Yamaha S90 midi keyboards, are electronic re-creations of the chosen instrument. But it's not enough to just have the instrument sound coming out as you play. The key to a good sounding result is being able to play the keyboard with a "touch" and "feel" that makes it sound and feel as close to the real thing as possible. If I'm playing a sax line, I have to make proper use of the "bend" wheel and "vibrato" wheel, and "move over the keys" to sound as close as I can to the way a real sax is played. If I'm doing the high trumpet squeals, ala Lin Biviano or Doc Severinsen, I have to be careful not to go TOO high on the keyboard or it may sound a bit "plastic". Trombones can be tricky, too, and usually even the best efforts to duplicate them on a keyboard have them sounding like a combination valve and slide trombone. I want to make it clear to you, the listener, that I am in no way attempting to "pull that ol' wool over your eyes" and fool you into thinking you're hearing a real big band. In fact, just the opposite. I take much humble pride in having you know that I play all the parts (except my drums, of course) on a keyboard synth. My true feeling of accomplishment comes if you are impressed with the fact that it SOUNDS real, not "synthy" or artificial.

There's one last thing I need to address while we're on the basic subject. A very common misconception that occurs is this: Many people, when they hear the term "computer", believe that I sit at the computer keyboard, start typing away, and somehow, magically, all this music appears! I can promise you, if it were that simple, everyone would be doing it. Not so. Every note is played in real time. There is no "programming" of any kind. One artist I was playing drums for (and this is a true story) wouldn't listen to any of my work because she "didn't care for digitized music". I can only reiterate again that every note you hear is played, NOT "programmed". You can't program feel on a computer. An advantage I feel I have over other artists that use midi in their work, is that being a drummer, I can add to keeping the feel and sound real because I play real drum kits, and don't need to rely on programming"drum machines".
What it all sums up to is this: I'm just a guy playing what's in my heart and my head, and hoping many of you will like at least some of what you hear. There is little in life as gratifying as someone taking a minute of their time to come to you and say: "I listened to your CD, and I liked it". That's a feeling that, sadly, most people in the world will never experience - but I really wish they could. I am consistently grateful that I do get to experience that incredible satisfaction. So to you, I can only say a heartfelt "thank you" for taking these few minutes out of your day and spending them with me.

- Bruce Rudolph -


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