Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Best News from the Macworld '05 Keynote 

The Mac Mini and iPod Shuffle are neat, but the part of Steve Jobs' Macworld keynote speech that really had me salivating and reaching for my wallet was the GarageBand demo. Specifically, the music notation feature.

I've wanted for some time to get software that will write what I play and a MIDI keyboard to go with it. (My Yamaha keyboard is old enough that it doesn't support MIDI. People I tell this to are always skeptical, but it's absolutely true.) For me, writing music by hand is slow and inaccurate, and dragging and dropping notes on a computer screen isn't much better. I know that GarageBand is a recording tool, not a notation tool, but it would be nice to use one piece of software for everything as my notation needs are pretty minimal. I don't know for sure whether I can print from GarageBand, but even if I can't I can just cut up some screencaps, add chords and words in Freehand, and turn the whole thing into a PDF.

There's some relatively inexpensive music notation software I've been thinking about purchasing (can't recall the name right now) which also records while you play, and is designed for printing. But the interface is awful. It's designed for people who want to create orchestral scores, and adding words and chords to a simple melody is clunky; really no better than the hack described above. Besides, this GarageBand update has me excited. If it will get me off my sofa and in front of the microphone recording songs for posterity (and possible podcasting), then it's worth every penny.


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