Candace' Song

I wrote this for Candace when she was three or four (1991).

+   lay click track.
    nice sound on 414: B-2 mic, ch1 with flat EQ, through dbx266xl 
    (ratio=3.5, attack=9:00, overeasy+auto). but I think I need a 
    scratch track. 

+   uh-oh, the verse & chorus are in 3/4 at 84 bpm, but the bridge is 
    in 4/4 at 72 bpm.  how do I handle that? And there are 2/4 measures 
    in various places. 

                                                    24-feb-2006 5-7PM
+   Candace came home at 7:45PM last night after a four-month absence. 
    Finshed laying tempo map, meter map, click track, and scratch track. 
    Basically, just play until a major transition, program the map, 
    punch-in, and continue to the next. 

                            25-feb-2006 1:30-2:30, 6-7, 8:30-9:30 PM
+   414. I have always strummed through the bridge, but I want the 
    555 to do that. So I spent some significant time working out a 
    fingerstyle for the bridge just playing with the scratch and click 
    track while listening through the B-2.  I absolutely love it! Had to 
    fiddle with the Audio Properties->Offset in Ms (change from -50 to 
    -30) to get alignment a little better.  

                                                26-feb-2006 10:30AM
+   time for the 555. Through B-2, use a little compression like a 
    limiter at 4:1, except I opened the attack time to 9:00 because I 
    wanted the punch to come through. unusual difficulty playing in time 
    and not drifting--especially for just a strumming part. 

+   scratch vocals. I have now upgraded to PT11 with the 
    M-Audio Delta 1010LT sound card. Let's see what it can do!
    *   Resample to 96kHz, 24-bit. I think this introduced a popping 
        sound to the 555 [nope].  Audio was glitchy due to heavy CPU 
        load. Access M-Audio Delta Control Panel->Hardware Settings->DMA 
        Buffer Size. Quadruple DMA latency to 1096 samples. Clean!
    *   Experiment: what mic do I like better--Beta 87 or B2 Pro? 
        Record mics dry & flat, but monitor input with effects for 
        "ambience."  B2 Pro has low cut off up to measure 76, then it is 
        on--not sure what I like yet. Lots of bass without the cut. Very 
        difficult to decide. B2 seems more "open" or "transparent," yet 
        the 87 sometimes sounds "stronger." 

+   Technical problem. Post to forum:
    *   I seem to be having trouble with the virtual sound canvas DXi 
        synth. It often exhibits a long delay (several seconds) unless I 
        start playback at the beginning of the song. Even then sometimes 
        it does not work right. Other bugs follow as well, like no audio 
        unless I open and close the DXi interface or align the planets 
        just right, etc.... 
        I did some digging. Here is the mouse-click trail to what looks 
        like a problem:
            control panel | system properties | hardware | device 
            manager | sound, video and game controllers | Virtual Sound 
            Canvas 3.2 | properties | MIDI Devices and Instruments | 
            Virtual Sound Canvas 3.2 | properties
        This dialog says "Status: Driver is enabled but not functioning 
        properly." Then it displays a pair of radio buttons with no 
        text. Finally, there is a "settings..." button that doesn't do 
        I tried reinstalling VSC but nothing changed. Can't find any 
        update news at or google. No documentation files. 
        Running Windows XP Media Edition. 
        Any tips?
        -   Mac replied:
            Haven't seen that one yet. 
            Did you try turning off any Virus Scanner before the 
            reinstall? Sometimes certain scanners will prevent a few 
            critical files from writing. 
            Also try Control Panel -> Add or Remove Software to 
            UNinstall the existing VSC first, then reboot and then 
            reinstall with virus scanner temporarily turned off. 
            worth a shot, 
        -   I replied:
            Mac: Excellent suggestions! The driver warning is now gone! 
            However, the PT behavior is still there. I notice it occurs 
            only when starting the song at a location after a radical 
            change in meter and tempo. But it does fine if I start 
            before the change. 
            Any more ideas? 
            Thanks again,
        -   Submitted a request for support. 
        -   Mac replied:
            I think you've got to start the thing before the tempo 
            change if I'm hearing you right -- the command is on the 
            timeline and if you start after that command's place on the 
            timeline, well there isn't any data to indicate that tempo 
            change happened. So you've got to start playback before that 
            point. Maybe that's all it is. 
        -   I replied:
            OK, I noticed that if I switch from ASIO to MME audio 
            drivers, the problem disappears. This means I can get some 
            work done--I think...wait--the MIDI latency during MIDI 
            recording will kill me. 
            Come to think of it, I don't even know what "MME" and "ASIO" 
            stand for, let alone what they are. Any info out there to 
        -   I noticed the tracks render to audio fine, so I CAN get
            work done. 
        -   Mac posted a lengthy explanation of MME vs ASIO.
        -   Post reply:
            Great stuff again, Mac. Thanks for taking the time and 
            In short, I think I can now get work done, but in a 
            round-about way. Here is the situation as I see it:
            If I want to record audio, I can use the wisdom Mac just 
            provided. Thanks again. 
            If I want to record MIDI, then I cannot punch-in after, 
            approximately, the midpoint of the song--not an option for 
            clumsy fingers like mine. I can't use MME drivers because of 
            the latency. However, I found that the tracks render to 
            audio just fine.  Thus, I can render each MIDI track to an 
            audio track and record MIDI with ASIO and DXi while 
            monitoring only audio tracks. 
            Not ideal, but when, I should ask, is a recording engineer 
            (can we call ourselves that?) NOT flying by the seat of his 
            P.S. In the mean time, I submitted a support request; 
            perhaps the gang can fix it in the next patch. 
            P.P.S. This is the best user forum I have ever seen. 

                                    Sunday, December 10, 2006 (3:26PM)
+   Keyboards.
    *   I gave a copy to Rob to see if he could think of a keyboard
        accompaniment. I wrote,
            I have a smidgeon of guidance: At bars 82 and 87 I hear a 
            sort of "power synth sequence" of notes that build and 
            broaden the feel.  Here is an example of the "power synth" 
            from Rush's The Camera Eye.  Somehow I am guessing it is a 
            Moog with that flaring high end. 
            Beyond that, I think the rest of the song needs some sort of 
            strings or pad. 
    *   Rob made a great Rhodes Electric Piano line. It draws me into
        the song and enhances the 414 sound nicely. 
    *   Synthesizer. Rob also E-mailed me 3 VSTi synths (OrganOne, 
        PolyBlit, and MinimogueVA). I think the "Camera Eye" sound is
        most likely to come from the MinimogueVA (see minimogueva.png).
        Try some sounds.
        -   "034: square laser" comes close, but I will have to fiddle 
            with some parameters to get it right.
                                Aaron is taking his piano lesson from 
                                Ken.  He just said, "That guy you just 
                                told me about--he is way too good on 
                                pianos." Ken played Aaron's next piece: 
                                part of "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven! 
        -   "100: rock moogbass 3osc" is another candidate.
        -   "092: happy melody (filter mod)" has some virtue.
        -   "083: bass rockriff"
        -   Save with MinimogueVA used for the lead sheet. It took 
            a while to figure out how to use the VSC DXi for the
            Rhodes at the same time (2 different ports and a bunch
            of mouse clicks with planet alignment). 

                                    Tuesday, December 12, 2006 (1:39PM)
        -   Download minimoog_owners_manual.pdf. It is not quite the
            same as the plug-in, but very similar (original is shown
            in Minimoog_b.jpg, plugin is minimogueva.png). Since I
            will have to tweak, learn to use the MiniMoog! 
                                Saturday, December 16, 2006 (11:28AM)
        -   I think "100: rock moogbass 3osc" is closest to what I
            am after. Save variations to minimoog_a.fxb and
        -   I am starting to think I need the bass to set the right
            context for the synth line. As it is, I am relying on the
            synth to carry low notes that are better suited to the

                                Wednesday, December 20, 2006 (5:19PM)
+   Fiddle with bass line for bridge.
    *   rename candace_song_debug_44k16b.SEQ to candace_song.seq
    *   Very rough, but recorded what I was doing. Time to squeeze
        the creativity out of my soul. 
                                Thursday, December 28, 2006 (8:46AM)
    *   I need a mix I can listen to for creative ideas. Trying to 
        master MIDI. It is a new challenge since I cannot route
        all MIDI to the default VSC DXi. This is because I now have
        the MiniMogue VA plugin. 
        -   I think I can define one port for the VSC DXi and route
            all MIDI to that port but on separate MIDI channels. Then
            I can define another port for the MiniMogue. Yes, this
        -   Save the group to vsc_dxi.tgs.
        -   render candace_song_gen_ideas.mp3
                                Saturday, December 30, 2006 (11:00AM)
    *   Having listened to the rough take, I fear the bass and drums
        will stomp all over the 414, which is unacceptable. I am
        starting to think the song should have no bass or drums
        [gasp!]. It occurs to me that Steven Curtis Chapman got away
        with such a thing on the song "I Will Be Here," so I can't be
        TOO far gone. 

+   Strings. Try crafting a string part. 

    *   Setup: channel 3 on the VSC DXi track. See string_setup_a.

    *   Recorded a quick take. I am beginning to interact emotionally
        with the song--a good sign that I am on the right track.
    *   Recorded a second part, but I want them separated, and they
        overlap pitch ranges. Clean up 2 hours. Should have put more
        time up front into arrangement. 
        -   Copy-pasting the notes caused the pedal data to be lost.
            That means I have to manually extend short notes to maintain
            legato. No, not all was lost. Some editing was done in the
            tracks window where all data gets moved. As long as it 
            sounds OK. 
        -   render candace_song_gen_ideas.mp3. I am in that mode
            where I need to slow down, listen, and "hear" and "feel"
            rather than "think."

                                    Sunday, December 31, 2006 (8:03AM)
    *   I want a couple fills in the last verse and chorus, but I
        have to start recording before the bridge where the tempo
        and meter change (this "feature" is becoming a pain).
        -   PG Music tech support replied to the request above:

            In reply...

            > Does this problem occur if you use MME drivers 
            > (Options | Preferences | Audio)?

            It does not occur, but MME is not an option since I
            want to record MIDI, and the latency is severe
            (VSC, 0.4 seconds).

            > While using ASIO, when latency (buffer size) do you 
            > have the M-Audio ASIO drivers set to?  You can check 
            > this by opening the ASIO Audio Drivers dialog in 
            > PowerTracks and clicking on the ASIO Driver's Control 
            > Panel button.

            The ASIO Audio Drivers dialog says,
            "buffer sizes in samples: min=64 max=2048 
               pref=512 granularity=0"
            "actual ASIO buffer size in MS: 11.61"
            The setting in the Delta Control Panel is 512 samples.

            > You are probably right that the issue is specific to 
            > files that tempo/meter changes.  It would be good if we 
            > could test one of the files that the problem occurs 
            > with, and you could send that as an email attachment 
            > (MIDI data only).

            I tried to prepare one (attached) by deleting all audio 
            (7 tracks), but the problem disappeared. I would have 
            to send a large file (150Mb) for you to study it. Shall 
            I send it?
        -   I found a way to work out the fills: select the part
            in PowerTracks so that I can play. Play the rendered
            MP3 in Windows Media Player adjusting the volume control
            to mix in. This way I can practice the part until I can
            nail it in a couple takes. Phooey! Forget MP3; I am not
            out of hard-disk space. Render WAV.
        -   Don't record MIDI data on an existing track! Yes, it works,
            but it makes post-processing too painful. 

    *   I want the strings to swell into the last chorus and fade
        at the end. 
        -   Drop expression and raise faders 20 points (~4db).
        -   Draw the ramps in via piano roll window->graphical pane.
            Up to full and back (107->127->107) sounds good. 

                                    Monday, January 1, 2007 (11:30AM)
    *   Still a few more notes to edit or add. 
        -   I have been working with the Senndeiser HD280 headphones,
            and the mix ends up too bass-heavy. Try the Fostex T40's
            for a while. 
            :   Funny, the dry vocal is lost completely in the T40's.
                No, I think it was a software glitch.
        -   Cruising around (how often do I do THAT?) listening. I
            am hearing--almost literally--new notes. Edits to make:
            :   Drop low EQ on 414; let strings carry bass. Add some
            :   Add some treble to vocal.
            :   1:05 - remove the high-string fill.
            :   2:02 - remove the low-string fill.
            :   Staccatto bass line on the pickup to chorus 3.
        -   Aah--I can switch to MME/WDM audio drivers as long as I
            am not playing the keyboard, and I do not loose sync
            after the bridge. 
            :   Oops, the roll window does not work as well--no sound 
                on clicked notes. MME does other weird things. I think 
                it randomly turns on and off MIDI channels.
            :   The audio driver dialog has a button to analyze the
                sound card and set some things like:
                    DMA size    = 1024
                    DMA offset  = -2048
                I think the muted channels came from stopping the song
                after a fadeout.
        -   The staccato bass line exposes the 414's misalignment:
            about 5-9 ticks ahead (using the tick definition from the
            original tempo). Move it 6 ticks to the right.
            :   The Rhodes is also ahead. Use edit|slide command
                rather than quantize. Apply only before the bridge.
                6 ticks. 
                                    total production hours = 25.5

                                    Saturday, July 12, 2008 (11:23AM)
+   Create a backing track that I can perform with.
    *   PowerTracks is too frustrating to do anything in. Export
        individual tracks to midi and audio files, import into
        Sonar 7 Producer Edition. 
        -   Sonar rocks! Tempo and meter changes present zero issues.
            :   Tempo-synchronized delay time! Oh yeah!
        -   Use Rob's second version of the Rhodes
            (CandaceSongRhodes.MID). Actually, the roll windows look
            the same. What's up? I think I imported it in the 
            old version and did not make a note.
        -   I got a satisfying mix on everything but the strings,
            which will need a lot of MIDI work.
            :   Changed from Roland Virtual Sound Canvas (cheap) to
                the Garritan Pocket Orchestra (intermediate). There
                are differences that will require editing.
            :   CC11 was mapped to the expression, and it does not
                seem to have an effect here (e.g., fade-out at end).
                Also, it exists on more than one channel. Convert to
                envelope when the time comes.
            :   CC64 is for the sustain pedal. Not sure it works here.
                                        Sunday, July 13, 2008 (9:42AM)
            :   I converted the CC11 data to an envelope, and I 
                assigned the element volume to automation, but I do
                not know how to connect the envelope to the volume
                now. I can right-click the control, select remote 
                control, and specify controller 11 (see
                control_string_vol_a.png), but the volume does not
                change during playback. 
            :   Phooey! This is barking up the wrong tree. The 
                volume parameter ranges from 0 to 1, not 0-127. And
                the values in the existing envelope will have to be
                tuned for the GPO anyway. Draw a new envelope in 
                the synth track, and mimic the basic shape of the CC11 
                envelope (see control_string_vol_b.png). 
                >   When creating the envelope, "Strings 1" appears 
                    at the bottom of the popup menu and brings a dialog 
                    containing every parameter in Dimension LE--huge! 
                    But "Element Volume 01" has an asterisk next to it 
                    due to having specifically marked it for automation.
                >   Notice the fast exponential curve. This is the one
                    to use for fadeouts. Otherwise, a large dropoff
                    is audible as a transition is made from something
                    like -60db to -INF.

    *   Strings. 
        -   I cannot balance the strings against each other using the
            MIDI track volume faders; they all control the same MIDI
            :   Create two more instances of Dimension. This helps 
                also by allowing me to send less of the low strings
                to the big reverb. Plus, I can pan the parts 
            :   Balance the faders using the first verse and chorus.
                Balance further using MIDI velocity editing. Later,
                I can add volume envelopes, but not yet. 
                >   Got through second chorus into bridge, which 
                    needs more work. 
                >   Hmmm. I am basically running five synths (two
                    parts in TTS, and three instances of Dimension),
                    and the computer keeps up. Not bad.
                                        Monday, July 14, 2008 (3:48PM)
            :   This is a really big part. See strings_full_roll_a.png.
                                        Tuesday, July 15, 2008 (3:23PM)
    *   Final touches
    *   Delete the fade-outs from the element volume envelopes
        and implement on the main bus fader...Oops, reverb sends
        not dependent. Put fade envelopes on synth output channel
        -   candace_song_scratch_a.mp3
    *   Add a short delay on vocal in bridge. Tune delay for favorable
        phase interaction. Send to reverbs also. 
        (see short_delay_vocal_a.png)
        -   candace_song_scratch_b.mp3
                                    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 (10:27AM)
    *   A couple more edits
        -   More 555 at bridge start
        -   Correct timing on string melody end of V3.
        -   candace_song_scratch_c.mp3
        -   It is a mix. 
            >   Render candace_song_mix_a.wav. 
            >   Delete candace_song_scratch_c.mp3
            >   Trim ends in audacity.

    *   Now create the backing track. 
        -   Edit the existing click track.
        -   Add a bus, SubMaster, and use as the master bus. Output
            to master. Only the metronome bus is sent directly to the
        -   candace_song_back_a.mp3. Add 3 seconds of silence in 

Total Production Hours: 30.0