Monthly Archives: May 2012

Okay, the concept was simple enough. I figured, so here I am in the 4th day of my mini-holiday, a long weekend. Maybe I should wind it down by recording something simple. You know, fire up a decent piano sound and hit record. See what happens. Maybe get a happy accident.

When I tried to apply my parental musical self to be disciplined and apply myself in this task, it caused my inner musical child to throw a tantrum. Obviously.

I was doing well for the first, oh, 10-12 seconds, at which point I was trying to figure out the mode I was going for here… like telling my inner child to metaphorically “eat your peas,” do something I didn’t necessarily want to do, musically. Which promptly created the “Don Music” moment:
“I’ll never get it, never, never…” *bonk*

This has been brought to you by our two sponsors: Sesame Street News, and Acme Oven Mitts… that inner child in me envisioned having oven mitts on my hands. Take your musical peas and shove ’em, said the kid, talking back to the musical parent.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Muppets character “Don Music,” I suggest you catch up and watch this clip here on YouTube. The Don Music character was one of the few removed characters from Sesame Street’s history, due to his tantrum-like behavior. Bad influence on kids of my generation, maybe? The Muppet itself was recycled into the character Guy Smiley after that.

Should submit this to Joe Walsh or Tom Waits for their next album? Maybe I’d get my own contract.

iPad/iPhone/iPad Touch users:
CLICK HERE to hear this track.


I’m a bird person. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs and cats, but I’m either allergic the animals themselves or the level of attention they demand on my schedule. I had a cockatiel for some 25 years that passed away a year ago. After a year of a relatively quiet house I decided to get a pair of parakeets a few months ago to liven it up sonically around here for when I’m solo.

It can be difficult to record animals up close when they are wary of an object nearby with red lights on it. Anyways, I did manage to get a decent recording of Azul & Verde during their first week here using the SONY PCM-D50 with it’s built-in mics, set to the highest sample setting. Amadeus Pro was used as the editor to pitch the trimmed recording down in 1-octave intervals, but maintaining the elapsed time; which is why the recording loses a bit of clarity during each pass. Or rather, I may have done the conversion incorrectly despite having sampled it at a really high rate/kHz, I still lost the highs/mids. It’s a tricky science, it is.

By the way: for the scientifically minded, I discovered during this little experiment that parakeets, like humans, really don’t like hearing their own voice(s) played back to them very much.

I separated each octave by short tones.

1st pass: Original Recording
Sounds like: Freakin’ normal real-world chattering, agitated parakeets.

2nd pass – Pitched 1 octave down
Sounds like: Baby seals, clucking chickens, bicycle hard-braking tire rubber squeaks

3rd Pass – 2 octaves down.
Sounds like: Small monkeys fighting over a banana, turkey gobbles, puppy barking

4th Pass – 3 octaves down.
Sounds like: Crows, Large monkeys fighting over a banana, hound dogs on a fox hunt, squeaking sound you get when you clean glass

5th Pass – 4 octaves down.
Sounds like: Large pigs or hogs, horses (sort of), walruses

6th Pass – 5 octaves down.
Sounds like: Deep sea creatures, whales with gas, things that go bump in the night.

Sound Designers: if you ever get a chance to record an excited parrot hopping around in its cage, do so. If you play that down on a low key using a sampler, it sounds like a dinosaur bellowing straight out of “Jurassic Park.”

iPad/iPhone/iPad Touch users:
CLICK HERE to hear this track.