In Linux, there is a highly complex and useful synthesizer called ZynAddSubFX. This synth is currently released as version 3.0.5, but Linux Multi-Media Studio can only use 2.4.0. My first idea for writing my song, Zynspiration, came to me when I was messing around on LMMS with Zyn. I had never attempted to use Zyn before, and there are no guides online on how to use it, so this was all an experiment. I discovered Zyn to be highly organized and user friendly even though it was complex. I created my first sound for the song, the organ, that day. The next day, I went back to my song project and added another sound.
And so Zynspiration started. Its working title was ZynAddSubFX Project. Every single sound is a Zyn synth. All music was wrote by me, except for the lead part, suggested by E-Sandy. Originally I used audio samples for the drums, but then I realized it would be way cooler to use Zyn. The drums were the most difficult to program. I had to use filters, white noise, and envelopes to get the sound right for the five drumsynths. When the song was ripe enough to post, I was suggested the name “Zynspiration” for the name of the song. I accepted, even though I still have no idea what is so inspiring about the song.
LMMS is free to download, and can be used on Windows and Mac OS too, which is kind of ironic, considering it was named Linux Multi-Media Studio.
Here is an awesome song written by one of my kids, E-Sandy. He is the one who played organ on The Beach is Closed. He has been playing this song on the piano for a long time, and I really like his synth adaptation.
I am a self-taught guitarist, learning to play mostly by ear. When I was 10 years old my dad gave me a chord chart and a few John Denver songs to learn, and I was off to the races. As long as I had the chords and knew the tune, I could play any song. When I was 15 years old my friend showed me a guitar magazine that had the music for a song we both liked, and it was written in tablature. “What’s this?” I asked.
“Tablature,” he explained. “The lines are the strings, and the numbers are the frets.” I stared at it for a few minutes, and then tried to play a few bars. My friend let me take the magazine home, and I learned how to play the whole song that day. Reading standard music notation has never been easy for me, but tablature is simple to understand because I think of guitar music in terms of where I put my fingers on the fretboard, not in terms of the names of the notes I am playing. Learning about tablature opened up a whole new world of guitar music and playing technique for me. When my garage band broke up I spent a lot of time writing down all of our songs in tablature so that I wouldn’t forget how to play them.
There are two Free software tools which I use for writing guitar tablature on Linux, which I will review here.