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Automattic Gathering…

James and I had a grand time hanging with the awesome Automattic peeps of WordPress fame this past Friday evening!

WC_LA dinner_Aug2013

And.. we were graciously invited to participate in the convention after-party…. And I won one of the two raffle prizes! OMG!

I took home an Ion iCade — it rocks! It totally takes me back to my childhood days of playing on our family Commodore Vic-20, and it makes iPad gaming SOOOOO much more fun and engaging!!! It’s beautifully crafted from wood and everything, too; nice and sturdy… Beautiful construction!

You wouldn’t maybe think it would make such a difference; I certainly didn’t think so at first. But if you’re a gamer from childhood like me from the ’80s, man, you just have to try it yourself!!!! :mrgreen: (Many thanks to the nice folks at Dreamhost for making my day like this!)

Just for fun, I’ve since “wasted my day” exploring two new platform scrolling games for the iPad that are compatible with the iCade; I LOVE these games so far!

Have fun!

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Don’t Forget….

SUN AUG 4, 9:15 AM

Seal Beach, CA

1st United Methodist Church

Nico Marucut and I, Guts&Ivory, will be making an appearance at the morning service for First United Methodist Church in Seal Beach for the second year in a row! We’ll be performing four lovely works that morning.

–Prelude: “Adagio and Allegro (from Sonata No. 1 in D Major, Op. 5)” by Arcangelo Corelli.
–Anthem: “Prière” by Felix Borowski
–Communion: “Resignation,” Southern Traditional Harmony
–Postlude: “Wachet Auf (“Sleepers Wake”) from Cantata #140″ by J. S. Bach

Hope to see you there!

Check out our videos from last year!

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I LOVE this video and it’s messages– be sure to look for all the guest celebrities! I can’t believe there’s still bullying going on against geek girls! What de frak? You know, I remember to this day, when I was a little girl I once won a remote control sport truck in a raffle drawing at a mall, and I had the grandest time with it until it died– srsly, I drove my Pound Puppies/Purries and my Barbie doll around the back patio in it, imagining they travelled back in time to see the dinosaurs in it and having all kinds of crazy adventures! But, when I first won that truck, EVERYBODY in the audience ridiculed me as went up to get it– they said things like: “oh poor thing… Do you have a little brother you can give that truck to?” Arghhh!!! When will we let go of these stereotypes?????!!!! Enjoy this video, and be empowered to be who you are and change our world!!

ORIGINAL: By The Doubleclicks, featuring everyday geek girls, plus some geek heroes like Amy Berg (writer: “Eureka,” “Person of Interest,” “Leverage”), Adam Savage (“Mythbusters”), Wil Wheaton (“Star Trek: TNG”), and more. Found on Jezebel. To contribute your own image, visit Geek Girls Have #NothingToProve.

“Nothing to Prove” Lyrics:
I entered this scene through rejection and honesty
Nerds weren’t mean, they were weird and that worked for me
After 10 years of teasing when social skills failed me
Dungeons & Dragons cured all that ailed me

We read books, we played games, we made art, we watched Lost
We said things like “D20”, “shipping” and “Mana cost”
It felt good to be myself, not being mocked
Still self-conscious, though, we whispered things about jocks

But one day, you grow up, come into your own
Now geek’s not rejection – it’s a label I own
Then ignorant haters come to prove me wrong
Tell me I’m not nerdy enough to belong

I’ve got nothing to prove
I’ve got nothing to prove
I’ve got nothing to prove

Fake Geek Girl test – that’s a funny one, go ahead
How many comic books are there I haven’t read?
I know it feels good to have a contest you win
It would feel even better if I wanted in

So women aren’t geeks, so is that your conclusion?
That this is some secret club based on exclusion?
12-year-old dorks would say you’re being selfish
And then they’d go write in their journals in Elvish

I’ve got nothing to prove
I’ve got nothing to prove
I’ve got nothing to prove

I’ve got cred but honestly, I shouldn’t need it
This world needs all kinds of folks to complete it
You’ve got gamers, and artists and comic subscribers
Cosplayers, crafters and fan-fiction writers

You can stop – never say “fake geek” again
Our club needs no bouncers – all who want in get in
But go ahead, if you want, to own that role fully
I ain’t got nothing to prove to a bully!

I’ve got nothing to prove
I’ve got nothing to prove I’ve got nothing to prove

Haters are gonna hate

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Some of my Regular Favs

I figured it was high time to update my list of what products I have found useful in my musicking: which products I regularly use and would recommend to others….

Violin Strings

(And, actually, yes, I have found shopping for strings at Amazon to be far cheaper for the set I currently have fallen in love with):

I’ve found this combo of Infeld Reds and the “Universal” Pirastro E to be PERFECT for Flora! 😉

6-String Electric Violin Strings

Currently, I’ve got a full set of Thomastik Vision strings.

I originally found it on Amazon… unfortunately it’s not there as of this posting… I’ll keep my eye out for it…


Shoulder Pad (Rest)

Music Stands

Every gigging musician (or practicing musician for that matter) needs one! I have two that I absolutely love!

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My Recent Adventures in SoundFonts

UPDATE (10/1/2016): I am always experimenting with new technology to improve my demo-rendering experience. I am still fully hooked on the notation software Notion for both iPad and desktop and fully enjoy using it for the ease of my process of composing as well as the ease and beauty of rendering the digital demo recordings — thanks to their beautiful playback sampled from recordings of the London Philharmonic! But both MuseScore and GarageBand have come out with incredible updates!! So, as of late, I use GarageBand as my DAW (it does import tempos now! And the “live drummer” option is phenomenal to work with!) and I use my Notion playback as my base then play with the sounds in the MuseScore SSO collection to overlay and enhance certain families, like the strings. Finally, I’ve also been using the free Audacity to create really amazing sounding finishing touches… It all helps to give a much fuller and more realistic sound. ^_^


In the midst of working on my latest composition “Of Roses and Lilies” with my current favored music notation program, MuseScore (which is FREE, btw!!), the SoundFont I had been nonchalantly working with — without any further thought about it until now — decided to go a little wonky on me….. 😕

I’m usually not phased one bit by what sounds do or don’t come out of my computer’s speakers while I’m writing… When I ultimately started composing (in the truest sense of the term, I guess) at the tender age of 13, I didn’t have a computer! So, everything I did was by hand, with only a miniature keyboard and my own mind to guide my sense of the resulting sound. So, to this day, when I compose, I’m always more concerned with the artistry and construction of the writing itself, knowing that the final result with live instruments will always come out the way I want it (erm, that is, after the whole rehearsal-thing… lol…)

But, the way the current SoundFont (I was using TimGM6mb.sf2 at the time, decent but definitely MIDI-esque; like I said, I didn’t care…until…) was behaving as my score got bigger and more complex finally caused it to revert to some weirdness with the violins at one point in the middle of the score. I couldn’t figure out what was going on to make it do that — and, quite frankly, I didn’t really want to spend all my time figuring it out for sounds that I didn’t pay much attention to anyway. So, I decided, maybe it was time to move on and explore various other free SoundFont options that were available online….

I started googling around for free SoundFont options, and eventually I stumbled upon this HIGHLY recommended creative commons project, Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra:

Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra is a free orchestral sample library. While not as advanced or ambitious in scope as commercial offerings, SSO contains all the basic building blocks for creating real virtual orchestrations. It’s primarily aimed at beginners, but also more experienced composers looking for something lightweight and/or portable might find it useful.

I listened to the mp3 sample of what this library could do, and I was greatly impressed! This was for me, man!

So I downloaded it… and discovered that the format of the SSO library — .sfz — is NOT compatible with the format that MuseScore can read — .sf2 or .sf — DOH!

Ok… Round 2… I googled about, looking for anyone who may have converted these same .sfz files to .sf2’s… and my search took me to myriad forums, whose links then led to dead-ends. At last, I came across one link that hadn’t been taken down!

Ok! I was in business! I ran MuseScore and told it to find the folder in which I had downloaded the .sf2 version of SSO… only to come to the realization that MuseScore only reads ONE file at a time… and this package contained 57….


I read more in MuseScore’s online handbook about editing SoundFonts. And I found there a list of tools created to edit and combine SoundFont files — just what I needed!

Unfortunately, I’m not entirely brilliant when it comes to working with some of these tools, and the one and only free option for Mac (WHY???) had me jump through some hoops to donate first and then receive the download. I can understand, and I did… and I downloaded a file of gobbledygook… 😡

Yah, I could have asked hubby to help, but I didn’t want to bother him — this was my project, and I just wanted to find something that would pop up an editor on my screen and let me go to work, darnit! So I explored the other non-free options….

I found PolyPhontics to be promising — they’d let me download a free trial version — YES! But, after downloading and learning how to use the editor, I found the free trial version only lets you combine up to eight files… not 57…. To do that, I’d have to purchase the $60 actual program.

Not that I’m above doing so. But, I honestly couldn’t see myself needing to do this more than this one single time. And if I did come across a second instance of needing to edit SoundFonts, well, then I’d consider it… But until then….

So… I was left with some Windows versions… and we are not a PC family, lol. :mrgreen:

I did more googling about, just to see what else I could possibly find before I pestered my friends and family who have Windows, and — while this was still PC only — I came across a program that was billed as functioning only as a sf2 combiner — EXACTLY what I was trying to do!! So I downloaded it….

Ok… on to pestering friends with PCs….


After one attempt pestering a friend that didn’t go so well… well, I went on to pester my little brother, hahaha!

Kudos to Billy Wallin for figuring this out for me!!!!!

221406So, Billy downloaded the Windows-only Sf2Patcher program, and downloaded the 57 SoundFont files of the .sf2 version of the SSO library, and worked it!

We ran into a minor snag the first time he sent me the finished combined sf2 file; it was missing 6 of the original files. Billy reports that he was reasonably sure he didn’t leave those 6 out; but he has said “Program isn’t very good at adding a mass of files… gotta do it one by one.”

Apparently, the Sf2Patcher program isn’t exact, and to add in those 6 missing files, Billy had to start all over and just make sure that all 57 had been added. But the second time around it did its job! Billy sent me the final combined SSO .sf2 library as a single file, readable by MuseScore!

It took some monkeying around with the new SoundFont in MuseScore to get it to sound reasonable, which is to be expected. And, to be sure, there’s more experimenting to be done.

Now, there is another free Windows-only downloadable SoundFont editor that looked mighty promising: Polyphone. Simply based upon the presentation and care of their site, this looks like a great option, perhaps (and probably) better than the Sf2Patcher. Billy said he might be willing to play around with Polyphone later and give a report on its functionality. :mrgreen: If anyone else has experience with it, feel free to post your experiences here!

One more thing I learned in my adventures. I had considered during the course of all this that, if I couldn’t get MuseScore to playback using SSO, perhaps I could get GarageBand to do that very thing. What I have been doing recently in creating my nicer MIDI demo recordings of my works is importing my MuseScore files as standard MIDI into GarageBand, then using the soundbanks in GarageBand to spruce things up. So this option made sense. And, wouldn’t you know it, I stumbled across this article detailing exactly how to do this, using a free download of the Alchemy player. So I tried it myself. It worked all right, but at various times, various tracks would suddenly revert back to some different MIDI bank. I’m sure I could play around with it some more, and probably will, and figure this out. But, again, in the realm of writing, I just have to prioritize.

My thinking is that if I can get the MuseScore file itself to sound extraordinarily decent using the SSO SoundFont, I can export the entire thing as a .wav — with all tempo changes, etc., intact — into GarageBand, and just add the final touches of reverb, etc in GarageBand…. WAY easier, way less steps….

And, yes, I know, probably Logic can do all this without these extra steps and sound amazing. I’m sure I’ll eventually fold and purchase the sucker — many of my composition students already have. But at this point, I’m still a bit old-school, it’s all free (I’m spending my money on live recordings and production with PARMA!), and I’m only using my demo recordings to give an idea of what my works can sound like LIVE! 

You see, right now, I’m just too busy writing…. :mrgreen:


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GrayScale — Now Available for Purchase!

The hit new original single, GrayScale, is now available Internet-wide for purchase!!

Don’t wait….

Get yours today!


In honor of this momentous occasion, an AWESOME new T-shirt design has been added! Purchase yours at Sarah’s Store! :mrgreen:

GrayScale Tee Design

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The achievement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries remains the great sun of the Western musical solar system: the repertory that dominates performance and recording. Composers who approach it must either maintain their ironic distance, as Stravinsky did, and later Ligeti, or be content to turn into its orbit, adopt its premises and its modes of thought. The further past offers less gravitational pull–partly just because it is further off, but also partly because its forces seem to be complimented by, rather than at war with, those of our own age.

–Paul Griffiths, in Modern Music and After (3rd Ed), Oxford University Press 2010, pg 168.

Beautiful imagery! I couldn’t agree more!

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Analysis must concern itself with the final result: that is, with the work as part of history… The composer’s thinking remains his marvellous secret.

–Jean Barraqué, “Debussy ou la naissance d’une forme ouvert”, quoted in François Nicolas, “Le souci du développment chez Barraqué”, Entretemps, 5 (1987), 13.