Skyypilot- Composition-Production of “Unforgotten”- (Part 6)

Skyypilot- Composition-Production of “Unforgotten”- (Part 6)

skyypilot logo small
skyypilot logo small

In Part 6, we’ll cover:

  • Drum/percussion submix
  • Setting up  Drum/percussion  Aux send/return; Plugin for  Return effect
  • Mixing Drum/percussion submix and Effects Levels
  • Adding Drum fills
  • Additional Orchestration, Playback

Drum/percussion submix,

Since we last met, I made a submix of the drum and percussion tracks in Waveform 9 so  I can control their overall  volume.  Therefore, I’m adding two additional tracks first, by selecting the last percussion track (track 9), and hitting  “T”  twice.  Next, I change the track destinations by first selecting  track 1, then while pressing Shift+Control, pick track 9.  This selects tracks 1-9 at once.  At the bottom of the screen under Track Properties, choose Track destination from the default (1-2) to the newly-made track 10.  This will combine outputs from tracks 1-9 to track 10.

Setting up  Drum/percussion                     Aux send/return; Plugin for  Return effect

Now, we want  to add some overall depth, so for the most control, we’ll use the other added track (track 11) for the Aux send/return chain.  First,  add an aux (auxiliary)/send before the volume fader on the Drum/percussion track by dragging a Waveform 9 plugin there, and picking aux/send.  Next, place an Aux/return plugin before the volume fader on the effect channel (track 11).  Finally, choose an effect .  I’ve got Waves H-Delay (Hybrid delay) with a slap back insert placed after the aux/return in the channel 11 chain.

Mixing Drum/percussion Submix & Effects Levels

Well, now we want to get the overall Drum/percussion levels adjusted  going into the submix.  Then, adjust the amount of slapback effect we want in the effect channel 11.

Adding Drum Fills

From there, I went back through the Drum Loops and broke them up with fills. Make sure you make copies of midi track 1 and move them to track 2 where you have the Drum Core 4  kit.  Doubling midi kits is a favorite trick.  Let’s hear what we’ve got so far…

Additional Orchestration, Playback

I ‘ve orchestrated (bare-bones, mind you) the next section, so let’s return to Finale 25.5 and check it out.  See you on Part 7!

Watch my YouTube companion video on:  The Composition and Production of “Unforgotten” (Part 6).

I have not been compensated for any products mentioned above.

© 2018 J. Mark Witters

Skyypilot- Composition-Production of “Unforgotten”- (Part 5)

Skyypilot- Composition-Production of “Unforgotten”    (Part 5)

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Part 5 (Finale 25.5)

In Skyypilot- Composition-Production of “Unforgotten”- (Part 5), we :

  • Setup Rewire in Waveform 9,
  • Set up and format Finale 25.5 for project
  • Select plugins for Finale score
  • Discuss the use of Midi in Waveform 9                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Starting today, I will be publishing a text blog version along with the video blog   (Skyypilot-Composition and Production Of “Unforgotten”- Part 5).  Any products mentioned are those I use. I am not being compensated for any implied or real endorsement.

Set-up of Rewire/Finale into Waveform 9

To integrate Finale directly into Waveform 9, first of all, drag the plug-in selector to the track I added [by hitting  “T”] and selecting “Rewire” from the Waveform plugin list.  In the “Properties” menu at the bottom, choose “Finale”. From there, we can open the editor, instead, let’s put that on hold for now…

Set-up and Format of Finale 25.5                   

I’ve used Finale for over twenty years and have seen it add 64-bit processing, along with accepting plugins, rendering wav and midi files, and now, Rewire compatibility.  Rewire allows remote control and data transfer between Finale 25.5 and Waveform 9.

We’ll start with opening up a new document in the stand-alone version of Finale and giving it 16 staves, the number of instruments  loaded into our Sample Tank 3 multi-instrument VST.  Next, make sure that Finale is being played through the VST by selecting “Play through VST” on the Midi/Audio menu.  Further down the same Midi/Audio menu, select “VST Banks and Effects”. In the Bank 1 menu, choose “Sample Tank 3”, then, open up the edit menu to the right of that tab to open Sample Tank 3 VST.  Go to the Multi menu and select the “Unforgotten” Multi I saved at the start of this series. If you remember earlier, we dedicated each pair of the sixteen instruments to their own outputs, hence making 32 total. 

Since we’re using Finale as a stand-alone, switch to the Mix tab at the top of Sample Tank and to the bottom of each channel’s faders to select 1/2 for every channel so they all output together. Finally, we’ll make this a separate Multi preset we’ll call “Unforgotten Finale” retaining our flexibility.


Go over to the left of each Staff and right click on it (with “Staff”  menu selected). Choose a clef for each staff, along with the staff instrument’s name.  Next, under the “Windows” menu, select “Score Manager”. Under “Device” tab, make sure they all have Sample Tank 3 chosen.  On the right side, pick the midi channel of your staff’s instrument. Since channel 5’s “Glamour EP” has two clefs- treble and bass, so it has two staffs.  Under the “Play” settings, since we want select the BPM (beats per minute) to match the 106 chosen for the “Unforgotten” Waveform 9 tempo select 106. Also, we want to “start at current counter setting” for editing purposes.

Select Plugins for Finale Score

Now, we’ll return to the “VST Banks and Effects” under the Midi/Audio Menu.   Go to the bottom to the Master Effects and select two Waves plug-ins I like to use:  the EMI TG12345 channel strip, and the J37 tape saturation plugins.  I chose a couple of presets I like and will adjust levels after entering some notation for playback.

Use of Midi in Waveform 9

Now, we will open up the “Unforgotten” project started in Waveform 9 and compare the original voice-leading (block chords) beside the notation I’ve entered on Finale.  Until next time,I will compose more in Finale and return soon for an update.

Starting today, I will be publishing a text blog version along with the video blog   (Skyypilot-Composition and Production Of “Unforgotten”- Part 5).

Any products mentioned are those I use. I am not being compensated for any implied or real endorsement.

© 2018  J. Mark

Music Adventures Now-Technology

Just Do It!

Starting Out

Technology can prepare anyone  to complete a journey.  You must take the first steps and the momentum will keep you going.  

While growing up, I discovered the joy of music and that it has only grown over the years.  I knew what I wanted to hear, but how do I create it? Technology is the answer.

Well, I knew yours truly was not the most gifted of musicians, so my task was to exploit my God-given talents.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, so I wrote poetry of all sorts  (mostly  drivel, but you have to start somewhere!).   I spent my early years learning trumpet, then music theory. Then, I started to learn guitar and put together a lot of stuff (Listened to James Taylor, Miles Davis, the Beatles,  Frank Zappa, and everything in between, so you can only imagine what I came up with!)  

In 1971, I went  to college when synthesizers were first coming out. There was a synthesizer room you actually had to schedule to use! I was able to figure out how to use patch cords (!) to get my acoustic pick-up-mounted guitar to play through an  ARP 2600 synthesizer, unheard-of in my limited sphere.  It was then I decided I wouldn’t become a music teacher, and left to pursue my adventure.  

This was 1973, and did not want to play in a cover band, nor could I find like-minded people, so worked night blue-collar jobs obtained a basic 4-track studio, instruments, and started writing and recording my original music.  It wasn’t pretty, but a start, nonetheless. A lot of isolation, but it was a learning experience for me.

Listen with Open Ears

Along the way, my ears were kept open to all music.  My natural limited-attention span would not let my chosen form of communication be boxed-in.  Rock, jazz, classical, Motown, blues, avant-garde, folk, and everything in between were all part of that gumbo.  Maybe  I didn’t know what I was doing, but kept at it anyway.

I studied “Music Business” in the mid-eighties and knew I wouldn’t fit into any of that mess, so kept my head down and learned Windows,  Finale music notation, VST, and midi-sequencing.  All this kept me busy through the nineties.  Technology is starting to work its magic!

Keeping my ears (and mind) open, I was asked by our daughter (Kerri Hirsch Upton)  to produce her drum/vocal band Spiral Rhythm’s first CD, so I did.  It was recorded right in our living room.  Ric Neyer and Kerri wanted to form an offshoot band from Spiral Rhythm, so  Skyypilot was born.  I joined Spiral Rhythm, and met Steve Collins (he literally built the stage we played on), who had a band named Moonstruck.  He needed a second guitarist, so I joined them for a time. Some nights, I would play three consecutive sets with three different groups!   Steve was a great guy who encouraged me to keep recording, so  I did!

What Technology Brings

Using an early Roland 16-track digital recorder, I recorded the first seven Spiral Rhythm albums, the first three Skyypilot albums, and “The Balance”, a fine album by Heather Jinmaku.  Since 2006, I have been recording all material “in the box” (on computer).  

Technology has been huge.  Now, I can use plugins for a tiny fraction of the cost (and space) of the original hardware.  I have software that replicates pretty much everything the Beatles used on their Abbey Road recordings.  I have software (Amplitude 4) that lets me record a guitar part with dry signal, then manipulate it in any way, then back to original if I don’t like the amp or effects. My music can be released online and streaming almost instantly.  

I decided to make my own Skyypilot music videos, so I subscribed to Videoblocks and began editing downloaded content using Windows Movie Maker.  I set up a website and just started blogging, so it is always a work-in-progress.  No longer doing the blue-collar thing, I am now diving into even more challenges.  One can try to prepare, but there’s nothing like going in there and thrashing it out.  You learn from your mistakes, believe me… Just do it!

Authors note: I received no compensation for any products mentioned above.

© 2018   J. Mark Witters