First, congratulations on the release of a major work of research.
Second, congratulations on the release of a major piece of collaboration with experienced developers (Plogue, Garritan, BIAB).
Third, congratulations on presenting an application that can spread the possibilities of artistic creation to the multitudes.
Fourth . . . Oh, I've got a lot more, but let's leave it here for now.
As a musician who has been performing since the early '50's and writing (arranging, composing) since the middle-late '50's, and as someone who has led bands over many years, I bring some experience and insight to my evaluation of your application.
I also bring a willingnes to take on your nay-sayers--but will refrain from "flame wars."
Speaking to the concept, I have to say that it's what I see as an appropriate use of technology. I might make use of it myself as a sketchpad for creativity, when I've evaluated it. A sketchpad is sorely needed. BIAB has it's
place, but it's serious "overkill." Yes, I own BIAB, and have had it for many years, through many versions. I also have some serious DAWs, including SONAR Producer Edition 8. I also have GPO, JABB and CaMB. I'm glad
to see that these are the samples that are included in your application, as these choices give Songsmith a fair chance. By having quality sounds underpinning the interface people will have a reasonably good quality output, even with less than "professional"
quality audio hardware in their computers.
Until I've had a chance to fully explore the application I wouldn't begin to compile a "wish list" of features. I
will, however, commit to do so when it's appropriate. I wanted to offer my initial comments to establish a more positive base for discussion about the concept, and about the invitation to others to express themselves musically. I've
been all over the map of music software, and have to tell you that your offering is, indeed, unique. Other developers have produced programs for the "novice" musician, but they have all been based on the assumption that their audience could
actually play an instrument. For the most part, all of their processes begin with the premise that
the musician will join them, rather than that they should join
the musician. Another post seemed to warn that a lot of really bad musicians would flood the airwaves with poor quality music; I would suggest that it's the other way around, that, in fact, the airwaves (radio and television, as well as the
internet) are already filled with poor quality music. Your application at least gives a chance to surround an amateur with quality backing. Perhaps the stars of tomorrow will emerge through use of a program such as yours.
One last point: I find it laudible that MS supports research such as this. Ideas are our real wealth, and realizing an idea--having it, testing it, proving it out--often takes money. Promoting it takes money, and faith in people who have ideas.
This deserves special recognition.
Thank you for what may prove to be a valuable tool. Thank you for what is definitely an idea that's worth the time it will take to look at it.
Hi there - thanks so much for your kind comments! I agree with you on pretty much all counts; I use Songsmith as a songwriter all the time to help work out the chords for a song. Once I've got them, I rerecord everything with real instruments
in a pro audio environment or take it my friends/bands to flesh it out - but with that all-important lead sheet already worked out in Songsmith!
You clearly have a lot of experience and insight from your years of songwriting, and we look forward to your insights and suggestions as you try out the product. Thanks for joining in the discussion!