The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

My Newest Recording – And On And On

November 23rd, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

267x267-7EBB4902-E5F1-487A-B3698690B9FE6678I wrote And On And On several years ago. I think I took the title from a poem my wife Jill wrote. It was just collecting digital dust among the other files on my computer. I recorded most of the tracks when I lived in Swanton, Ohio, I think. I am not sure I knew what it really was about. After some soul searching and a bit of a re-write, the song has some meaning to me now. It is about people that kid themselves and others about their objective in life. I also think I wrote it about me too.

I originally recorded And On And On on my Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track tape recorder. I really can’t remember when. I think this was recorded using a dbx encoded 2 track cassette as a mix down device. I had one that had severe speed accuracy issues. But that conflicts with my other thought that I recorded it late in my analog recording days.

In any case, the tempo fluctuated all over the place. I had recorded it using my Boss drum machine, so it had to be a mechanical failure in the recording. Most likely a rubber belt slipping. I had tried to rescue this song before, but its problems were too great a task to accomplish at that time. I probably just didn’t know where to start. That and I had other, easier, music files to process.

I knew I had some options when I finally decided to take this project on. One was that I just play a new drum track live and forget about any real tempo fix. It would have sounded OK, but I would still have a tempo that was all over the place. The real fix was to go throughout the song and identify the beginnings of each measure to my Sonar software. One method allows you to pick a point and then set that as the now position to a specific measure and beat. That then creates a tempo map. Usually a live performance or one created with equipment that is not defective will change in tempo somewhat smoothly over the song, or hardly at all. Analog equipment has a natural amount of speed inaccuracy as a rule. But if everything is operational, most times that is imperceptible.

After viewing the extremely erratic tempo map, I decided the best way to accomplish the re-timing was to use the Audiosnap function in Sonar. I went though the tracks only enabling Audiosnap transient markers wherever I determined the beginning of a measure was.  Then I set the whole project to exactly 129 bpm, the original beat timing. Using a combination of quantizing the transients to the measure and dragging the uncooperative ones into place, I succeeded in creating a constant beat in the song. I considered the timing in between the measures, but I believe that the speed changes were over several measures and any tempo issues are corrected every measure. I don’t hear any problems the way it is. The work involved in accurately tracking quarter note or greater changes in tempo would have been unnecessary and time consuming. So I didn’t

I played my Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, Rickenbacker 4001 bass and Session Drummer 3 software using a Roland Octapad MIDI drum pad. The vocals were recorded using a Shure SM-27 studio condenser microphone.