The following case studies have been submitted by Song Surgeon users and selected by us. They represent some of the many different ways the musicians are using Song Surgeon in day-to-day use.
If you have a novel or unique way you are using Song Surgeon and would like to share it with us, please send it to us at info(at)songsurgeon.com.
Case Study 1:Music Transcription
Musician:Dan Domanico, Buckingham, PA
I put Song Surgeon to the test using the tune, "One Finger Snap" by Herbie Hancock, as performed by Kenny Barron from Kenny's 1994 Wanton Spirit CD. I saved the tune as a wav file from the CD using the Song Surgeon tool options. I started playing the wav file using the tool, identified the segment I wanted to transcribe, then selected the first 20 seconds of the solo. I then saved this solo segment at 50% of the original tempo and copied that segment to a CD. I was then able to play the CD with the slowed segment in my portable CD player atop of the piano, pulled out some score paper and a pencil, and began transcribing the solo. I am pleased to say I was able to transcribe this section accurately in a few minutes.
As a Jazz pianist and musician, I found Song Surgeon to be very good for transcribing solos and voicings. A song can be slowed down to any speed without changing the pitch. The tool allows you to select any segment of the song and then adjust it's speed and pitch. You can then play the new segment at the slower speed, and easily hear the notes the soloist is playing and write down the notes on score paper if desired. Once you mastered that segment or passage, you can move on to the next segment.
I like the fact that the pitch remains the same despite the speed. You can also decrease the speed of the segment even further, or increase the speed to its original tempo.
You can select any section of the song for any length, then save it as a loop. This is great for very tricky or fast sections.
I am anxious to apply it to other solos I've wanted to learn by musicians like Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Bill Evans and Bud Powell.
Case Study 2:Ball Room Dancing
Musician:Bob Laughland, Lake Oswego, OR
I want to thank you for your software that allows me to control tempo for the songs I use. I am in a bit of a different category than most because I am not using your software for learning an instrument. I teach ballroom dancing and there have been so many songs that I have that I would love to use but have been either too fast or too slow. With your software I have been able to get the tempo exactly where I want it to be for my students.
One thing I seem to notice is that if I slow a song down quite a bit sometimes there seems to be a little distortion in the finished product....it just doesn't end up as clean as the original but I still have enjoyed Song Surgeon very much.
Case Study 3:Learning the Breaks
Instrument:Banjo – 5-string
Genre:Bluegrass, Gospel-Bluegrass style
At the beginning of the year, six of my playing friends and I decided to form a group. We range on both sides of "intermediate" in our ability to play, but we enjoy music and each other's company. I found that Song Surgeon is a valuable tool in helping all seven of us to "get on the same page". Very quickly I learned that the "loop" feature has some really valuable benefits.
First, it allows one to isolate the "hard" part, slow it down, and save it as its own file so that you can practice that part over and over. But more importantly, for our new group, it allows me to save as an MP3 file, a separate loop for each instrument's break, at the reduced speed. I then can email these MP3 files to each member of the group for them to be able to practice their own parts.
The looping feature allows all of us to be able to learn the parts more accurately and to then be able to put them together when we get together.
This is a phenomenal product, and for me, allows me to slow down a song, and play along with it, as if I was involved in a jam. I then can work on "coming in" on my part, or work on the lead, or work on the back-up.
What a great tool!
Case Study 4:Song Writing Aid
I have been playing guitar for most of my life, and today I make my living primarily through teaching the instrument.
I also love songwriting and instrumental acoustic guitar composition. It has for me, become a big part of my passion and love for playing guitar in the last few years. And with all of the high-quality inexpensive gear available it's now possible to get great sounding recording with modest investments in the equipment needed. In the last couple of months since I purchased Song Surgeon, it has also become an important tool I use when begin to put together my ideas.
So...when I begin to compose music, I use my Sony PCM-M10 portable recorder to save rough ideas and inspirations. I set it up to record at a fairly high bit rate as a single track stereo .WAV file. The large storage capacity lets me record for extended periods of time. This makes it easy to freely experiment and jam on creative ideas and progressions as they happen without any serious anticipation of getting a perfect beginning or ending. For me, I have found this to be a good way of just letting the creative juices go when the moments of inspiration hit... and it also takes away some of the pressures that we all seem to get affected by when trying to "get a new idea/concept right" on one pass, which can be self-intimidating, often leading to bunch of false starts and stops.
So, instead, I just start recording and let the chips fall... sometimes for as little as a couple of minutes or as much as a couple of hours... I just start jamming on chord progressions or something that has a catchy hook about it, that maybe I heard in my head earlier, but is still very rudimentary. You know, something that wants to become something more than an idea... like... a song!
This process is, for me, a great way to let the creative process kick in for song composition.
I often end up with a lot of noise and rather uninteresting musical clutter that is just oh so predictable sounding and isn't worth saving. But sometimes I'll get one or two musical gems to work on as a result of this process (and, I suppose has a little luck attached to it!). These snippets and good sounding segments can then be refined into more polished instrumental or vocal progressions, musical hooks, etc. So, when I decide to stop the recording, I save this work as a single track .WAV file. Then I export this raw native file to my MacBook Pro laptop.
This is where Song Surgeon comes in.
Song Surgeon makes it very easy to edit out all of these false starts, and clutter from the track, because of the easy editing features of the interface. I can easily delete small or large portions of what is on this raw file. And because I can see the waveforms on the monitor screen, I can precisely edit out clutter and other noise. Within a short amount of time, I am able to save just what is worth saving. Then I discard the rest.
Another useful feature is the EQ feature built into Song Surgeon. The raw recording from my portable recorder often seems to need more gain when opened in Song Surgeon for the first time. Using the EQ feature of this program easily boosts the gain measurably as well as giving me a lot of extra tonality of the track. Impressive!
So, at this point I have a clean sounding high quality single track file, that is easily exported as the beginning track for a new project in GarageBand or most of the other digital recording software packages available today.
Song Surgeon offers someone like myself an affordable useful tool that streamlines the creative process for music composition. I have found it to be a great intermediate step for saving editing and refining good musical ideas as they begin to take shape as a quality first track of a recording.
I have been using Song Surgeon for a couple of months and I am amazed at what this product can do for not only editing musical ideas as well as creating loops and changing tempo and pitch of existing music that I am trying to learn or teach to others. I routinely use it in my everyday workload of teaching and music composition. Great product! I'm having a lot of fun exploring the possibilities with this product.