Sunday, July 8, 2012

Music for Celtic Faeries and Friends

Music for Celtic Faeries and Friends
A couple of weeks ago, one of my Facebook friends, Sylver, who is also a member of A Circle of Merry Folk, made a mix on MixCloud for folks to listen to as they make preparations for Faerieworlds. I thought about all the music I have and have written about and thought it might be fun to make my own mix. After all, I was once host of a couple of folk shows on WICN, a public radio station in Worcester, MA.

I've been busy with my own FW preparations, but I did join MixCloud back after I had listened to some of Sylver's "Crispy Crow Radio." Even without having uploaded a mix, I got four followers. Seemed like I should put together something and upload it. (The caption under the photo is a link to the results. Why not listen while you read?)

Fortunately, one of the programs MixCloud recommends for creating mixes is Audacity and it come in a Linux version. I didn't know a whole lot about it, but this morning I plunged in to put something together. It ended up taking most of the day. Choosing the music was the easiest part. Figuring out how to add stuff and arrange it so it didn't all play at once took a little learning. Quite frankly, Audacity's Help wasn't much help at all. I found myself searching the Intertoobs to get my questions answered. But I muddled through and learned how to timeshift selections and position them so they flow pretty evenly with no big gaps.

Some of the files I used were off of YouTube, including Chiftitelli by Adam Hurst, the resident Gypsy Cello player of Faerieworlds. It was only uploaded by Adam on June 18 and I really wanted to include it, so I had to find out about using YouTube sound. More learning.

Eventually I got 24 tracks of music from Faerieworlds performers and other Celtic performers I like. I thought I had everything in the right place, so then it was off to the Intertoobs again to figure out how to upload the results to MixCloud. Their Help wasn't very informative either, but I realized I had to convert the whole mix into one MP3 file. Once I figure out how to get that going, it looked like it was going to take nearly three hours. In the end, it took less time.

Ready to upload? Well, I thought so. So I uploaded the big file. While it was uploading, I created a list of the tracks. Now, if I really knew what I was doing, each track, while being played, would be highlighted. But the option of marking where one track ends and another starts later was offered, so I passed for now. With a few more bits of info filled in, and with the upload finished while I was creating the track list, I was ready to listen.

So, I sent a tweet about it, then used the link in it to start my first mix. The first few tracks went through just fine. Then suddenly there was this big silence. A really big silence. Then the next track started. To make matters worse, partway through that track, the track that was supposed to follow it started. Uh-oh.

I went back to Audacity and saw that those files I thought I'd so carefully arranged had gotten moved around. So I stopped the mix, deleted my tweet and the Facebook message the tweet had created and figured out how to delete the mix from MixCloud.

Back to Audacity, where I had to do quite a bit of timeshifting. I figured out how to select every track from the first misplaced one to the end and shifted the whole lot. The next time I found a misplaced track, I tried it again, but for some reason only the first file I wanted to move moved. I don't know why. From then on I moved them individually, attempting to place them so they'd flow pretty well. After I got them moved, I sampled the end of a selection with the beginning of the next all the way back to the beginning. To my old radio host ears, it wasn't bad although one of two transitions could've used improvement, but I'd been at it for hours and any gaps were small. Many tracks include a few seconds of silence at the end, and I got most of that overlapped with the next track. Then I saved the file and double-checked. Then it was time to upload the MP3 file again and recreate the track list, which went much easier the second time, of course.

I could've done without having to basically recreate the file placement and uploading, but I did learn more stuff during that part. I've been listening to the results as I've been typing this. Nearly halfway through and so far so good.

I may not do any more mixes until after Faerieworlds, but at least I have something up on MixCloud.

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