Macs and MIDIs

This is a short bit. Jam Pack is a hundred bucks and Ipstenit needs a new computer more than that. Saving up for it, though. I think a nice G4 and a flat panel 17″ will do her good. Maybe I’ll surprise her with it. Garage Band is GOD, though. Get it. Seriously, it’s worth the money and it’s easy and it’s fun! Be prepared to blow an additional $200 on a microphone and things to connect your MIDI keyboard (electronic keyboard, people) to the Mac. I got a nice Midi tool for $49 at Guitar Center.

So here’s the deal. If you have GarageBand, you can make a MIDI file into Karaoke. No really. See, I play this Buffy The Vampire Slayer tabletop game, and we’re doing a musical episode. Yes, a musical episode. Shut up. Anyway, we decided that we’d all filk songs, rather than write our own. A filk, thank you for asking, is pretty much how Weird Al makes his money. It’s a parody, sung to someone else’s music. The difference being is that we’re more like Tom Lehrer.

Who’s that? I hear you cry (ask a silly question…).

Tom Lehrer is a comedian, a musician, a math teacher, and supposedly an acquaintance of my dead grandfather, Harvey. At least, that’s how the story goes. I actually saw Tom Lehrer a few times, since he taught maths at my University, and I crashed his class since the last class before finals was supposed to be a blast. It was. He’s very witty. And no, he’s not dead, idiot. Lehrer did political satire for yonks, and was fucking brilliant at it. But one of the best songs was the Song of the Elements. He basically sang all the elements to the tune of “Modern Major General.”

Now that is the difference between Lehrer and Yankovitch. The Elements is really nothing like MMG, except for the tune. A filk, the way we’re doing it, is to take the general theme, wrap it into our idea, and move on. I’ve been wrestling with my own songs (I have to write them!), but basically I’ve grabbed onto my character’s lesbianism and stolen a lot of Melissa Etheridge and Indigo Girls songs. Hey, it works.

I took ‘Torn’, by Natalie Imbruglia, and flipped it around from a woman lamenting about her man, to my character lamenting about how she’s lost faith in her employers. It makes more sense if you know her background, but trust me, it’s good. First I played my CD with the song over and over, and then I got a copy of the lyrics off the net. After a couple days, I had a tight little song.

But to sing it? I needed the music backing me up. Enter my secret lover, GarageBand, my favorite magazine, MacAddict, and a tutorial from Dr. Mac.

It’s crazy fun, wicked cool.