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Here’s a tune I wrote on my acoustic guitar. It’s all virtual instruments done in the Sonar 8.5 piano roll. I used an acoustic guitar library and added an arrangement with various other virtual instruments.

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I really liked this one. Adding the string section will always make the music seem less intimate to me when added to guitar. Instead of one or two musicians conveying there are now a whole group. This is something that is probably just a quirk of mine personally, that when I play acoustic guitar I usually am thinking in a more intimate context so forgive me if I have somehow transferred this view over to this music. Small I think intimate/reflective large I think group presentation. Makes sense?  Nothing wrong with either way. 

The mix and instruments are done well here.....BTW you should download Cakewalk now for free through the Bandlab app if you haven't already! Seriously, there have been many improvements since 8.5!

Timothy Smith,

Thanks for the feedback. I tend to add a lot of backing instruments to my acoustic stuff. Typically, I start simple and gradually things start filling out. It's kind of a staple with me... I should maybe try keeping a soft ballad simple just for the challenge and see if I like it. I just have a tendency to find harmonies, I guess because without a vocal, things can get boring fairly quickly.

I know my Sonar 8.5 is old, but it took me so long to learn that I dread re-learning a new version, but that's just me.

Where have you BEEN?   :)

Another very nice piece from your pen...or daw. I could give many reasons why I liked it but without the score I have to try to describe them. I remember you claiming you weren't too worried about the technical side of theory but I'll do my best.

Firstly your harmonic flow is so easy-going but doesn't hang around just the main key (tonic). You have a great command of progression. Second, the repeat of the phrase around 0'21" (with the addition of the flute in the last rep) - there's another one at 3'00" exactly. They seem exactly right in this piece. Then, you have an instinct with diminished notes in your modulating chords, that in this context suggest almost a sigh.

...Need I go on? It's just easy, engaging, relaxing with a hint of yearning.

There are various kinds of music that catch me - pieces like this for which I can just close my eyes and let vistas unfold; and more modern stuff, sometimes experimental, that lifts me out of the mundane and the formulaic; or impressionists like Delius, able to catch a mood without trying to convert a visual thing to music.

Great. Glad you're back!


" know my Sonar 8.5 is old, but it took me so long to learn that I dread re-learning a new version, but that's just me."

Rick, you are not alone! 


Hi! How ya been? Yeah, I kinda ride the musical wave for as long as I can, hit the beach, then go off on some other cerebral adventure. That, and some keys on my upright piano have turned sour. I think it’s because I had a heat pump installed a while back and the fan that blows the warm air is sitting right over my piano and, well, piano’s obviously don’t like temperature changes sooo... guess I’ll have to get a piano tuner to fix it.

Thanks for the intelligent feedback. You always know how to make me feel good about myself. I can’t seem to break out of using the same samples i.e. french horns, strings, flute-y things, synths. I’d like to try changing things up and use some woodwind samples but I’m just too lazy. I’m glad you like this piece. I think I might have posted it here before, but I’ve just been making a lot of changes to it and... oh well. Damn.. seems like if I don’t listen to a piece for a long time, I find all sorts of crap to fix. Just wanted some feedback on it.
Anyway, seems like as all the depressing news in the world increases, I tend to slap on the headphones and go off to my happy place. I love arranging. I just wish that I could read music, like you.

We stupid Americans don’t say “cheers”, we say “later dude” so, to that, I say...


PS. Good luck over there with all that Brexit business. I’ll be watching it all on CNN.

Ha. We’re in the same scene here, me being pretty lazy about changing things. I must be a few updates short on my daw because I really don’t want to have to go through all those settings again and learn new ways of doing old things. It took me 12 years to move on from my antique sample library.  I look to my old piano  – never needs an update, never crashes nor does the paper on the music rest, just needs the tuner to pop in now and again. It’s taken the sort of bashing that no computer could cope with.

Are you seriously trying to convince me you can’t read music? If that IS true, then you have fantastic intuition, an enviable ear for harmonic progression, a sense of what’s just right, things that many, including me, have trouble with. In a way I’m glad to be past the theory thing. I did learn some but rarely think of it now, admitting it’s there in the background helping me get where I want to be. You seem to have arrived at that point without needing to learn all the intricacies.

Anyways….Brexit? We have a couple of soaps going at the mo – Brexit and the Markle the Sparkle rumpus. Brexit will be done and dusted soon, I don’t know about Sparkle! You have Mr T to worry about!

All the best, Dane.


You asked: "Are you seriously trying to convince me you can’t read music?"

Here's the embarrassing truth. Sometimes when, for some reason, I find myself staring at a musical score and want to know what note or chord I'm looking at, I'll look at the spaces and mumble; "F - A - C - E" that's easy enough, and then come those blasted lines; "Every - Good - Boy - Does - Fine - Accasionally" and I'll inevitably catch myself and say; "Shit! I did it again.. it's spelled "Occasionally" and there is no "O" note in music". So how does that go again?; "Every - Good - Boy - Does - Fine - Always"? or is it; "All - Good - Boys - Do - Fine - Always"? No, no, that's not it... I know it starts on "Every". Aaaand.. so it goes. By the time I figure it out, my mind has wondered back to astrophysics and it's time for lunch.

You're too kind in your assessment of my intuitive powers. I can assure you that if I ever had my parts written out, that any competent composer would say "That's ridiculous, it doesn't even make sense" and then they'd need to re-write the whole thing properly.

But please Dane, keep flattering my fragile ego... it needs it! That said, I know I'd be a whole lot better if I could read the damn notes. I can't even manage to commit those stinking "line" notes to muscle memory!

I'm also embarrassed to admit that I have no idea what's going on with the royal family. Every time the story comes on the TV, I roll my eyes and flip the channel. Sorry man, I just get bored out of my mind with everything Winsor. But I'm the exception to the rule because it seems most Americans can't get enough of it. CNN's even going to air a special on the House of Winsor, I think the show is called "Winsor". I really should watch it but like I said; "Booooring". It's bad enough I have to tolerate the daily goings on of our own "not-so royal first family". More specifically the orange member. What a freaking mess that baboon has made on this planet. I apologize on behalf of all US citizens.

Anyhow, thanks again Dane.

-Cheers (I think I could get used to that)

Ahh, pretty piece. A content rich song with also some unexpected turns, twists and chords. You should make some lyrics and find yourself a singer, it will certainly be successful.

Well done!



Thanks! Hope you dug that Elizabethan flavored turnaround followed by the "harpsichord-ish" sounding guitar solo. I never know where these things will go.. I feel like I'm just along for the ride.

I just write tunes for my own personal therapy. I haven't got a clue what to do with them. Just glad I can evoke a few smiles in people now and then. Thanks again!

There's no flattery, Rick. 

I decided on a side-line project of putting together a "pop" sounding lounge type thing - sideline because the main one is putting together some music for contemporary dance (nothing to do with the competition here). 

Well, if I learned harmony at all it was from people like Gershwin, Carmichael etc as I play cocktail bar stuff. I dare say my original text book by Kitson explains it all but not from a pianistic viewpoint. So I had to start with a tune that allows interesting harmony (like yours) and doesn't sound like a "standard".....and I'm stuck. (laugh ad lib!)

I shall beaver away at it - it'll probably be the next piece I post here. Let's just see. :)


Sorry about that word “flattery”. I actually thought; “Do I really want to use that word?” because it’s so emotionally vacuous. It’s more a reflection of me really. Guess I was just too lazy to find a better word. Actually, I value your opinion because of your own music and your intelligent comments not just with my stuff but with everyone’s. I actually am honored that you take time to evaluate my stuff. I can’t help thinking “Why would this serious composer want to waste his time commenting on my stuff?” I’m just glad to have someone so musically talented as yourself take the time to care about my efforts. It means a lot to me.

I’m looking forward to your dance piece. I’m way too slow to enter the competition myself so I’ll just watch from the sidelines. 

Well....thank you for those very kind comments. 

I'm humbled...I'm nothing special, just - like you - happen to have music in me. My circumstances let me develop some of it into an interest in composition. I abused such college education that I had although I think some of it did more harm than good and has taken a long while to heal. It's why I'm a bit cynical about the theorists and analysts whom I look on as musical "technocrats".

I'm pretty much an amateur. The Music for Dance is an unpaid commission. In fact it looks like the group could never even afford just the casual expenses for players I know (let alone those who'd have to be bought in) who might perform it - it would take too much rehearsal time and the admin that goes with it so will probably be played as the daw rendering. Hence taking care with the details. 

I'm truly appreciative of your comments here for which a real thank you.

See ya! Dane.

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