Notation Software – Multiple Movements

Setting up multiple movements in a single file with notation software.

The things you need to look for are:
1. Measure atributes: final double bar at the end of a movement
2. measure attributes, begin a new stqaff system
3. measure attributes: hide cautionery clefs, key and time signaures. This will give you a clean end of movement and a new system for the next one.
4. Attach the movement numbers as score expressions to the first measure of the movement and assign it to a staff list showing top score staff and top parts staff. That way it will show where you need it, you will just have to drag it to the centre of the page each time. This is more reliable than using a text block.
5. Use the page layout tool to indent the first system of each movement. This will require manually dragging it in the score and parts, but it looks much clearer, especially if you begin a movement halfway down a page in the parts.
6. Set up staff styles that have no change, except the abbreviated staff name is the same as the full staff name. You will need one for each staff, and apply it to the first measure of each movement. This will give you full instrument names on the first system of each movement.

Using all of these makes parts much more flexible, layouts can include new movements half way down a page, repagination and changing page turns does not affect numerous files, but flows within a file, and the start of each movement is clear and easy to see.

Don LaFontaine – Movie Trailer Voice Overdubs

don-lafontaine.jpg Don LaFontaine is that cool gravelly bass voice you hear on all the movie trailers. The voice that says something like “In a world where boredom ruled the day….SOMEONE had an idea….” – or fill in your own catch phrase.

Don has been recording overdubs for movie trailers for several decades now. Any of us that go to movie theaters and see the motion picture trailers have his voice firmly engrained in our head.

Many YouTube trailer spoofs try to copy his vocal sound for their trailer overdubbing, to give it that real “Hollywood” feel. Congratulations to Mr. LaFontaine on a great career, and thank you for making those movie trailers entertaining.

Producer Rick Rubin’s Magic of Sound

rick-rubin.jpgWEST HOLLYWOOD, California — Rick Rubin is a healthy reminder of the danger in relying on superficial impressions.

He’s a bearish man with long, flowing hair, a bushy beard and ever-present dark sunglasses. See him at a club and you might be tempted to slip out, taking care not to tip over any motorcycles on the way.

Then you would have lost the chance to meet one of the top producers in the music business, who is up for a Grammy award next week in that category. He produced two of the five discs nominated for album of the year and contributed to another, each in completely different styles. He captured the country-pop of the Dixie Chicks and funky rock of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and produced one track of Justin Timberlake’s state-of-the-art dance-pop.

Read complete CNN Rick Rubin article.

Audio Compression Settings for Kick Snare and Bass

 *NOTE: The answer to this question is based on ACOUSTIC kick, snare and bass. For compressing digital samples you can hit them as hard as you want. Your ear is the guide.*

Question: What type of compression settings should I use as a starting point on the kicks and the snares and the bass. and are there any other tube pre that are less expensive that can work , I’m on a bit of a buget and I trying to upgrade to an Pro Tools HD rig.

P.S Thanks for your info it nice for you to share this info I like to learn as much as I can.


1) Any other tube pre less expensive that can work?

Yes. With DIGITAL preamps the idea is to not colour the sound. Alternately, the usual intention of a TUBE preamp IS to colour the sound with tube warmth. So the answer is any preamp will work that will give you the tube warmth, and it just so happens that the higher end tube preamps tend to do better at this (that’s why they’re more expensive). I prefer the Avalon, but I also have an ART tube pre. The difference is night and day, and you won’t really appreciate the difference until you hear it. My suggestion would be to google reviews to find what’s currently out that is working for audio engineers. I consider MIX magazine an excellent resource. Spending an entire day or two reading reviews on tube preamps would NOT be a waste of time in my opinion. Might be the best time you spend for improving mixes.

1) What are good compression Settings for Kick, Snare and Bass?
First thing is to know in your head what sound your going for. Where you’re going will dictate how you steer the ship. If the kick and bass guitar are meant to work as one whole, then you may want to daisy chain the bass guitar compressor and kick compressor together so they work in tandem. If you want a beefy 40kz 808 bass sound compress it hard and fast to keep it even. If it’s jazz then let the kick breathe a little. IN GENERAL your attack can be between 3 and 14 milliseconds. Release depends on the style, adjust it so there’s no “pumping”. You will destroy a mix more often with too much compression than with not enough. Don’t try to get as much overall volume as the latest major artist release, 99.9% odds if you get it that loud then you’ve crushed any life in the mix. Let Bernie Grundman and Glenn Meadows do that work, they are the masters.

If you have a really good studio bass guitar player, you won’t have to use much compression. But for most bands you’ll have to use stronger compression to “tame” the playing of the bassist. Overall I like the bass guitar working together with the kick drum, so that will dictate my compression settings which vary.

If you’re using ratios more than 6:1 then something else might be a little off. For a jazz kick you might use 12ms attack, 30ms release and 2:1 compression ratio. For a heavy metal kick might be 3ms attack, 12ms release and 4:1 compression ratio.

The biggest single tip I ever got about audio engineering: Know what you want before you reach for a knob.

Hope that helps.


QandA: Legal Requirements to be a Music Producer

E-mail question received:

Mr. Askland, I have been producing tracks for a few years and I’m trying to figure out what to do to sell my beats legally so i decided to ask a professional with more experience. How did you become a music producer? What steps did you take to get started? Is there a certain license you have to apply for with the government or can you use a specific business license?


I’ve received several emails similiar to this over the last month. Either it’s the same person or a widespread question. I’ll assume it’s a legitimate question.

This seems obvious to me: To be a music producer you just have to produce music. There is no legal stipulation or registration involved. Think of it as being a painter. “Do I have to register with the government to be a painter?” – No, you just paint.

I think your unspoken question has to do more with sample clearance and copyright issues. I’ll address each seperate issue as to what I THINK you are really asking.


If you use a sample of pre-recorded music in your track, it is NOT cleared, and someone recognizes where the sample came from – you are in a bad spot. If your track has generated over $10,000 of revenue you can expect some legal papers in the mail. Copyright is seperate from Master Recording rights. One person owns the copyright on the song, and a different person can own the rights to the recording (ie: the source of your sample). US Copyright Office website.

Mechanical rights can be obtained to re-record a song already published (published means at least one copy has been offered publicly for sale). The mechanical rights only allow permission to re-record the song, not to use any source master audio material. Mechanical rights are usually in the ballpark of ten cents per copy sold. (If you record an album of ten songs by previously released material, you may pay about one dollar per CD sale in royalties). The amount of mechanical royalties varies but is “reasonable”.

The owner of the Master Recording has the right to negotiate whatever amount they like to clear a sample from it. If they want one million dollars for a two second sample, then you have to pay that or not use it. These fees are considerable. As an example: Around 1996 I used a sample from the “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast. The sample I used was about ten seconds long and only played once in the song. The owner of the master recording wanted $20,000 to use that sample in the piece which was slated to be part of a movie soundtrack.

If you’re already playing in the big leagues (which you’re not if you don’t know this info already) like Aftermath Entertainment then you can afford some sample clearances. Short of that, you need to use samples that are already cleared from sample libraries or create your own material. Quick read: Don’t use samples.


There are a lot of “royalty free” libraries out there that really aren’t totally cleared. I’m referring to seperate stand alone websites and a lot of Ebay sales. I don’t trust fringe producers of royalty free libraries because I have little faith that they have the discipline to actually know where all their material came from. For that reason I only use cleared samples from large established companies like Sony, Roland, Big Fish Audio and Sound Ideas. For my productions I do a lot of original MIDI work and also create my own samples if I want a grainy feel, so the other samples I use are just for a little color.

Like my view on Trademarks, don’t worry about it so much until you need to. As my music became more widely heard I would run into situations where something wasn’t cleared properly. So for me it was a slow shift to tighten up on my use of samples. Sometimes a client would bring in a sample of their own and would say they knew it was cleared. My response was “That’s fine. I just need you to sign a paper that you are responsible for any legal action regarding that sample.” I never had a client follow through to sign that piece of paper. They liked relying on me for making sure the project was legal and clean. As a music producer I feel this is one of your chief responsibilites, especially in hip hop music.


There is no set time limit of how much of a sample violates copyright law. There is no “two second” rule or anything like that. So be careful.

Trademark registration is handled by the US Patent and Trademark Office. A trademark is a name or graphic that represents an entity. You can register with the government if you like for a trademark. It will go into a waiting period for possible disputes, then become “registered” over time – usually 1-3 years. For example, the symbol for Prince is probably trademarked. As is the golden arches for McDonalds, the windows logo for Microsoft, the logos for major television stations and corporations. The name “Dreamworks” was in legal dispute several years ago between Dreamworks in Los Angeles and a smaller Dreamworks company in Florida. Google for more info, I could go on for a long time just about trademarks. Yes, I have trademarked elements of my business. Yes, it was a hassle.

I really think if you are starting out and worrying about trademarks, that you are putting the cart before the horse. It’s like recording artists that spend their time worrying about agents and they haven’t focused on their material yet. I would suggest to worry about these things down the road. For instance, the few trademarks I have personally registered were because I had entities with noticeable marketshare, and there was confusion in the market place about who was the “real” entity. So in order to keep my product lines intact I had to do it. Also, to register for Trademark you should already be doing sales nationally across state lines. Trademark is to protect entities on a national level.

If you think having a trademark is a status symbol then you need to read more information about it. It’s a tremendous burden. Once you are granted a trademark it’s your responsbility to police it’s use. Often you will read stories about major corporations going after mom and pop businesses or college students who are infringing on their trademark. Those news stories usually make it sound like the corporations are behemoths trying to control the world. Simply not true. Those corporations are under a LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY to enforce their trademarks. If the trademark becomes diluted, ie: other people are using it actively, then the trademark holder can lose their trademark. Some stories you can look up in this area are Kleenex and Xerox. In my case, I had one trademark in process that unfortunately used a name that was original on a local level but in widespread use in different variations on a national level. I finally had to abandon it because it made bad business sense to commit the amount of legal resources it would take to enforce the trademark.


If you are running a recording studio then you can obtain a business license from your local town. You don’t need one as a producer, but just for the business if you have paying clientele. These are usually inexpensive, from about $40-$100 per year just for the license.


Most of the info I’ve put out here is for people starting out. If Disney is doing a major push on a new artist then they will do everything all at once: Trademarks, Sample Clearance, Copyrights, Licenses, etc. That’s a different animal. For the rest of us mere mortals my advice is to take it as it comes along and focus on your art.

Let me know if there are particulars I didn’t cover or if you have more questions.