TuxGuitar – a nice little tool for guitar players and other musicians

This free, open-source piece of music transcription software is certainly a useful tool for beginners and accomplished musicians alike. It has a host of features to make transcription easy including the ability to view musical scores and guitar tabs at the same time, and even the option to lift your notes directly off a guitar fret-board. There is also a range of guitar-specific effects such as slides and bends.

It’s easy to use and the help manual is simple and to the point. Tempo control allows for more complicated pieces to be played at a slower speed with a single click – great for beginners and those attempting high-level compositions.

Many free or shareware software options do not allow for the creation or saving of edited files, but TuxGuitar operates as a complete system – at zero cost. The ability to open a variety of different file types such as TablEdite and GuitarPro is a boon, as are the various options for export.

The one downside is that the instrument sounds are not as realistic as they could be. If you are using it as a composition tool you could find the inaccuracies somewhat frustrating, but for anything less than a full orchestral piece it is perfectly serviceable.

Read full review | Download TuxGuitar

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Last week’s highlights #4

Last week brought us some interesting software reviews and a synthesis article worth mentioning:

Navigating the Mobile Landscape: Ecosystems

Whether is Amazon with Kindle Fire, Google with Android-powered tablets, and Apple with iPad, the mobile market still holds enough space for other competitors. While Apple still has a huge lead and foothold on the mobile market, I think everyone else FINALLY gets it. Read the full comparison of these three opponents here.

Guitar Pro – a suitable instrument teacher

I’ve been a musician all my life. The guitar is my instrument, and I’ve written a number of songs over the years that I’ve either had to memorize or hand write score or tab for. This is why I’m excited about Guitar Pro. It’s a guitar specific music writing application for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Keep yourself organized with StickyNote

You see them all over the office…Stickies. Stuck to desktops, underneath keyboards, on the side of cabinets, hanging from overhangs, and of course, on computer monitors. They are literally everywhere, and the guy who invented the glue HAS to be like a bazillionaire (or at least should be).  The only problem that you bump into is the one thing that makes them so wonderful – they’re everywhere, and they can create a huge mess. This is why I like StickyNote from Tenebril Software. It’s a reminder program for Windows.

Give voice commands with Dragon Dictate

I’ve been a big supporter of, “you talk, it types” for over 10 years. I remember using IBM’s ViaVoice on my Windows XP powered PC back in 1997. While it was, at times, wonderful to be able to give my arthritic hands a break from the amount of typing I do, its performance issues often prevented the creative process from really flowing the way it should have. Writers write. However, it’s not always easy to do when you have to….speak….very…slowly, and very…exactingly. All that’s changed now; and thanks to Dragon Dictate for Mac, I’ve got my MacBook Pro turning cartwheels.

Fun, addictive and free: Angry Birds

Angry Birds is one of the most addictive games from Rovio today. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it’s available for PC, Android and iOS. I find myself spending, literally, hours of time trying to blow up pigs in some of the ricketiest contraptions and bunkers I have ever seen.

Originally released in 2009 for iOS, Rovio’s Angry Birds decries the pummeling of pork and pork supporters everywhere. While many think that EVERYTHING is better with bacon, these poultry patriots obviously don’t feel that way. Today, you don’t have to have a smartphone, iPad or iPod to play Angry Birds, it’s now available on your computer, and it’s still a lot of fun.

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Guitar Pro – a suitable instrument teacher

I’ve been a musician all my life. The guitar is my instrument, and I’ve written a number of songs over the years that I’ve either had to memorize or hand write score or tab for. This is why I’m excited about Guitar Pro. It’s a guitar specific music writing application for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

You’ll know how to handle the interface in a matter of minutes, easily navigating over its tabs and buttons. For optimal ease in reading, you’ll be able to display your scores as you prefer — full-screen, double-page, or parchment-like, and also display a guitar fret board to visualize the exact positioning of your fingers on it.

Express your talent by creating your own scores in a matter of minutes. You can edit the notes directly on the standard score or on the tablature. In either case, you can capture your notes quickly with the numerical pad, the mouse, or even a MIDI instrument. During playback, the score automatically scrolls, and a cursor highlights the music currently being played. You can adjust tempo, and play all or part of a piece in loops. The Speed Trainer will then let you play any section of the score in loops with progressive accelerations, helping you nail down complex or difficult parts.

All of the effects specific to a guitar, bend, slide, ghost notes, etc., are rendered during playback, as well as the various possible playing styles, pick-stroking, fingerpicking or slapping, for instance.

read full review | download Guitar Pro

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Guitar Legend Steve Vai and Berklee Attempt World Record for Largest Online Guitar Lesson

Berkleemusic, the online continuing education division of Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music, along with Grammy®-award winning guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, today announced a call to action for guitarists around the world to join forces and set the Guinness® World Record for the largest online guitar lesson on March 3rd, 2011. This first-of-its-kind initiative will bring together the worldwide community of guitarists in an unprecedented online celebration of music education.

The World’s Largest Online Guitar Lesson is a one-time event that takes place Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 at 1:30PM EST. Berkleemusic has partnered with Livestream, the pre-eminent live streaming video platform, to host this event in their New York City studio. Participants can learn more about the online lesson at www.berkleemusic.com/vai-live.

Vai’s FREE online lesson will last 30 minutes, and will provide a look into Steve’s technique with a focus on how guitarists can develop and gain insight into their own playing. In order to further engage with his fans, Steve is also encouraging participants to submit questions to him online, which he will answer onstage at the conclusion of his online lesson.  Interested participants can submit questions to Steve on the event’s web page, located here: www.berkleemusic.com/vai-live.

As a gesture of its commitment to music education, Berkleemusic will donate one dollar for every person that joins the online lesson to the Steve Vai Online Scholarship Fund at Berkleemusic, which is designed to reward and assist outstanding students studying in Berkleemusic’s multi-course certificate programs.

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