Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Magic of for Learning to Play Songs from Youtube Videos

Walk-through: How to Use to Get Chords From Songs

Mostly on, I teach people how to use DSP to make digital music instruments, but I also enjoy sharing new technologies I discover that help people learn to play music and help their careers. is one great example.

Chordify is free (freemium model), has perfect pitch, and it's clever:  It picks out chords and measures from any youtube video.  And if anyone else has already analyzed the track you point at, the results come up instantly for you!


1. Look up the song you want to learn to play on youtube.

2. Copy and paste the URL into

3. Wait for it to analyze the sound and figure out all of the chords for every measure...

4. Grab your instrument, press play, and jam along with the song you analyzed!


Chordify is so smooth, it even works in Linux - you don't need even Flash because it uses 100 percent HTML5!


I have to stop writing now, because I'm off learning and jamming along with these songs:
  1. "Jockey Full of Bourbon" by Tom Waits
  2. "If I Had a Boat" by Lyle Lovett

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mysterious Names - How Audio Companies Got Their Names

The Name of a Music Instrument Design Company... How Powerful and Meaningful is it?

A new music instrument company's name has been a pursuit of mine.

Popular music companies on Wikipedia were the starting point.

Major categories they fit into:

1. Blends

The most interesting category because they create distinctive names.  Benefits of distinctive names are stronger trademark protection and  more likely available domain names!

Blend examples:

Alesis - A Loose acronym for Algorithmic Electronic Systems adjusted to make spelling and pronunciation easier.

JoMoX -  Jürgen Michaelis X-Tended. Die Sternchen zwischen den Buchstaben sahen aus wie "o"s, und fortan hieß es JoMoX.  My translation: It started with the name Juergen Michaelis X-Tended.  "The little stars between the characters looked like letter 'o's, and that led to it getting named JoMoX."

2. Technical

Names like "Metasonix," "Quasimidi," "Sequential Circuits," etc.   This is the second largest category of names of music instrument companies

3. Places

Examples: PAiA, Waldorf, Teisco. This is actually a small category.

4. Bland

These are names that seem to be arbitrary, dry permutations of words like "music," "electronics," etc.  Some examples are: Electronic Music Laboratories, Electronic Music Studios, Generalmusic.  These names are so generic, they can hardly even get trademarked!

5. Designer Names 

This is the largest category of digital music instrument company names.  You know them: Moog, Kurzweil, Dave Smith, Buchla, etc.

* * Conclusion * *

The name of a music instrument company is important, especially in light of trademark law and all of the other requirements for brand names....  They should be easy to spell, have an available internet domain name, and not mean something embarrassing in a foreign language!  (Chevy Nova is a famous example!)


While researching, I discovered this interesting link, which gives the stories of a large number of music company names:

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hurdy Gurdies - An Introduction to Constructing Them

Hurdy Gurdies - An Introduction to Constructing Them

Recently a neighbor mentioned his desire to possibly someday construct a hurdy gurdy.  I was very curious to know what goes into it and what solutions/possibilities and plans are available, so I did some research into it.

One of the coolest customized Hurdy Gurdy constructions I've seen.  
Notice how it includes 7 electronic control knobs!

  • This person built the above kit and made a 20-minute slideshow of the entire process - 133 images!!!
  • This is a person who is blogging the entire process of building their hurdy gurdy!
  • This guy has lots of great information if you're deciding whether to build a hurdy gurdy from scratch or from a kit
  • This website also has a kit and you can pay in alternative currency!