Using Linux To Create a Music Blog
Saxophone? Check. Digital recorder? Check. Camera? Check. Ready to rock & roll. Or do some blues. A bit of jazz? How about some Zydeco. Honky Tonk?
We'll see when we get to the Second Street Brewery this Wednesday in Santa Fe, New Mexico. That's when the weekly open mic session kicks off at 7:00pm, led by Case Tanner and his house band.
"Wait a minute," I hear you thinking. "What does this have to do with Linux?
Well, you see: I recently got talked into doing a music blog again. I thought I was smart enough to never ever let anyone talk me into doing a music blog again. Ever! But then Heather asked me ever so sweetly if I would, please?
Tom, the manager at Second Street piled on with, "Yeah, we'll give you a beer card that you can use on Wednesday night." Ok, now that we all know that I'm easy, and cheap, let's discuss what tools do you need to run a music blog. Linux tools. I don't do Windows.
It turns out that you don't need that much, really:
- A good digital recorder. I've been using an Edirol R09 for several years. It does a surprisingly good job of recording for being such a small unit. It can do uncompressed wav recordings, but I've been happy with the quality that it records in 320 kbps mpeg format.
- A good camera. I use a Panasonic Lumix point & shoot because it has an excellent Leica lens, it cycles quickly, and has good intelligent auto focusing.
- Audio editing software.
- Photo editing software.
- A blog site. I use Google's Blogger.
All right, let's fast forward to the end of the end of the evening as you come away from the session with a bunch of pictures, and maybe 3 hours worth of recording. Now What?
Want to see what three hours of open mic looks like in Audacity?
All you have to do now is find the bits that sound good and use Audacity's editing features (cut, paste, fade in, fade out, amplify) to separate them out from the bits that might not sound quite so good. I did mention that it was an open mic evening, didn't I? Not everything done during an open mic evening is going to sound, well, wonderful. On the bright side, however, Santa Fe has an overflow supply of musicians, and many of them drop by Second Street on Wednesday to join the house band. It's kind of relaxing for them to have a place where they can play in a non-gig venue and just have a bit of fun.
For pictures you can use Picasa to help you cherry pick some of the better shots of the evening. Picasa has nice editing features that will allow you to resize, rotate, do red-eye correction etc. If you prefer not to use Picasa, there are numerous other Linux photo editing applications: The GIMP, KDE's Gwenview, F-Spot, etc.
Finally, you can upload the bits & pieces to the blog that you created, for free, at Google's Blogger. Check out what the Santa Fe Second Street Brewery's music blog looks like. Blogger allows you to change your blog's template for a different look & feel. There are also quite a few options that Blogger provides to control who can post comments to your blog, whether or not to use a captcha to reduce spam comments, etc.
A final bit of advice: if you ever let yourself get suckered into doing a music blog, make sure they give you good beer for your efforts. Like what they serve at Second Street.