Rudge's Rain: PCLinuxOS Makes Music

by Paul Arnote (parnote)

Every so often, uninformed computer users claim that Linux can't do this or Linux can't do that. As most of us already know, there's very little that Linux can't do. You can even use Linux to compose and create music. Just ask Rudge.

Rudge, a.k.a. Russell Galloway, has recently used PCLinuxOS and RoseGarden, a music composition application from the PCLinuxOS repository, to compose some music. Combining RoseGarden with JACK, along with some JACK plugins, such as JackBeat, GuitarX, QSynth and others, Rudge has managed to create his own music compositions.

"The main melody (the piano part intertwined with the guitar at the start of the piece) was inspired by an old Styx song called Aku-Aku. It comes right after Pieces Of Eight on the album of the same name," said Rudge.

"I recorded it just because I liked it. As I listened to my own version, the guitar sounds reminded me of a summer rain, starting out slow and picking up. As I listened, it reminded me of my grandmother's funeral for some reason. When we buried her, it was a gloomy afternoon and that sort of afternoon summer rain was falling. I just ran with it and put all of the emotions in and continued to add parts that I thought fit in."

"I came to a point where I needed to hit a climax of some sort, so what did I do? I recorded an actual thunder storm here in NC with a small four track (Tascam) recorder. I had to place the thunder in strategic places, so the editing functions of RoseGarden came in real handy."

"The 'church bell' took a lot of tweaking, because it not only had to have the right sound, it had to be a pitch that would not clash with the music, and had to run the whole score once it started."

"At the end of the piece, you only hear the piano, because I used to play for my grandma on the piano and she loved it (or pretended to). The church bell and the rain are all that's left of her, as in the piece."

"I call it 'The Rain Song'."


Rudge & his familiar sidekick, Molly

Music is definitely familiar territory for Rudge.

"I started taking private piano lessons when I was very young, when I was in the first grade or so, and took them until I was well into high school," says Rudge.

"Meanwhile, I had taken up playing the drums in school in the fourth grade, and played in school marching bands all through high school. I liked playing the drums more than the piano, mostly because there was more opportunity to do it 'socially.' I was always the percussionist that every local garage band wanted as their drummer."

"My dad had taught me to play the guitar before I could walk, so I don't remember a time when I couldn't play it. Although, it is probably my weakest suit."

"I have had trumpet lessons, hand percussion lessons, and I even had a baritone lesson once."

"I have had three albums officially released with various bands, worked as a studio musician for about 6 months in the late 80's, and was once in a band that opened for Cinderella in the mid 90's."

"When I married JRex in 2000, I moved from Atlanta, Georgia, to Charlotte, North Carolina. I left my piano with my brother and stacked my drums in a cramped apartment for 3 years, until we bought a house."

"Now, I play my drums and guitar by myself in a bonus room that I have set up as a make shift music room. I also bought one of those electric keyboards, of which I know nothing about. It's only slightly better than a toy one, but hey, the notes are all in the same place. LOL."

"I am planning to do some more up beat, happy, classic rock type stuff. But I have to get my guitar sounds "deaf." I have the music, but I just don't have the instruments figured out."

"Creating music with RoseGarden is not for those without any musical talent", according to Rudge. "There's a lot more to it, so don't just expect to be able to go in without any musical knowledge or talent and be able to create the next "Mr. Holland's Opus."

"With this software approach, you not only have to know how to write the music, you have to know what apps are capable of reproducing the sounds that you need, and how to get those apps to make those sounds. If I had been in possession of all the instruments in the recording (you more or less already have to know how to play them all in real life, anyway), I could have recorded the piece in one afternoon. But, after working with each instruments parameters for sound, volume, attack and sustain, not to mention every note's parameters, there was a whole bunch of stuff to set up there. This piece took me over 3 months to record. That is just for the one tune, 'The Rain Song,'" said Rudge.

"I did a whole album consisting of 6 songs total."

You can download Rudge's song, "The Rain Song," from the magazine's website. You can choose from an MP3 version (6.7 MB), or an OGG version (5.2 MB). Both files are decent quality, stereo files.