Tweaking Smart Music On The Mac

I have a love/hate relationship with MakeMusic’s Smartmusic. First, the love part. I love that it has a lot of backgrounds for classical etudes, and you can slow them down, tweak the key, etc. You can even record yourself with it, though the quality and the mixing of the resulting recording is not great at all.

Hate part. They tether you to the computer. Personally, I hate looking at a computer monitor all day, and for music. I like to have music stretched out on my stand. 3 Pages sometimes. A lot of stuff, including the jazz stuff in Smartmusic, is screen only. While I can understand copyright issues for songs, for simple little jazz patterns I don’t. Why not let people print them?

Anyhow, the biggest problem/complaint is making a background CD. Ok, so, say I have a student who wants to do ONE Bach Sonata that Smartmusic has, but they don’t have Smartmusic. Nor do they want to subscribe to it (you can not, as far as I know, buy the backgrounds to Smartmusic songs. I’d buy high quality renditions of the backgrounds rather than the sorta normal sounding but not quite there Smartmusic sounds which sound something like an 8 Track playing through a dash speaker in a 79 Datsun that has been sitting in the sun, and the dash is all warped. Well you get the idea….).

Anyhow, I finally found a way to get a background out of Smartmusic…..

Warning, this is Macintosh only.

Enter Audio Hijack Pro. This little Gem of a program will record sound from any source to a AIFF, MP3, or whatever. You can easily start Audio Hijack, then have Audio Hijack hijack the output of the System to a file, then start the Smartmusic playing, and……bing!

You have to hijack the whole system audio, as my tinkering with Audio Hijack taking just Smartmusic’s output didn’t work at all, but the Pro version, for $32, can hijack the whole Mac’s audio and put it in a file.

I suppose you could use this to record any internet Radio you listen to as well, but I can’t remember the last time I actually used the internet to listen to the radio…..

So, I can now find a new home for my DAT and Minidisc recorders and firmly come into the all digital age 😉

Update: 09/17 02:54 GMT by E :Upon further reflection, I think MakeMusic should offer an “Enhanced” version of SmartMusic that would take advantage of Garritan’s GPO sound library. They already include this in Finale. And, if they were smart (pun intended), they would have a SmartMusic store where students could BUY the books that accompaniments are in, as well as high quality backgrounds.

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