uJam – lots of fun creating music


If you like music and have time on your hands, check out www.ujam.com

It’s a web app which lets you sing or whistle a tune, then add accompaniment to it.  This is similar in concept to Microsoft’s old Songsmith product, except it produces much better results.  If you look on YouTube, you’ll find all sorts of examples where people took popular songs, isolated the lead singer, dumped the vocals into Songsmith, then uploaded the hilarious ultra-cheesy results.

I expected similar from uJam but was pleasantly surprised.

It’s pretty easy to get interesting and fairly quick results from uJam. Sing a song into it, and it will come up with accompaniment which doesn’t sound too horrible right out of the box. Musicians will wince at some of the chord choices, and it doesn’t always figure out the song structure properly, but it’s reasonably quick gratification.

For my first attempt, I “rejammed” one of their sample pieces.  That eliminated me having to sing or play anything, I was basically remixing and tweaking.  That was interesting and served as a quick way to get to know the program and styles and sort of how it works.

I then decided to try something more ambitious, and all mine.  I whistled a tune I wrote many years ago, converted that to notes, tweaked note recognition and timing errors (that took ages, what a pain!), then cranked out 8 different versions (styles) of the song. It was fun.  All in all I spent over 20hrs getting that thing right.

I had done a version of my song with a custom “style”, which means I specified exactly which instruments are to be used to accompany my lead instrument (for which I chose Lead Guitar).  Last night, I isolated each of the instrument tracks for this version, downloading each as a separate mp3 file. I loaded all these files into MixCraft, re-balanced the mix the way I wanted (which is not necessarily the way uJam likes it). I then took things out to un-busy the thing a bit. For example, with MixCraft, I was able to eliminate things like excessive Tympani rolls – uJam just goes nuts with drum rolls all over the place and it makes the whole thing very muddy. I did other stuff too, eliminating a couple of instruments I originally had in the “style”, and finally came up with this mix. Enjoy!

http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_11923629

In summary, it’s a great program, especially if you want to crank out a “demo” song or just have fun with it.  Being a perfectionist is very time consuming so perhaps it’s actually easier to just play the various instruments yourself in the long run – LOL

uJam tech support did tell me about some of the improvements they have on the slate, and I think this product has some really great potential.  Give it a try!

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