Myna bird: Will it fly in the face of Audacity?

mynaNow the Web tools are really taking flight with bird names.  First, it’s Twitter and Tweets that everyone’s been in a flutter about.  Now so much is happening in the clouds, looks like Aviary could capture our winged fancies with  “Myna” an online audio recording and editing application.

Aviary’s professed goal? “Aviary is on a mission to make creation accessible to artists of all genres, from graphic design to audio editing.”  Wonder if the ukulele could become the tiny songbird of the aviary?

Myna is intriguing. I am always looking for new apps that will help make multimedia more accessible for my students.  Myna’s graphical interface does seem a lot like GarageBand.  But GarageBand is only for Macintosh computers and there’s no inexpensive equivalent on Windows.  When I teach I recommend Audacity because I can reach both Mac and Windows people.  Audacity is free, but still has a lot of things that are missing.  For example, fading in and out,  ducking, and controlling sound levels is a much more manual process in Audacity than GarageBand.

Myna’s Web site has bright colors and an easy, inviting look.  Blues, greens and a myna bird perches on the welcome page. There’s a good introductory video.  You will find egg images throughout the site but I’m sure the company doesn’t want to lay an egg.  (ok so I like puns and there’s a whole nest of opportunity here).

Not surprisingly,  it looks like you can buy lots of eggstra features too from the Aviary.  I’m not going to crack on that one yet. I need to save my money for another ukulele!


But I did explore the free features and briefly recorded from the comfort of my Lazygirl ( like la-Z-Boy but not ) with a laptop.  Myna asked permission to access my microphone and camera on the laptop.  I found a pre-made loop (there appear to be quite a few) and then recorded  a simple ukulele phrase over the loop. I couldn’t listen to the loop in the background while I recorded so getting the timing and rhythm together had more to do with patient editing after I recorded and saved.

In the image (above) the green track is the pre-made loop supplied by Myna. The blue track is the ukulele string with editing spaces visible. On the right is a list of the loops I’d selected, recorded sounds, and anything you’d want to import.  A handy reference to all the tracks you might be working with. I like that feature.

Click the egg to go hear the final mixdown.

My final mixdown appears to be stored in virtual rookery (yes, rookery is part of the URL)  and having made one song, my profile chirps the label: “fledgling”.

While recording, feedback can be an issue, but I woudn’t record something really serious this way.  Headphones, and plugging in my Zoom H2 to record better sound than the laptop will do, would help. This was  a 15 minute exploration of the application. I’ll have to go back and try some other things.

If you go and record any ukulele experimentations and are willing to share them, let me know and I’ll post or link for others to hear.  Or, if you find interesting feathers from Myna that will encourage the ukulele community to continue to spread its wings, then do let me know.  Strum on.

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