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January 04, 2004


Marianne fished out the cheap recorder that Father Christmas brought her last year, demanding to know whether she could learn to play it. I explained that it was relatively straightforward to play, but that it would require persistence; not one of her stronger qualities. She wanted to know a tune she could play, so I gave her the first two bars of Jingle Bells, and we're taking it from there.

Dolmetsch has a a solid set of lessons online for those of us who aren't six, and (essential for teaching six-year-olds) lots of blank manuscript paper.

The cheap recorder won't even be adequate to learn on beyond the first five or six notes; it makes no pretence to play the lower notes in tune, and I can't make anything with a pinched thumb sound other than disgusting. And I discovered, or remembered, that Steven cannot read music or play any instrument, so I'm inclined to get them both recorders and teach them together. It occurred to me that I could start Steven on tenor and still teach them both in C, and, while buying them recorders, also buy myself a slightly better alto to replace my aged starter one.

But even the cheap recorder allowed me to remember the pleasure of tootling along to the music, in this case Oysterband tracks. Which in turn made me wonder; does anyone know how to divide up an .mp3 that consists of the last song on the album, several minutes of silence, and a 'hidden track'?

Posted by Alison Scott at January 4, 2004 05:12 PM


Try Cacophony. It's an audio editor for OS X written by a friend of mine. You can download it at http://www.bannister.org/software/. Richard, the author, warns however that you will need to reencode the MP3 after splitting it and that may lead to a loss of quality.

Posted by: David Stewart at January 4, 2004 06:25 PM

I should have probably specified that I was after a way that just worked with the digital file and didn't require a decoding/recoding stage (sort of like lossless .jpg crops and rotates). But thanks anyway.

Posted by: Alison Scott at January 4, 2004 06:37 PM

or, just using iTunes itself, see here on macosxhints

Posted by: Austin at January 4, 2004 06:37 PM

if you read the comments with that hint you will see the conversion is believed not to produce any loss in quality :-)

Posted by: Austin at January 4, 2004 06:39 PM

OK, thanks. Grubbing around, it seems there are definitely lossless utilities for .mp3. The file I was thinking of is actually AAC, but I can always re-rip it, or rip a lossless version to edit, so I guess I'm all right. It would be handy if iTunes had a sort of clippy like thing to say 'It looks as if there are two tracks separated by 2 minutes of silence here; would you like me to split the track in two and discard the silence?'
I hope the rise of iPods means that the day of hidden tracks has gone.

Posted by: Alison Scott at January 4, 2004 07:01 PM

iTunes has 'Convert to AAC...' as well, no reason why that shouldn't behave the same way as the MP3 option

Posted by: Austin at January 4, 2004 07:05 PM

Having now experimented with the hint, the degredation's quite severe for the AAC. The solution is probably to re-rip the track as AIFF, and then save out two separate AAC selections.

Posted by: Alison Scott at January 4, 2004 07:48 PM

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