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Thank you for your interest in our songs.  We want you to hear all of our Gospel Songs.  I call them Alfred Ward's Miracle Songs.  This page explains some of the miracles and struggles surrounding, Al as his friends call him, and the creation of his songs.  Please continue to read his testimony of the goodness of God, especially in the miraculous ways he has enabled Alfred to perform and produce his music which is all dedicated to the Lord, to his glory.  The below explanation is rather long but for anyone who may be interested please read it all the way through and I think you will then understand why he calls his music Miracle Music.  Continue reading below.



 

 

Click here to play some of Alfred's songs

 

 

Click here to read Alfred's life growing up in Tennessee and beyond

 

 

Click here to read Alfred's testimony of some of the other works God has done in his life

 

 


 

The Lord my God has given me the opportunity to glorify him in the creation of my songs, in that, all of my songs were created solely by me using the special gift the Lord has given to me which is the reason I call the production Miracle Productions.  Since I am the author, performer, engineer and producer of all materials presented here. It is some kind of miracle that I am able to do this, don't you think.  I played all of the music on all of the songs presented here on a small inexpensive midi keyboard, and sang all of the voices myself, this means the many drum parts, kick, snare, hi-hat, toms, cymbols, cowbells, tamberine, other percussion, pianos, organ, guitar, sax, trumpet, trombone, violin, cello, bass, congas, and etc.  I did not use any kind of automation to generate any of my music, praise the Lord. I must say it is very time consuming.  Would you not consider this alone, a miracle?  How otherwise is this possible?  All songs are original and meant to glorify God whom I thank dearly for the talents and gifts He has given me. As I have said, some of these talents and gifts are rather unusual in my opinion and perhaps should be considered somewhat miracles. In years past I tried writing songs and paying musicians to record them in expensive studios and it usually did not turn out the way I wanted it nor what I thought it would be. I did not know enough to explain my music effectively.



As I have already said, I have never been and I am still not an instrumental musician, nor are there any musicians in my family that I know of, with the exception of my grandson, Randall who has the reputation of being an excellent horn player even though I have never heard him play.   Neither did I grow up around any musicians that I had access to, and I have never had any lessons or help for me to play any instrument other than just curosity, asking a question here or there.  

 

... So here is the good news ...

 

There are now ways for non musicians like myself, who have music in their hearts but never learned to play an instrument, to bring these musical feelings and stirrings imto reality to produce a real song of quality.

 

Please read Alfred's comments below:

 

 I surely recognize this songs was not produced by a master musician but I believe the music makes sense. I composed this songs, played the music, sang the lyrics while recording it all myself.   I never practice what I am going ot play and usually do not even think about it until I am ready to record a track.  That is when I sit down and hum to myself what I am going to play on a particular instrument part and then figure out how to play that sound on the midi keyboard.  I only do a small section of the track at a time, then piecing all of the sections or pieces together until i have a complete track.  That may be a piano part for example.  But when it comes to the drums I play a separate track for each drum instrument, one for the snare, one for the kick, one for the open hi-hat sound and one for the closed hi-hat sound, one for the crash, one for the toms, one for the cowbell and one for each of any other percussion instruments. Then of cource I have to do the same thing for the guitar, bass, piano, Fender Rhodes (electric piano), lead guitar, rhythm guitar, sax, trumpet, trombone, violins, and at least one track each for any other other instrument sounds that I use. 

 

 Then of course I have to make usualy three vocal tracks for lead vocals and one each for three or four background voices, so that is seven or eight vocal tracks. Of course you can imagine I can only sing one track at a time.  I may end up with 40 or more audio tracks for one song not to mention the midi tracks. While I am playing or singing my little bits and pieces I am also recording them myself.  After everything is all put together then I have to mix it all down to one stereo track.  This means adding many different kinds of sound effects to each individual track, cutting out some of the mix where there is clutter or where the sounds do know blend together well.  After all of that then comes the mastering which is the process of tying it all together to become a finished product.  I have no training for any of this stuff except my ears and a lot of research in books and the internet.  The internet is where I have learned the most about mixing and mastering.  And then I am forever changing everything so a lot of this process must be repeated.  I am now, as of this writing,  trying a mastering service on a website called Landr.  So far it is working pretty good.  Instead of paying $50.00 to $1500.00 per song for mastering services, I am paying $6.00 per month for unlimited use.  Of course this is the lowest quality service, the highest can cost $20.00 or more per month.

 

I know I was enabled by the Lord and I know this is some sort of a miracle, although it took lots of patience, hardwork and perserverance over many years to record more than 20 songs. I recorded the songs on my home computer, using Sonar X1, X2 and X3 and finally the Premium edition,  work station software. I built the computer used for the recording myself, and am using very modestly priced recording accessories such as one microphone and a set of mediocre studio speakers and some headphones and ear buds.  I hope you do not think that I am boasting, I can see where one might possible draw that conclusion but my only boasting is in the Lord.



It took many years of practice and research on the internet and in books to teach myself to do all of these things and I thank God first, then all the wonderful people for all of their explanations and examples they left on the internet, free of charge to help others like me.  I am thinking of writing a book to illustrate how to accomplish this from A to Z.

 

Please understand if you ask me to play any of the instrumental parts, I cannot do it without first figuring out how to play it all over again and then I would only be able to do a small part at a time. If I took a long time to practice playing, I guess I could become a regular musician, but I do not believe I have enough spare time to do that. I wear many hats and work on many different kinds of projects simultaneously but all of my music is dedicated to the Lord. And of course that also applies to everything else I create including all of my computer software products which came about through the same kind of miracles such as my AllmyData, a Multimedia Database Manager, WordUse, and ActiveX DLL, a tool for programmers, and others.  I worked on developing AllmyData for more than fifteen years.  And I may as well tell you that this website came about in the same manner.  It is the only website I have ever built, lots of blood sweat and tears went into it also, another area where I have no training.  It may not seem like much to you, but it is to me and I dearly thank the Lord for enabling and empowering me.

 

Most of the time my first step is to roughly compose the vocal parts of a song, especially the lead voice.  From that point I build the instrumental parts of the songs in a way that is somewhat analagous to building a house.  I start with a foundation which in the beginning is just an idea.  Then I add some very, very basic drum parts for timing.  I start with just the kick and snare drums to establish the down beats and back beats.  Then I will imitate a cymbol, usually closed hi-hats, to lock in the timing to have something to play the other instrumental parts against.  Then I start making up a bass line in my head and I actually sing the bass notes to myself until I get something that makes a little sense.    The next step is to use the instrument sounds provided by my Sonar workstation software to select the appropriate bass guitar settings as well as the settings for all of the other instrumental sounds.  Now the fun begins as I hunt and peck around the keyboard until I find the keys that produce the notes, timings and feelings that I now have in my head.  It is usually very crude in the beginning and becomes more polished as I go along.  I lock the bass notes that I play on the midi keyboard into the time of the drum parts.  If I play some of the parts a little sloppy, I use a process in Sonar called quantizing that locks the notes into the established time signature, if that is the right term.  I am familiar with some musical terminology but much of it is foreign to me.  After getting a rough bass line, I am now ready for a little guitar and I use a similar process as in the case of the bass guitar.  I may lay down some rather amateurish and crude lead parts and later some kind of rythym parts here and there.  Now it is time to garnish it a bit with some overly simplified piano parts.  And I love the sound of a Fender Rhodes electric piano so I will add a little of that also.  At this point I may develop the background vocals and record them.

 

One other challenging part of the process is choosing the way I want each intrument to sound.  There are zillions of combinations of sounds and effects in Sonar, to the point of being mind boggling.  When the rhythm parts have started to come together a bit, it is time to make up some sounds for the horn section.  I usually use a trumpet, sax and trombone with just three part harmony.  Occasionally, I will feel fiesty and venture out into a scary little solo part on one of the horns or other instrument sound.  Now to sweeten it all up a bit, I start to experiment with the violins, cellos and etc.   Of course I am constantly mixing all the tracks as I go along.  The first stage of each instrumental track is to select an instrument and play a midi track.  The next step for me is to convert the midi tracks into audio tracks.  This brings an additional challenge called latency.  As I punch my audio recordings in and out, it takes time for the electricity to travel thru all of the circuits accumulated by the many effects and etc., so the timing for the new recording being inserted is off, it will be slightly but noticebly behind the time of the existing recording.  So I have to manually adjust it.  I may do this 50 or maybe even a hundred times dkuring the entire recording of a song, whew.  But I can work better with audio than with midi and there are many more plugins and effects for audio than for midi.  Then after it all becomes a song there is the final mixing phase and last of all, the mastering, which I know almost nothing about.  But I do manage to crank out something that is listenable, praise the Lord.  It is with much prayer and faith that I am able to do this and I do not credit myself with any of it.  If it were not for the Lord, then I would not even exist, let alone, not be able to do anything, you must first exist before you can perform.  Secondly, which of these talents did I give to myself?  Not a single one.  So where would these songs be if it were not for the Lord, they would not even exist even as I would not exist. 



My only past experience with music is in singing,  I sang for a few years in my younger days in clubs and later in church for three or four years. Then I stopped all music activity for about 20 years but then again felt compelled to start again after that time had elapsed. But this time I began writing songs for the glorification of the Lord and with his help designing my own music as I feel it. It was very difficult at first, it was like, duh, what should I do?  But it becomes easier like most things as I continue to pound out the beats.   I hope you enjoy listening as much as I have enjoyed creating all of my songs.  All praise and glory to God our Father and to Jesus Christ my Lord, Savior and Master.


Love forever, in Christ Jesus,

Alfred Othaniel Ward

 

P.S.  ...

I am thinking of writing a book on how non-musicians can create their own music on their   home computer.

 


 

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