Ok, so, first disclaimer–if you don't have Band-in-a-Box, then perhaps this solution is a bit expensive. If you do, however, here's a use for it you may not have considered–podcasting.
If you've ever looked at the "podsafe music" websites out there, you know they're rather a pain. They don't mean to be–it's just that they have a lot of information scattered about many different places. First you select a genre, then you wade through subgenres, and then, when you find a title that's interesting, you have to wait for the song to play or download before you can see if you actually like it. and 90% of the time or more, you don't. So–repeat process–and repeat and repeat and…
Enter Band-in-a-box–specifically, its Melodist. Go to the Melody option on the menu bar, select Melodist, or, if you prefer the "flying fingers" method, press shift f5. What opens is a rather daunting-looking dialog, from which one can choose a nearly infinite variety of possibilities.
Despite the intimidating nature of the vast number of choices, the group of options that's really important is headed "Create CandM in the style of…" First, pick from the list of genres, then pick from a list of styles within that genre. Press ok and give it a listen. If it's not quite what you had in mind, repeat the process, changing genres and styles as desired. The melodist generates a different melody each time. If you'd like to tweek it, save it as a midi file, import it into your sequencer, and fiddle to your heart's content. Once the song is the way you like it, simply render it to a .wav file via a softsynth and then use it for your podcast in whatever way you see fit–a theme, background music, etc.
Believe me when I tell you–the time it takes to get some nice music using the Melodist sure beats trying to find music on those "podsafe music" sites.
Discussing the various choices contained in the Melodist dialog box is really beyond the scope of this post. In fact, I'm not even certain I know what they all are–I certainly don't use most of them. Attached is an audio sample of the melody I used on my "Beyond Cancer" post. I simply opened the melodist, chose the new age genre, and selected slow harp from the choice of styles. 30 seconds later or less, I had a very acceptable piece of background music.
How do you use Band-in-a-box? Or how do you find music for your podcasts? Let me know in the comments section.visionquest1