Your Questions

Here are a few of the questions which people often ask (usually via the overworked JL helpline – hence this page).

How do you record your music?

For score-writing and most of the playback and recording, I work in Sibelius. However, in the light of the idiotic decision by Avid, the owners of Sibelius, to close down the entire Sibelius development team and move development to the Ukraine or somewhere "cheaper", I'll be in the queue for the new Steinberg product just as soon as it becomes available.

On the odd occasions that I feel the need for a sequencer, I use Reaper which is just as good for my purposes as the (much) more expensive mainstream sequencers.

The crucial part of any electronic music production is the sample libraries, and for almost all my work I use the amazing Vienna Symphonic Library. I occasionally get emails to ask which orchestra and conductor was playing the music for such-and-such an e-card. Of course, the e-card music is necessarily subjected to a high level of MP3 compression (typically 80 or 96kbps — lower for the older cards) which degrades the sound quality, but even so the fact that anyone could mistake these recordings for genuine orchestras is primarily down to the quality of the VSL libraries (and a lot of note-tweaking)!

Occasionally we need singers, which you can't mimic with a computer; or solo strings, which you can but the real thing is much more convincing. So I'm grateful to Izzy, Emma, Robin, Meg, Joy and others who have helped out over the years – not to mention the wonderful team at Salisbury Cathedral Choir.

I have a wonderful Bösendorfer Model 170 piano, and most of the piano music you hear is played by me on this piano.

Gearheads may like to know that I have a stereo pair of Neumann KM184s which do a great job for all my live recording, except when I bring out my Sontronics Sigma for that softer, smoother ribbon mic effect. And I have a Sony PCM M10 permanently perched on the piano to capture any ideas that come to me while playing. In fact the Sony is so good I sometimes wonder whether I really need the KM184s. For monitoring I have a pair of Focal CMS50 monitors, and the connection between the real world and my computer is made by a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

Why don't you use any modern songs in the Jacquie Lawson e-cards?

Anything written by anyone who is still alive, or died after about 1940, is subject to copyright. Negotiating the rights to use such music is very time-consuming and usually prohibitively expensive. The rules vary from one country to another, which seriously complicates things because it's the country you're listening in that matters, not the country where we are. And we'd need several months' notice of the music to be used, which is impossible since we just don't plan that far ahead. So usually, we cannot justify the cost and effort.

Copyright is a bit of a bee in my bonnet. I cannot see why it is right for composers and writers who have been dead for decades still to get money from their work: you don't get paid after you're dead if you're a teacher, or a nurse, or a plumber. And anyway, the money doesn't usually go to the composer's family, but to the huge companies that have bought up the rights. Ten years after the death of the composer or their spouse would be ample protection. And if copyright laws were less blatantly unreasonable, maybe there'd be less of a problem with piracy.

Can I buy your music on CD?

Sorry, but to be honest the easiest and cheapest way of getting a CD of my music would be to purchase the downloads and burn them onto a CD yourself. And all the tracks available on this website at the moment wouldn't fill even half a CD!

I bought some tracks more than 14 days ago and the download links no longer work

No problem. Write me a message giving the email address you used for the purchase, and if possible the Paypal transaction details and I'll re-enable the links.

Can I use your music on my YouTube video / website / blog?

Sorry, no. That sort of usage isn't allowed under the terms of purchase and would be in breach of copyright. But do please contact me giving details of your proposal, and I'll be happy to consider it. Depending on exactly what you want to do, there may be a small fee!

You can check our the exact terms of purchase for my music here.

Can you help with me with a jacquielawson.com issue?

Sorry, but I don't have access to the JL customer services database and I'm way out of date on the technical stuff. But the JL help people are really very good, and if you've submitted a help request through the proper channels, they will contact you as soon as your ticket gets to the top of the queue. If you haven't heard from them, it's probably because your spam filter is blocking their mail! For more information and a few helpful hints, please click here.