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Archive for April, 2011

Music Exercise: 5/4, Only Four Notes, Strict Meter…

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment

OK, I just can’t keep it up with Mondays. lol Let’s just say I’ll come up with something new every week, OK? ;)

This time I’ll share a new composition written as an exercise on how to overcome limitations. That was proposed by my teacher who has got me some quite strict outlines…

Rules:

1) Time signature: 5/4;

2) Meter: 3 quarters, 1 half;

3) Only four notes: Re, Fa, Sol, La;

3) Instrumentation: solo flute.

Under some severe restrictions one must come up with a couple creative solutions for the sake of the listenability of the theme since things can get boring or even annoying quite easily. And my own guidelines here were:

1) Make it short and straight. You just can’t keep its interest for a long time without more variation;

2) Choose a possible key. That list of notes only allowed me two real choices: D minor (since I’ve got its third, Fa, available) and F Major (since its third, La, it’s available as well). The other two can be used for variation but not much more than that;

3) Make connections, like using the last note of a section as the first one in the next section for instance;

4) Dynamics. If I can’t have more rhythmic, melodic and harmonic options I can add a little by messing with intensity–and tempo for that matter;

Here is the outcome of the exercise:

And a nice MIDI file for you to listen:

pf (piano forte, pushing forward)

After getting the main idea done I’ve tried some small orchestration to show what was playing inside my head… lol A basses line, one viola (pizzi and bowed), one cello and a noir bar piano. :P

pf (orch)

In the end I really think the result was interesting enough–given the hindrances, of course. I wont stretch any further but feel free to ask something if you want to.

See you next time!

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Expanding the archive…

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Here I am a little delayed again–but this game called life can get tricky sometimes… Althought fun as well. :)

Came to upload my second “virtual-EP” on game music to follow the opening post for this blog. This one is from 2009, I was starting to study a little bit of Piano and a bunch of new themes came out at the time… I’ve picked two for this one.

A cookie for anyone knowing the reference for the cover. ;)

"Take that hamster... Hum, hum... Yummy!"

A Treble Clef Lesson

B Bass Clef Lesson

Crysis 2: New York, New York…

April 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be the first guy up to endorse America’s americanism… lol Or maybe I should say America centrism… You know what I’m talking about, no offense here at this point but it can be tiring for someone (like me) from another part of the world, you know.

But this time I’m here to praise an awesome musical job on that matter; and such an unexpected one too. I’m talking about the version of “New York, New York” delivered by B.o.B. for the EA recently released game Crysis 2.

I’m not into the plot, not into the genre, not into pretty much anything regarding the title itself, but man… The job done with this especific theme has unavoidably grabbed my attention. And I thought it was a good opportunity to analise WHY it works so well.

What makes this so strong is the boldness to mess with such an American cultural icon like that song, “New York, New York”. And the work is so solid that it manages to set the standard into an entire new mood but still leaving something to be recognized there.

I would like to point out three characteristics of the work done in the main theme to try to get things clear:

1) Tempo. This isn’t the main change of course, but just by dropping the tempo a little the theme gets a little more “cooler”.

2) Tonality and relative major/minor. Now here we’ve got a strong show of how the new version became more gloomy. The guys there shifted the tonality from D Major to b minor… Which allowed ’em to keep the original melody without changing it since both tonalities are relative to each other. Naturally, the minor version sounds more introspective and such.

3) Messing with the “meter”. This one is a very interesting and somewhat subtle change. By getting the final section of the theme and making it being divided more… roughly? the rhythm sounds more solemn and martial–less skipping, one could say. lol

I’m going to place a couple pics (from some scratch music sheets) and a couple sample recordings just to illustrate what I’m trying to present here.

And because I’m a nice guy too. -.-

Original version:

Faster, happier, skipping version. :)

NY NY (Original) Audio Sample

New version:

Slower, gloomier, badass version. -.-

NY NY (New Version) Audio Sample

It’s hard to know whose merit the work is here–B.o.B. himself? The producer?–but still it’s a very nice piece of music and we should enjoy it leaving all biases behind. :)

Here you’ve got some TV spot featuring the mentioned theme–and the cut here was especially generous with the music:

Take your time to listen to it all, hope you had enjoyed it, see you next week. ;)

Turning a Poem Into a Song

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

One of the things I like most when it comes to creating music is to make poems become songs. I do it all the time, sometimes as a technical challenge, sometimes for fun, sometimes because I just can’t avoid listening to a melody inside my head while reading. lol

But a couple weeks ago I received a special bunch of them from a friend who just started to write. And I must say her job is absoutely awesome–and it’s even more impressive when you come to think about her inexperience in writing… Until now. I’m really expecting to read more and more from her.

But… For now I’m here to share a specific piece of poetry that I started to work in and to show my process while doing it. This is “The ‘T’ Poem” from Andréia Gusmão de Carvalho:


The “T” poem

There’s a secret between us.

Thoughts that can not be revealed

Tell me, please

Tactfully

Tell me what the tarot card said even not believing in it

Teach me how to erase this invisible tattoo on my skin

Tea break…the tea cloth is dirty the side you ate, but you were not there

Tears…

Tell me why it happened

Time passes by

The tequila is on my side

This terrible pain is suffocating me

There’s no theme song, just the sound of the rain

Till now no courage to start drinking

Tipsy? This is what I want to be

Today, tonight, tomorrow…

Totally devastated

Try not to treat me this way

The more you do it, the more I think of you

Today is Monday…


Well, when I’ve read it for the first time I spoted two “dots” marking connection points that gave me a reference for what I should seek later:

“Tea break…the tea cloth is dirty the side you ate, but you were not there”

“Break” and “ate” could be potential marks for my metrics… As long as I could manage to extend the first half (“Tea break…”) to fill a bigger gap within the melody. And so that was done.

In the second verse of my choice I decided to toy with the rhythm a little… And I did somewhat of a table tennis with words. lol

“There’s no

theme

song,

just the

sound

of the rain”

For the final section I wanted to use a whole piece of text for a cohesive conclusion… But still I needed some “marks” just like the previous verses:

Tipsy? This is what I want to be

Today, tonight, tomorrow…

Totally devastated

Try not to treat me this way

The more you do it, the more I think of you

Today is Monday…”

And that wraps up my process here. Much more easier to give it a listen to figure it all out, isn’t it? Here you got some sketch and we’re done here. ;)

The “T” Poem (sketch)

Hope you had enjoyed it, see you next week!

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