I’m trying to come up with type of lyrics for the song in my last post, and I’m kind of stuck. I have a few ideas, but it doesn’t flow yet. Words have never flowed for me, at least not like music. Every once in a while, I’ll get a flash of inspiration and then I have a complete song idea that comes out in 30 minutes or less. But most of the time it’s like pulling teeth.
Usually, I start with a basic idea or feeling that I’m trying to write about. Then I figure out the story or details that will help convey that concept. I guess it’s kind of a macro to micro way of writing. I think with this idea (the belated valentine’s idea) I’m going need to the subconcious work through the song idea or lyric rhyming patterns.
I tried writing for a couple of times this week, but I’ve been more than busy. I’ve noticed that if I don’t really give myself much personal time then I just don’t seem to be able to come up with any unique ideas.
Today, was the first day in a while that I didn’t have to go somewhere or do something as soon as the day started. So, I spent today pretty much doing nothing. After SotW rehearsal, I took an afternoon nap, and then started watching episodes of Firefly. I know I’m behind the curve on that show. Curses be to Fox for keeping all that other reality-TV lèsè, and cancelling a show that had so much more soul. But oh well.
Incidentally, when writing today, I was reminded that parallel thirds (especially the borrowed third from the parallel minor) are really useful for creating that “western” sound. I’ve got to remember that in case I ever score any pseudo Sci-fi western commercials, heh.
Anyway, the file I’m posting today is the first romantic ballad type piece that I’ve worked on in a while. No, no, this isn’t some sort reflection of personal life (at least I don’t think so). Rather, I’m trying to practice writing in this particular style. I was definitely out of practice, as I was stuck in diatonic mode for the first half hour or so.
Although there are some signs of a melody in there, most of today was just figuring a good chord progression. This is just a sketch, so the piano is not as polished as what I’ll finally end up with. I also need to spend a bunch of other sessions figuring out a melody on top, adding some strings, etc. This piece will probably change a bit before it’s all finished anyway.
Note that the first 4 seconds are intentional silence. This is because sometimes Pro Tool’s MIDI acts all goofy if you start the music right at the first click. I’m going to take it out when I done fleshing out all the parts…this is a sketch anyway.
As promised, here is the vocal/piano version of the score and a mp3 demo. Much thanks to my friend Stephanie Bennett, who lent her voice to this project.
This arrangement came about after listening to various musical numbers that sounded way too solemn for my tastes. Why is it that hymns or musical numbers sound like funeral dirges? Perhaps it’s the organ and the tendency to conduct under tempo. Anyway, I believe that the gospel makes you happy, and should be expressed as such.
Sheet Music: Give Said The Little Stream Sheet Music
MP3: Give Said The Little Stream, arranged by Jared Ong
I finished this arrangement of Give Said the Little Stream about a year ago, but only just finished transcribing it this evening. One of the reasons for my procrastination is I didn’t have a good notation tool until a few months ago.
Based on my estimates, it takes about 6 to 8 hours to transcribe one of these things. The below attachment is the piano solo of the piece, although in actuality the accompaniment and piano solo are exactly the same. I’ll post the full sheet music (vocal line plus accompaniment) later, along with a recorded version of the piece. I wanted to get something up now, since it’s been a few days since there has been any updates to the blog. Of course, that’s because I’ve been spending my nights transcribing.
I fired up Sibelius this evening to work on transcribing an arrangement that I’ve been meaning to put down for the last year or so. I got a great deal on upgrading to Sibelius 5, I think it only ended up costing $100 or so. It’s much more user friendly than Finale. I actually can notate without feeling like I’m pulling teeth.
I did run into some problems trying to get my Yamaha Motif ES6 working correctly with the Sibelius MIDI playback. I don’t know how musicians do it in getting all this stuff up and running correctly between hardware and different software applications. I’m a tech guy, and I still run into issues that can leave me stumped. Actually, most of the problem is with the Yamaha Motif ES6. It’s a powerful machine, but the interface is as bad as Finale’s GUI. I need to spend some time and learn the features, but it seems ridiculous that I’ll need to spend 4 hours reading the manual just to learn the basics.
Ever since I graduated, I’ve been trying to juggle work, church, music, and social life (not necessarily in that order). Not an impossible task, but it does require planning and diligence to keep growing in all of the above aspects of life. I’ve been thinking about starting a music blog for a while now. It acts as motivation, as one of my main problems is I am just not as prolific as I should be. Another benefit is that I’ll start to actually release songs, pieces, or sheet music, instead of clinging to them like a greedy little elf.
My goal is to update in writing every few days, and release some sort of downloadable material about once every week or so. It might be arrangements, sheet music, or just old compositions. Hopefully this blog will have enough content to be an interesting read (and listen) for those of you who have a vested interest in my musings.
Today, I spent an hour or so trying to learn Michael Bublé’s Everything. I really haven’t explored his music much, but this song was catchy enough. Actually really catchy. One of the difficult things about doing a piano arrangements is trying to get the lilt of a singer’s voice in the melody line. This song I found quite a bit more tricky than normal, because he swings his words in addition to the syncopation in the piano. I have no problem comping along to track, but I’m not too happy with what I’ve come up so far in terms of an arrangement solo piece. Maybe I’ll return to it in the future.