I took two of the miniatures from my composition “Child’s Play” and rearranged them a little. Actually the biggest rearrangement is making the super simple starting piece, “Happy Feet”, a little more complex by having it modulate from the key of G to the key of D. When you hear it again at the end, that is how it is in “Child’s Play, Book 1”. Actually, that piece, “Happy Feet”, is based on one of the first things I ever wrote, back when I was a Freshman or Sophomore in college. I broke a few counterpoint rules at the time, which were fixed when I added it to “Child’s Play, Book 1”. Continue reading →
Last weekend I was just playing around, improvising on some electronics. I decided to make a quick recording. The big thing is that I was using two different echoes set at different times to create a rhythm. This created the backbone of the ditty. I then improvised over it. Not great, and very rough, but I like it… (hope to do a better recording later, but…)
I just picked up an Echoplex effects pedal. A what? OK, I know, something only hard core music geeks have heard of. I will give a quick explanation, but I won’t blame you if you skip down to the video ;)
(start of technical part…)
An “echo” (AKA, “delay”) is just what the name implies – you put in a sound and you get a repeat of the sound. You hear it all of the time in “modern” music (post-1950s) without hearing it. In the late 60s and 70s a lot of artists pushed it so you did hear it – it became part of their sound (Pink Floyd) or was used on special occasions (the weird synth solo in the Styx song “Come Sail Away” starting about 3:15 in). Continue reading →
Hello and Welcome! Come on in out of the cold and I’ll get you a nice large mug of a very strong dark roast, a cuppa tea, some hot cocoa or other warm beverage – you’ll need it! It got down close to 0 F (-18 C) last night! It isn’t as windy as it has been, so actually feels “warm” and it will get above freezing for the first time in a few days. This coming week will be warmer than last. Good :) Oh, and were is it so cold? By the photo at the top you may be able to tell that we are in New Hampshire this week.
Happy Winter Solstice! OK, the solstice officially arrives a little before midnight tonight, but who’s counting? Next week the days will begin to get longer again. And there was much rejoicing – no more dark by 5 PM. Off course we still have winter to look forward to.
Winter part 1 – We had snow again this week. Not as much as a few weeks ago! It is pretty. I walk around without a phone or camera so don’t get many snow photos, but I did take my phone on one walk and took this: Continue reading →
One of the reasons I have been off line for the last few days is that I have been working on some music. I now have something to share with you :)
Quick background – I studied classical music composition in the mid naughts (00s). To hear the music I was composing, I used a product called GPO. You can hear this on some of the videos on my video page. Sounds pretty realistic, if not exactly like a live orchestra.
As some of you may have seen, lately I have been playing with old-school analog modular synthesizers. What? OK, that sounds odd, but this is the type of synthesizer they used in “the old days”, synths that sounded like synths. The “modular” part means that I pretty much create a new instrument using patch cords every time I make a sound.
Lately I have had the idea to recreate some of my old music using this even older technology. It won’t sound as realistic, but perhaps it will add something. Continue reading →
It was an interesting week with some pretty good smiles, but I am going to back up a bit…. in a way.
I know many of you saw it, but I posted a video this week. It is music I worked on in mid to late November. I did mention it in a previous smile and said I would say more when it was finished and posted, so here it is: this week the smile is about posting it.
The video is The Coventry Carol. Very quick, so you can understand the video if you watch it, The Coventry Carol was part of a medieval mystery play is a lullaby to the doomed children of Bethlehem as the mothers wait for Herod’s men to murder all boys under 2 years old. The music became a part of the holiday tradition during the Battle of Britain in WW2. It was played live on the BBC from the bombed out Coventry Cathedral on Christmas day, 1940. Continue reading →
Note 2 – Putting it back to Monday – see if it shows up…
I had a lot to smile about this week, but the big thing was a studio redesign. I have a small personal music studio up in my home office and I just tore it down and set it back up again. I guess I do this every 4 years or so: This post from 2015 was the last time I did a major reorganization and in the post before, I wrote about last one in 2011.
I didn’t move any of the heaviest stuff this time, but I did disconnect every cable. I rearranged how instruments are sitting. I added a bunch of tools that I haven’t used in years, some of it it literally hasn’t been used in decades.
Before I reorganized I had to pick which instrument I was going to play. I now have quite a few set up. I also rearranged them, so I have a different work flow, which helps keep a creative edge. Reconnecting things I also made sure that the audio path was better.
This picture shows an in progress view. The keyboard on the left will eventually go above the silver one in the foreground. There are a few other changes. Continue reading →
I click ‘play’ on the screen, but it is more than music that pours out. I am being drawn to a different time. The world was young and the people created an exciting, novel version of reality. I can hear it from the speaker, I can feel the groove and the vibe shouting out the changes. It may be old and dated, but it feels fresh and alive, the sound of an eternal search for what has never been seen or felt or heard before. As I listen, nodding my head to the beat, it seems as if there has been nothing created recently that hasn’t been based on these sounds. The song has come to an end and I reach over to lift the needle from the record, but I am back to the present and can only click on the next song.
Times were a changin
Jimi and band played “Hey Joe”
From a grey conformity
They explored a virgin “now” Continue reading →
Some of you may know that one of my interests is building a playing a modular analog synthesizer. This is an “Old School” instrument where sounds are created by patching different modules together with patch cords. Well, more to it than that, but the idea is that it is a very hands on type of instrument.
An issue with this type of synthesizer is that if you like a sound, oh well, you will eventually have to tear it down. At that point it is gone. You can make a drawing of the patch, a quick schematic. A photo, well, that would be so complicated you will get nothing. Or you can learn the instrument well enough to be able to recreate it later. That’s my goal. Continue reading →
If you couldn’t tell from my first post about my video for The House for the Rising Sun, I was not happy with my voice. OK, part of it was that I made an arrangement that pushed my range from the A below the staff to the A above the staff. That’s three ‘A’s and two octaves. Also, I’m not a great singer to begin with so…
I decided to do a new version with a synth line instead of vocals. I used the same background but I changed the mix slightly to bring down the arpeggios and bring up the organ. I also added a little counter-melody part.
The video is still the same, just a change in the music.
OK, question time. When I posted this, I noticed Sony records put a Copyright claim to the video. As I said in my last post, this is a traditional song that has been performed for a century and recorded for almost a century. The melody has its rots in the 17th century. I spent several hours trying to hunt down the copyright and read a lot of interesting stuff about copyright. Everything indicated that it is Public Domain. Continue reading →