The Audiences Reaction

So after categorising my work for the course I haven’t really talked about the audiences reaction to anything so I thought I’d analyse and discuss the difference between Terry Riley’s “In C,” and the musical “Footloose,”

Terry Riley “In C,”

So first this link should provide an example of “In C,” which is an endurance orchestral piece which comprises of everything being in the key of C (just like the title suggested). When we rehearsed this we had become bored quickly of listening but performing was a different thing as it’s quite exciting to listen to how the music shifts and changes as each individual performer chooses how many phrases of the 51 posted they play. When playing this to the audience I think a few were quite disorientated in the fact that at least 7 had left the room around 15 minutes in (lucky for them they had 25 minutes left before we finished). Asking the audiences reaction afterwards I found that they realised the concentration that has gone into the piece and that it’s an endurance for the performer as well as the listener so they were quite mature when they found the explanation to the piece. So if your immature or have no interest in classical music or an “Out of the box,” methods of playing then I doubt you would’ve enjoyed our performance.

Musical Theatre’s “Footloose,”

Well… this performance was ranged from matinee to night, then from matinee to night. So we had our work cut out for us as we quickly tried to go through the mountain of sheet music before the deadline had slapped us round the face and shouted “I’m Here! Now Play!” Practising was fine though due to the legend Mr. John Bates being at the helm (Fantastic pianist and MD) and as we got to the pit (term used for musicians space during musicals) we were ready to solo confidently over the music. The audience ranged from our fellow musician class mates to the people that went solely for the musical, there were barely any mistakes and if there were then it would’ve been covered by the rest of the guys playing. The audience had made comments such as “The music was the best part!” & “I really enjoyed it!” securing the fact that we had done a good job, the difference between both mainly comes into the different styles that we had played an the people who were performing.

Due to the musical theatre course having complete different students on to us, the audience was going to be different as their families have no knowledge of who we are alas we still won them over whereas the “In C,” piece consisted of our family and friends in which still left if they’d had enough. So my conclusion is the audiences reaction is solely based on these factors:

– Family/ Friends

– Musical/ A style that is attractive for them

– If the performance is played to a very high standard

Knowing these factors is advantageous to me and my fellow students because with this knowledge we could utilise the information to make money in the future!

Yes… a very formal blog, I hope you “Enjoy,” reading and feedback is very much appreciated!


I’m Trying To Get Funkier!!!

What it says on the tin, I’ve been listening to various artists and funk tracks via you tube to make sense of where I’ve been going wrong with my feel when playing guitar.

This link should provide a part of my soundtrack for the past month as I’ve journeyed into unfamiliar territory, hopefully this will give me a platform as I take influence from everything I listen to an use it to create riffs and songs. So the main aim is to concentrate on how to utilise the “Feel,” from other musicians and absorb that into my playing.

Oh Geez… Has It really Been That Long?

yep, I’m getting back to it and this video’s me playing off a chart that my fellow student had written. (I’m the guy with the electric guitar)

Quite the “Jazzy,” piece using major 7ths getting a smooth sound by using those specific chords as a platform to tap other notes on the fret board. I use this technique myself, it’s as if your finger are individual capos (equipment used to clamp down strings) in which you can pick notes off from. The trick is finding what notes you can actually use when tapping, as I’m demonstrating in this piece they’re quite the few chromaticisms that are taking place to get an even “Jazzier,” sound… don’t believe me? Then watch the video!

I would like to apologize in advance for my mistake at 0:58 – 1:05 in which I hit wrong notes and grunt in frustration, this is something I definitely need to work on and that is hiding my mistakes. I feel it’s an art form in itself an I will post in future of how I can improve on this.

Thanks for reading/ watching and let’s just say I’m glad to be back and blogging!

New Choice Of Weaponry


… I meant instrument!

I’ve took it upon myself to save up the money to buy a viola, an estimated 2 more weeks and I’ll be posting about my journey through a new instrument and my new challenges. Viola will showcase my “Feel,” and also teach me new roles in how to solo with better phrasing and note choice, this I feel will be a healthy decision and I can’t wait to start learning and posting.

Thomas Newman also recently composed the music for “Saving Mr. Banks,” a film based on Walt Disney’s struggle to get the creator of “Mary Poppins,” to agree to the making of the film. A heavily melodic influenced piece using a strong string section, hopefully with my new instrument I’ll be posting me playing pieces such as this somewhere down the line.

If anyone has any advice on the instrument then please share, it would be much appreciated!

My Notation… The Need To Get Better

I recently jotted down a few ideas in lesson for a short composition as the lecturer explained what we would need to hit our curriculum. During this he mentioned about us writing parts for each other and performing each other’s work like we have been doing recently, my piece was designed for Carl & Alex Nash. Here are the points James posted for me :-

– Improvement from last week, much neater

– Flags are still too small

– Good use of repeats

– There’s an accidental on the fourth bar on section B (treble clef) which is wrong, should’ve been a C flat.

– I don’t think Alex & Carl we’re taken into consideration when writing this piece, on the plus side it has some good ideas

Now this was the most forgiving bit of feedback I’d received, I now realise that I’m struggling with theory a lot so I’ll be posting of my attempt to get extra work from Murphy (Lecturer) and posting my progress as I attempt to catch up to everyone else on my course.

I feel embarrassed to show my transcriptions as they always have something wrong, I’ll be fine tuning this and as I’ve now identified the problem I’ll fix this so I get more confident with my transcriptions and continue to challenge my self.

I photo-linked this to a piece by Yann Tierson who I will be studying soon, french music & Amelie!

Benevolence (Recovery Of The Writer’s Block)

Above is the link to my fourth album “Benevolence,”

So returning to blogging from my recent break away, lacking inspiration until I got back into the studio to make some new improvised treats, Using the usual microphone placement we got back to work, this time … without Murphy (Bass Trombone).

Microphone Placement:
C2 x2 – Drums
AKG Drum Clip – Snare
Rode NT1 – Room
SM57 – Guitar
SM57 – Bass (plus direct DI output)

The usual set up for us basically, it always gets a nice clear sound and gives the recording a lot of natural space, really capturing each player. I listen back to the music I’ve already made and sometimes I forget that we actually manufacture everything, the fact that it’s improvised too adds to my pride that I have for the music. The stimulus for this piece is the fact that a week beforehand our lecturer Murphy suggested we tried a quieter approach which worked but only for so long, I’ll lay down my thoughts into why we couldn’t resist riffing and jamming with a bit more “Oomph.”

It all comes down to choices, choices as a musician! when playing on this album the first track is a mixture of volume swell and drum warm ups (getting ready for the endurance that is ambient music), so after 5 minutes or so I decide to start using drop D (tune low E string a tone down) using add 9 chords to get certain flavor for the creation, this creating tension within the group due to the fact that I’ve ignored the quiet instruction given and done my own thing I.E Improvisation! Yes I notice that I’m slightly out of tune too, this could be thought of as a mistake but in my defense, I’m looking to give something a natural & organic sound, it’s a hit and miss technique of trying to see what’s right & wrong in music, sure it stresses me a bit because I notice it whilst grinding my teeth but it’s interesting to see what the audience think, most non musicians don’t even realize or notice.

20 minutes now after a lot of nice chords and steady drums and things are starting to become more and more abstract as the drummer decides to do his own thing, this gives me and the bass player room to try more abstract ways of thinking such as trying new options on pedals/ playing different styles/ hitting more chromatic notes.

28 minutes, my chords are Db Add 9 with open strings/ A add 9 with open strings/ F# major with top two open strings. This is the bit where the drummer is having fun mixing time signatures as I’m trying straight rhythm but still matching whatever time the drummer throws at me also accompanied by bass. Jams like this make me happy as this is what we normally do as a warm up or a mess around but then still sounds great on the recording. As we break away from the conventional 3 chord trick things change as it seems as if the key has been thrown out the window although me and the bassist are still respecting appropriate riffs into the “Avant garde,” drums at this point, I’ll explain more about choice now.

Every album has had a stimulus which generates ideas as we’re all relatively creative with our instruments, in improvisation the choices we make don’t necessarily falter other musicians but can inspire new threads of riffs and ideas. In conventional songwriting the composition is law and you must follow the letter (if your the session player) as well as bringing your own ideas to the table you have to be 100 % into your clients work, you need the work! Whereas with our current situation our material gives way for more comfort and our choices don’t really affect the music in a bad way, just a different way. Choices mostly come into the form of constant evaluation and decision making (asking 1000 questions from “Why did I play that the way I did?” “Should I take a step back?” “Should I take the lead on melody?” ) all of this comes into play when decision making.

I almost ruined this recording, later int he recording the music will reach to a part full of tension and climax, I decide to use the condenser mic (Rode NT1) as my tool as I start grunting and crying down it, this clips the sounds drastically and we all didn’t know whether this would be a valid recording. Luckily it was salvaged but with only minimal editing to volume, remember the deal was no process changes or alterations were to be made once the final product was created.

“The Red Door,” – my favorite thing ever!

This track comprises of me using octave work, the bass making an under laying volume swell filling the spinal work of the track, the drums come in with clicks to cause intrigue I guess? all I know is that I’m proud with this piece and I listen to this the most out of the album, Carl starts using percussion such as a rainmaker to add to the mix too. As the track progresses consumers can assume that the track is over but instead the group walks round the studio and breathes down the microphone, after this choice I resume with my octave work as the bass player loops his volume swell he can start on new ideas whilst we occupy the listener with a steady riff.

This link represents our inspiration for the titles to the album and track, we watched the film after the piece was created but for inspiration of title names and future stimulus’ we decided to watch “American Beauty,” this film has wonderful cinematography and Thomas Newman takes the helm with the OST (Soundtrack). The film is a gold mine for stimulus as it contains art/ monologue/ music & story line, a fan of the film it was my pleasure to introduce it to James, I’m sure this film will come in handy for future projects.

Really enjoyed writing this blog, I hope you enjoy reading/ listening/ watching it too! be sure to check out the film “American Beauty,” as I believe it may inspire you too.

The Addiction

So blogging has really been pushed by our lecturers an it seems it’s the new “Thing,” much like “Pogs or Pokemon Cards.” but for academic reasons unlike the crazes that shift between the years. As you probably know I’m a true fan of film score so I’ve taken a break from listening to the Amelie OST composed by Yann Tierson which I’ll post something about at a later date.

The Video posted is from a film called “The Road To Perdition,” which in my opinion is a masterpiece and like all masterpieces is accompanied by a magnificent soundtrack, Thomas Newman takes the helm with this one, the scores in the key of A major/ F# minor as I was transcribing it with electric guitar (I’ll post the transcription and video of me maybe soloing later) apart from learning the melody and chords I thought I’d solo over the piece all morning as an excuse to listen to this beautiful piece of art all morning.

(F# would be your first note) As I was soloing I found that as my mom tried talking to me about this mornings trivial pursuits I used the whole neck not missing one note from A major/ F# minor, so I think now would be the time for me to start learning extensively different scales seen as though I’m perfectly comfortable with the standard, taking in mind I’m not soloing to an audience (that’s a different story/ blog).

Back to the musical, isn’t there something very poetic and tense, the way the full string section comes in at 1:00 – 1:20, the melody’s beautiful but notice how the chords are rising (this component is used in pop for chorus’s to raise the listeners attention) giving a certain “Although this piece is sad, YOU WILL LOVE THIS BIT!!!” vibe to it. The raised notes are from F# minor – A major – B Major just in case you’d like to replicate what you hear, the piece then goes back to it’s regular tension until 1:54 where you’ll here a strain on the string section getting louder until we’re back into full band mode, then to finish off we have our conclusion which should settle us down due to the fact our (my) heart rates has increased due to the music edging to it’s climax then settling to let us know that we’ll (I’ll) be okay.

For those of you that have seen the film, the link should get you to the best piece of cinematography, the whole shootout scene has it’s volume taken away to make for rain & Thomas Newman’s – Ghosts (Road To Perdition OST) I would rather not explain the scene and urge you to watch the film. So take a break from busy music or whatever it is your doing and hunt down this film and watch, you’ll enjoy it!

Thanks for reading.