Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another New Piece

I did not actually think of writing into the blog until I was in bed last night, to late to capture the moment, as is the intended desire for writing this. But in any case I did a bit of musical creation last night. I was, as nearly always after watching some sort of musical programming, inspired to play. I had just finished watching the movie, A Prairie Home Companion, an amusing construct, typical of the GK tradition. And immediately after turning off the video screen's power source, I opened my guitar case and for some very odd reason sat on my couch, which doesn't actually lend to playing the guitar very well.

I quickly found myself involved in something new, imagined. As these things usually seem, it was like something given to me, yet there is no giver and the melody felt complete. It was a lead riff, bluesy, later discovered to be in the key of C. I went through its progression several times, there, on the couch, where this melody must have been waiting me to find it. In any case, I realized this was something worthy to capture for all time, and thus I got up, guitar in hand, carefully carrying it across the room by its neck, with the weight yielding to gravities pull, I guided it into the guitar stand for reliece. I quickly then went about preparing the recording equipment, as nothing was turned on. I fired up the computer, its monitor, moved the microphones on stands, into an appropriate position, then went to the PA system, turned it on and adjusted the volumes to isolate the Shure SM-57 for recording the guitar. The old computer takes a long time to boot up so I had ample time to sit this time in the armless swivel chair and go through this melody again, keeping it ripe in my mind for what I wanted to become a captured musical thought. At this very moment, as I write this, the following morning, I can not recall the structure or even the melody of that tune, but I did successfully capture it. That is why I find it so gleeful to have the capability to record music, since my mind is one of holes, where memory takes time to capture the seemingly fleeting melodies that float around in there.

Having prepared the computer and other hardware for input, I first recorded a rough draft of the lead guitar melody I had found. Its durration was 2:20 something. I replayed it and discovered an appropriate metronome cadence (96 BPM) then with the metronome to hold the beat steady I recorded a separate track of rhythm guitar beside the melody. Both were rough, having not really played my guitar for a couple of weeks due to some other struggles in living. Yet with this I then over wrote the original draft of the melody, somewhat bringing it into a better state having the beat consistently delivered in the headphone. I was then somewhat satisfied with this result as a very rough draft that captured the essence of this piece. I wanted to then construct a Bass line that could further round out the piece. Back to the controls and the computer I went. The Bass line has to be constructed of MIDI having no Bass in my house. I chose an acoustic Double Bass because I prefer its tone and ability to reach for the bottom. All in all I think they possess a better sound than a Bass Guitar. With the MIDI window in the “piano roll” function I wrote out the Bass line. At first I wanted to initiate the use of some walk up lines to the theme, though I later realized that to be improper so I went a different way creating a very simple bass part.

The structure of this piece is like this. It is in 4/4 time in the key of C. The chords are C, 4 beats, C7, 4 beats, F, …., Fm …., repeat, then somewhat resolving to a G. There is also a b section though right at the moment I can't recall its structure. The above process took well over an hour. I refined the parts by muting the existing recorded tracks at will and now with a solid Bass line to follow, re-did both of the above guitar tracks. I then realized that the Bass line is lacking although, I was unable to recognize what exactly was incorrect about it. Thus I concluded that I could likely improvise the equivalent of a Bass line with the guitar, during play, where as after I could transpose that to MIDI, hopefully to create what my mind's eye sees. The obstacle of the night was having not played guitar the past couple of weeks. My fingers gave out as did my brain due to the late hour.

I then moved to the Piano where I played along with what I had recorded, just for the learning experience. I am still quite amateurish on the piano, though what better way to learn than to play something new. So I did that for a while by repeating the recorded material and playing along.

Another night in the music.

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