Other people show pictures of their kids. I go on about my three ‘workhorse’ gigging guitars…
Good afternoon, all!
I’ve been working on new music for my debut jazz ensemble. That is, one in my own name, playing all of my own compositions. With everything else going on, progress is slow but steady, not to mention home to some unexpected plot twists…
Amongst all of my recent editing & rewriting, I have revisited a piece originally intended for a very different setting: #6×5.
#6×5 is part of a larger multi movement minimalist work which is still in progress (you can read the original blog post here). However, in trying to find a suitable frantic, angular repeated motif for bass to play under a rapid drum break, a particular theme kept coming back. One which I’d heard before… And then it finally dawned on me that I’d already written the very part I was looking for!
Fast forward another week, and after several rewrites & edits, the original piece has all but vanished. What I am now left with is shaping up to be an amended version of #6×5 adapted for a small jazz ensemble.
The main elements remain – six motifs of five notes each. However, I have relaxed my own self-imposed rules regarding this composition. While I am aiming to only use notes from these six motifs, I have opted against using whole phrases in some places, meaning new lines come out of the old. Given the nature of how this piece has transformed from a minimalist piano miniture into a jazz ensemble number, I think the idea of new notes from old phrases is entirely appropriate!
Rehearsals with the new group will hopefully start soon so stay tuned for a video snipet of this new/old tune.
Why not try the same idea yourself? Go look back through your old drafts & notes for inspiration, and be prepared for the surprises which may jump out at you!
Until next time…
ATTENTION GUITAR FRIENDS!
This is a call for submissions!
One aim of my blog is to offer guitar & music-related advice and for the next few posts, I’d like to pass the power in dictating the topic of discussion to YOU. So tell me: what is the is the biggest issue you face in learning the guitar?
I’m happy to examine any relevant queries which have been bugging you. They could be technical (finger tapping, getting the right tone out of an amp), or more vague (who do you feel the best guitarists to listen to when learning Afro-Cuban jazz, etc). You might want to ask about bass guitar, ukulele or band performance/management in general. Feel free!
You can message me here, leave a comment in this post, or drop me a DM/tweet via my Twitter account: @tim_guitarist.
I look forward to hearing from you & talking your queries over the next few weeks!
I spotted this when browsing my WordPress reader and it was simply too beautiful not to share!
This poster encapsulates the real heart (as well as most memorable scene) from Steven Spielberg classic E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, while incorrating John Williams’ main theme from the film.
Hearing even a brief snippet of the score is enough to make me think of the scene depicted in the poster below, and this image adds the typography of the written music into the background of the image itself. It’s a delightfully simple, yet incredibly effective idea which I absolutely love.
Anyway, enjoy this image, and may I recommend that you check out more of Grimboid’s work by clicking here.
The latest Movie Classics poster added to the collection today is yet another John Williams masterpiece. The theme from one of my favourite films of all time, E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial. http://etsy.me/1MRTVRN
Following on from the re-publication of last week’s trailer for #6×5 (which you can read about by clicking here), I thought it was time I told you a little more about the wider work (as yet untitled).
#6×5 was an idea I had for a movement of a minimalist work. It’s title comes from the six separate motifs, each five notes in length. The interplay, juxtaposition, and indeed, dissonance derived from how these motifs are arranged becomes the complex – yet ultimately simple – basis for this frantic piece.
Since it was the first idea of the four smaller pieces which came to me, I still consider this to be the first movement. Originally arranged for tuned percussion, the trailer demonstrates ensemble or solo or duo piano. The opening statement (which starts the trailer) forms a strong setup for the piece. Clearly showcasing each of the six motifs, we then descend into a something much more complicated. From here, the listener should know roughly what to expect from the remaining four movements.
The next movement to be almost entirely completed is #5×4. Again arranged for solo or duo piano, this is the slow movement of the work. Using the same principle as #6×5, this slower, more reflective movement features five individual lines which use four unique notes each*.
[*On average, for which a lengthy explanation may be required. To read this, please see my post of #5×4, coming soon]
The remaining two movements currently remain very much in the drafting process. I have yet to settle on the final motifs which will form the basis of these pieces, though the most recent versions have shown a lot of promise…
What I can tell you is that one of the movements will feature a triple time beat. These will utilise triplet-quaver phrases for their motifs, though how many variation will end up in the final draft is yet to be seen. It could be called ‘3×3′ or ’14×3’ depending on how strict I am with myself in the distilling and editing process!
You have spotted a pattern by now, which means you’ll be able to guess the number of notes in the final movement…
That’s right: two.
Again, as with the triplet-time movement, I have yet to ‘kill my darlings’ and finalise which motifs will form the base components for the the piece. My greatest challenge in both of these movements is the overwhelming similarity to the work of Philip Glass. I have long been a fan of Glass, and his reputation as one of the foremost minimalist composers leaves me with the unenviable task of following in his footsteps, hopefully without appearing as a poor imitation.
My next post will be a publication of a full-length demo for #5×4. In the meantime, you can watch & listen to the trailer for #6×5 by clicking here. Enjoy!
Yesterday, 7th of April, was the birthday of the great Billie Holiday.
Holiday was undoubtedly one of the greatest singers – in jazz or otherwise – of all time. There’s a few great posts which tell you about her troubled life, but for me, the most important thing is always the music.
With that in mind, here’s is the song with which she is most regularly associated – the seminal tune ‘Strange Fruit’. Written in 1937 by Abel Meeropol (originally using the pseudonym Lewis Allan) as a poem, then later set to music, the song is a direct response to the practise of ‘lynching’. That is, the hunting, murder & stringing-up of African-American people in the USA. Meeropol has since highlighted a photograph of one particular lynching, of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in the state of Indianna, as the main source of his disgust which prompted him to create the song.
Now, imagine yourself growing up & living in America at that time, as an Africa-American woman. This song is Billie Holiday’s song. Though it’s message is powerful enough to remain in our consciousness, I don’t believe there will ever be smother version of this time which carries as much emotional weight. You can feel every bitter word & syllable on Holiday’s delivery.
A picture might paint a thousand words, not to mention inspire them in verse, as in the case of this song. But some words, carefully chosen, masterfully set to music, and delivered by a performer who truly believes in the subject matter of their art, can sometimes deliver even more. Like good literature, the best music allows you to paint the pictures in your own mind. Thanks to Holiday, this song can be counted as a supreme example of this within popular song.
Happy belated birthday, and rest in peace, Billie Holiday (1915-1959).
For those of us who remain, please lend your ears to Holiday’s original recording of ‘Strange Fruit’ from 1939 by clicking on this link.
Enjoy, reflect, and never forget.