Monday, April 30, 2012

OcRemix: FFVI Compo

Oook, looks like I'll take part in this. So I have to finish up my compo home work AND do a remix of one of the tracks. Gonna be busy :3

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saxophone Log: April 2012

Pretty please with this arrangement, I can't believe it only took today an a bit of yesterday evening. I did spend some time waffling about how to arrange this track, as it's kind of.. iconic? For awhile it was a ballad, then blues, then went to bebop, then back to blues again. Gah. I actually set it up so that some bars from the original were removed in order to fit the 12-bar blues feel.

I started recording once I had the drums, pad and basslines down. After recording, I tweaked the bassline to flow better with the melody, added in some tambourines starting from the 2nd chorus, and added a counter melody on top. I'm quite happy with how the counter melody turned out, as I played the main portion just once, and that's what you hear.

Apart from Addictive Drums, all the instruments used were built into Logic Studio.

Friday, April 27, 2012

It is practice, isn't it?

Due to my holidays, and various illnesses (damn you dry cough) I didn't touch my dear alto till today. And damn, it appears that my embouchure has suffered greatly in these few weeks >.>

Apart from tiring easier, I think my articulation and dynamics took a turn for the worse.

On the flip side, I though my improvisation is now much better - most likely due to the piano practice. More ideas, though really, I need to memorize the scales.

Ah well.

Equator D5s

Thinking of getting monitors, mainly the Yamaha MSP5 Studio. An alternative is the Equator D5.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Piano Pedaling and musings

Had another piano class on Saturday, that went pretty well. I brought in a piece of game music I've been practising on, and evidently I had zero idea on how to work the piano's sustain pedal, short of holding it down. Permanently.

One the CP33, it is now quite obvious that the sustain diminishes quite rapidly, so I don't hear how each bars clash as badly as when I played on an upright or my teacher's grand. Evidently, I needed to disengage/engage the sustain pedal so that the previous notes don't clash with the currently played notes. It is not as simple as I thought as one needs to lift the pedal, versus pushing it down, to disengage it. Kinda non intuitive physical action. Still, I got it for simple chord changes, and I'm working on the pieces.

(As a side note, now that I've got the CP33, it is very obvious the keybed ISN'T even close to my teacher's grand. Weighted it is, but in terms of feel.... no.)

I think this is another example of where a teacher comes in - instantly he told me what I needed to do etc. What's best was when he played the score first time round straight. Man, how many years of experience does one need to do that?!

In other news, during my visit home I brought back two of my Jamie Aebersold books, currently reading one during my break, it's Volume 1: How to play Jazz and Improvize! I found this, and another aebersold book about major/minor scales amidst a bunch of flute books. I'd bring the flute books back to the UK as well but then reminded myself I just do not have the time for it. Plus I've given up the flute anyways. But that's a story for another day.

Going through How To Play Jazz and Improvise NOW, versus 5, 6 years ago when I had ZERO idea of music theory is a big, big difference. I can actually follow along with the text, and when he says Dorian mode, I actually know what it is lol.

I must admit after this holiday jaunt, I'm slightly at a loss of what to do/practice for the musical side of things. I think for the sax, what I'll do is continue doing the improvisation book, and work on this How To Play Jazz and Improvise at the same time. Should keep me busy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Totally forgot I had a Keystation at home

Many, many years ago, I dabbled in music, and had this idea of learning the piano, so got a Keystation 61es for practice. Back home on hols and totally forgot about it >.>

Dragged it out today, and the semi-weighted keys felt like synth action keys. No matter, this is for practice anyways, and saves me time heading over to Yamaha or Cristofori to rent a piano for an hour.

Plugging it into my mac instantly had it running, though I could not get it to work with Garageband for some reason - had to use Logic. I also have a Roland DP-2 pedal, a cute little thing that works well in cramped areas.

In use, the semi weight keys were actually quite good, it definitely does have a fair amount of weight. As I type this, I'm feeling the workout my fingers got from it. Definitely does not have the weighted feel of the CP33, but in my newbie opinion, this is a pretty good set of keys for the money.

Looks like next time I come home, I need not bring along my Akai LPK25 anymore :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No sax, still got keys

On hols, no saxophone with me, but there are music places that rent out pianos an hour. Got to practice on an upright for an hour. The particular model of upright I got I definitely did not like the tone, sounds very brittle. Also, it was quite difficult to play softly, and the sustain pedal just went on forever. Not sure if it's because if it's an upright or just the brand (which I have no idea). My CP33 definitely reminds me of my teacher's Yamaha Grand, this one was totally out of my range.

Currently working through self-assigned homework, just finished several pages of background rhythm lines, next up will be smooth voice leading for chords.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chord Progressions: Putting it all together

Another composition class tonight that went very well, and my teacher got me to finish up a full chord progression after. The above took about 2-ish hours.