Friday, 24 April 2015

My Musical Journey--Part 2

So here we are again.  One week in since last post.  Not bad for a second edit.  But before I get into that lets talk about something else.  So i did the first edit format, and so far no complaints.  In fact the more I look at it the more I'm glad a friend of mine sent me a copy of a play so I can see how musicals are formatted.  It actually looks way better than what I had.  Which just flat out didn't work.  Very unprofessional. 

So my journey through the second edit begins with my paroanoia.  See the plan was to read through it and find out where the hell anything with music actually was in the play.  I wrote it.  And edited it once.  So in theory I really only read it once and that first read was to format it and get rid of most spelling errors.  That amounts to....  I have no clue what's going on music wise other than the songs I wrote.

So me being the person I am just figured if I'm going to hunt through this thing another time, might as well write down my song instructions as well.  You know, what the songs sound is inspired by.  How long they are, verse and music wise and not actually per minute wise.  If there is a dance number in the middle of a song.  The mood of the song.  sad happy, angry, confused, comedic, fun, playful flirty.   A lot goes into setting the tone right to balance, mesh, go along with what the actor is doing, and push that moment just a little bit further than it could go otherwise.  So I do the first song and now I'm in a panic. This opening scene has a song so detailed and instrument full that, in true typical me fashion, i know exactly when each instrument will come in, whether it's a droning or broken cord, a light hum or something more staccato and angry, or fast trills.  I just knew what it should sound like the moment I committed to this.

Now I think I"m being a bit anal.  It was not supposed to be like this.  Then again, I'm the type of guy that goes into the music studio armed with inspiration songs for what I'm going to create.  My songs are always at a different pace, in a different key, and of course my vocal stylings are very different so inspiration means this is what I'm going for, now lets make this style work for a completely different song.  It always comes out with interesting results.  If not one song, I come with a song with a bass style I like, and one with drums I like, another with the type of guitar I like.  And even though my songs never sound anything like the inspirations, it's more the style of instruments.  Not even the music.  I can pick a rock guitar, and a gospel base with jazz styled keybords and make my song.

All that to say.  As I went through I realised I always map out mostly all instruments in my head at the very moment I write a song.  My expertise comes to a halt because I can't create that stuff. I can only visualize it because I used to be a classically trained piano player.  That being said.  I'm stressn like 'Am I over doing this'.  So I tell my brother and he of course tells me what I already know.  That I'm probably not over doing it.  I"m just working backwards.  Most people are comfortable with having a melody and just singing the song and walking away.  Me...  I have to be able to sing all the words.  Know if there are backing vocals, or in this case  cast vocals, where they come in and how they either harmonize or accent with lead vocals.  If there are dialogue sections within the song that the music needs to play over.  Is there a key change.  Do I want it to be violin heavy, or woodwind heavy.  Is it the type of song where the melody isn't actually whats being played.  Sometimes songs play along with the words and other times songs are designed so the singers words fit into what's being played.  I just cant sing something without knowing the ins and outs of the entire song in my head first.

So yeah.  I was overthinking this whole thing.  But ultimately it came down to personal preference.  Some people may see this as, well if you have the melody for the whole song why do you need words. Just go to the composer and let them write.  Well what if they create something that my word plan can't fit into.  Melodies are just maps after all.  I'd rather know what I give them is the end all to be all so if I change a lyric I will force it to fit in what's there because I've decided this is the final version and I'm not going to task my composer with changing it because one of my lines is just not working for me anymore.  If I have no words and just a melody, chances are I will change the melody once I try to fit words in and by the time my composer gets back to me I'll be like, oh i changed the entire b-section and the bridge is a bit different too.  After all their hard work that's not something I feel comfortable doing.  So yes, most create as they go but I'm a puzzle kind of guy.  I need the whole thing there.  And then I know no matter what I do, if my puzzle is a square it will always be a square.  I will just reslice the pieces so they fit different inside the same boarder.  Otherwise I will constantly be changing the puzzle  shape before ever completing it.  I just can't work like that.

I have learned that what is easy and makes perfectly logical sense to me, is not the norm.  I can say for a fact I know what the lead instrument is for all the songs that have one.  Which songs should have more horns, which songs are very traditional violin broadway musical style.  And I know when they will be loud, soft, fast, where I would like a twirl to incase of a joke.  Where long drones should be. and how fast songs should move.  For example I have line cues.  When the character says this the music starts.  When it starts it should sound like this because the mood is that.  It should slowly rise in volume until this line.  At that particular line two more instruments from the chorus should be added.  The mood is getting tense and angry, by the time the charcter gets to this point, the orchestra should be in full swing ready for them to start singing the song.   

This is just how I roll.  Beyond that, as in every note that wraps around my specifics, hell I'm easy.  It's even in my notes for a lot of songs.  No clear instructions, just happy light and fun, or whatever the mood may be for that scene.  I'm particular about certain things cause timing is everything when singing a song designed to tell a story and subliminally take the audience with you.  Force them without them knowing down a pre determined path.  Outside of that.  Meh.  I wont even break a sweat.  Chances are I will love it.  Especially the parts I have no descriptions for.  I'm eager to see what the composer pulls out of their head.

I probably do way more than most.  But I  have never seen it that way for one reason.  If you write a song according to just the melody.  Then that will be that. But if you write it knowing, that around these phrases there will be other people singing.  Some of your notes will now be different, you will make way for these other things singing in your head as you write that you would be woefully unaware of if all you had was a wordless melody.  And I think it's only fair that a composer know every part that will be sung in a a song beginning to end so the notes they write will lend to everything besides just the basic tune.  And without the need of so many additions and changes as the song progresses.

There are shitloads of things that are going to go wrong that I can not predict.  So the things I actually can do.  I will do.  And I still don't think it's too much.  In fact, for my cd I've already mapped out all my backing vocals for the song I'm singing now and the one I'm doing next and determined the one after that will have no backing vocals and just be me and a guitar.  Yes I've mapped out three songs in advance, and the instruments I want used in them too.  So It just didn't seem odd at all to do the same thing on a much bigger scale.  Yet for some reason I just panicked like I was over working even though, well it was just natural for me to do it this way.

Lesson learned.  I am different.  I don't work like most people.  An I am perfectly okay with that.  Some may think I did too much work.  I don't.  And I'm finished.  Seven weeks total.  Not even a whole two months.  Next blog, I'll tell you what I actually did during this second edit.  Now that I've told you what I've learned about myself it's only fair I actually say what came out of this round of research through my own work.  Oh and the angel pic.  Well there are angels in my play so it just seemed to make sense.  Okay that's not entirely accurate.  It was the first pic out of a few random angel pics that I saw on my desktop as I opened blogger.  Where my window is located it's literally the only pic I can see that isn't a book cover.  But the angel explanation sounds way better :-) 

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