December 2013

Christmas Presents 2013

December 25, 2013 14:30

Hi, everyone! Today was Christmas Day for me! My music-related presents contained some rosin and a few blank composition books I can use for sketches or whatever for music - I don't have to print out new sheet music all the time. I had also spent the 23rd making a Batman video game for my dad, who loves Batman. I didn't compose the music, but it was still a fun game to make and watch him play in the morning on the big-screen TV. :) I also got an iPhone (I'm typing this with it right now!) and GarageBand on it is kind of cool to see a virtual violin when playing music. :)

And later, of course, I got my violin and played some Christmas carols, so that was fun. So yeah! That's about it. Hope you had (or will have) a fantastic holiday season, as I think I did. Bye! :)

Oh yeah, and I got the full version of Finale 2014! This will not only be awesome to be able to easily do key and time changes, but for The King of the Aliens, I'll be able to convert the MIDI to an mp3 easily for the soundtrack! I'm so happy!! :)

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Playing a Piece I wrote in orchestra!!! :)

December 16, 2013 14:40

So today in orchestra class, after listening through Prism stuff, we played through my "King of the Aliens Symphony" that I composed just a couple of months ago! It was incredibly exciting to play a piece that I wrote and hear the sound through the orchestra - a REAL orchestra. Obviously, we were just sight-reading it, so there were some problems, but overall it sounded really cool. My teacher had the violas, cellos, and basses play first at the beginning, and I could hear these really cool chords in those instruments. Then the violins joined in, and it was awesome! It seemed everybody really enjoyed the piece (we managed to get to the end) and we'll work more on it next year (in January) possibly. I have some things to fix in the parts, since Finale screwed everything up, especially in the first violin part. So yeah! Just wanted to mention this really exciting rehearsal. I can't wait when we start to really rehearse it more, since today we were just playing through it. :)

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"Snowing on Christmas Eve Night" - Improv Violin

December 15, 2013 17:35

Tonight as a break from studying for finals I recorded a small six-piece ensemble improv using my violin (so you hear six violin parts, but I just used my one instrument). It's a little Christmasy, and kind of reminds me of a sentimental view on snow and winter, but either way it was just a fun, relaxing way to play violin on this young winter night.

Click here!

I also thought of an idea for a video I may record and upload one day next week after finals are over... play for half and hour straight, no stops! Well, maybe not that long, but we'll see... But anyways, what it is, I put up my violin, hit record, and just start playing, and anything that comes into my head I just pour down on my violin. So we'll see what happens, but look for that entry. :)

I'll talk about this more tomorrow, but in orchestra we will be playing my "King of the Aliens Symphony"! I edited the full orchestra so all the parts could be heard for just strings - so it'll be a ton of fun! I can't wait! :)

Have a violin-filled night! (I dunno...)

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Violin Game: Two-Note Violins (Co-op)

December 13, 2013 22:08

Players: 2+ (preferably 4)
Objective: Clear all three levels.
-one violin for each participant (preferably their own)
-sheet music for players (see SET UP below)
If you're playing the holiday version of this game, you additionally need:
-Santa hats (one per player)
-a room with a Christmas tree
-a visible window with snow outside (bonus points if it's actually snowing)
One person who is setting up the game needs to create sheet music that match this criteria:
Level 1: The first level in the game is supposed to be the easiest. See RULES below. For each player, write in two notes that are right next to each other in the scale that fulfills the song requirements (for example, Player 1 would get the notes B and C, Player 2 would get D and E, Player 3 would get F and G, player 4 would get A and B. Technically, each player should only be allowed to play those notes in a certain octave, but if you want to extend multiple octaves, feel free. Also, be sure to pick a song that everyone knows and that's incredibly simple - like Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, etc.)
Level 2: This is the easiest to make. Just write out the song, but obviously not technical at all. Write it for a fifth grade level.
Level 3: Add basic harmony for the bottom part of the staff. Try not to get too far from the melody unless you have lots of players.

Essentially, the main goal of the game is to make great music and work together with your friends in order to do so. However, for the game, each violinist can only play two notes - those assigned to them when Level 1 is passed out (and you can play a song multiple times and switch parts). Note that these two notes you see in the sheet music for Level 1 are the only two notes you are allowed to play throughout the song. (So while you can only play D and E, for example, the players around you will be filling in the rest of the melody with their notes). Follow along with the melody.
For Level 2, each player reads off the same piece of sheet music, but the melody's all together and you have to remember to play your two notes and not accidentally play another note. It's supposed to be harder.
For Level 3, harmony is added, so two violins will sound at once, but, obviously, you can still only play your two notes. This is supposed to be the hardest, so if you beat it, congrats! Start over at Level 1 and choose a new part, or if someone made another song, try that out.

And don't forget, if you're getting bored of this game, make sure you practice your orchestral music, and while you're at it, play it with your friends! :)

Have fun getting into the holiday spirit! Happy playing! :)

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Prism Week!

December 4, 2013 14:08

Prism is this week! Today is the dress rehearsal, tomorrow's the first two concerts (6pm and 8:15pm), and Saturday is the final two (same times), just like last year. I'm kind of nervous that something bad will happen to my violin, as I broke it twice last year (I explained this in entries too!). I'm sure everything will go smoothly, I hope, as we have plenty of time to get on stage. Also in class we're playing the Holberg Suite by Greig, and we just played through the beautiful fourth movement, the Air. When I first heard that movement, and played it on the piano, it inspired me to write an Air in b minor myself! And in private lessons, I'm playing Hungarian Dance No. 5, a version with lots of chords. I remember once reading about octaves in a blog entry; yes, they are hard because the higher up you go on the fingerboard, the less wide the spacing, which can cause problems in getting it in-tune. My teacher gave me practice strategies, which I will try to do when I can make time to practice (as it's Prism week, and Friday I'm going to a Christmas concert with orchestra and chorus). For example, I should break some of the chords up, playing eighth notes instead, then put them together. It will be slow progress, but it will give me something to practice every day. And at some point, we're getting our audition music for next year!

On the side from all of this fun Christmas and violin stuff, I've been continuously working on my film themes for 'The King of the Aliens', a film I hope to make next summer, 2014. Basically, like Howard Shore did for 'The Lord of the Rings' (a book I've begun to read, by the way; I'm on Book II!), I'm creating a leitmotivic score. I've broken up my ideas for themes into categories: Character themes, Location themes, and Plot event themes, and I've also written in the margins of the script where I want these themes to be placed in the score. The symphony I wrote back in September and October really helps me to develop these; I'm, of course, keeping Ebonique's Theme, and I also used the Prologue Theme. I'll save these themes in a binder, condensed, so I can orchestrate them into the score later, adding transitional material and anything I need to make sure it will fit with the film.

So yeah! Exciting stuff! Have a good rest of your day! I'm excited to work on 'A Christmas Festival' again with the full orchestra and chorus, and in between performances, work on 'The King of the Aliens' when we're demoing running the show. :)

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