April 2013

Fox Valley Stuffs :)

April 30, 2013 18:59

This past Sunday was a blast! It was the 1pm-5pm Fox Valley rehearsal, and it was amazing playing in a full orchestra setting. (I also auditioned and got second chair second violin!) When we played the Tchaik Symphony No. 2 Finale, there were some awesome crash cymbals that lead to loud brass I heard while furiously playing my fast sixteenth notes. And a tam-tam (that sounds to me like the gong at Stir Crazy) part at the very end of the recapitulation right before the crazy-fast coda sounded amazing. All in all, I learned about some new percussion parts to put in my symphony (and future compositions, of course!). The Bach Sheep May Safely Graze, arranged for full orchestra, was pretty, but the Giannini Symphony No. 2 (not a common piece) was spooky, literally played completely at ff, and awesome! It sounded NOTHING like I thought it would when I was practicing on my own. Unfortunately, all during rehearsal I was feeling not too well, and by the time Monday rolled around I had to stay home sick, so I didn't get to play in the concert Monday night. :( The rehearsal I did get to go to was still fun, and I learned a lot. Our conductor told us when we see 'expressively' written in our music, it means, to us as string players, play with vibrato. :)

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New Symphony in C# Minor!

April 26, 2013 03:41

Two days ago, at 1pm, I went outside and walked to a lake. Essentially, it's a lake with a trail around it. I found a picnic table, grabbedy blank sheet music, and set to work. I was writing (or beginning) another symphony, for different instruments (just slightly), and a different key. I call it "The Mourning Dove." It's quite interesting what working outside does for you. Birds chirping, people walking yipping dogs. It feels so wonderful to work on music outside in the fresh air. When this movement of my symphony is done (probably very end of May, as I am turning it in as my final composition for Music Theory), I'll put it on YouTube and send a link.

Also, in just two days from now is the first five-hour rehearsal for Fox Valley! About 100 musicians, and my first time playing in a 'legit' full orchestra. I'm so excited! Should I wear earplugs? I'm second violin and may sit close to the brass! Depending on where I sit... :)

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The Legend of the Violin

April 20, 2013 19:11

Once, in Middle-Earth, four Hobbits gathered in the forest near the Shire, long before Bilbo's time. The morning birds sung, and the Hobbits began to think about the music that existed. Rohan had their fanfare of brass, and flutes were being created in other places of Middle-Earth. The Shire needed a musical instrument to represent them, but not one where blowing was required. Although those were cool instruments, they were loud, and required force of the breath. Singing was out almost immediately because of this. What sounds could be created without blowing?

The Hobbits spread the word across the Shire, and together, many ideas were thought up. One Hobbit mentioned strings - when they were plucked about, they vibrated and made noises. They could be coiled up and shortened to play different pitches. Another thought of dragging a stick or log from a tree across the strings. The stick may not work so well, but hairs could be pasted to the ends of the stick and that could work...

The Hobbits worked night and day, throughout all four seasons. In the autumn, they collected logs and sticks that had fallen to the ground and in the winter they worked with them. In the spring more logs were collected and in the summer further progress was made. Wood was used for the body of the instrument and the stick of what would be called the bow, and the strings were coiled and stretched across. Finally, after a number of years, the violin was formed.

The trees, who had been watching this whole time, helped to copy and improve the instrument, and soon, violins were naturally growing everywhere - out of nature. The Hobbits began to play these instruments, and after a while an orchestra was formed - seven members of each race got together and had a concert.

This was among the last of the peaceful days of Middle-Earth.

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Music Forever!

April 14, 2013 09:31

It's 10:40am right now. I'm in the middle of my walk, and I've just now realized something I probably have before: music is the best thing in the world. I'm listening to a Doctor Who soundtrack for seasons 1 and 2, and as I listen I'm thinking just how amazing it is to hear the BBC National Orchestra of Wales play such sweet sounds to my waiting ears. I hear a grand piano softly tapping octave keys at the right side of the piano, backed by beautiful sustained violin high notes. I hear a wonderful male singer, a pops song backed by an orchestra and guitar. I hear timpani pounding with a full chanting choir. Murray Gold is amazing! (and still at work with Season 7.) Then, of course, I apply these sounds to the show, but that's not the point. Music is amazing; orchestral music, and probably many of us here at violinist.com agree (?) is best. Music will be with us forever. Whether it be Baroque, Classical, Romantic, TV, film... Listening to a grand section of violins play with the timpani, flutes, and horns is awesome, and I can't wait to do that with my violin for three amazing upcoming concerts. I'll just have to practice! :)

Okay, my hands are freezing typing this. Time to head home and enjoy the rest of the day. Readers, please do that too!

Happy music-making!

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Scoring a Play

April 7, 2013 18:10

Woah, the first thing I noticed when I logged on today was the site's new look - classy! :)

A few days ago, I found a play I'd written about a year ago. The play is set on New Earth, post-apocalypse. When the humans landed here, I guess space-traveling was abolished and forgotten. The play itself is basically about three families that each lay a piece of the puzzle to getting into space, and as it continues, layers upon layers of more storylines intertwine and connect, and... well, it isn't finished. I'll have to have my sister (who is a writer, or wants to be) do it...

Anyways, what I spent most of today on is a project that could help me with my movie soundtracks. (Also, yesterday, I watched an hour-long roundtable interview of six composers that took place January of this year and took notes. It was fun!) Basically, after going for a walk and hearing nature sounds, I took a scene from the play (one of the characters, Isabelle, wanders into a forest and is carried off by a bear), and wrote a piano part using my piano. After that, I opened up a MIDI for a full symphony orchestra and got to work, stretching out my piano part, orchestrating and adding as much as possible. I still am not quite finished with it, but when I'm done I may upload it to YouTube. If I use a revised version of this play for the summer film, and that scene takes place, I may already be on my way to composing some of the soundtrack. We shall wait and see!

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Well, my right arm is going to die. :P

April 6, 2013 09:24

Have any of you played the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 2? We are playing the Finale for Fox Valley. (As a matter of fact, why don't I list all the pieces we're playing for this event below?) It's going to be very exciting to be in a full orchestra, playing in a symphony, for cryin' out loud (even if it isn't my own), but the chords and the constant chugga-chugga of my right arm for each note (the whole final movement is practically sixteenth-notes the entire time!) is probably going to kill me. So, if I stop writing entries here, you know why. Just kidding. But it's going to be a lot of hard work and endurance to keep this up! So basically, if you have any tips for playing fast notes (this time more right-hand based rather than left-hand, like I had for my auditions three-ish months ago), please let me know! Thanks!

As promised. a list of everything we're playing (and this is for one concert out of the three I have coming up before summer):

-Sheep May Safely Graze (J.S. Bach)
-Symphony No. 2, Finale (Giannini)
-Symphony No. 2, Finale (Moderato assai, Allegro vivo, Presto.) (Tchaikovsky)

The Pops music is still being handed out, and none of it is really organized. As Pops draws nearer, I will have a list of that music. Although yesterday, we got Carnival of the Animals, which should be tons of fun! We aren't playing everything, and although I play piano, my friend is. I think I'd rather play violin for that concert, anyway.

Also, we are playing Beethoven's Seventh? Piano Sonata in D Major, arranged for string orchestra for another concert, which should be fun, too.

And, of course, I have my Vivaldi research/analysis project I have to do. When that's done and if it's on YouTube, I'll post a link to the presentation part!

In a nutshell, it's going to be very busy (and musical) last two months before June. Thanks for all the support and help along the way (in regards to tips and such), and I can't wait till summer to relax and focus on film composition (hopefully!)!

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A 4pm Trip to a Violin Music Store

April 2, 2013 18:20

This afternoon after my lesson I went to Sapp Violins to try out some chin rests for my violin. If you have been watching my Violin Practice series on YouTube, you'd have seen my centered chin rest in the last episode I did. I don't like that kind; I like the 'normal' ones placed left on the instrument. We tried out a few different types of chin rests at the music store; some just deeper, but with a jutting edge; some higher up. He told me that I would be better off my violin teacher helping me pick out a good chin rest, because he was, essentially, teaching me a way to hold the violin, which my teacher would know my own unique style of doing it. (Well not 'unique', per se; he said everyone has their own varying method, although most people lean back into it. I did see many violinists playing in the Lord of the Rings Symphony doing this, so...) In any case, I will play around with the chin rest he put on for me, and next Tuesday at my lesson, we will mess around a little more and hopefully pick out the type that I like and may continue using in the future!

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More entries: March 2013

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