Thursday, December 26, 2013

1902 and '33 Winter Incomplete

I've sorta spontaneously started writing classical music on the piano. I never thought I'd be capable of writing music....every time I'd sit down at the piano, I'd just try to make up stuff that sounded like the bands I listened to, but it would inevitably end with frustration, knowing that I just didn't have the ear for it.

I took piano lessons from probably around the age 7 until I was about 13-14. I hated it, I hated my teacher, but my parents refused to allow me to stop. They said I could quit if I wanted when I got my grade 8 conservatory. That was the deal I got, and that's what I ended up doing. The day I took my exam was the last time I'd touch the piano for 10 years.

When I got admitted into Homewood, I was actually surprised to see that one of the rec lounges had a standup piano in it. I hadn't played in a decade, but with so little to do during the day, I started leafing through the sheet music other patients had left behind. It took me awhile, but after a month, I'd say I was playing at about the 4th or 5th grade level. It actually became a hobby I enjoyed, as it was challenging, and I found it to be somewhat relaxing.

When I got back home, I kept playing the piano for awhile, almost daily. Inevitably I got tired of playing the same pieces over and over again...but when I tried to learn new pieces, I couldn't concentrate on the notation, or remember anything I was playing. Over the years I think the depression has made it increasingly difficult to focus, and it's gotten to a point where I could only spend maybe 10 minutes at the piano without feeling exhausted.

I wanted to keep playing, but learning new pieces was not possible, and playing the old ones was dreadfully boring, so I started farting around, playing whatever sounded right to my ear. My years of training in classical piano allowed me to quite easily determine how melodies and harmonies should evolve. I discovered that I'd probably never be able to write rock or punk music...but classical was in my wheelhouse.

Although it's taken me several weeks to do so, I've finally transferred two of the pieces into musical notation. It probably would have taken anyone else a day or two, but keeping focus and energized throughout the transcribing process has been tremendously difficult.

In any case, I've attached it here...for those who dare attempt to decipher it.





I also recorded myself playing the pieces on my phone, but I'm not sure how to post yet.

Cheers,

-j

edit - i just added the songs to youtube, because i couldnt figure out any other way






Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Music in Film + Transitions

I've had this scene from Be King Rewind stuck in my head for a few weeks now.



I find it's pretty rare for pop music to be seamlessly integrated into a film without being completely distracting. Too often music becomes a literal background soundtrack to a scene, as opposed to being a part of the greater whole and contributing to the overall feel of a film. I guess what I mean to say, is that this is one of the few instances that comes to mind where a pop song feels as though it's part of the original score of the film... Kudos to Michel Gondry for knocking this one out of the park...


I've also been thinking a lot more about transitions than I have in the past. This scene is a good example of how the uninterrupted motion of the camera helps maintain the flow and energy throughout the scene. Even the final transitional wipe between 'Men In Black' and when the train appears on the screen provides that little bit of extra momentum moving forward with the plot.

I also finally got my hands on a theatrical cut of 'The Warriors'. Up until now I've only seen the Director's Cut (with comic book inter-tiles)...I'll be interested in seeing how the two cuts differ...The Warriors is another great film when it comes to pacing and momentum...there are so many great shots in it...I could go on and on...

-J