Some of you may know that I occasionally arrange music for Lager Rhythms. Well, more like transcribe if you want to be technically correct. It's not like I add anything to the music; I just write what I hear. This is easy to do when it's just voices, but much harder when changing instruments into voice parts for an a cappella band.

It's even harder when you read music as poorly as I do. I have no musical training, so I don't understand chord spellings and the like. That means I actually need to listen to each line of music and write them down as though they were alone, then play the whole thing together (thank $diety for Finale) and see if any of the "chords" sound wrong. I can't just look at it and say, "oh, that's D minor, it should have a K-flat at the top." Silly me.

The way it usually works for me is that I listen to the lead, and write it down using eighths or quarters, and then adjust the length of the notes to make it sound correct. This goes by sets of only one or two measures at a time. I do the same thing for the base line, which is usually a little easier, since the basses don't generally have a lot of fiddly bits. Once the lead and the bass are done, it's time to figure out who sings what in the middle.

This is where knowing chord spellings would be particularly helpful. On top of that, I have to try to hear where the notes will fit into a certain vocal range. Will it be high in the tenor register, or low in the soprano register? Which way would it sound better? And, once that's over, what syllable would make it work? (That's actually a critical question. We have changed the whole sound of a song by changing the background syllables. There's a thesis in there somewhere...)

So, needless to say, it's slow going, which is why I've been happy to let others take the load for a while now. But, we're trying very hard right now to get enough music to fill the next CD, and we need a few more songs to get there, so I'm back in the saddle. Still no better at it, but doing what I can. ;)

This weekend I finally finished up King of Spain. There are probably some things that the group will futz with, we do that a lot, but it's good enough to bring in and start learning. [ profile] drangelo is going to be very happy. He has wanted LR to sing this song since before he auditioned for the group. How long has that been now? Years and years, to be sure.

Next up -- I cover Paul and Storm. :)
Recently I have found a channel that has been making me very happy, called Ovation. It has been playing musicals and programs about musicals, which hits me totally in my sweet spot. Thus far I've watched Cabaret, A Chorus Line [1], Victor Victoria, Funny Girl, and behind the scenes shows on Phantom and West Side Story. *LOVE*

Last week, whilst watching the behind the scenes piece on West Side (which was, by the way, really good), [ profile] drangelo looked at me in disbelief when he found out how much of the vocals were dubbed by performers other than the lead actors. Honestly, I thought everyone knew that! I immediately brought up My Fair Lady, which I thought would be a quick reminder that this happened all the time back in the 50s and 60s, and then added The King and I and Thoroughly Modern Millie [2], but I still got the disbelieving stare. Come on guys, you all knew this, right? Well, apparently my husband, who has a degree in theater, did not know this. And it was rather upsetting to his world view. (Those of you who know him personally may agree with me that this fits in with his general LG attitude -- as it smacks of cheating.) ;)

I actually felt obligated to look up one of his favorites, The Music Man, just to bring back his mental picture of the world. Yes, they all did their own singing. (Thank $deity!)

ETA: And, apparently, the 40s were also BIG for doing this. See Martha Mears.

[1] I had never actually seen the film version of ACL. I could easily have lived the rest of my life without doing so. Yowch!
[2] Do not fear Julie fans, Ms. Andrews sang her own material! (Not that we ever doubted.)
So so so I'm on JoCo's email list for concerts etc., and we received an announcement about his upcoming DVD concert, and I wrote back, and he wrote back to me!! 

*takes a breath*

Announcement )

My answer )

Cause of fangirl-like squeeing behavior )

Ok, well, it was only one line, but I squeed.  Cuz I'm like that.  About Jonathan Coulton.  Who I love.  *sigh*
I've been watching/listening to various people performing Nessun Dorma over lunch.  There are some fabulous singers out there but, so far, I still like Luciano the best.  Andrea Bocelli comes a close second.  I think I'll look for more of him...

and again
Mario Del Monaco
Frank Tenaglia
Placido Domingo
Paul Potts (Britain's Got Talent)  I'm not as enamored of this guy as many people appear to be.  I feel as though he isn't as in control of his voice as are the professionals.  But, wow, for a carphone salesman!  (and Simon's response is priceless)

I found a couple of women singing it (including Aretha!), but it really loses something when it's not in the male timbre.
Last night we arrived home from Lager Rhythms rehearsal to find an unexpected surprise in the mailbox.  [ profile] follybard had sent us a Bjork CD (Post).  I've been listening to it here at work!  This is really good in a totally surprising way.  I had never actually listened to any Bjork, although I knew that several of my friends really liked her music.  I didn't expect there to be such a wide range of expression and style.  Cool!

Thanks, [ profile] follybard!!!
This year it's a music teacher!

That is so cool. :)

My middle school music teacher, Wihemina King, was a huge influence in my life. I'm glad music teachers are getting the recognition that they deserve.
Well, if [ profile] arch_scrivener is going to do it...

Step 1: Put your media player on random.
Step 2: Post the first line(s) of the first 25 songs that play
Step 3: Post and let everyone guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Guess as many as you can!

List o' Lines cut for your protection )

(number 12 was really the out-takes from Band Gap, but I didn't think that was fair)  ;)
Sometimes when I find an album that I really like, I obsess over it, listening to it over and over until the music seeps into my bones. This is such an album.

The album, by Paul Simon, is based on a true story, about Salvador Agron, perpetrator of the Capeman murders in 1959.

There is a song on the album called "Can I Forgive Him?" that is sung by the mothers of the murdered boys as well as the mother of Salvador Agron. At one point, one of the mothers sings:

My religion
Asks me to pray for the murderer's soul
But I think you'd have to be
Jesus on the cross
To open your heart after such a loss
Can I forgive him?
Can I forgive him?
No, I cannot

This touches me in an indescribable way every time I hear it.

The Bard

Nov. 15th, 2006 05:35 am
I had an unusually long drive back from the plant today, and I had finished the book I had with me, so I started listening to Paul Simon albums in my head. (shut up, that's not the point)

I went through some rather old material from the Simon and Garfunkel days, and had started on some of his more recent works, when I began to ponder the vast range of music that has come from this man. This is not a new idea for me, as I have always loved Paul Simon's work, but going through it like this made me realize how clearly his music has reflected the society of its respective time.

This is my idea of a Bard of the finest degree. His music stays with us, and speaks to us of the moment. It helps us to remember who we were, and helps us to see who we have become.

Of course, this is only my opinion. Who do you view as a bard?
If you haven't heard of Jonathan Coulton by now, get ye to his website and listen!

Once you're done, go Demand His Presence here in Houston at!

ETA: I am grumpy because I cannot figure out what is wrong with this code. It works in my preview pane. I've made several adjustments to no avail. If any code monkeys would like to help...



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