Thursday, October 21, 2010

Good news!

I started the second violin part for "No One Mourns the Wicked" today. I worked on it for about an hour and a half, which is not as long as usual, but I got to a really good stopping place. I didn't get as much done as I should have in that amount of time either. I spent a good half an hour on the build up right before the singing starts. It gets really fast and I was having a hard time figuring out what the notes were. I good new is I think I figured it out. The bad news is that the second violins are going to have to shift past the harmonic on their E strings. I guess it's not really a big deal though. I played a song where I had to go a half-step past the harmonic on my A string in ninth grade.Anyway, right now I'm right where the lyrics start, and I figure that's a pretty good place to stop for the night.

Unfortunately, since tomorrow is Friday, I probably won't get a lot done because my schedule on Fridays is crappy. Maybe I'll accomplish something this weekend though, since I don't have any plans.

Well, I don't really have anything else to say, so that's it for tonight.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nothing grows for the wicked

I just spent the last three hours finishing the first violin part of "No One Mourns the Wicked." I didn't think it would take quite that long, but I ran into some inconsistencies in timing with the featured violin part, and I had to sort all those out. My ipod also died halfway through, so I had to plug it into the speaker. This was an unfortunate turn of event for my roommate, who had to listen to me play the same five second twenty times trying to work out timing before I went to the next five seconds. I'm probably souring her against Wicked. Even though she insists she doesn't mind, I still feel bad.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll make some headway on the second violin part, and once that's done, I get to write in some different clefts for a while, which will be exciting. I can't wait to get to the bass cleft--that's the one I'm most comfortable in--but I have to do the second violin and viola parts before that.

All I can say right now is, thank goodness the rest of the soundtrack isn't as instrumentally intense as "No One Mourns the Wicked." I've given it some thought, and I do believe this will be the hardest song, though I'm not particularly looking forward to "Dancing Through Life" or "Thank Goodness" either, but all the other songs are more focused on the singers, or in this case, the featured parts, so I don't think they'll be as bad.

That's about all I have to say right now. Until tomorrow, hopefully!

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Are people born wicked, or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?"

Well, I didn't have time to do very much this weekend, but it's Monday, so I'm back. So far, I spent about three hours with my keyboard this afternoon working on the first violin part of "No One Mourns the Wicked." I'm running into some issues with counting. Some of the counts don't match up between the two parts, but so far, there's no really damage done, because either the featured violin part or the first violin part is resting during all of the effected areas. It's probably something I'll deal with when I start the second violin part. I'm thinking I counted it wrong when I was counting out rests. Hopefully that's the case, because that would be really easy to fix.

Just today I got all the way from "Look, it's Glinda!" to "Nothing grows for the wicked, they reap only what they sow." I assure you, it's more than it sounds like. I would have to pick the most instrumentally intense song to do first. On the bright side, next up is "Dear Old Shiz," and that will take all of about five minutes per part, and then "The Wizard and I" shouldn't be too bad either, and then I'll feel really accomplished and hopefully inspired enough to go straight into "What is this Feeling?" which will probably be a little harder because the ensemble is in it.

In unrelated news, I started reading the book, Wicked, and so far, I can hardly put it down. It's quite good. Also, all this talk of "Dear Old Shiz" has me wondering, is it horrible that I know the alma mater for Shiz, but I don't know the one for my school?

I might get a little bit more of "No One Mourns the Wicked" done tonight--I'm going to try--but I don't know if it will happen. Until next time, then!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Musicbox, the music box

Before I start anything, I just want to say that I don't own, claim to own, reap any financial benefit, or plan to reap any financial benefit from anything I mention here. I arrange music for fun--it's a hobby--not because I plan to sell it in any way or anything like that. All of these songs belong to the wonderfully talented people who wrote/composed them. I've never composed anything. As a side note, I do sometimes wonder, when composing music, do you write each part one-at-a-time or all the parts at once?

Well, I've been arranging music by ear for a long time, now. It's been four years since I arranged my first piece of music, Mark Shultz's "Letters from War," just the melody, for cello, and six years since I transposed my first piece, "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music, from treble cleft to bass cleft. Since then I've arranged songs in all three clefts, I've arranged a duet, Aladdin's "A Whole New World" for violin and cello, and two songs with part of the harmony, "A Whole New World" and Ludo's "Part 4: Morning in May," which was a duet for two violins. I meant to arrange Ludo's entire Broken Bride rock opera for orchestra at one point, but I never quite got to it...

Unfortunately, in the past year, I haven't really had time to arrange any music because of a schedule that was so full it was practically air-tight, so when I got my keyboard out last weekend it was a little dust and I had to buy a new cord because the old one is now missing, but the new cord was worth it, because I had an idea for a massive project that I already started. The plan is to arrange the soundtrack for the musical, Wicked, for orchestra by ear. It's a project that will probably take an upwards of a year because of the shear volume. The musical has an hour-and-a-half-long soundtrack and twenty songs, if you include "The Wicked Witch of the East," which I do, nineteen if you combine the "I'm Not that Girl" reprise and "As Long as You're Mine," which I will. Then, you consider that I will have to write out each part of each song. All nineteen songs have a first violin, second violin, viola, and cello part, and all of the excluding "Dear Old Shiz" and "A Sentimental Man" have a bass part, and then all of them except "Dear Old Shiz" have at least one featured part. "Dancing Through Life" has five.

Now that I'm typing this all out, I'm beginning to wonder what I've gotten myself into. It's a really good thing I already started, or I might be temped to quit right here and now. As it is, I've already finished the featured violin part (Glinda's part) for "No One Mourns the Wicked," which was...a process, because that song is much harder to count than you can imagine if you haven't tried--I think I spent a total of three or four hours just trying to get the time signature right--and I'm about halfway done with the first violin part. I started on Tuesday and I've been getting in a solid two to four hours a day of working on this. I'm sure that will taper off some, because I know there will be days when I really don't feel like working or I just don't have time, but for now, this will do.

Well, that's about all I've got to say right now, so over and out.