Upcoming Projects

So far so good on the resolutions! Five days into 2012 and this is my third post, I’ve eaten breakfast two of the last three mornings, and I’ve scheduled my piano lessons for Tuesday evenings. I’m really excited about taking piano so I can finally learn some technique.

Anyway, I have a few projects that I’m hoping to start on here pretty soon.

The first is one I referenced in a previous post. A little under a year ago, I started recording AVP’s a cappella rendition of Cake’s The Distance, which was my first solo arrangement for the group. I took this one after working with Mark Williams on an arrangement of Jesusland by Ben Folds (which oddly enough we literally only performed once). I have all of the background parts recorded minus the whistle in the chorus, although I need to redo the bass because it sounds pretty crappy.  All I’ll need to do after that is add percussion and solo and finish the mix.  For some reason lately when I try to use Ableton, my computer goes crazy and the usage spikes up and the playback is either really choppy or it won’t play at all.  I think I need to go through my computer and delete a whole bunch of stuff to clear up memory and make it work better.  I also might just upgrade the RAM or something.  In any case, here’s a video of us performing this song two years ago (the quality isn’t that great).

I was pointed in the direction of this video the other day by my friend Jenny and I think it’s pretty cool.  Someone wrote a fugue using a couple themes from Lady Gaga songs and it sounds awesome.  I have a bit of experience writing fugues, so I think this would be a fun idea to mess with!

My sister Mindy called me yesterday and asked if I would write an arrangement of a song for violin and piano so her and my niece could play it in church.  My nine year old niece started playing violin last year and has been coming along nicely, which I’m really excited about!  She told me that it would have to be fairly simple so that she could play it, and that she’d need it by February 1st.  I instantly agreed because it was an exciting project for me to take on!  Also, the fact that I have a deadline will get me going on it.  The song is from the LDS Children’s Songbook and is called “I Am a Child of God.”

There are a few other things on my mind too.  Now to just find some time to do them!

Favorite Final Project Ever

This past semester, I took Music Theory III with Professor Michael Puri.  For our final project, we had the option of either choosing a piece and writing an analysis paper or writing a fairly substantial model composition.  I didn’t even think about it, as my choice was obvious.  I elected to write a composition, and I chose to do my best at writing the exposition section of a piano sonata.  We spent a lot of the semester working with this format, mostly using Mozart’s work as examples, so I felt fairly comfortable with it.  Here’s a break down of sorts.  It will be slightly technical and explained in theory language, so try to get past that.


Sonata Exposition in D Major

The first four measures hold a sort of fanfare with both hands in unison.  This serves the purpose of literally just getting the piece going and propelling it into the next section, which is the primary tonal and thematic section of the exposition (P section).  This section does not last long, as it only spans across one eight measure phrase.  Immediately afterward, I began experimenting with some modal mixture to start the transition section (TR) by transitioning into the parallel minor (D minor) whilst keeping similar thematic texture.  This phrase only lasts  half as long as the P phrase, as it leads to a cadence on the dominant chord and launches into a harmonic sequence characterized by a descending circle of fifths with diatonic sevenths.  The left hand begins playing sixteenth notes, giving the TR section the increased texture that it is supposed to have.  Everything eventually leads to a very big cadence (the medial caesura) on the dominant chord, tonicizing it and preparing the following section, in which the piece finds itself in the key of A major.

The secondary tonal and thematic area (S) begins at this point and proceeds forward in A.  The texture is noticeably different, as it is quieter and utilizes more dotted rhythms.  The section begins with a sentence phrase, the second of half which is an ascending stepwise harmonic sequence leading to an avoided cadence.  The biggest part of the piece follows.  It is a long, drawn out descending circle of fifths sequence ending in a big perfect authentic cadence (I would classify this as the essential expositional closure – EEC).  What follows is some repetition of sections with things like avoided cadences and deceptive cadences thrown in until the repetition of the EEC phrase.  We then come to the coda and the end of the exposition!

Sorry for that long, technical explanation.  Don’t feel obligated to read it.  Just listen :).

Having Fun with a Bad Song

No, I’m not talking about Friday by Rebecca Black, although I know that Glee did do a cover of that one and almost made it seem like a real song… I’m talking about a little ditty by Miranda Cosgrove.  We all remember her as the obnoxious know-it-all girl in School of Rock (seen above) and now people watch her on her own show iCarly (I’ve never watched it.  Something tells me that I wouldn’t like it…).  Anyway, like all young Disney and Disney Channel stars, she began pursuing a small career in music around a year ago and came out with a song called Dancing Crazy.  Now, this song is a bit of an enigma to me.  I wouldn’t call it good, but I wouldn’t call it bad either.  It has no substance, but the chorus is kind of catchy.  I don’t really know, it was fun to blast at college parties and see people say “What?” while a few friends and I just enjoyed it.  Here’s the YouTube video for her song.

Anyway, on to the purpose of this post.  I didn’t write this just so I could show you all how great (or not so great) Miranda Cosgrove’s song is.  A few months ago, in order to get people excited about our a cappella group’s upcoming concert, my friend Blair Phillips and I had the idea to take this song and write and record an a cappella arrangement of this song and make a video to go along with it.  He wrote the arrangement and we recorded everything in my room.  All of the sounds on the recording are sounds made by either Me, Blair, Logan Spencer, or Witt Nicholson, and that includes all of the percussion and such.  I sang the top two tenor lines, Blair the two baritone lines, Logan the bass, and Witt helped with some of the yelling effects in the background.  The solo and harmonies are all me and I recorded and mixed everything using my own software.  I’m actually pretty proud of the quality given my resources.  Enjoy!