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Topic: "Skyscraper" with video and score

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  1. #1

    "Skyscraper" with video and score

    This is the first thing I've written specifically for Concert Band. Before this, I was adapting existing music. This piece wouldn't have been possible without all the great help I've gotten here on the Forum about CB scores and using a notation program.

    I produced the video first, using images of my topic of inspiration: tall buildings.

    When I was around 5 years old, and starting to come up with little melodies on the piano, there was music I would hear when looking at pictures of skyscrapers. I cut out large paper buildings to put on my playroom wall so I could look at them and hear the music that I wanted so much to capture somehow.

    All these decades later, the music I was trying to write back then isn't with me specifically anymore, but the idea for writing music inspired by large buildings is still with me. When I sat down to write something new, this memory I've described came back to me.

    For people interested in the music video process: Since I started with the images first, I needed a way to insure that I could write music that would be synchronized with the pictures even before I'd written anything. So I settled on a tempo I wanted to work with, then produced a click track that I imported into Power Director, my video software. That way I was able to edit the video with pictures changing in time to the pulse. Later, when I was composing in Sonar, the imported video was in sync with my Sonar tempo map, and I was in control of having both elements, music and visuals, always working together.

    It's a grade 5 piece, like my other two CB pieces have been, due mostly to multiple key changes. And, like the other two scores, I'm sure its chances of being accepted by a publisher are slim due to its complexity and quirkiness. But it was great fun to write, and, at the very least, a good exercise for me.

    Now, with a newly created Concert Band template created in Sonar, I'm ready to reign in the excesses, and write something more like the successfully published scores I see online.

    Meanwhile, here it is, and it is what it is. It's impressionist and rhythm based, and the music is an all-Garritan production, using the same lineup of instruments I've posted a few times now--all from GPO, COMB, JABB and IO. - In the second half you can hear the seldom used wind machine from GPO.



    "Skyscraper" score


    Randy

  2. #2

    Re: "Skyscraper" with video and score

    Hello Randy! I'm glad you gave us some background on this, I enjoyed the read. I am glad you were able to relive those early memories through this piece. This is great, and the child-like wonder is certainly portrayed beautifully through your composition. Quirky is a great word for it, I feel the concert band realm could use more quirky music. I mean...it has its fair share of tongue-in-cheek music, but this is more formal quirkiness. That's right...formal...quirkiness.

    I took a quick look at the percussion, and I can say this is something that most percussionists like to see in more music. Especially since when you consider orchestral music is frequently devoid of percussion, what you have written seems like it would be fun to play, for sure!

    Thanks for sharing this with us, I enjoyed the listen!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  3. #3

    Re: "Skyscraper" with video and score

    Wowser, Mister Bowser! Woot, woot for both your music and video!

    This is a delightful work with a plentitude of nice music effects, dynamics and changes of pace. I love it!

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Best,

    Larry
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

  4. #4

    Re: "Skyscraper" with video and score

    I totally agree, this is wonderful. The percussion really gives the video a sense of "industrial busy-ness".

    I liked the construction of the chinese building at the end. I wondered what the hammer sound was and of course it was an anvil, a clever touch. The score and the pictures work really well together.

    Thanks for posting this Randy, I enjoyed it a lot!
    yjoh

    Music... A Joy For Life.

  5. #5

    Re: "Skyscraper" with video and score

    Enough time to type one reply - I see other people have posted here too, I'll get to all eventually - appreciate the visits!

    Quote Originally Posted by sanyarem View Post
    ...Quirky is a great word for it, I feel the concert band realm could use more quirky music...this is more formal quirkiness. That's right...formal...quirkiness.

    I took a quick look at the percussion, and I can say this is something that most percussionists like to see in more music... it would be fun to play, for sure!
    Coming from a percussion king like you, Michael, I appreciate your comments on the heavy use of percussion in this. From the examples of Concert Band music I'm hearing, it looks like lots of percussion is still a favored style, even though I've seen some people say it's been over done now, and was at the height of its popularity way back in the '80's. In any case, there are always students ready and able to take a whack at something, so I say give them a drum stick!

    Maybe my some of my quirky stuff will go over with a publisher at some point, we'll see. But I am really trying to come up with something in a more conventional mode, to better my chances of getting into the market.

    Thanks!

    Randy

  6. #6
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: "Skyscraper" with video and score

    I hope Randy you'll forgive me for what I am going to say.
    As an 86 years old, saturated with melodies, harmonies, I can not absorb or "understand" impressionism in either music or in visual art. So, to me, your Skyscraper is like I would be dropped in alien world.
    Why do I reply to this posting in spite of my ignorance about this style is because I see and hear your talent both musically and visually. It really is foreign to me, nevertheless beautifully done. I played it twice, and the second time it was closer than the first time.
    Congratulation

    Ted

  7. #7

    Re: "Skyscraper" with video and score

    And now, before turning to the evening's activities, time for another reply - This time I'm very pleased to greet our resident composer-in-chief from Texas, Larry Alexander:

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry G. Alexander View Post
    Wowser, Mister Bowser! Woot, woot for both your music and video!

    This is a delightful work with a plentitude of nice music effects, dynamics and changes of pace. I love it!

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Best,

    Larry
    wow - 4 clapping smilies! I like the sound of their virtual clapping, thank you very much, Mr. A.

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: "Skyscraper" with video and score

    Randy, this is great! Exciting and dynamic, with plenty of variety. I sure hope this gets performed live one day. It would knock your socks off.

    What a neat story about the 5 year old Randy. If only it were possible to hear what you were hearing then.

    Nice visuals, too. Thanks!
    Owen
    __________________________________________________ _________________
    My website: www.tunespace.net

  9. #9

    Re: "Skyscraper" with video and score

    Quote Originally Posted by yjoh View Post
    ... I wondered what the hammer sound was and of course it was an anvil, a clever touch...
    Yjoh, thank you very much for once again letting me know you've heard my work, and to know that you also like it is always a great bonus. You're such a good, active Forum member.

    The hammer! Your comment makes me realize it wasn't 100% accurate to say this is an "all-Garritan production." I wanted an anvil, and am pretty sure there isn't one from Garritan, so I went to my go-to place for sound -"Freesound.org" which we try to plug as often as possible here at the Forum. It's a cooperative effort of audio enthusiasts who post all sorts of things, many they've recorded in the field. This was recorded in the contributor's work shop apparently, and the raw file has several bangs of the hammer on an anvil. I plucked one strike out and triggered the .wav file in ARIA.

    Something I found out during this spate of Concert Band research I've been on, is that for some time now, the brake drum from a car's wheel has been used in band music. It's mounted on a stand like other percussion instruments, and hit with a hammer. It has a similar sound to the anvil, with the added convenience of being Extremely lighter to lug around! I've seen the brake drum in quite a few scores now, and knew it was perfect for this piece, so included it in the percussion lineup.

    Thanks again for your post, Yjoh.

    Randy

  10. #10

    Re: "Skyscraper" with video and score

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser
    it looks like lots of percussion is still a favored style, even though I've seen some people say it's been over done now
    Blasphemy! I agree percussion can be overdone, but I would say that could be said of any instrument/section. It really just depends on the style of the piece.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser
    Something I found out during this spate of Concert Band research I've been on, is that for some time now, the brake drum from a car's wheel has been used in band music. It's mounted on a stand like other percussion instruments, and hit with a hammer. It has a similar sound to the anvil, with the added convenience of being Extremely lighter to lug around!
    I'm glad you mentioned this! When I first heard of the brake drum, I thought someone was talking about a special drum - spelled "break drum." I really had no idea what it was until I saw it was actually a car's brake drum. This reminded me of another technique that is gaining in popularity, though it is perhaps more common in percussion ensembles than concert band music - bowed percussion.

    Using a violin bow, percussionists draw it along percussion instruments to create resonance. It is usually used on mallet percussion, but I have seen it used on timpani rims and suspended cymbals. The most common instrument it is used for is probably the Vibraphone, and it creates an effect somewhat similar to resonating crystal glasses by rubbing a finger around their rims. I particularly enjoy the bowed marimba, which gives a more rugged tone.
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

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