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Topic: The Band from Outer Space!

  1. #1

    Smile The Band from Outer Space!

    (NOTE - The Band from Outer Space! is just my gimmicky subject line crafted to inspire some views - that is NOT the title of the piece.)

    Another edit 1/11/14 - Since it won't be clear from someone visiting this thread, Art's response, the 1st one on the thread, is based on listening to the wrong version. He asked why there were strings in a band version because he didn't listen to the 1st link labeled Concert Band - he listened to the last link labeled "original orchestral arrangement." That's the one I posted in the first half of last year. The whole point of this thread was to post the newer band version. The 1st version with the video is the more successful piece, but I've posted this band version just to show what the 1st thing was that I attempted as a band arrangement. It's clear that it's not successful, but since it was the output of quite a few month's work, and it's the project that set in motion the other band arrangement I posted last year, I thought I would offer it here anyway. Anyway, I wanted to attempt making this somewhat confusing thread more understandable to someone finding it for the 1st time.
    I began my very first attempt at scoring for concert band way back in April of last year. For an initial project, I chose to adapt my impressionist piece, "Overview."

    At first with the help of Forum member Rodney "Composingatnight," and then more help later from Art "gogreen1" and Jeff Turner, I whittled away at it for months. When I finally put it away, I went on to adapt music from "Dorian" and "Tom Sawyer," and those band versions I've already posted.

    But here, at least as a curiosity piece, I'm finally posting my inaugural band project. It certainly turned out to be an odd piece for a band, and one very unlikely to ever be performed, but at least it served me as a start at attempting band scores.

    "Overview" for Concert Band

    Here are the first several pages of the score. I'm sure there are my usual number of errors and questionable notations. But, it is what it is! I seriously doubt I'll ever do more work on it.

    "Overview" score sample

    If you'd like to compare this with the original orchestral version, below is the link to the music video I posted last year. If you haven't watched that before, I'm sure you'll see that the music is most effective when married to the NASA footage that inspired it, and that the original instrumentation is more appropriate for the composition.

    "Overview" music video with original orchestral arrangement


  2. #2

    Re: The Band from Outer Space!

    Oh, my gosh, Randy. This is really special. But did I hear strings in there? I thought this was concert band--or did my ears deceive me? See my PM.

    Arthur J. Michaels

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  3. #3

    Re: The Band from Outer Space!

    Thanks, Art - I thought you heard the "final" version of this? Well if so, quite awhile back now.

    If you listened to the first MP3, then yes, your ears are deceiving you - strings are in the original orchestral version, you can hear that on the music video link. For the most part, the sax section has picked up a lot of what the strings originally did.

    But you made me double check - I thought maybe I'd put up the wrong link!--Nooo, definitely no strings to be heard there on the band link!


  4. #4

    Re: The Band from Outer Space!

    Hey Randy! I listened to your impressionistic piece, at least as far as I could. For some reason the player locked up on me when I was about half through. This certainly sounds like music from your doppleganger from a parallel universe. I found it to be very interesting but I must confess that this type of music has never worked for me. I just have a difficult time connecting to it. It sounds like a great project though. Thanks for posting. Jay

  5. #5

    Re: The Band from Outer Space!

    Your post validates something in a much better way than I could have explained on my own, Jay.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01 View Post
    ...this type of music has never worked for me. I just have a difficult time connecting to it...
    That's after listening to a bit of this concert band version of "Overview."

    March of last year:

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01 View Post
    Besides the fact the clips are just great, your music fits the scenes so appropriately. I think you have put together a great interpretation of the visuals. In some spots where there was flashing imagery, you used some marvelous sound effects that reminded me of some of the great moments in popular sci fi movies. I am so impressed with your efforts here. You always amaze me...This is another wonderful Bowser work. Thanks for the post. Jay
    That was after playing the original music video version of the same music.

    I was already pretty much convinced that this piece really only works when coupled with the visuals that inspired it, and your posts quoted above help confirm that.

    I think the NASA footage and my musical responses to it are now completely wed and inseparable in that video. What I created really was "an orchestral piece with video" - in short, a music video. Not to be peeled apart. Not to be sold separately. Listening to the music by itself, especially in this re-arranged band version, is like opening up something that has the warning label "battery not included" on its box. You need that battery to make it work! - You need the video to make this work.

    A Forum member told me in a private message (not on this thread, for some reason) that he thinks this is contest winning material. Well, that's an appreciated endorsement, but I'm certain his is an atypical response.

    The original version is the best thing I wrote last year. I had a too-rare experience of feeling completely immersed in my work as I wrote it. It was the kind of creative experience I want to have more often. But the only way I could give myself up to the process of composing it, was to consciously turn off the internal critic who was informing me that as thrilled as I was to be writing the music, that most people wouldn't be feeling the same way about it.

    As my favorite piece from 2013, it was easy for me to choose it as the basis for my first concert band arrangement. But I never intended for it to be something I would seriously try to have published. It was my exercise. I knew dealing more with notation than I ever had before would be difficult, so I wanted to at least be dealing with music I cared a lot about. When I was finished the band score, the results seemed OK, but I knew there was no way the band version could compete with the original orchestral version - the latter is far superior. That's the sound and mood I intended.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01 View Post
    ...the player locked up on me when I was about half through...
    As for that - The MP3 plays fine on the three computers I've tried it on. I have no idea why it stuck for you, but I'm sure that's not typical. It's just the regular Box MP3 player that's been reliable for years now. But it's just as well it got stuck, since you weren't enjoying the music.

    Thank you, Jay, for the very striking proof that "Overview" is a music-with-images piece, and not a stand-alone composition.

    UNRELATED NOTE: Art let me know by PM that he did click the wrong link. He watched the video which is the original full orchestra version, instead of the first link labeled "concert band." That's why he posted about hearing strings in the recording.


  6. #6

    Re: The Band from Outer Space!

    Just a follow up! I now remember the video that you are referring to and I remember enjoying it very much. It is strange to me of how much sense the video gave the music to me. I am almost embarrassed that I was unable pull together some meaning to the piece as a stand alone item. I would have thought that I was capable of invoking some type of perception in my mind as I have with more tonally oriented pieces that I have heard on the forum. For me, as music and art become more abstract, the feeling of the artists discretion and intent fades. I need to see or hear something that tells me that the artist first perceived the idea, and then used an audio or visual canvas to present the idea. I suppose this is why the audio/visual performance of this made so much more sense to me. Anyway, it just got me thinking and I thought that I would comment. Jay.

  7. #7

    Re: The Band from Outer Space!

    Jay - all is well, my friend. As I said, your reaction just validates what I'd already concluded - that as a music video, it's a complete work. Without the images, it's incomplete. If you want to see the original again, it's the third link on this thread's starting post.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01 View Post
    ...For me, as music and art become more abstract, the feeling of the artists discretion and intent fades...
    Unless someone gets into the territory of complete chaos that seems like an animal could have randomly done it - like the proverbial cat walking across a keyboard, or a monkey throwing balls of paint at a canvas - then I'm rather the opposite in my reaction to abstraction. Most of us enjoy music that conforms to Western music theory, with its comfortable familiarity and predictable rules. I admire a lot of music which is simply well done, classically constructed, and solid. But I don't consider it natural, reflective of the complexities we see and hear in nature, or of the explosion of thoughts and emotions in our heads. I enjoy when music breaks the constructs and more closely resembles those much more complex sounds and possibilities of nature and of our inner lives.

    In your quote above, you're projecting. It's not the artist's "discretion and intent" fading, it's your response to what's being done that fades. As you said, you can't connect when the recognizable structures of Western theory aren't there.

    There was a defining moment for me when I was a young teen that has stayed with me more than most any other memory. I was listening to music, and suddenly I was seeing the music instead of hearing it. It was shapes in the air, all different sizes and colors, and they were constantly moving, undulating, contracting, expanding. Maybe that's some sort of Synesthesia - but I don't care if it's a matter of my wiring be askew, I like it! - and ever since that experience, the music that I write which I'm most happy with is as free-flowing and unfettered as those balls of musical energy in the air! I want to allow myself to do that more often. A new year's resolution perhaps!


  8. #8

    Re: The Band from Outer Space!

    Hi Randy,

    I listened to both versions again and as usual (I know myself), I prefer the original one with the strings. But the band version is extremely good and definitely not a carbon copy of the orchestral version. You managed to insert a huge number of typical band effects and ensemble sounds other than in the original. Fantastic, but I'm not particularly fond of transcriptions for other instruments or ensembles all the same. That must have something to do with all the ugly and bad transcriptions of classical masterpieces for accordion, whereas there are so many excellent works specially written for that instrument. And I've heard an even greater number of bad band transcriptions of classical and film music. And there are so many great composers dedicated to wonderful band music.
    And I'm convinced from what I've heard here, that you can do both equally well. I still don't understand why you've written that transcription (mainly because you don't expect it to be performed live). Was it a band test for later work?

    But again, it's masterfully done and with a highly realistic rendering. Big applause!


  9. #9

    Re: The Band from Outer Space!

    Thank you for a very good read, Max - And your thoughtful post gives me an opportunity to try again to explain what this thread is about, since I can see that I still haven't been clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Hamburg View Post
    ...I still don't understand why you've written that transcription (mainly because you don't expect it to be performed live). Was it a band test for later work?...
    Yes. It was an exercise, a test. It was homework for myself. It was a project to get me started with the idea of arranging for Concert Band which I'd never done before. This is what I've tried to explain on this thread:

    "...I never intended for it to be something I would seriously try to have published. It was my exercise. I knew dealing more with notation than I ever had before would be difficult, so I wanted to at least be dealing with music I cared a lot about...

    "It served me as a start at attempting band scores...

    "It's the project that set in motion the other band arrangement I posted last year..."

    When the idea of trying my hand at Concert Band came up, I of course needed some music to work with. I didn't want to complicate the homework assignment by also needing to compose something. This piece was already composed, I liked it, so when I first opened the blank band score in Sibelius and looked at all those empty staves, my enemies of old, daring me to fill them with something that ends up sounding like music - I knew it was wise for me to begin by notating and adapting what I had already written. I knew it was an unlikely piece for a band to actually play, and I didn't care about that in the least. I knew I had much to learn about arranging for a band - So this was my test project.

    I'll add that the vast majority of what I've ever written is music I never intended for other musicians to play - as far as that goes. I've just always written music, and mostly for my own edification and amusement. So it wasn't unusual for me to work on this first Concert Band score for months solely for my own education.

    Thanks for the chance to better explain what I meant this thread to be about, and for your very kind words about the piece, Max!


  10. #10

    Re: The Band from Outer Space!

    Thank you Randy for being so clear about your intentions. I hope you don't blame me for not understanding your true motives to rewrite an excellent existing work...

    A couple of years ago, I was asked to write a band version of my concert overture "1918" to be performed this year, but I refused for the reasons mentioned above. First of all, I'm not so familiar with bands and orchestrations of that kind (and now I understand why you did it) and the second reason was, that I didn't see what I could add (any musical value at all) by writing for an an ensemble for the first time. This would have ended up in a mess, some trial version, nothing to be performed during the remembrance concerts. And probably you now understand my point of view towards your work.

    Clear skies, we've both made our point.


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