"Metropolis," the pop-rock musical I posted songs from earlier, ("Opening of Act Two" , "The Machines are Beautiful") also had its gentler moments.
"In My Life - vocal"
"In My Life - instrumental"
--is a ballad which wasn't in the original 1989 London production of the musical. As I worked on the new version of the show with composer Joseph Brooks, he wanted this new song to be worked into the story. After some brainstorming, we decided it would be a trio sung shortly after the lead woman, Maria, discovers that the scientist, Warner ("Rotwang" in the original silent film) is her father.
Warner, Maria, and the lead man, Steven, are in separate locations as they reflect on the meaning brought into their lives b y* the discovery of each other. First, Warner is heard, and his verse is about the reunion with his daughter. Then Maria is heard, and her verse is about discovering that her father is alive. Steven is heard last, singing about Maria, and she joins him in harmony as her thoughts switch to her growing love for Steven. All three are heard together for the final segment.
An important element to the mood of the song, in context of the musical, is that all three know that Warner is in danger. Shortly after the song, Warner is assassinated, something all three characters knew was probably inevtiable.
Brooks gave me the chords and melody for the song, and asked me to write the arrangement. Acoustic guitar had already been established in the score as a primary instrument in the softer numbers. What you hear in the recording is a blend of MIDI guitar and a real guitar. I produced the tracks, using my hardware module, the Korg X5DR, as the primary sound source. My MIDI guitar is panned towards the right. Then my guitarist friend Frank Fullerton layered in the real guitar that you can hear in the lead spot towards the left.
It was my very beginning with Cakewalk software, and this was the first time I'd ever dealt with the Staff View. I didn't know any better than to just let the notes be displayed as I played them, no quantization either in the track or the display. I had worked out exactly what I wanted the guitar to play, but hadn't given Frank very readable notation to work with. It was a mess of tied 16th notes. He didn't complain, just went about the task of recording the guitar's part in short segments of a few measures at a time, then mixed all it with my MIDI tracks so the main element of the guitar duet predominated. It's interesting to hear how the real guitar seems to trick the ear into hearing the second guitar as more natural sounding than it really is.
You can hear the work Frank and I did together on the basic tracks that the singers later sung to on the second link above.
At the time, I objected to the title of the song, "In My Life." I reminded Brooks that there's a very well known song b y John Lennon with that title. He wasn't concerned, pointing out that there are also other songs with the same title, that titles can't be copyrighted, and that there was no better title for his song. I couldn't argue with that really. But as an in-joke, I added a brief Harpsichord passage that you can hear starting at 2:20. It was a take off on George Martin's Harpsichord solo during the instrumental break of The Beatles' recording.
As explained in the first "Metro" threads, these tracks were for a 2002 production of the show I directed. I was still mostly using my old hardware sequencer, and the sound sources were all hardware synth modules. This was long before any soft synths existed, and when I would imagine that GPO wasn't even yet a glimmer in its creator's, Gary Garritan's, eye.
Here's a snapshot of me working in my hardware based home studio during the time of the "Metropolis" project.
*It remains the strangest glitch ever on this Forum. Raymond first discovered that it's impossible to type the word "b y" without putting a space between the letters. The word won't show up otherwise - !