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December 2019 Challenge: That thing you've been avoiding

Discussion in 'The RedBanned Bar & Grill' started by Aaron Olson, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. #1 Aaron Olson, Dec 1, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
    As with last year, I'm challenging myself to do something specific in December to get better. This year's idea:

    Take that one thing you've been avoiding the most and just do it—with a Christmas carol/song.

    It's been a rough year for me and I've been mostly inactive here, so I'm going to take December to simply begin again. I'll pick a Christmas carol, arrange it, mock it up with Dorico/NotePerformer, and perform it with VIs. To keep it simple (and give myself a fighting chance), I'll probably target a small ensemble like a brass quintet.

    The deadline is December 24th, or maybe the next Unleashed.

    Anyone else want to join me? What's one thing you've been putting off doing?
  2. These little challenges are the thing I enjoy the most on this forum. I will join you with this!
  3. Is there anything that would help keep you on track?

    Me too!

    Same here. 2019 has straight-up sucked a horses ass.

    Yes, so motivated.......

    (sounds of a record player coming to a halt)

    Fuck that. I hate Christmas songs.

    I will be watching the thread and cheering for you!
  4. Apart from wanting to avoid embarrassment now that I've posted this, a little feedback would go a long way. Since that's what we're all here for, I think I'm in good company.

    I figure it's an easy way to keep the scope small, but that's all. If you'll otherwise participate, then fuck the Christmas carols!
  5. This sounds fun! I’m down
  6. So ......how's it going?

    Thanks to your thread, I at least opened up Sibelius and got this notated out. It's just note-performer and Sibelius

  7. I didn't know Sibelius + NotePerformer could sound like this.
  8. I've had God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen stuck in my head for about three days, thinking about how to vary it beyond the first verse. I don't want to overthink it, but I'd like to do something beyond a simple arrangement (or I'm delusional and that's already enough work).

    Regardless, I'll do something this weekend in Dorico and post it.

    I'm curious, was there anything you were avoiding in Dirt Bag Donnie?
  9. I have not composed anything in about 6 months due to my recent struggles with new medications for chronic depression.

    So just touching the keys is a positive thing for me.

    Musically speaking....of course not. I just want something that sounds like I am getting high, having sex, or breaking the law. Or all three.
  10. I've already broken all the ground rules for this challenge :( The other day I was messing around with "Have Yourself a merry Little Christmas" and I came up with a bunch of ideas so I thought I'd expand on it. I know it's not really a Christmas carol but I was quite happy with the results and wanted to share it with you. Maybe it's a bit ambitious but my personal goal will be attempting to learn to play this on piano by the 24th. This will be a huge challenge for me and I'll probably fail but I'll try.

    Here's the arrangement:
    John Eldridge likes this.
  11. Extremely minor update: I just sketched out the basic chords for GRYMG for the first time through and will experiment with basic substitutions for the second time through, since functional harmony is currently what I'm the least sure of. I need to transcribe more jazz.

    Depression is a treacherous, awful thing. Good on you for touching the keys!

    @Mattia Chiappa that sounds nice! I look forward to hearing the recording of you playing it personally. I've also updated the first post to also say Christmas song since I wasn't aware of the distinction until you pointed it out just now.
  12. I got a lot less done on this than I thought I would, but here's I progress I did make, arranged in Dorico and rendered by NotePerformer:

    Did I achieve my goal? Not really, but I did do something, and that's better than nothing. PDF attached if you're curious.

    As always, I'd love some criticism. Here's my own initial take:

    There are too many ideas too close together and none of them are particularly well-developed. There are no real dynamics or articulations either; this is just what NotePerformer thinks mezzo piano should sound like for brass. While I don't mind the open fifths in the first two bars, the thirds in bar 3 don't sound really great. This might also be an artefact of not giving myself enough room, but the entrances aren't as smooth or lyrical as I'd like.

    I may yet take this and calm down a bit, give myself some room to develop, remove some garbage, and see what I can do to make it better. But until then, Happy Christmas everyone and I'll see you online for Unleashed VI.

    Attached Files:

  13. I'm trying to get a sense of your process from the excerpt. One comment is you don't seem to have a clear idea of the big picture.
    But ..... I could be very wrong

  14. I don't think it really applies to this thread, but I had a couple of friends over for dinner the other day, and we had an impromptu recording session of White Christmas. I spent some time in the afternoon preparing a bare piano arrangement - throwing in a couple of spicy harmonies (nothing too sophisticated). I played live piano in the recording.

    Thought it would be fun to share, even though it doesn't follow any of the rules of this challenge. I was surprised at how cool it is to have a soprano+bass (baritone) singing in octaves, I didn't expect this result! It's almost like in an orchestral setting: if you have instruments playing a melody in octave, you can allow yourself to have the harmony overlapping the melodic lines a bit more than usual; it also happens here, where the piano is sometimes playing in the same range as the singers without drowning them out as much.

    Here's the draft score (we decided to transpose it a minor third down at the last minute, to get everything to a warmer range for the voices)

    Attached Files:

    Aaron Olson and Martin Hoffmann like this.
  15. That was really awesome Francesco !

    You know it reminds me of how the piano during the 19th century was like the Television in that is was the source of evening entertainment.
    Friends would get together and do things like you did.

    Bravo !

    I think it sounds great, and thank you for sharing it !
  16. I'm sorry to hear that, seems to be a fairly common theme around here. Fuck 2019! I wish you and all the other redbanned-ers a happy new year and that 2020 turns out much better than 2019 for everyone!

    Wow, that was a nice surprise, sounds lovely!

    Good on your for trying and getting something done! I generally like what you've written but it feels a little... too short. Since I can't offer any advice on the composition, let me just ask you this: was it out of your hands that you didn't get as far as you wanted to (sometimes it just is) or could/should you have set a more realistic goal to get closer to the finish line with what you set out to do by saving time on other aspects like going for just a piano sketch?

    Composing... anything.
  17. No you're exactly right; I didn't have a clear idea for this piece at all. My week reached a point where it was a choice between get something done with no process vs getting nothing with a decent process, so I opted for the former.

    What I've learned is that it's hard to learn anything that way!

    I wouldn't say it was out of my hands; I could have chosen differently and created more time for myself. However, I don't think I'd choose any differently if given the chance again, so I should have opted for just a piano sketch instead.

    Next time I post anything here, it'll be a piano sketch first and some kind of mock-up second.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.

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