Mr. McCready is in a Barrel of Fish/ Obama's Llama's Mama Does The Samba For this assignment, we were given the task of writing a piece of our choice, as long as it was in A major/minor/whatever. I ultimately chose A minor, since it's my favorite musical key out there, but since my last piece was also written in A minor, I decided to write this one in 12/8 time signature, whereas Digital Dungeon was written in 4/4. (In other words, this song is written in triplets.)
I ultimately wrote a sailor-sounding song, which is how I got the name Mr. McCready is in a Barrel of Fish- because I have a very weird sense of humor, and therefore my ship just randomly has Mr. McCready sitting in a barrel of fish on board the ship. Don't ask why- Mr. McCready is just known for doing weird stuff like that.
The main problem I had was coming up with something to add. We were supposed to add a "unique flair" to our piece, by adding something "special" to it. It's hard to define what you're supposed to add, but since I couldn't come up with something to add, I just downloaded the first piece (Mr. McCready is in a Barrel of Fish) and just added a bunch of memes into the song.
So, why did I choose memes? I couldn't come up with something. What was I supposed to do, add something that was actually good for the piece, overall making the song of much better quality?
In all seriousness though, I really didn't know what to add, so I just made a piece called "Obama's Llama's Mama Does The Samba," where it's just a bunch of memes. Why not?
Once again, I wrote this piece with sailors in mind, trying to give the piece an aquatic feel. I chose a 12/8 rhythm, with the occasional 3/4 "stutter rhythm," as I like to call it. (In other words, the pattern goes from 1-2-3-1-2-3 to 1-2-1-2-1-2.) As for what this song taught me?
Digital Dungeon For this assignment, we were given the task of making a remix/cover of the theme from "Chariots of Fire," by replacing instruments in the piece and adding our own instruments to it. But the assignment itself wasn't what inspired this piece. Instead it was Mr. McCready's insistence to be as creative as possible and make the piece our own.
Rather than just using the Chariots of Fire theme as a reference point and outline for what my piece should sound like at the end, I instead went down the philosophical path of asking what the main components of the Chariots of Fire theme are. According to what I saw from Mr. McCready's demonstrations, a proper Chariots of Fire remix needs: an A-B-A-B melody pattern, an A pattern with a lot of long notes in the melody, and a synthesizer in the background. That's all I really need- now, it's time for that creative touch; translating this piece from C# Major at 136 beats per minute to a song in A natural minor at 148 beats per minute.
There you go- you have the main components of a Chariots of Fire theme. After asking Mr. McCready if we could change the key signature and tempo and whatnot and getting a consistent answer of "yes" to all of my questions. I was super excited to write a piece known as "Digital Dungeon." Ultimately, the piece I composed is a piece that only slightly resembles the original Chariots of Fire theme. Once again, I took only the bare essentials of the piece, and everything from there on was my "creative twist."
One of the main things I learned from this piece is that you should go as far as possible with your music, while still having it be a good song. Some of the things I did in particular in this piece that diverge from the normal "Chariots of Fire" theme include the synthesizer background being subdivided into 16th notes instead of 8th notes, the melody sounding somewhat robotic in section A, swapping the piano and synthesizer in section B (Synthesizer is melody and piano is background, instead of piano being melody and synthesizer being background,) and overall a much gloomier tone than the original piece. When writing music, you should always experiment around, and see what sounds best. With a good sense of rhythm, you'd be surprised just how well you can write a melody simply by writing down some notes that you think would sound good, and making minor tweaks as you go along. The only thing I was afraid of when writing this piece was straying too far from the original Chariots of Fire theme and ultimately getting a low score on the assignment because of it, but that's why I explained earlier on that I really went deep with my understanding of what the Chariots of Fire theme is as a song. Rather than just remixing the piece with new instruments and adding some beats, I instead took notes on some common themes in the Chariots of Fire theme, and used that as the very core of the song, and everything else was the creative twist.
Overall, this was awesome. I never expected this to come out of what was once a beautiful and soothing song.
Story of a Police Journey For this assignment, We were given the task of creating a suspenseful song and make a music video for it. The original thought was to create a simple video consisting of random clips and whatnot from a site called "WeVideo." Not me, though. As someone who is a huge fan of writing fantasy, I ended up creating a 21 minute long video, telling the story of an unnamed cult leader who is being hunted down by police for breaking 136 cars, as well as the murders he committed. That's all I'll say for the short film, as I'd rather not spoil what happens.
Oh, yeah, and there's also an audio clip containing the original song.
The main thing I learned from this project isn't actually based in music, but rather it was all the lessons I learned about acting, film making, and the like. For the record, the cast of this video consisted of only two people- Me, who played both the cut leader and the policeman, and my dad, who plays.... somebody. You'll have to watch the video to find out.
The acting was one of the main things I learned about in this project. I wanted to portray my character as I felt it should be portrayed- an ominous cult leader from Canada, who tries to be charismatic but ultimately is more strange and unknown than anything charismatic. I tried to give him a Canadian accent as well, since the entire video takes place in Toronto, Canada, but I didn't have the time to practice, so I just ended up using a weird half-Russian accent instead. I tried to add some other minor details as well, like the fact that my character actively avoids ever looking at the camera.
Wow. I must say, I am very hopeful that we can do an assignment like this again. Instead of trying to be spooky, though, we should do medieval fantasy instead. Or Science Fiction. Or Western. Honestly, anything goes. Better yet, just let u do any genre we'd like! Let us have a choice in what the theme is.
Maple Plains For this assignment, I had to use beats as a background for a series of arpeggios that were used as the main melody. We also needed a whole note bass line. It was a rather simple assignment, really.
I had a bit of a hard time writing the piece due to time constraints, though- the piece had to be in C Major, and had to be between 2 and 3 minutes long, whereas I had a piece that was 6 minutes long and in F harmonic minor! Oops. I quickly created a new project in Ableton Live, writing up chord sequences as you told us to, used world beats, and created a piece called "Maple Plains." (At least that's what I think I called it- don't quote me on that.) I went through the various requirements, and created the piece. I hope you enjoy!
When writing the piece, I chose the chord sequences I did for the sake of sounding peaceful. I tried to spice things up a little by writing my chord sequences and bass line in different patterns other than the standard 1 measure of each chord, using two different arpeggiators on the marimba and the buzzheng. I tried to create energy by using high velocity, but volume limitations didn't allow me to do that this time around. The compressors just made it too loud. There's definitely some velocity though, since velocity is required to create noise, so a musical piece without velocity would just be silent.
During this project, I learned how chords can be used to make interesting sounds, without requiring too much complexity. I also learned how to write in a less-velocitied way than I usually do.
Journey Through Music Well, Soundtrap is refusing to load while I'm writing this, so here's a picture of a Soundtrap loading screen for you all. Enjoy!
For the first assignment given this year, we were told to make a piece on Soundtrap that encompasses our musical styles. My musical style isn't that consistent, but in general, I tend to like to write highly energetic and fast music, both of which I featured in this song. I also learned a bit from this song from experimenting with stuff, such as adding a key change near the end of the song, and using various combinations of instruments. At the end of the day, this was a fun assignment. Truly, though, if one i to write a piece of msuic, it is technically in their style already. Once again, this isn't a totally accurate song to what my music sounds like.