Current Goal – Album and Videos – Progression 18th May 2018

Stationing myself back home for a bit around Worcester. A time to grow my music, by writing new songs, adapting new techniques and bringing more content to my music via album recordings and video making. I’ve known for ages that to move forward with my career in music I’d need to create some content and context to what I do, have audio and video to use as promotion for my ‘brand’. My current goal is to write a 8-10 track (or more) album, to be recorded outside in environments to reflect how my music can be enjoyed and sit in different environments and for different moods. With the homemade demo CDs I sell when busking, I’ve had some really nice feedback, “I’ve been using it to study too and it’s perfect!”, “Perfect driving music” and “This music is amazing to relax to”.
So I’m aiming to promote the album with chilling out intentions and reading/studying music, maybe even push it towards getting on films and games – the dream!
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The first busk in Worcester was yesterday, and it was beautiful! The sun was shining and there were so many friendly faces that I’ve not seen for a while. Bumping into my best buddy Carlos (who I’ve not seen for months, because he’s been flying around the world drumming), he out of nowhere set up a mini portable recording studio around my busking setup and recorded me for a while. Him and Haydn Rogers have just started up a company – ‘Nectar: Film and Audio’. They organised a very impromptu video recording out near the river in Worcester – videos of that will be up soon! But! This created conversation about my album, now they will be recording my album and doing a bunch of videos out in woodlands, near lakes and some in the streets – so a lot of exciting things are coming this way! It’s strange how I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and only days before I wrote it all out – then Carl the angel, showed up and just gave me everything. I really think the universe answers to your call, you’ve just gotta shout out and let the universe know what you are needing/wanting.
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So now I’m in the writing process for this album, spending a lot of time pushing my techniques to create new sounds with the set-up. Still I’ve only been doing the guitarbass 5 months, today! Started on December 18th 2017! It’s my 5 month guitarbass anniversary, celebratory something! Well I’m sat in a Vegan Cafe just ordered a mighty big burger, so that’s the celebration (Be the Change Foods – Worcester UK).
So yes! Expect more updates on this album, for the meantime if you want a homemade demo CD sent your way, please email me – basschatfield@gmail.com
I wish you a great day! May the sun shine on your warm heart!
Keep giving your all to the world, stay awesome, follow your heart and run towards your dreams!
You have one life, so live it the way you wish to, you are a miracle!
Love,
James
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Proposal for a Series of Videos

What we intended to do?

So after holding multiple group discussions on what the project was. It was decided that we’d make a series of videos, to showcase our performance and composition abilities, exploring different types of videos such as; live performances, experimenting with split screens, overdubbing, music videos and animations. As we are all musicians it would make sense to have videos of us performing to use for our own promotion and portfolio.
To have 5 various videos featuring different techniques (both musicality and videography) was the final plan. These videos would be;
– A solo bass – live performance (recorded live) – performed by me
– A 3 piece band set up – live performance (overdubbing, pre-recorded track with multiple camera angles) – Micheal Price (Guitar), Ollie Patton (Drums) and James Chatfield me (bass).
– A solo band performance – experimenting with split screens – performed by Carl Browne.
– A duo act – live performance (recorded live) – Ollie Patton (Drums) and James Chatfield me (bass).
– An animation or film clip compilation – piece yet to be written and chosen.

We had other ideas thrown around, one was to make an album using found sounds (from around the UK), all filmed and documented to later create an album documentary. I was very interested in this and would of happily explored this on my own, but the amount of work to do would of been intense. There would have been a lot of traveling involved, which obviously means a lot of our own time and money, something we have little of. So although this was a very interesting project idea, it was crossed off the list.

This is a perfect example of what we plan to achieve (above – video example 1). Which is a live performance, both videoed and recorded live, this is where me and Ollie got the idea for a duo video.

Research

First research would be needed to understand how to create a musical video. We’d need to research video editors, cameras, lighting, video examples, camera angles, how to record audio for the video, over dubbing techniques etc. This was done by looking at YouTube videos we were inspired by, then analysing them, learning how they’d get certain camera angles and how they’d create the video. We’d then have lecturers on how to do certain things, such as how to work video editors, how to use lighting to create effects, different types of cameras, how to get certain angles, learning how to record audio for videos.

Video Example 1 – There are 4 different camera angles using 2 types of cameras DSLR & GoPro.
A fixed DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex, these cameras are very common within most videos you’ll see on the internet. With the ability to change lens you can get a multitude of possible screenings. Perfect for focus shots, close ups and artistic shots) – this shot has both bassist and drummer in view as well as the environment.
A handheld DSLR close to the bassist, this moves slightly changing views on the bassist, later keeping the bassist in shot but focusing mainly on the drummer. This gives great shots from the bass body up the neck, giving a clear view on what the bassist is doing with both hands (which is perfect as this video looks as though it’s been shot to show off their musical talents).
Drummer GoPro (These cameras are designed for extreme-sport use, but have become widely used within music because of the fish-eye lens, and because of mounts that can clip onto cymbal stands, guitar heads etc.). This is a fixed camera on a stand, giving a great view of the drummer, (yet again great for showing what the player is capable of) bassist, environment and also the camera man. The drummer being mostly right, makes the split-screen effect look ace, as later the fixed GoPro on both players is shown side by side, showing two great close-up shots.
Looking into this video in depth was needed for the duo video. As ours also holds the same meaning – to show off our musical talents. So in a way we can copy their methods.
From this video we can also see how lighting works to bring certain things into shot, at 1.36 you can see where the lights placed – side on angled down, so it captures both players. This not only brightens up the musicians but the furniture around them. Having the camera directly in front of them would cause reflections.

Looking into video editors we looked at what was already available to us, which was Final Cut Pro. As our lecturer Rob Grocutt knew this software well, we arranged 2 hour classes on it, so he could show us the basics and how to edit exactly how we wanted to. Final Cut Pro runs on Mac OS computers and is highly used by independent film makers, with the ability to have multiple audio/video layers it makes it a fast/easy process (once learned of course). We also looked into Sony Vegas as a member of the class has access to the program, but using this would be a case of learning from YouTube tutorials and forums because we don’t know anyone with a vast knowledge with it. But Sony Vegas runs on Microsoft Windows, so if anyone was to edit at home it’d have to be with Sony Vegas as Mac’s are only available in the College.
For video editors we would have to learn;
– Importing files (audio/video, which formats we can use)
– The geography (interface, drop-down menus, effects, volumes etc.)
– Techniques (to speed things up, shortcuts, possible effects etc.)
– Exporting (which formats?)

(Below – example of GoPro Fish-eye Lens)

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Resources

– Jim McCormack – Guitarist, Owns GoPro.
– Alex Nash – Guitarist, Bassist, Arranger, Owns camera (Nikon Low Standard).
– Carlos Browne – Drummer, Owns Q2HD & Extremecam.
– Oliver Millward – Bassist.
– Oliver Patton – Drummer, Keyboardist.
– Michael Price – Guitarist, Owns Q2HD.
– Ryan Guest – Guitarist.
– James Chatfield (me) – Bassist, Studio Engineer, Owns Q2HD & GoPro.
– Rob Grocutt – Studio Engineer, Multi Instrumentalist, Camera Man, Lecturer, Owns DSLR Canon 650D & GoPro.

These are the main people involved in this project, but as well as this there are outside sources we can contact for help. Between us all we know enough musicians to cover any instrument if required, know many different people in the music industry to help us with anything needed, know enough people who own certain bits of equipment we may need for filming, recording, lighting etc. and can always put money aside if we needed to pay for anything i.e. locations, travel or equipment. We also have the College where we study which has many resources, from recording studios, to dancers, to camera-crew, to a whole range of equipment. The great thing with the College, is that it’s free for us to use as much as we wish.

Timescale

So with all this plan and information we need to build out a timetable, when are we going to; record, learn, mix, master etc. when we intend to complete certain videos and who’s available for certain job roles. We set April as the month for the last bits of editing – mastering audio files, completing video edits and finalising everything, giving us September – March to get everything recorded. Throughout September to December we planned to have lectures in different elements of the video process, to test camera angles, recording techniques and try out a few different video tests. Then start the actual project in January, fresh and ready at the start of the year.

 

Sparks May Fly – Mac Birmingham Event

http://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/sparks-may-fly/

A few months back I sent my application to the event Sparks May Fly (above), this event was found and shared to me by one of my lecturers. The organisers Sid Peacock and Daniel Whitehouse were looking for 6 young musicians, to collaborate with improvisation over two dates, one being a workshop (16th May) the latter being a performance (23rd May). Seeing this as a perfect event to connect with musicians in the local area and perform some improvisation, I applied with a lot of enthusiasm. I received a reply a month after applying, saying I had been chosen to perform. Sending over details of times, locations and an invoice request (as this was a paid gig), straight away I got organised, wrote in my calendar and organised travel, luckily I noticed a friend of my Lewis Spencer (also a student on my course on the year below) had also got the gig, he was driving down and offered me a lift.

The budget for this gig would have probably only been the paying of the musicians, as the MAC don’t charge for use of the stages but will accept donations, so I can imagine after Sid and Daniel have paid 6 musicians they will either take the door money or donate it to the MAC. It’s quite lucky that the MAC give their stages for free because an event like this in a room the size of the ‘Hexagon Theatre’, would have been at least £250-£400 for the night, which would of been difficult to make back and cover expenses for the musicians (pay, food and drink). The budget for the musicians would have been transport, fuel money and public transport, although it wasn’t much fuel for Lewis to drive back and forth twice, and that will easily be covered with the pay we receive. Promotion was done on Social Media, but there was no paid advertisement so this also cost nothing, there’s also the event page on the MAC website. I also found this – http://www.brumnotes.com/7-essential-arts-events-to-catch-in-the-west-midlands-in-may/
Which says this project is an essential event to catch during May, not only is this a massive compliment but also a great promotional tool. And I guess this blog is also ‘promotion for the event’ but a post-promotion, maybe it’ll help if there’s future events and for the videos.

The workshop gave us chance to perform together and understand each others playing styles and abilities. Here I met some great people – Christine Cornwell, Xhosa Cole, Will Tuckwell, Andrew Woodhead and Sid Peacock. As this show was to be performed in couples, we tried out every combination of players (15), each playing for 1 minute, this was a strange experience as I knew our backgrounds were different so I got nervous and didn’t know exactly what to play. But this quick 15 minute exercise gave us an insight to what would work together and what wouldn’t. After this we discussed what had been performed, what people preferred and what we should do next, the decision was to all improvise together dropping in and out when feeling necessary, this was immensely fun and it slowly developed into some really magical moments, I’m kind of annoyed I didn’t record this, because it sounded great, each player had space and freedom to go wherever. It was then decided that we’d each perform twice with different partners, I was paired with Christine (Violinist) and Will (Guitarist).

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Me and Christine (above) performing together for the first time.

After sorting out performances with our different couples we had lunch (which was bought for us with the event’s budget). This gave me chance to explore the MAC (http://macbirmingham.co.uk) and walk around it’s park, there seems to be so much going on there, it’s fantastic. I got speaking to a security guard after visiting an art exhibition, he was telling me that anyone can just sit down and jam any time, providing they don’t disturb that is. So that gave me the idea to just go there one day set up and play some nice ambient/background music, which is perfect for me as I really want to start playing in art galleries and public places, what better place than this?! Everyone there is so friendly and talkative too, I was asked to dance by an organisation called ‘The Oaktree Clinic’, I’m not much of a dancer so that was refused, but they were really intrigued by ‘Sparks May Fly’ and asked for event details – word-of-mouth promotion in action.

Finishing up the day by showing each other the performances and giving feedback, we finished earlier than expected, shared contact details and said our farewells till next week. On the drive back me and Lewis discussed how it went and were both extremely happy with the workshop. I ‘Facebook’d’ everybody and sent friend requests, noticing I had some mutual friends with a few of the players, Ed Gauden was mutual friends with most of them, so we got talking about the Birmingham Jazz scene and he shared some venues and events that are worth checking out/performing. This lead both me and Lewis to research these venues and plan trips to see a few performances and see if we could perform ourselves, opening a huge new door to gigs. From one event, I met many musicians, leading to new contacts, leading to more gig opportunities.

With one week till show time, this was the time to get promoting and talk about the show. Although having a hectic week with Les Miserables performances I struggled to do much ‘social media’ promoting, until last minute –
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This received a few likes and some shares from the other musicians taking part. The great thing about Facebook is being able to share things like this and having the ability to tag friends, because then all their friends see it, so this one post could be shown to a few hundred people with ease. It also helps gaining connections with friends of friends. There was also an Instagram picture I posted –

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Because of Instagram’s feature to share instantly onto Facebook and Twitter, I was able to show multiple followers the same image with ease, in total this received a fair few likes.

The day of the event we all met at the MAC for 1, so we could set-up and do a last minute rehearsal. Also giving me chance to see the venue and look at different camera angles – there will be video footage of this performance.  We had a rider for the show, so we took advantage of this had some food and hit the bar to talk some more about the gig. Everyone seemed very excited and each had a fair amount of people coming to watch. Their promotion was word-of-mouth and already knowing quite a lot of people in Birmingham it was easier for them to get people there, as me and Lewis struggled to get anyone there because of transport issues.

The turn out for the event was brilliant! As the venue was quite intimate and there were about 30-40 people it looked very busy, which induced some nerves into me. An amazing performance from each pair, was shared with everybody although it only lasted about 45 minutes in total it was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. After the event everyone involved plus the audience went to the bar and got talking, this sprang new contacts, gig invites and a recording session with Christine – this idea came to mind as soon as we started performing together, as we both really liked the music we were making. So this coming Thursday I will be writing and recording some material with her, should be a very interesting session.

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IDMnger – Electronic Arrangement – Analysis

The original composition is film-music, which I have in a way ‘remixed’, in a very glitchy and strange manner. It was composed by John Barry and performed by his Orchestra, which would of contained woodwind, brass, string and percussion a typical set-up for film music, but instead I have replaced all these wonderful instruments with synthesisers and drum machines – a typical IDM set-up. I haven’t taken much from the original, only the main melody line and samples from the film itself (which isn’t part of the original score, but it’s related to the composition as it was for a film).
IDM stands for ‘Intelligent Dance Music’, which is also known as ‘sofa-music’, because of it’s intense glitchiness and complex arrangements, it’s easier to listen to whilst sat down rather than out in the clubs like other electronic genres. Examples of IDM artists – Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, who have explored and experimented with electronica, from the first samplers to the broken computers. IDM contains a palette of analog sounds, drum machines, found sound, samples, glitch noises, ambient sounds and anything else sounding strange. So to meet the required sound palette for this arrangement, I’ve included all the above.
The track begins and ends with ambient sounds, first being a synthesiser – Native Instruments Massive, last being a stretched out vocal sample with pitch shifting and delay effects thrown all over it – this being triggered by a sampler. I have included many analog sounds within my massive drum creation, using sounds from old Korg drum machines, and percussive hits which sound very bouncy and ‘analog like’. To re-create drum machines I’ve messed around with drum-loops chopping them up in a variety of ways; pitch shifting, reversing, stretching and compressing (to slow and speed up). There’s a couple of different drum-loops playing throughout, which change very rapidly, creating this glitch effect (as a drummer would never be able to play these beats only a computer which sounds broken). These drum-loops are accompanied by other drum samples (single hits) performing very strange syncopated rhythms, sometimes giving a swinging feel. I’ve used a variety of different rhythms from triplet feel swings to fast tempo break-beats. To create the synth sounds, I’ve tried to push the boundaries using extremely low pitches, which almost glitch the synth as it can hardly catch up, there are many arpeggio MIDI inserts which creates the insane melody line bouncing from octave to octave. I wanted to push the virtual software as I didn’t have any synth hardware to play with, which is what most IDM is made from (pushing the boundaries of hardware to create glitches).
The arrangement changes drastically throughout, having completely different rhythms from one section to the next, this is mainly because I had so many small ideas which I had no idea where to put, so I thought “why not stick them together and let it be”, which is exactly what happened. There are parts that I didn’t intend to keep in, but whilst listening back I forgot to mute certain channels which ended up sounding great with things already playing. The stabs occurring at 1:45 was by complete accident, whilst listening back I recorded a MIDI instrument without realising which ended up being these oddly placed stabs. I have used a ‘gate’ in a creative way, sticking it on drum loops to create shutter effects and combining with MIDI to create strange vocal glitches example being at 0:41. I liked the idea of MIDI taking over at parts such as the MIDI arppegios, I had no idea what would happen or what it’d sound like.
I’ve messed around with the film samples by applying all sorts of effects to it, these effects are to be triggered by a sampler. I’ve written it to be re-created, but it can be created again in anyway possible, providing it meets some rules of the score.

Here is the track below.

 

You are Nobody, You are Nowhere – Chamber Arrangement – Analysis

This is the original, performed by The Beatles. This is a Rock/Pop track, Rock because of it’s band set-up = guitars, bass, drums and vocals, Pop because it’s a short song written in a basic format, with ‘catchy’ vocal lines and melodies. Pop is normally diatonic and in a major key, in this case the key is E major.
My arrangement is completely different to the original, it’s an almost complete opposite of the original. My piece is an ‘Experimental Chamber Graphic Notation Score’, the score includes the lyrics, a set of instructions and graphic notation. The reason I wanted to go completely away from the original was to capture the sound of being ‘Nobody’, so no real structure or stylistic input should take place on the performance. Chamber normally means a piece that can be played by a small ensemble, hence the word ‘chamber’ (small enough to fit in a chamber), because it includes a small group of people communication/social interaction is a useful skill. So here my piece includes one or two vocalists and two or more instrumentalists, for my performance of this piece I would like to have one vocalist and 4 or 5 instrumentalists. The experimental element comes in with the instructions and graphic notation. The instructions was inspired by ‘Text Score’, something Stockhausen started doing. These instructions are like notation but not as specific and can be interpreted in many different ways.
My idea of this piece was to capture the sound of ‘nobody’ and ‘nowhere’, to do this I included annotations over the graphic score to induce this idea. The instructions at the start say “Close your eyes, imagine you are nowhere”, with experimental music you will normally have some form of rule to follow, or stimulus to use. I have done just that with words and images.
Chords from the original are included in the graphic notation, this doesn’t have to be followed by the performers. But this was used to have some form of connection from this arrangement to the original, I also included some vocal rhythms notated on the graphic notation. But these still don’t have to be played the performers, my idea is to have a good range of visuals for the performers to draw inspiration from.
Below is a performance of this arrangement. Here myself takes the role of vocals, plugging a microphone into a ‘Kaoss Pad’, with other musicians using guitars, wooden spoons, flutes and other found sounds to perform with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXIF5nunzec

I Think We’re Alone Now – Jazz Arrangement – Analysis

This is the original version, a simple pop track written in the late 80’s by Tiffany. So this could be classed as 80’s pop, which typically has a ‘band’ set-up of; synths, vocals, backing vocals, guitar, bass, drums (but normally these are just programmed drum machines). I write ‘band’ as normally an artist like this would perform to just a backing track. Like most 80’s pop this songs key is diatonic and in a major key – D, with the main melody (vocals) playing around the D major scale. I have taken two things from the original and changed it to fit my selected genre, taking the chorus and synth solo (located at 2:21).
The reason I decided to do a Jazz arrangement of this was because of the synth solo, as it just sounded extremely cool and I could imagine a live band set-up playing this as a unison line. The original synth solo is playing different shapes of the pentatonic, after learning it on my bass and finding difficulty playing it up to tempo, I slowed it down and chopped up the last run.
After slowing down the unison line, I decided to write a slower Jazz standard. Mostly keeping in the same key of the original – D major, but using extended chords and using chords from other keys, I did this because it is common for Jazz to have chords from multiple keys. The chords I have used are – Em7 A6 G(#11) D6 Em7 E6 Fmaj7 Dmaj7.
The first 4 bars hold diatonic chords, which are all extended chords, introducing #11’s and 6’s – these extensions are often found in Jazz . These chords were chosen as they complimented the melody, although Em7 doesn’t consist of any notes from the melody, it still works very well. These 4 chords make a 2.5.1 with an added 4 = 2.5.4.1 ending on the D6 which is the key root. So with these chords you could solo using any scales/modes related to D major.
The second 4 bars introduce some non-diatonic chords – E6 and Fmaj7. E6 – E G# B C, as it has the G# it makes it A major, although the melody has a natural G in it, but this is more of a passing note into the next bar – Fmaj7. So now both F and C are natural it goes into F major, this chord was chosen as I moved the melody down a major second which gave a C natural, the melody and chord sound really great together and give a definite key change.
I’ve kept the melody roughly the same, changing note values to work better with the slower tempo. Bar 1, beat 2 would usually be 3 quavers, but instead I’ve made it a dotted quaver followed by a semi-quaver. Now this wouldn’t work if vocals were to play the melody as it’d miss a word, but because a guitar would be playing this it can work, and the melody can still be recognisable. I’ve changed the melody slightly by shifting some notes, but it’s very similar. Bars 7&8 are shifted down a major second from the original at bars 3&4.
The unison line is taken from the synth solo and stripped down slightly. But having this hints at a Jazz Fusion kind of track, as unison lines are commonly found, where multiple instruments play simultaneously. Original I wanted to have a Jazz Fusion track but the slower tempo seemed to work a lot better.

Marketing the Creative Arts – The Uneventful Event

Introduction

This blog post will be the documentation for a gig I will be putting on with my classmates, it’ll be written over the space of 2-3 weeks. Giving me time to write out preparations, a write up of the gig (including visual and/or audio footage) and then a final review on how I thought the gig went. I will write about how other events have influenced my planning, and refer back to older blog posts (i.e the marketing a gig without internet).
Writing out this will be useful for referring back to when setting up future marketing projects.

First written notes on this project: gig in 310 during May, in college hours, use Instagram and Facebook as promotion platforms (study statistics from previous posts), re-read older blog posts on marketing. 

The ‘Brownfield’ project that me and Carl have been working on recently will be the headline act for this show, there will also be performances of the classes arrangements (covers stylistically different to original), this is the current ‘idea’. The show will be at Kidderminster College during May. So now, how do I market this?

Planning

The first task was to select an act for the gig, we decided on ‘Brownfield’ as it’s been a working project throughout our 2nd year on this course. Brownfield currently have a portfolio on (bandcamp) and a presence on (facebook), already we have promotional material and platforms for promotion. Also this act is known around the music department at Kidderminster College, meaning an audience (of a small size) is somewhat definite. Since it’s being held at the college, we will mainly focus on promoting to students and lectures.

10312780_1658328017729559_6090313974998482902_nPromoting to the college:

  • Posters around all floors – capturing attention of students, as proven with a recent poster (15th April left), for a show being held just outside the college on the 23rd of April (which has a large interest from college students). The poster design is by a friend of mine (also a student of the college) – Connor Di Leo. He would be a source of promotion.
  • Word of mouth, speaking to people around the college, going into lectures and informing students.
  • Using the college newsletters, twitter and website.
  • Performing small snippets of the gig material, around the college almost ‘busking’.

The luxury of promoting to college students, means the budget is minimal in fact it’s non-existent. As everything is in one place we need not worry about promotion such as: radio broadcasts, flyers/posters around town, magazine write-ups etc. which all have a price. If we promote as listed (above), we can use the college’s printers for posters (possibility of paying Connor for the design), word of mouth costs nothing, the college website would be free as they encourage such projects and ‘busking’ wouldn’t require equipment hire.

From this small list we can start on a ‘task-list’, what needs to be done? when it needs to be done? why it needs to be done? who needs to do it?

– What? Create posters or contact Connor for poster design.
– When? Within a week of finding out the event date and time. (By the 27th).
– Why? To start promotion, content for the Facebook event page and to spark interest around the college.
– Who? Someone comfortable with poster designing.

– What? Speak briefly in a few lectures.
– When? Possibly a week before the event and after the posters have been placed around.
– Why? ‘Two-Pronged Approach’ – this is a tactic taught by a lecturer. Where you inform someone the same information from two different angles. For example, ‘Robert’ wants to work in a studio, a friend of Robert knows Paul who owns the studio, the friend casually talks with Paul throwing this in the conversation “I know a guy, Robert, who’s very good in a studio, he’s currently looking for work….blah blah”. Then a week or so later Robert approaches Paul and tells him he’s looking for work, as he’s previously heard about Robert he’ll be more inclined to hire him.
In relation to this promotion, if students have seen the poster around they might become interested, the talk could then boost interest.
– Who? Someone comfortable presenting to a class, and is also the voice of the class.

– What? Word-of-mouth, talk to students around.
– When? From when the poster is up till the event.
– Why? Talking about it, interests people.
– Who? Everyone involved, as it can be done any time and anywhere.

– What? Get the event on college’s website and twitter.
– When? Once all details of event have been confirmed.
– Why? This online promotion may bring in an outside audience.
– Who? Someone good with e-mailing and talking to the college staff.

– What? Perform small sets around the college in a busking style.
– When? A few days before the event.
– Why? It would act as both an audio and visual form of promotion, this would be like another ‘two-pronged approach’.
– Who? A small band with rehearsed material.

Later during this week the class had a meeting to plan out what was being performed and who was performing on each track. Selecting roles to musicians who felt comfortable playing certain styles of tracks, as we all have two different styled arrangements a wide range of styles and playing techniques will be covered.
After this we set up a group chat on our Facebook group, discussing what was happening with promotion, as some of the class were away so via internet we assigned who would contact the college’s website and who would ‘busk’.

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 The Event

After making a very thought out plan, the actual event was an unorganised mess. A few weeks before the event everyone involved got overloaded with outside work, meaning the last minute preparations (poster design, contacting the college, busking, rehearsals) couldn’t be fulfilled, creating a very rushed performance from the majority of the class. Having nothing fully rehearsed resolved in us quickly learning the tracks an hour before playing. Having not promoted it, we weren’t expecting an audience, but somehow a small collection of people knew about it and waited while we awkwardly/unprofessionally set-up and had last minute practices.
How could all of this been avoided?
The only possible solution would of been to set the date for the event back a good month or so, giving everyone chance to complete and focus on other work commitments. Commitment for something like this is very important, even if one person loses focus it can affect everything for everybody else. So a set date for this and a timetable (for rehearsals and promotion) fitting around the timetable of everybody else, should have been clarified first.
Although a lot went wrong with this event, it held a few great performances, this one being a very strange;

Conclusion 

We can take this event as a lesson for future events. Checking availability and commitment is essential. After being involved with many different events over the past year, fully hosting your own gig without outside help is quite difficult. Where with most gigs I’ve just been involved with promoting and finding support acts, rather than sorting out a venue, contacting places for online advertisement (other than my own social media). Doing the entire ‘package’ is a difficult and demanding challenge indeed, so now I’ve a very small experience in it I can see the mistakes and avoid them in future events organised alone.

 

Level 16 – Bossa Nova Arrangement – Analysis

Level 16 is a ‘Bossa Nova’ arrangement, instrumentally made of; Guitar(s), Drums, Percussion, Vocals and Alto Saxophone. I chose these instruments because they are typically found in Bossa Nova music and I wanted to attempt making a standard Bossa Nova arrangement. The rhythm guitar is a classical guitar – which is ‘the’ sound of Bossa Nova, it is very rare to find a track without it, the melody guitar is an electric jazz guitar and the percussion is an egg shaker.

The track is in 2/4 at 70 bpm, a slow pulse is typically found in Bossa Nova. The rhythm guitar plays the first two beats following with off-beats, the technique to play this requires finger-picking, so the thumb plays the bass notes keeping the pulse whilst the fingers pick the chords, this rhythm has more of a sway than a swing (like you’d find in Jazz). On the score I have notated it on one staff, but with multiple voices – the down stems for the thumb the up stems for the fingers, writing like this saves confusion. The chords (Dsus4/F and G9 (omit5) were chosen because of the rhythmic pattern used, as the chords span out on 4 neighboring strings it is easy to finger-pick them, also these chords are very close together so moving quickly through the rhythm is of ease. In Bossa Nova, chords tend to be close together because of the rhythms used, so you will find a lot of ‘tri-tone substitution’ which allows key changes with ease (as it takes a lot of Jazz influence, key changes will occur often). In this track the chords stay diatonic, only when the F#9 is introduced does it change key, but even then it goes straight back into the original key – C. All chords were chosen because of ease with movement and chord shapes.

The ‘A’ melody plays around in C major, but just before and during the F#9 chord it adds the F# to hint at G major. But because the F#9 has F#, A#, G# and E# (F# Major), it creates this very dissonant clash as there are still natural G’s and A’s, this dissonance was accidentally made, but the melody grew on me and I really enjoyed the clash. The melody rhythms are quite fast at times, Bossa Nova melodies do tend to be filled with notes and have fast rhythmic phrases. The longer note durations are used so the melody instruments can breath. At bar 31 the vocals and guitar play the melody in unison, creating a ‘scat’ like sound.

On bar 31 a typical Bossa Nova pattern begins playing. The kick drum is playing ‘a1 & a2’ throughout, whist the Hi-hat is playing the 16th notes and side stick is mimicking a ‘Brazilian clave’ pattern. There are some variations where cymbals accent selected melody notes.

The solo’s from the lead guitar and alto saxophone are quite short and include some very fast runs, stepping into 32nd notes which being at 70 bpm isn’t quite as worrying to play. Bars 80-81 the alto sax plays a motif from the main melody, but a lot faster.
In bar 20 the guitar solo plays in G major over a G9 chord, this can be used because of the chords route note, most scales starting from the root will work whilst soloing, I could of used a minor pentatonic, but that would of pushed a more blues/rock sound. A Dorian would of also worked over this because the 9th shape fits in a Dorian shape. Bar 23 a C# is introduced, because of the speed the dissonance works well. Bar 27 introduces notes from the chord being played, the Db.

 

Goof Groove – Multi-Genre Arrangement – Analysis

This arrangement is a mix of genres, as multi-genre was a given choice. It is an original arrangement so it’s all been composed by myself. I’ve tried to mix many different genres in this piece, to try and get a strange collection of instruments working together.

I’ll first start talking about the first section of the piece, which is a glitch-hop type groove. Glitch-hop will always include ‘glitch-type’ sounds for rhythmic patterns, sounds like electronic noises, software bugs, buzzes etc. this is at the start of the track, with 4 different samples that have been cut up and edited to create these ‘glitch-type’ sounds. There are no specific rhythms for ‘glitch-hop’ like you’d find Rock or Reggae, it’s personal choice, but the main idea is to sound abstract and broken. A simple electronic beat is then introduced, which layered with the glitch rhythm, makes it sound more glitch-hop than a standard electronic rhythm.

The next section jumps through a variety of ‘film-music’ chord progressions and melodies. Firstly a chord progression played by a piano and bass guitar, starting with an E7 and dropping the 3rd down a semitone twice (E,G#,D – E,G,D – E,F#,D), then resolving on a ‘Cmaj7(omit3)’, this was used to for a descending effect creating a smooth transition from one genre to the next. Here the piano continues to supply chords and a melody along with panpipes and an ocarina. Like the chord progression before there is a descending element to it, mainly played by the panpipes which plays half-notes going down A Dorian, giving a minor feel, this then ascends slightly but resolves on the root note of the relative minor – E. The Ocarina provides the main melody for this bit, which has rapid jumping eighth triplet phrases, going into descending half notes, which then harmonises with the panpipes by a minor seventh adding to the minor feel, the reason the ocarina’s rhythms augment is to help with this minor feel. The piano also carries on this descending movement, but this time it’s a diatonic movement using notes – D&A,D&G,D&F#. Once these three instruments reach the end minor note, two cellos and a violin come in with a slow movement. This being the reason I chose to slow down and ‘sadden’ the panpipes and ocarina, so the transition would be smooth yet again. The cellos swell in to add a minor push, the violin then plays a simple melody resolving on the F#.

It then goes into this horrible ‘Gabba’ section, the reason I chose ‘Gabba’ was because it’s a very harsh and fast-tempo genre, I wanted to break from this slow descending movement and skip genres massively. Gabba involves distorted drum samples with a very ‘four-to-the-floor’ rhythm to it, here I used a kick drum and snare both with distortion on. The synth also has distortion, and although it’s going up a semi-tone from F#-G, it’s still in key with the earlier section.
Next is a 4 bar jazz bass solo, which completely goes out of key from the earlier sections. There’s a 16th note swing feel to it provided by a ride cymbal. The bass is playing arpeggios and using chromatic runs, it ascends Amaj7, then into a few chromatic patterns, then a B major triad, then ascending a C#maj7, then ascending an Eb major triad with a single Db walking into it and finishing with a straight chromatic run down. There was no real chord choice to this, it came from physically playing the bass with the 16th note swing, and finding what I thought sounded good and what worked after that horribly distorted Gabba section.

Next is a ‘reggae’ section triggered by a vocal sample, a sample typically found in ‘Dub’ (electronic reggae). The rhythm choice is very standard in ‘reggae’ and found in most tracks. It’s a swung off-beat feel. The kick is found on beats 1, and snare on beats 3, with many variations (all these variations fit with the swung feel and have triplet patterns), the hi-hat is on beats 2 & 4 which feels like an off-beat because this section sounds like a 2/4 pulse. There are a lot of syncopated rhythms, where different combinations of instruments follow in a unison manner, for example there are parts where the bass guitar follows the bass drum pattern, throughout the guitar is following the off-beat hi-hat rhythm. And towards the end bars there’s a unison line played by all instruments. The bassline is playing a simple pattern that’s repeated with variations, the pauses give the melody line a place to breath and stand out, on the bassline there is a sub-bass synth that plays a single note this is to boost the bass guitar’s punchiness. During the first 8 bars of this section, there is a second guitar line playing a melody that isn’t swung, I chose not to swing this melody because the other instruments drop out creating this breathing effect, if there was still a bassline under it I don’t think the melody would be as affective.
This section is in Ab major. The first melody is made from the notes of the Bb minor pentatonic, descending from F, then the unison line which consists of the first three notes of the Bb minor pentatonic . The chords here are F minor 6th with the 6th moving occasionally to make a minor 7th (omit 5), the bassline uses the notes within this chord (F Db Ab). The melody works well with this because it’s starting from the root note of the chord and bassline line – F. The lead guitar cuts out here for the brass section to take over.
During the next 8 bars the brass section comes in, consisting of Alto Sax, Tenor Sax and Trumpet. They all play the same notes here, the alto and trumpet stay in the same octave where the tenor plays an octave lower, having brass playing unison lines can normally be found in reggae. So here the brass section takes the melody, which is an altered version of what the guitar was previously playing, keeping that same unison line on the last 2 phrases. The melody is still using the Bb minor pentatonic but with different phrasing and rhythms, the notes overlap the bassline, this works well with the brass because of their powerful tone. The second part of the brass section varies, where the trumpet takes a lead role and plays a higher melody which then leads into the final stabs. A natural B is introduced among the brass section in this final bit, creating this descend into the melodic minor realm, which leads into the next section. This was used once again to make a transition from one genre to the next.

The next section is an ‘experimental’, which includes strange effects on a baby crying loop and two synths playing with odd chords in odd time signatures. The first arpeggio is an F#+octave and an augmented 5th – D, which creates this really evil sound, the reason I used this plus it being in 13/8 makes it more off-putting . The thing with experimental music, it’s just a case of trying things out to see if it works, which is exactly what I did here. It then drops the F# octave to an E, giving an augmented 5th and minor 7th. It then goes into 12/8, where the arpeggio varies from Bb C Eb to Bb Db Eb, this sounds a light more brighter and happier, the reason I chose this was to create this feeling of life. From an evil sound to a happy sound creates this feeling that life is beautiful, but then it changes when a synth choir plays underneath the arpeggios. This section is in Db major. The choir plays all notes in Db major until the very last note where it takes a sudden change, which completely changes the feel of the  track. This note is a A natural, so this beautiful arpeggio and choir sounds great until that A is played. As the next section starts on A with the bassline, I thought it could work in some ways.

The final section is a funk section, with slap bass, drums and the horn section (from the previous reggae section). The slap bass is a very fast 16th riff repeated, which includes a lot of dead notes (these are to played with the ‘pop’ finger), slap is a used in most funk tracks, especially fast slap like this track. The notes are from D major, in a mixolydian mode – which is a mode found amongst funk tracks as it’s the 5th mode, which supplies the dominant 7th chord – a chord used a lot in funk. There are some syncopated patterns with the bass and drums, which is also found in the reggae section, this syncopation is found often in both genres, as the bass and drums normally clue together tightly. The drum pattern includes a constant 8th note on the hi-hat with the snare hitting beat 3, the kick drum is always found on beats 1 but flows freely throughout, as long as beat 1 is hit the groove is maintained. There are some 16th off-beat patterns played on the snare, which adds a pushing feel to the groove, this was used as the bassline is almost pushing the tempo, being it so fast-paced. Mainly the horns are playing unison lines, with the Tenor sax being an octave lower, but there are some harmonies taking place here which are major thirds and perfect fourths, these are used to add some brightness to the melody line. At the end here there is a unison line played by all instruments, including the drums playing the rhythmic pattern, unison lines are normally found within funk.

So that is my ‘Goof-Groove’, a multi-genre piece. The reason I chose such contrasting genres, was to try and understand how to arrange in different styles and make different styles work together.