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Holiday piece I'm working on
No, not violin. A duet for 2 pianos.
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DanielB
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August 20, 2014 - 9:18 am
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Figured I'd put this up for some folks who have wondered occasionally about some of my non-violin musical projects.  I try to write at least one new piece of holiday music every year.  

(And a reminder, now is about the time of year to start working on any new holiday pieces you want to learn or write, to have enough time to get them polished.)

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Barry
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August 20, 2014 - 9:49 am
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very nice

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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Fiddlerman
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August 20, 2014 - 1:33 pm
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Cool. :)
Thanks

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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coolpinkone
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August 20, 2014 - 3:31 pm
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Oh Dan.. how sweet.  I love it.  Very very pretty!!  I can picture hearing this while I do some fabulous tree decorating.. or getting up early for some coffee and egg nog.  A Peaceful holiday tune, maybe for meditating or praying.  

It is glorious.  Is there a dulcimer playing? 

Thank you so much.  I hope you repost around the holidays.  I would hate to forget about it.  🙂

Love it.

Love,

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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DanielB
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August 20, 2014 - 6:31 pm
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Thanks, folks.  You are too kind.

hats_off

@coolpinkone: No dulcimer, Toni, just two pianos.  One way to the right and the other left.  Glad you like it.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Uzi
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August 20, 2014 - 9:21 pm
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Really nice composition and well played. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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BillyG
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August 21, 2014 - 1:38 am
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@DanielB - very nice indeed - didn't notice the stereo separation / panning until I put the 'phones on to listen again - oh - around 0:40 - 0:50 (and throughout) you can imagine snowflakes drifting across the front of the window, and the big log fire just roaring and sparking away...  my imagination also let me hear a robin singing... ha! 

Nice workthumbs-upthumbs-upthumbs-up

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Ferret
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August 21, 2014 - 1:53 am
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I really liked it Dan. 

Thanks mate

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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APA
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August 21, 2014 - 1:59 am
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lovely melody, how long does it take to compose such a melody?

Petercrotchet-1218semiquaver-1214

Strange bow hold. Can be a pinky problem?

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DanielB
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August 21, 2014 - 7:33 am
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Thanks again, folks.  Glad you liked it.

@APA: How long it takes to write a bit of music depends on the music and the person doing the writing.  With this piece, from deciding "I'm going to sit down and write a piece of music" to having everything you hear here in the mix took me about 4 hrs of work. 

@BillyG: Ah, thank you, MadBill.  Some thoughts of snowflakes and warm fires and other such imagery did go into it.  Does my heart good to hear that they "came through in the mix" at least a bit.  I'm going to be listening for that robin every time now, though. LOL

Now, you want more fun, Bill.. It was also written to act as easy accompaniment for playing/jamming.  Pick up a fiddle, guitar, flute, harmonica or anything that can do a C major scale and give it a go.  If you happen to like to strum a guitar or anything like that, the chords are C F Dm G. 

_________

I'll talk a little about the theory and etc that went into this piece down here, so folks can just skip over it, if that isn't your cup of tea.

I don't usually put up my "non violin" work here, since hey, this is a violin/fiddle forum.  I don't write "classical", since I was born a century or few too late.  I also don't write the "Cat Threw A Hairball on Maggie's Drawers Again Reel", because I don't really live a fiddle lifestyle.  LOL

This piece is a duet.  One piano is all the way to the left and the other all the way to the right.  The challenge I was going for was to come up with two pieces that weren't identical, but would fit together and sound like one big piano piece when actually played together.

I do not like duets where one player does most of the work and the other just plays "accents" or strictly backs them up.  I like both sides of a duet to be able to stand as at least being listenable music.  Ideally, I prefer them to be variations of what is recognizably the same piece. 

The piece is "beginner" level for piano.  All chords are easy, no long stretches, and neither player's left hand has to do more than 2 notes at once.  Even "easy beginner", since it is key of C major with no really tricky changes.  No pedal or long reaches or hard shifts.  All trills are ones that fall pretty easy under the fingers.

Part of that is because I am rusty.  LOL 

But the other part of it is because for music students and their teachers, getting the rights to perform any actual new music is an extra cost.  Schools often balk at paying for it, and so that cost gets passed to students or their parents, or sometimes the teacher just pays it out of their pocket so students can play something that isn't the same tired old material as was done in past years.  All too often, what happens is just that there isn't any new music played.

Or folks put up a video on youtube or somewhere showing cool stuff of their holiday or where they are playing along, and it gets taken down or "silenced" because they used some music in the background and some company's lawyers filed a complaint. 

Ever since one of my profs back in college explained to me about the problems with getting new music for recitals and student performances, I've tried to write at least one piece of new holiday music every year.  

Also, I get kinda burned out on the same 20 or so holiday songs heard over and over in every store and etc all through the season.  Writing a bit of new stuff for the holidays lets me use things I learned in composition class and music theory, while giving family and friends a little break from those favorite (but overplayed) traditional pieces of holiday music.

My usual objective or "mission" with writing a holiday piece is to make background music.  Something that could be playing while folks are engaged in any of the pleasant parts of their holiday season.  Like if their life was a movie, the music that might be on the soundtrack for a few minutes of it somewhere.

I've personally been doing more this year with working on my improvisation with violin against backing tracks, so I made it a point to make this one easy to either follow along with or make up a nice little melody to float on top of it easily.  

And still be something where a couple of first or second year piano students could sound pretty good playing it at a recital or holiday program.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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BillyG
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August 21, 2014 - 7:53 am
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DanielB said
Thanks again, folks.  Glad you liked it.

@APA: How long it takes to write a bit of music depends on the music and the person doing the writing.  With this piece, from deciding "I'm going to sit down and write a piece of music" to having everything you hear here in the mix took me about 4 hrs of work. 

@BillyG: Ah, thank you, MadBill.  Some thoughts of snowflakes and warm fires and other such imagery did go into it.  Does my heart good to hear that they "came through in the mix" at least a bit.  I'm going to be listening for that robin every time now, though. LOL

Now, you want more fun, Bill.. It was also written to act as easy accompaniment for playing/jamming.  Pick up a fiddle, guitar, flute, harmonica or anything that can do a C major scale and give it a go.  If you happen to like to strum a guitar or anything like that, the chords are C F Dm G. 

...LOL @DanielB - the "tweet of the robin" was naught but my imagination running riot  on the "twiddly little bits" in the treble melody - and - I have already spent 30 minutes improvising along to it on violin !  Just "messing" but I feel there's something there.  This is a nice little "project" - no sheet, no guidance, just a darned nice backing track to improvise to - " a let's see what you can do" type of thing - I love that !   Oh - and mentioning that darned birdie again - I also messed around for another 10 mins or so experimenting with open string harmonics on the E to try to get a birdsong sound .... with limited success, but, there *is* something there....  fun, fun, fun - thanks again for the post

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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DanielB
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August 21, 2014 - 8:17 am
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@BillyG: Yeah, I know there is no actual robin sound in there.  LOL  But sometimes when the winter is bitter, one can wish to hear one enough that you can imagine it then, too.  Climate where you live isn't a lot different from where I live.  For folks that live in warmer places, looking for that first robin is one of the early signs that spring will come, eventually.

Glad to hear you're having fun with it, that was one of the reasons why I decided to actually post it here.

thumbs-up

There is (or will be, after I tidy it up) written score available for pianists who would want to get together with another pianist and play the actual piece as a duet.  I don't think it would be possible for anyone to play the whole piece by themselves, unless they happen to have 4 arms.  

But none of that actually matters when using it as a fun little backing track.  You can just pick up an instrument and jump in anywhere.

Way to go, MadBill!

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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MrYikes
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August 21, 2014 - 8:20 am
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You and your music are impressive.

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DanielB
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August 21, 2014 - 8:37 am
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@MrYikes: So are you and yours, sir.clap

Thank you.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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BillyG
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August 21, 2014 - 12:22 pm
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OK, today has been a nightmare (non music reasons) - but I finally managed this impromptu harmony to the first 40 seconds or so of @DanielB 's post.  

I kind of know what I have in my mind - and what I did here is not quite what I want - but it's a start - and - oh - my fingering in the scale of C seems to have gone to heck - so excuse the intonation issues - actually - I believe it's going back to the EV which I haven't used in weeks - it's just "marginally different" - no matter - let's live with it!

Here's what I did, Dan - I captured your audio in stereo as .wav file.   Split the tracks in Audacity.  Muted the right.  Played along-with and recorded to your left (now mono channel).   Unmuted the right and mixed down a stereo finish into an mp3 to save upload size, with both your L and R sound images as they originally were, and my ghastly, chainsaw-like EV appears aurally in the middle.

This was REALLY off the cuff stuff - I spent about 30 mins earlier today just listening and improvising different things - finally got round to doing a quick "take" - anyway - there's a LOT more I want to do with it - this is just my "line in the sand" - it will only get better - amazing what can be done when you have a good baseline to work along with...  cool.   I'm a bit pressed with other bits and pieces I'm working on - but I WILL come back to this... and I know I can do (much, much) better...

  We may just have a mini-project here folks....

  Bill

EDIT: Oh yeah - to cover up *some* of the ghastly chainsaw sound I added "large room reverb" and a short echo in Audacity.... EDIT again - for goodness' sake - I'll do a noise cancellation next time to remove the hiss ( that's all MINE - Dan's original is squeaky-clean )   Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....... (just in too much of a hurry here) - and OK yes - being a perfectionist in all things apart from violin ( LOL ) here's the hiss-removed version - I apologize about the original - my fault - 

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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DanielB
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August 22, 2014 - 4:16 am
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clap

Bravo, MadBill! 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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