Tag Archives: music

moe’s father and his piano

moe’s father died, suddenly, in late october. his funeral was last saturday. some would say “fortunately”, i had two panto performances that day, so i couldn’t go. however, one of the things that was an upshot of moe’s father dying was that moe inherited his piano. so, we now have a fairly decent spinnet piano in our house… or, rather, it will be a fairly decent spinnet piano when we get somebody in to fix the dead keys and clean out the bird-seed and spider-webs. in order to fit it in our house, we had to completely clear out the “office/guest-bedroom” which hasn’t been used as either for a couple of years. the office had a double bed, and a reclining chair that turns into a single bed, along with all of my inventory from hybrid elephant, most of my sound effects (i.e. the ones that i don’t have at the panto currently), a trombone, three trumpets, two soprano clarinets, an alto clarinet, a guitar, a whole bunch of home-made instruments, two huge bags of air-pillow packing materials, a cosco-sized bundle of paper towel rolls, three sleeping bags, and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff. we got up fairly early yesterday, cleaned out the room and the hallway leading to it, and then we, along with moe’s step-brother, took delivery of a piano. also, because of the fact that it was superfluous, we freecycled the bed… and then we loaded up the back of moe’s step-brother’s truck and made a dump run with a bunch of brush and old lumber.

initially, i was hesitant about bringing the piano into our house, because i was under the impression that it was one of those upright pianos that you see in old western movies, that people stand, lean on, and put their glasses of beer on top of. this piano is actually about half that size. it’s about 3 feet tall, and 24 inches deep.

so, now, instead of an “office/guest-bedroom”, we have a “music room/guest-bedroom”. i’ve already moved in my bach trombone, my fender-rhodes piano, my DX-7, my E♭ tuba, my Sandviker’s Stradivarius musical saw, and my didjeriflute. the theory is that, eventually, that will be a place where we (meaning moe, too, whether she likes it or not! 😈) can go and IMMEDIATELY play music on a variety of instrumets, and the most preparation we might have to do is take an instrument out of its case. it will also be very beneficial for me, when i am transcribing music and need a keyboard. and, because my laptop is portable, i can easily use it to do all kinds of recording and editing and, using my DX-7 as a MIDI controller, i can even use my laptop as an instrument… 😎

Your Gold Teeth II

Your Gold Teeth II

Who are these children
Who scheme and run wild
Who speak with their wings
And the way that they smile
What are the secrets
They trace in the sky
And why do you tremble
Each time they ride by

Throw out your gold teeth
And see how they roll
The answer they reveal
Life is unreal

Who are these strangers
Who pass through the door
Who cover your action
And go you one more
If you’re feeling lucky
You best not refuse
It’s your game the rules
Are your own win or lose

Throw out your gold teeth
And see how they roll
The answer they reveal
Life is unreal

the bewlay brothers

in the mid-1980s, i lived in an apartment with randy, who was a david bowie fanatic. i was not, at the time, because i had been brought up listening to jazz, classical, and contemporary classical music, had been heavily involved with jazz, marching and concert bands and orchestras, and, basically, “didn’t have time” to listen to “inferior” music made by “talentless” artists.

but, at the same time, i was also beginning to suspect that everything i had learned about “christianity” was not only false, but that there HAD to be another alternative to what the “christians” were ranting about. i had read some of the works of Aliester Crowley, and been able to make exactly zero sense of it, and started heading for other religions to fill the gaps.

then i heard this song, and a few others like it, and they helped me to realise that sometimes, in order to comprehend the deeper meanings of things, one had to read more than what was on the surface…

new antique music by somebody else…

once again, i would like to offer my utmost gratitude to my wife, who made it possible for me to own the awesome music notation software called Sibelius. it has made processes like this take so much less time than doing the same thing “by hand”… and it’s not something that i have to imagine, as i have actually done projects like this “by hand” in the past, and it was so tedious and drawn-out over, literally, months, that i no longer do such projects… conversely, this project in it’s entirety, took 5 weeks to go from “a gleam in my eye” to having finished parts and a recording… and 4 weeks and 5 days of that were waiting for the score to arrive from the publisher. 😎

so, there’s this march in honor of Joyce’s 71st New York Regiment written in 1881 by Thornton Barnes Boyer, which we’ve been trying to play with the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band for several years now, and getting nowhere… primarily because of the fact that there are several different “arrangements” of it scattered across the 35-odd musicians in the band, which have several differences which, while not major, definitely mean that playing it as an ensemble is a lot more difficult. and that’s not to mention that it is in the key of E♭ minor (six flats, for those of you who may not know), which, for a community band with players of all abilities, is asking a bit too much…

but that may or may not be the issue, as i discovered at a recent BSSB rehearsal that, in fact, there are two different “arrangements” of Joyce’s 71st NY Regiment March just in the trombone section, and that they are enough different that playing the two of them and expecting it to sound even reasonably coherent was impossible, as one of them had the “Trio” in an entirely different key all together.

a little bit of research revealed the fact that there are several different “arrangements”, which include adding harmony and ornamentation to the trio, changing the key of the trio to the relative major, and changing the location of the “Da Capo”, all of which were made long after the original composer, TB Boyer, had passed on, and nobody could decide which of the many different arrangements was “best”. one thing that they all agreed on, however, was that the original piece had been published by J.W.Pepper.

a tiny light bulb appeared over my head, as i realised that i actually own a 100-year-old musical instrument with the J.W.Pepper logo stamped on it, and i actually know where J.W.Pepper has a branch location in tukwilla…

so, i went to J.W.Pepper and asked if they still carried the original version of Joyce’s 71st NY Regiment March, not arranged by anyone, and, bob’s-yer-uncle, they have it. not only that, but they have a version of it that has been transcribed for modern instruments, which is really an issue when you realise that what constitutes a concert band has changed pretty dramatically in the past 120 years: no saxhorns, no helicons, no ophecleids, quinticlaves or clavitubes, no serpents, consistent woodwinds, a tuning note that is several cents higher than it was, etc., etc., etc…

however, they sold the publishing rights to some other company, which only prints copies on demand, so i had to wait until they printed a copy… just for meeeeee… 😊

i got it the other day, and entered it into the aforementioned, AWESOME MUSIC NOTATION SOFTWARE (which took all of 5 hours, stretched out over a couple of days) and transposed it down a half-step, into D minor, which only has one flat!

my impression is that it will be much easier to muddle our way through, now that we’ve all got the same arrangement, and it’s in a key that doesn’t twist our brains while we’re trying to learn it… 👍

and, because of the fact that the software also outputs in sound formats, i have been able to hear what it’s going to sound like (more or less) to make sure that all the parts are correct BEFORE i print them and hand them out to people!

Joyce’s 71st New York Regiment March