bluesilverkdg: (Default)
Wow, it's been a while. I've just not been all that motivated to write much recently. Plus, I guess there hasn't been a lot going on that I felt like sharing. Honestly, I'd like to get back to the point where I felt the need to write down every little thing I was doing, because I find that to be somewhat cathartic. Maybe one of these days...

One thing I HAVE been doing (lots of) is composing music. In the past month, I have completed two new songs and started on a third that I've since kind of abandoned, but may get back to. I have a tendency to do that. Start playing around with a tune, then get bored with it. Sometimes I pick it up later and finish it, sometimes it just sits there like a black hole. Or an unfinished symphony.

My music is very personal to me and I don't play a lot for people. Well, one of the reasons for that is, a piano is not like a guitar. It's not like I can strap it to my neck and take it to a party. But also, my stage fright, which has always been bad, is getting worse and worse the older I get. (Speaking of getting older, my birthday is next Sunday. OMG, I'll be 41 auuuugggggh.)

Anyway, severe stage fright has prohibited me from doing much with my music in a live forum. But I've always wondered if the songs I compose could ever actually...y'know, do anything? I don't even know how to classify them. I mean, like what genre. They're not necessarily "classical" at all. Neoclassical? They're certainly not anything modern or like current popular music. They also don't really fit in the instrumental new age category that's popular for relaxation and meditation or whatnot. If there's one thing my music is NOT, it's not relaxing. I am incapable of playing soft or slow. My music is hard, fast, pounding (that's what she said!!) I don't think it's bad, but I'm also extremely critical of myself and my abilities. I don't think I'm nearly as good as I could be, or as good as other people seem to think I am. I've never thought that, and the perfectionist in me has always strived for more.

With that said, I'm going to do something I rarely ever do. I'm going to share some of my music with you. I recently borrowed my mom's mackdaddy new camera, which also contains a pretty rockin' camcorder. The other night, [livejournal.com profile] theldara came over and recorded me playing a couple of my new songs. However I screwed up mightily, because I was having to *shudder* play in front of someone. I then decided just to take the boring route of putting the camera on the piano or countertop and getting some still recordings. May not be as exciting as actually seeing what's being played, but for the most part, the recordings are better. So, here ya go, if you want some musics. )
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I saw a clip on TV recently about the most annoying Christmas songs, and it got me to thinking. There really aren't any Christmas songs that I just absolutely hate, but there are a few that get on my nerves. I know it's a classic and beloved by millions, but I've never liked "White Christmas." I dunno. It's too slow, too sentimental, too..blah. I just don't like it. I'm not big on "The First Noel" either, for the the same tempo reasons. I've never been much of a fan of slow songs. Although, I do really dig the chorus when it goes into the swelling "Noooo-ellll, Noooo-ellll, Noooo-ellllllll-Noooo-elllllll" part. Oh, and "Silent Night." Yes, I know, I'll probably get flogged for that, but maybe I'm just burnt out. I DO, however, like "O Little Town Of Bethlehem", and it's kinda slow. Maybe I just haven't heard it too much.

I'm very picky about arrangements. I don't like all these jazzed up, syncopated, "let me show you how much rhythm and soul I can put into "Hark the Herald Angels Sing'" type deals. I don't want to hear anyone scatting on "O Come All Ye Faithful." Seriously. Harry Connick Jr., while cute and talented in his own special way just annoys the crap out of me with his take on Christmas. Honestly, I don't like any of The Big Stars Doing Christmas. There are far too many country or blues or jazz versions of the classics, and more seem to pop up every year. I guess I'm a traditionalist. Give me a good orchestra, like the London Philharmonic performing "Joy To the World" anyday over Whitney Houston's rendention of "Do You Hear What I Hear." And I don't care that Mariah Carey can span 17 octaves. Just sing it the way they wrote it.

So what do I like? One of my favorite Christmas songs has always been "The Little Drummer Boy." But it needs to be sung by kids, preferably little boys. (OK, yes, that does sound creepy, I realize.) I just don't want to hear Bob Segar singing about his rump-pa-pum-pum. My mom has an arrangement that is (I believe) by the Vienna Boys Choir. I cannot hear that song without tearing up, even to this day. It's on the record that she and I played every year when we were decorating the Christmas tree. Maybe it's a fond childhood memory, maybe the song really is that good, but I get a lump in my throat just thinking about that poor little drummer boy with no gift to bring.

My other favorite song? "O Holy Night", quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs ever written, in my humble but correct opinion. But again, it needs to be sung properly. It also needs to be sung by a female, I believe, but just leave it alone in its classic beauty. Whitney Houston fouled it up, too, with her "soaring vocals" and overdone manner. Maybe Whitney just oughta leave Christmas alone, come to think of it.

I also love "Carol Of the Bells" and this is one of the few songs that I'm OK when it's messed with. Transiberian Orchestra's heavy metal-esque take on it is absolutely amazing and so incredibly powerful and gorgeous. But the original version, with all those ding-dongs in it, is just as good.

I love a good orchestral version of "Angels We Have Heard On High" with a gorgeous female soprano singing it. And one Christmas song that I love a lot, you might not be familiar with. I believe it's an Old English carol called "Fum Fum Fum." I'd never heard it until about 10-12 years ago, when my mom got me a CD of Christmas carols done in a classical piano style. I'd actually like to find an arrangment of it to learn to play myself, because it has some very fast sections that I think would be a heckuva a lot of fun to play on piano. Mannheim Steamroller does a really cool arrangment of it, if you're curious.
Honestly, I like a lot of the Old English and Celtic carols..."Good King Wenceslas", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen","I Saw Three Ships" "The Holly and the Ivy", etc. Maybe I like them so much because not as many people do them, thus the ruination factor is low? (Although I do see that Sting tried his hand at "Three Ships.." At least he did apparently keep the classic instruments, so I will give him props for that.

I guess I just don't like messing with the classics and much prefer a choral or orchestral arrangment to most Christmas songs, rather than a more modern take. Does that make me a bah humbug?

So, tell me, what's your favorite Christmas/holiday/winter song? And which one (or ones) do you wish you could never hear again?
bluesilverkdg: (Default)
In my complaint about the Sirius/XM merger, someone (I think maybe [livejournal.com profile] samuraigrrrl?) recommended Pandora. (http://www.pandora.com/) I'd never heard of it, but thought what the heck, I'll check it out.

Holy cow, it's like just about the best thing ever. I wish I could get it in the car, but alas, that's not really an option at the moment, I don't think. If you're not familiar, you basically just type in a band or song that you like, and they find a song or songs by that band to play, and then you can also listen to bands that are similar to or influenced by the initial band. You can save these "stations" and come back to them later. The selections are fairly endless, and it's like this great musical version of Six Degrees of Separation (or Kevin Bacon, if that's your proclivity.) I've already discovered several bands I've never heard of before, which I'm not doing a whole lot of on the Sirius/XM anymore now that they've gone namby-pamby.

So, yeah. This makes me all kinds of happy.
bluesilverkdg: (Default)
The other day when [livejournal.com profile] samuraigrrrl was doing my hair, we were discussing my fondness for misunderstood song lyrics, and that reminded me that I should look up one I'm *pretty* sure I'd been misunderstanding for years.

Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." I heard it on the '80s station the other day, and sang it the way I always do (badly and wrongly.) I just now Googled the lyrics. Wow, I couldn't have been more off if I'd tried. What it really says:
Let's go crazy
Let's get nuts
Let's look 4 the purple banana
'Til they put us in the truck, let's go!


You wanna know what I've been hearing (and singing) all these years? Since..what, 1984, when Purple Rain came out? This is a good one. I've been singing "Let's go crazy. Let's get nuts. Slip on a purple banana peel, ignore our state of trust, let's go!"

I never thought that made much sense, but I couldn't figure out what else it could be. Not that the real lyrics are that much better, plus, I don't know that I'd want to look 4 a purple banana anyway.

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