Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boundless Patience

Dear Singers:

Pianistically, Samuel Barber's art songs can run the gamut from simple and sightreadable to eye-crossingly difficult.  Most pianists will be familiar with "Sure on this Shining Night," "The Daisies" and "The Monk and his Cat". Other songs, such as "Nocturne", "I Hear an Army" and "O Boundless, Boundless Evening" are definitely in the 'difficult' category, and it is helpful to send the music ahead of time for your pianist (especially if they have not heard of the piece).  Along the same lines, these songs probably should not be brought to a recording session for a pianist to sightread.

Just a friendly reminder!

Your Pianist

Monday, November 7, 2011

Spring Awakening and upcoming

Well, it's been an exciting couple of months - I loved working on Spring Awakening, and was very proud of the product we put out.  We had a full band: four string players, drums, me on keys (using Mainstage*) and a guitarist who brought almost every instrument he owns. For me, the most exciting part of being the rehearsal pianist-turned-band keyboardist was finally having a guitar there to play the guitar riffs.  No matter how much energy I invested, the guitar riffs never come off quite right on the piano.    

Anyway - its done.  Next up: Schwartz's Pippin,  O'Keefe's Legally Blonde, Barber's Hand of Bridge and Barbieri's The Little Barber of Lavapies.  And I'm participating in an Arlen/Berlin cabaret of some sort . . . not quite sure on the details yet.    

*Some comments on the Mainstage Patches I used :
For the organ sounds, I used a friends' Harmonium patch.  Another option, though, is to look in 'Instrument Channel Strips' - 'Orchestral' - 'Pipe Organ' and take a listen to 'Fugue Organ'.  That was the closest sound that approximated the tone of the Harmonium. 

I chose to play the 2nd guitar part on the keys.  In 'Instrument Channel Strips' - 'Guitars' - 'Electric Guitars' I found 'Sunburst Electric', which worked nicely in the song "My Junk".  The patch 'Crunchy Electric Pickings' worked nicely for 'Totally F***ed'.

For the synth sound in 'Mirror Blue Night', I started with 'Sculpture Modeling Synth', added a layer of 'EVP88 Electric Piano', added a layer of 'Suitcase Bright', and then finished with a Warped Drum layer called '80 BPM Hip Hop Ghost' for the resonating pulse that recurred on beat 4 of every measure (hit Ab 2 to hear it).

For the song 'Whispering', I used a voice in 'Software Instruments' - 'Acoustic Pianos' called 'Grand piano & Synth Pad 02'.