My rosin is not though, so I can’t try him out yet. He’s lovely, and lightweight, and the carrying case also weighs next to nothing. An airplane-friendly viola! Wonderful! I need to make a luggage tag for him though, that says THIS IS A BACKPACKER FIDDLE, or else the TSA is going to think it’s a pipe bomb or something.
I also got a Coda Diamond NX viola bow with him, and I’m more looking forward to giving that a run on Stevie than on the pochette. I’ve always heard about the difference that a good bow can make, and I’ve only ever used one bow, so it will be neat to feel and hear if there is a difference.
A left-handed viola-scale pochette. Probably not too many of those in the world!
I need to shed myself up to speed so I can play and arrange more than just stuff that’s marked andante. This is not going to be pleasant. One does not gain technique by playing “nice” music. One gains technique by playing annoying, challenging, unpleasant music.
A Hard Day’s Night, I mean. Opted to watch it again today after that interview. Damned good movie. It must have taken critics by surprise back then who were probably watching for a fairly dull, bubblegum boy-band piece of junk and instead got something quite clever and fun. It ages well. And the music of course is fantastic. Those guys had a hell of an ear for interesting chord progressions.
And once again, I can be a jaded middle-aged curmudgeon by saying how nice it is to hear a band that plays its instruments, writes its own music, and wears pants that fit.
Hah, found it! The whole thing in order:
Leaves me blind when I’m playing a scale, because the stupid bow is right in the way of what I’m trying to see.
And for some reason, it doesn’t happen when I’m playing a piece of music. I can cross down there with no problems. With a scale? I can’t see a thing. No, I don’t understand it either, but I’d better if I want to crack this. I’m obviously doing something different when I’m doing scales, and I need to figure out what.
… then it’s relevant to music, too.
Translation: No, the great composers probably didn’t mean to insert the meaning of the universe into every little stupid dynamic marking. Calm down and just play it so it sounds nice.
I think that in order to get used to the idea of just writing faster music, I need to pick a rock song and arrange it as a first step. It’s just … damn, that stuff is hard. Way harder to arrange well for a piano than the classical that I’ve been working on. It’s designed for guitar and drums, but nevertheless Haendel never wrote anything for a piano per se, either. Most of his stuff (that I’ve been messing with) was written for voice and chamber orchestra. It’s no more at home on a modern piano than any guitar-oriented rock.
This stuff just intimidates me. I’ve been fantasizing arranging “Blue Collar Man” for piano, a la Jerry Lee Lewis, but for all my love of it, rock piano still mystifies me. (Jonathan Cain is practically a classical pianist anyhow. Sure, he does serious rock, but it’s often as a rhythm section or sort of Prokofiev-flavored rock. Let’s face, he’s Rock Ballad Dude. Like Grieg in an 80s haircut.) I’ve gotten myself a copy of Hanon finally, but I need to pick a good rock song and just arrange it, with the same attitude that I used for the Haendel stuff. And I don’t want to get sidetracked by “Don’t Let It End” or any of that stuff, either — more ballads. Or arranging “Boat on the River” as yet one more effing 6/8 thing. I can already do that. I need to expand my “home court.” I need to be able to deal with something fast and semi-aggressive, that ends decisively and not contemplatively, and that isn’t in a freaking triplet rhythm.
There’s just a mindset of “letting go” that I think I need, not worrying so much about wrong notes. I still have that. Honestly, I like it when I’m writing; being a picky pain in the ass is a good thing, but for this sort of music, it’s getting in my way. And this is music that I love! And I still have this “where’s my water wings, that look really deep, I don’t know about this” reaction. If I’m reacting that way, it’s a sign that this is what I need to do. I still want to keep going on the Ebm thing because that’s really good and I want to get it done, but I also need to do some arranging. “BCM” is in Dm, so it’s not too bad. There’s so much going on, there are so many suspensions all over the place — this is rock fer gawdsakes — there are a zillion instruments duking it out … my water wings aren’t inflated enough … that looks too deep … I forgot my sunscreen … it’s too hot … I can’t swim …
I’m recalling “Moon of Memory” here and that it was in 6/8 initially, and then the whole second part flipped into 4/4 for quite some time before the coda to the 4/4 sections went back into 6/8. I think “Bitter Clean” is turning out almost the same way, so I’ll have to see what I can do about stitching bits together. I think I’ve written it the same way too — done the main theme reprise first and now I’m filling in the back stuff. (Well, not quite. Assuming that the Ebm stuff is part of the filler, then that’s what I wrote first really.)
But I think there is a large-scale structure at work here, at least, one that I can sort of make out. I’ll see how that works. Probably won’t make any progress until Friday night. That seems to be my music time, from the minute I get home, if I’m in a composey mood.