Monday, September 19, 2011

Behind The Scenes: Aeris' Theme! .. .that's the link!

It's a Final Fantasy song, and this was the first song that I learnt on the guitar, which made my understand reading tabs. Of course, the song that came after that was Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Re-arranging this song was an interesting bit. I didn't know the chords for it, and I had to learn it on the spot, by ear and without touching the guitar. I find that an interesting moment for me to actually figure the chords out, the intervals, the voicings, and everything else.

More importantly, Omnisphere, once again, provides a very good response towards velocity on the MIDI keyboard. The most important thing about this song besides the whole reverberation factor that the instruments provide, is the feel of the song.

And I'm surprised, that I was able to capture emotions through Omnisphere. I always thought if I wanted to learn how to express myself, I'd do it through the guitar. But this, completely changed how I look at MIDI.

To be honest, I always thought of MIDI velocity as "stupid" thanks to Reason. Because velocity in that application works as... well, volume control.

But for Omnisphere, it's based off real samples that the producers/samplers really recorded off actual instruments (e.g. Burning Piano by the great Diego Stocco), so it gives you a hint of realism.

So, sharing my point of view with regards to this song (it's still on loop at the moment), I had to ensure that I was in the best situation to programme/record this. All notes were played by me through the MIDI keyboard, and, ensuring that I poured my emotions to what I played.

Including of how hard or soft I should be hitting the keys. Sure there are some times I paniced, and hit the keys too strong, or too light - which was later on adjusted.

Arranging stuff like these, especially with technology on your hands, the only thing I can say is .. spend time to nurture the "tone" of each notes. Each single velocity, is like adjusting how loud an instrument should be playing given a point of time in a score of any music.

Of course, being the fool that I am, I had to use more than one piano-related instrument that is associated with pads and all, and .. a good choir sample.

The choir bit really took the most out of me due to me trying to figure out the chords, what notes should be used, at which octaves, and ensuring the choir sounded as "real" as possible (I mean, playing that at a super high pitch, you might as well record a cat when you're squeezing its stomach).

I could go on with "picking the right notes", but I'll leave that to your imagination. After all, it was my ears, imagination, and vision that led me to this.. piece. Unexpectedly, it -does- sound pretty alright after a few listens. And relistening value is.. just somewhat there?

Finding the right chords, right notes, right harmonies, right scales, right accidentals, right rhythms, everything just creates music.

I hope I can spend more time producing something even better; something larger. And these minor cover songs are just to warm me up just in case if I need to arrange stuff with my guitar tracks (which should be coming soon!).

The next thing I need to figure out is to see how well BFD handles time signature variation at the rate it crashes on my Mac.

That's about it.

And if you would like to know how I get inspired to be more than an instrumentalist (which is the term I like to use when you specialise in playing a certain instrument), I'll state it here, and now, if you're reading this:

1) Listen to your most favourite album
2) Try to find behind the scene footages (There's YouTube now, no?)
3) Try and search for the person who's responsible in recording and engineering the session
4) .. just watch the sound engineer. Although he's looking at a screen, but he's also a minor "arranger" as he's the one producing the final product. He does not necessary need to look like a person in a suit, conducting an orchestra.
5) For conventional tunes, search Hans Zimmer. For modern and interesting tunes, search up Diego Stocco and Harry Gregson-Williams. My 3 all time heroes when it comes to composing, arranging and producing music.

For some psychotic keyboard works directly associated to MIDI, you should be looking at the one they call Jordan Rudess.

Haven't heard of them? I'm sure you have. Pirates of the Carribean? The Chronicles of Narnia?

More importantly. Forget what you know, and let your ears speak to you on what's right.

Thank you, to whoever listened to the tracks with the good feedback. They all go to Nobuo Uematsu! I was just having fun with his composition as a learning musician.

- Glacius

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