The Facts of Life - Main Theme Evolution
26/08/10 12:40 Filed in: Music
Piano ScrapLike in the Good Old Days (TM), back when the grass was greener, and so on and so forth, a new piece starts with an empty sheet of paper and - most of the time - not a single good idea.
Time is subsequently spent at the piano, trying to come up with something. Sooner or later, this is what will happen. Unfortunately, the result usually is not so good at all. So more time is spent revising. But finally, there is a good idea.
This is when I do a piano sketch: I will play the piece as a piano reduction from start to finish to give me something to hold on later. This sketch for the most part is full of playing errors, not very nicely done and does not in the slightest constitute an interpretation worthy of Carnegie Hall. But it is a start. Here’s the sketch for The Facts of Life - Main Theme:
WIP 1With the sketch firmly in place (or rather: firmly on my hard disk and backup disk and backup of the backup...) I then venture into Logic and create a _very_ rough mockup, just to try out sounds and to see whether or not the piece works.
In this case, I immediately settled on the drum loops I wanted to use (by the way the only loops in the whole piece, they are from Stylus RMX), so these are already in there. Notice the total abomination that is the synth loop in the opening bars. You will only have to endure this once, as I threw it out of the solar system after hearing it once.
The rest basically is just melody plus a bit of bass line. Just the pure essence.
WIP 2The first WIP confirmed that the track would actually work, so now the real work could begin.
As promised before: The synth loop is gone. In its place came a much nicer pattern, this time no loop, but your humble blogger himself on Kore Player. But that freaking loop still comes briefly before the theme starts. Do not despair. I indeed threw it out completely in WIP 3.
You get distorted guitars, the first few woodwinds and a lot of replayed string lines that I just didn’t like in WIP1.
WIP 3The loop is gone for good. It probably sits somewhere around Alpha Centauri (the star system, not the tv series) and waits for salvation.
WIP 3 has two new biggies: Woodwinds, courtesy of Hollywoodwinds and percussion. There’s not much to say other than that :)
WIP 4WIP 3 basically was the foundation of the piece ready to rumble. The cake was ok, here comes the topping! String runs, bells, whistles, ponies and lots of other things that can go in between notes and make everything a bit more interesting.
WIP 5 (aka: RC1)Once upon a time (two weeks ago, actually), there was a composer who thought that his piece was finished. He prepared everything, mixed the whole thing, mastered the track and laid back to hear his masterpiece. This is what you hear in WIP 5. The piece as I intended it to be. But then...
Final Version... then the humble composer discovered that the start of his piece as utterly lame, boring and totally uninspiring. So he took a long walk and after that put a little trumpet fanfare courtesy of VSL Epic Trumpets in right at the start. Thus satisfied and reassured of his unlimited genius, he called it a day and wrote this blog post.
I actually don’t know if he lived happily ever after, as only time will tell this.
I hope this post have you a bit of insight into my work. If you have questions, ask me :)