Monthly Archives: February 2012

Electronic Music and How it is affecting the Film industry

Music in film is being influenced more than ever thorough electronic music. Song writers began to play around with writing songs using electronic sounds in the 60s, but this trend didn’t really take off until the 1980s with television shows like Miami Vice, Emergency, SWAT, Knight Rider and others.
Here are some examples of themes from some of these shows:
In more recent years, electronic music is essential to the composition of film music. Composers must know how to use various music-notation software and DAW (digital audio workstation) like Garageband and Audacity. They also need to know about various recording applications and how they work.
Here are a few examples of film music completely produced electronically:
This is a good example of both live and electronic instruments being used in a score.
Oftentimes, composers record their scores with a real orchestra and/or choir later and use the electronic MIDI instruments as a tool to show the director and other people working on the film mock-ups of what they will soon record. This helps save money if they need to make changes before printing the final product for the orchestra to play.
Therefore, composers must not only know their craft in music, but also in electronics as well.
A good resource that offers this information and more is the Film Music Magazine at http://www.filmmusicmag.com/
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Does listening to music work when working, and some psychology behind it.

According to USA Today, Music is hitting a high note in the office. Portable music players such as iPods are increasingly showing up on the job, a trend that’s being praised as a boon to productivity as well as criticized as a safety risk and employee distraction.  “Walkmans were the first type of listening devices to show up in the work place” (By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY,P1, par 6, web).  Sometimes I play the wrong type of music at the wrong times of day. One of them said, ‘Earth Wind and Fire at 9:30 a.m. is just not right,’ ” he says in an e-mail. “Sometimes in those random occasions when someone is having an extremely bad day, there is nothing quite like scrolling through my iPod library and cranking the Muppets theme song.”(By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY,P1, par 5, web).  Music overall can control moods.  You may be more productive with music, but a song you can rewind, reality you can’t.  Music can even affect our way we see things in front of us.  This is displayed by this video below.

Music is a universal language, but working with music is not.

“More than 40 million Apple iPods have been sold as of January, and at offices all around the USA employees can be seen working or walking the halls with the telltale white Apple iPod ear buds that trail from the portable MP3 players. Use of MP3 players tends to vary with job type. Eighty percent of technical and creative workers listen to music more than 20% of their working hours, according to research on MP3 use by CIMI, a Voorhees, N.J.- based research and technology assessment firm.”(Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY,P1, par 9 5, web).

“MP3 use is also getting higher in certain types of factory and other jobs,” Says CIMI President Tom Nolle.

Not all employers are welcoming the development.

“We do not look kindly on anyone who puts on earphones and starts listening to iPods,” says Mario Almonte, a vice president at Herman Associates, a New York-based marketing and communications company. “It looks like you’re not working, and it’s not a professional presentation. It’s still a device that distracts you.”(Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY,P1, par 9 5, web). 

listening to music on speakers can be very distracting, but ear buds is not the solution.

Employee safety. IPods can pose a distraction and may prevent the wearer from hearing warning alarms and bells or warnings shouted by co-workers, e-mails Linda Tapp, of Crown Safety in Cherry Hill, N.J. MP3 players can prevent wearers from hearing other workplace sounds such as moving forklifts, which can lead to serious injury. MP3s can affect the safety of workers in non-industrial settings as well, she says, by masking the sounds of strangers who are in the area or approaching. .”(Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY,P1, par 21)  The final thing hazardous is by downloading songs company data can be erased, and possibly the computers can be infected by viruses.

Be attentive, listening to sounds around you to end up safe and sound not just for a job, a school or university, but promote attentiveness , and unity.

Music versus Noise

When music was first “discovered”, I am sure that the people who first heard it did not know a differentiation between “music” and “noise”. I suspect that the beginnings of music were very much like the everyday “noises” that we hear and that the history of music has evolved from those basic sounds.

Music has come so very far throughout history, that instruments have been made to create new man-made sounds. Instruments have changed the definition of music by causing a differentiation between sounds or noises and music. If I were to play basketball and record the rhythm of its’ dribble against the ground, the swish of the net, and the squeaking of tennis shoes against the court, it would not, by most people, be considered music. The noises would be called sound effects.

I disagree with that. I believe that even sounds can be music and that instruments should play music that is inspired by everyday noise more often. I would like to note that I am not against music played by instruments, inspired by instruments and performers; this music is beautiful as well. However, I feel that in order to truly be a musician, not only does one need to understand an instrument and the theory encompassing that instrument, one needs to “feel” the music. One needs to know where it came from. Music was not created when the first instrument was made. Music is all around us, and it affects us individually.

If music was to go back to its roots and be more often inspired by the plethora of sounds, imagine what could be done with those sounds. To provide some perspective, I have uploaded two YouTube clips from a movie called “August Rush”. This first clip contains only recreated sounds. The score of the music was omitted. The second clip is from the actual movie.

Now listen to the real movie clip. See what can happen when real-world sounds are translated into music.

These are just movie clips, but the idea still remains.

How we determine what music is and how we interpret it comes from what society has taught us. These trends and truths in society are important towards understanding music, but these facts are not all to what is out there. In order to truly grasp music, one must take what has been learned and search for more musical interpretation-even if it is one’s own. Acknowledging the music around you will help you understand what music is–evidence of a soulful life and all things that come from it.

This post was inspired by an article from NewMusicBox.com.

Songwriting

So recently I have started getting addicted to this wonderful thing I like to call song writing.  It all started with me trying to prove to a few of my friends that I could be romantic and I did a really amazing job at proving it to them.  I went back to my room after leaving my friends that night determined to write the best love song in the world and make them all drop their mouths.  Well I finished the song that morning and played it for them later.  I did my job well they were all in shock and could not speak for several minutes.  After that event I loved the first song that I wrote so much that I just had to write a second one.  I started writing it the next morning and I think it was just as good as the first.  Now I am currently on the fifth song that I have written in the last three to four weeks.  I just cannot stop writing songs.

So you might ask what is so exciting about writing a song?  I would simply tell you that it expresses the emotions that you are feeling.  If you are angry you can make a song suited for that and it will let go of the anger.  If you are feeling happy you can express it to the world that nothing can bring you down.  Everything you do when you write your own song expresses exactly how you feel and when another person hears it they can see and understand your emotions coming out of that song.  I really enjoy expressing to people who I am and how I feel about things.  When you song write you just let it all go you can be yourself, express yourself, and make something that is your own.

Now that you have read to this point you might ask yourself so what I still can’t write a song.  I am here to tell you that you can write a song very easily.  All you need to do is make it up in your head and write down the words.  I know that you are very capable of thinking up a tune in your head that is completely your own it might take you a couple minute but eventually it will come easily.  Just opening yourself up to think up your own song makes you feel great.  Sometimes I will literally go around making up a song on the spot and sing it out loud.  In fact, I challenge you to try doing that go out into your normal everyday life and start singing something that you completely made up and you will probably be surprised at how many people will ask what song is that and all you will have to say is I made it up.

If you want to go beyond just singing songs off the top of your head like me you have to be dedicated to music and practice so that you can make it sound good.  My main goal is to someday make my own CD of music.  I got the recording equipment and I got the skills needed with my music.  I am working towards trying to record some good songs that people can listen to just for fun.  In fact, as soon as I get one of my songs recorded I will put it up on this page so that anyone can listen to it.  I hope that you can go and enjoy making your own music as much as I do.  Have a great day!

Daft Punk; Listening and Visual Entertainment

 

 

When Electronic Music was in its’ infancy, it was not very popular for a couple of reasons:

1. It did not always present repeated rhythms. (It was not “catchy”.)

2. It incorporated sounds that were deemed “unearthly”. These sounds were confusing to the public because it was not anything that they had heard before.

3. Electronic Music, in its’ early stages, could not always be performed in front of a crowd. (Pushing buttons on a stage did not give the performers much stage presence. This was dull for the audience.)

Since then, Electronic Music has changed drastically. No longer does it contain random rhythms and unsettling sounds. In much of today’s Electronic Music, rhythms are repeated constantly with only slight variations. (Some could make the comparison to minimalistic music, but not all Electronic Music could be compared this way.) The sounds and effects used in Electronic Music are also not as out of this world as they used to be. Over time, people became accustomed to some of these sounds and found when it was appropriate to use certain effects and pitches in the music. Live performances of Electronic Music have also been more common in the past ten years than ever before. This is because Electronic Music composers have come up with creative ways in which to portray their music live.

Daft Punk, an Electronic Music group, incorporates repeating rhythms, interesting sounds, and live performances into their music and tours to ensure the enjoyment of their audience. Daft Punk mostly deals with computer generated beats and pitches, but they do have a few of songs that also add a voice component to accompany the beats in the rhythm.

Here is a music video of Daft Punk’s song Around the World:

Usually, music videos are done with multiple times of filming, and then after filming, frames are put together in the order desired to make the video. In this video, however, Daft Punk used one straight camera shot. It was filmed continuously by multiple cameras. The main view would switch between cameras, but each perspective shown by the camera was of the same run-through of the choreography. The product video was taken all in one run-through. Shots of previous run-throughs were not used to make the video, so everything had to be done perfectly. Another video they did with interesting framing and filming techniques, wasHarder Better Faster Stronger:

In this video, over 100 cameras were filming this live rendition.

Daft Punk’s choice of filming techniques are not only what draws the crowd. As seen in the last video, the atmosphere of their performance is what gets the audience “hyped up” to see them. This atmosphere is created by a laser light show created by a giant pyramid in which the two members of Daft Punk are standing in.

These touches have inspired many people to be creative as well and to show their interpretation of the song.

Electronic Music has come so very far since its’ start. Now it is almost uncommon not to hear some kind of Electronic Music playing on the radio on the Top 40 Hit List.

It is interesting to see how this has changed musical trends in society. One question remains however. How will this change in musical trend affect society and what does the future hold for such an influential genre of music?

 

Making Music in a Virtual World

Making music on a computer is nothing new to us.  It has become common practice to use a computer to produce and combine sounds in order to make musical tracks.  However, what has not been explored much is the possibility to make music within the virtual world of video games.  If anyone pays much attention to the video game scene, you have probably heard of a little game called Minecraft.  This increasingly popular game generates a virtual world where you collect various items and use them to survive in a hostile world.  One unique feature to this game is the inclusion of a craftable item called the Note Block.  Combining this item with the in-game circuitry allows you to create some amazingly complex pieces of musical genius.

Some of the musical things that people made in this amazing game include a music sequencer and full re-creations of well-known songs.  Here are some examples:

And these only scratch the surface of the vast number of musical creations that have been made within this virtual world.

The possibilities that arise from this idea of creating music within video games are great.  This game gives kids a new way to explore music.  Instead of having to spend hundreds of dollars on musical instruments and lessons, kids could learn how to create music using the medium of a video game.  With the rise of the digital age, more and more schools are looking for ways to keep their students engaged.  This is one possibility for them.

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Why I will Keep Gigging

It’s quarter after eleven on a Thursday night, and two hours ago, I got in from a three hour performance at a local fine dining establishment known as Johnny T’s Bistro. In musician lingo, I just got done playing a gig. And tonight, I was reminded of why I do and other should.

The pros to gigging are obvious: Getting paid $20 an hour to play music, take a few breaks and eat a complimentary dinner at a classy restaurant is the obvious one.

The cons are a little more subtle. Call in sick one day, and you’re out a week’s wages. At times I’ve found myself spending three hours playing through exhaustion, a sore throat and a headache, trying not to let on that the music I hope is relieving stress for restaurant patrons is causing it for me.

Then there’s practice time. Putting together a few hours of music takes a lot more than a few hours, and keeping the set new and exciting is practically a full-time job in itself. Twenty bucks an hour isn’t quite as appealing once you realize that most of the hours that go into each performance are unpaid.

Sometimes, I consider taking a different path, and spending all that time perfecting some recorded tracks and marketing them via the internet. That option seems so comfortable, simple, and rewarding. And I do hope to do that someday. But I hope I never relax so comfortably in the luxury of studio work that I become unwilling to experience the discomfort of playing live for an audience, ready or not, well or sick, relaxed or stressed. It doesn’t matter how I feel; music is a gift and gifts should be shared.

When I pulled in to the restaurant earlier tonight, I saw a familiar pair entering just ahead of me. The man was a frequent patron of JT’s, and his dinner companion was his five-year-old granddaughter, who he brings in somewhat frequently to enjoy the live music on Thursday nights. I had barely entered, lugging the subwoofer, when she exclaimed enthusiastically,

“Jimmy! Guess what? I have a cousin named Jimmy too!”

“Really? How old is he?” I was busy plugging electronics in.

“Ummmmmmmmm… I don’t remember. He’s this tall though.” She held her hand about a foot above the table. I responded quickly and made another trip to the car to grab my saxophone and computer.

“Jimmy, guess what?” I heard upon reentering. “I’m wearing high heels. Grandpa and I went to the daddy-daughter dance!”

I talked to my daddy-daughter fan base as I finished setting up, then told my audience that I hoped they enjoyed the music and proceeded to start making the most enjoyable music I could. As it turned out, I was one of those who found the performance to be exceeding expectations. I’ve never been good at following the music during improv sections, but it seems that lately I’ve been improving a lot, even though outside-of-gigs rehearsal habits have been abysmal. As it turns out, it’s hard to do something once a week for more than a year without getting better at it.

Recording that song is something that can always get pushed back until next week — and for that very reason, it always does. Playing a gig on Thursday night really can’t get pushed back until Friday; it has to be done on Thursday night or it doesn’t happen and the performer doesn’t get paid. Obligatory rehearsal and the improvement that comes as its consequence is one good reason to get a gig. But there’s a better reason. Sometimes my playing saxophone in a restaurant brings great joy to someone or even a whole group of people, and that makes it worth it. It even gives a grandfather and his granddaughter something to do on a Thursday night.

At the end of the night, even if it was a rough one, I still get the cash to remind me that in one way or the other, it was worth it. But when I think about the beauty of music and remember that it is not just what others do for me, but also what I get to do for others that is valuable, I am reminded that it’s worth it time and again throughout the night. When I have that mindset, remembering that I don’t “just have to get through the night” but that I can and ought to serve others through my playing; I play better. And when I play better I’m serving myself too, because I feel better, and the three hours begin to hold the potential for joy in addition to a paycheck.

Sure, I could charge 99¢ for a digital download of a polished piece. But watching a little girl stand on her tiptoes to put her grandfather’s dollar bill in the tip jar would not longer be part of the experience. And I’ve seen some pretty encouraging youtube comments, but it’s not quite the same as having an elderly couple walk up to you, holding hands and smiling, to tell you that the music made their evening dinner extra special. It doesn’t happen every gig — but when it does, I am reminded that there’s something special about playing live. These things just don’t happen in the comfy world of studio production, but I hope that I am always willing to trade out a little comfort for the chance to bring music to life.

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Electronics, Music, and the Brain

The affects that music has on the brain has been measured as stimulating and advancing; sharpening the analytical, creative, emotional, and so many other types of thinking. It has been called the “Mozart Effect” and said that if one listens to Mozart or music like Mozart’s that contain musical elements like complicated chordal progressions, intricate fingerings, melodies, harmonies, and form; and key relations are just a few elements that might cause our brain to be stimulated and to work at a harder and faster rate. But not only does this affect our brain and mind, but also our physical bodies. After listening to classical music, a person can become relaxed, awake, revived, and so many other beneficial qualities. This, however, refers only to classical music because of the complexity of this genre.
The effects of electronics on the brain causes our brain to peak in areas that shouldn’t be high. This picture below shows what happens to our brain when our cell phones are on and when our cell phones are off.
http://ehtrust.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/brain-scans.png
This article discusses the problems with electronic devices (cell phones in particular).
I wonder if the effect that some electronics have on our brain is the same of electronic music? Because I don’t carry a brain wave scanner around in my back pocket, let’s think about this question a different way. Does electronic music give listeners the same physical feelings as classical Mozart does? Let’s conduct a simple experiment. Below, there are two options of music: one, electronic and the other, Beethoven. Let me know how you feel by leaving a comment below.

To me, I find that Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is much more relaxing and stimulating than the electronic alternative of The Tunnel, where I find the piece to bring stress and clouded thoughts. Maybe I am effected differently than other people or maybe I just do not care for the solely ‘electronic’ music that is recorded today. That is the purpose of this experiment.
Another reason in the music we listen to is the volume it is played at. Today, most of the younger generation enjoy music at decibel higher than the rate of tolerability of the ears and ultimately the brain. A study on this subject says that music at the same decibel of a jack hammer or jet engine destroys hearing. Why do people listen to music at this volume? It is speculated that most don’t even realize that they are that loud.
To close, I include this article that talks about some of the weird ways that music effects the brain. I hope you enjoy seeing just a peek at how electronic devices effect our brains. http://www.cracked.com/article_19006_the-5-weirdest-ways-music-can-mess-with-human-brain.html

Kye Kye

BROKE

I broke in the silence
to repeat what I’ve done in the past won’t change me (Phil.3:3-11)
I broke when you told me
I could try all the time
but my ways won’t change me  (Eph.2:8-9)(Gal.3:1-3)(Ro.3:20-22)

We tried this, but we failed
we know this but we’re too blind to see (1Cor.2:14) (2Tim.3:7)
that there is freedom within me (Col.1:27) (Ro.6:4)
your life brought light for all to see (Jon.12:46) (Mrk.4:11)

When I was lost so I, so I thought
that I was searching all alone
like I was lost so I didn’t know (Gal.4:1)
what I was keeping all along (Col.1:27) (Ro.8:11)

I knew from the moment my mistakes all stood out
your light’s my only safety (Ro.10:3-13)
oh all the times that I didn’t look your way (Mat.13:22)
look what I was missing lord you fill in every space
that I replaced instead of you (Eze.36:26-27)

Revived us, we will sing (Eph.2:4-6)
restored us, you are the source to breath (Jon.4:14)
ignite us to a need to bury everything I never want to be (Ro.8:13-14)

Kye Kye is a unique indie electronic band that has appeared on the music scene just a few years ago. Their latest album, Young Love, debuted in 2010. Kye Kye is made up of four very humble people: Olga, Timothy, and Alex Yagolnikoc and Olga’s husband Tommy. I had the privilege to meet and work with these artists for a coffeehouse and they were the most genuine artists that I have ever met.  Kye Kye are inspired from, as shown above, Scripture. Each of their songs include Scripture passages, shown on their blog on tumblr. TUMBLR

This song, Broke, is my favorite of from their album Young Love. BROKE: This particular song displays some of their electronic elements that they use. Their system is a digital set up that records live and plays back with a few seconds delay. Their keyboardist, explained that, sometimes the playback does not playback what he plays for several seconds. This system requires extreme musicianship and I was quite impressed with their talent.

To describe their music in my own words, I would call it a soothing new sound. Most electronic music (or at least the electronic genre), I considered dance music or music that helps you stay awake. Kye Kye’s music, I would have to say is relaxing. Olga’s voice isn’t a piercing sound; but a very clear angelic sound. I love the insight of the lyrics and the Christian values of the artist. So, sit back, relax, and listen to some beautiful new sounds, brought to you by: KYE KYE!