Monday, 22 October 2012

Choir #3

Hey again!
So last week we received our third jazz choir assignment. It's called Undun and it's sung by Kurt Elling. There will be a link at the bottom for those of you who want to watch it and I think that's it.

So Once you listen to it you know it's clearly accompanied by a Bass, Piano, Guitar, Drums and an alto sax. It's a swung, jazzy rock ballad with the very common form of chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, verse. It's text is very intriguing and so interesting I decided to learn more. It seemed to me when I first listened to it to represent a lifelong struggle of some kind. When I found out what it actually meant I was very surprised. Randy Bachman got the idea for the song while listening to Bob Dylan's "Ballad in Plain D". When he was about to turn off the radio, he heard the line "she came undone". That reminded him of a girl he saw at a party who fell into a coma. She is what the song is all about.  Th text wasn't the only thing that was interesting though. To make the different parts stand out Elling almost melted consonants together and at the ends of his phrases there were sometimes little smears and other times, some falls. There were also some solos that really stood out. Obviously i'm not talking about the vocals because that runs through the whole tune. Bachman's guitar solo was super interesting and really unique. I really liked the chords he chose to vibrate. I think it really brought out some of the colors in the song. Bob Sheppard did a wicked sax solo right after that. It had some cool jumps in it and emphasis on some of the warmer chords too. Also, While group unity doesn't apply as much to a soloist, his band still has to pay attention and stay with each other and the singer. They did that really well and in songs like this it is especially hard for the pianist because if the singer makes a mistake, or adds parts they have to stay together and their moving parts have to be in unison or it just won't sound right. That ties in to musicality. It was great throughout the whole tune (not a song. the word song is frowned upon by jazz musicians.) anyways, great musicality. Dynamic contrast everywhere it needed to be but really noticeable at the end of phrases where he tapers off. The blend throughout the group is also great considering they are each using a different axe with a completely different voice. Lastly, I also learned a lot from this performance. I think others could too. For example, a group couldn't do some of the embellishments he puts in like smears and falls without being at least a little bit off and definitely not to that extent. Also he is a great example for confidence whether you feel it or not and the true value of stage presence.
So here's the link I promised you guys and I hope you like it!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Rick Allen

Hi again!
My latest project is in my social studies class. It's a lot of fun and I think it's entertaining us all to learn about pop- culture through the decades.
My group ended up with the 80's automatically I assigned myself the music section. I listen to a lot of music from the 80's so it wasn't very hard. I did get some interesting information though.
Have any of you ever heard of Rick Allen? If you haven't he is the drummer for Def Leppard and you should search him up when you have the chance. He's really a very interesting person. but why is he special and how did I find him? Well I remember heard about him watching switched at birth earlier today and he caught my attention because I am a huge fan of the drums because I play a little bit and I know how talented you have to be to play really well and it's amazing what people can do. Also, a drummer with one arm? What isn't interesting about that? So the little geek inside me decided to investigate further. I snooped around online, asked some people who knew about tons of bands and other people who had been to a Def Leppard concert. What I found was truly amazing. So this drummer only has one arm but why? and how can he play? that's what I wanted know. So here's the story I finally came up with.
Rick Allen was driving impaired (what is with rock stars!!?) and he got into an accident. The result of that accident was the loss of his left arm. 3 or 4 months after he got out of the hospital, his band mates came to visit him at home. They stood outside for a moment before coming in and heard someone drumming to one of their songs. They went into the house prepared to Fire him politely (come on the guy lost his arm! how could they expect him to play?) and saw that he was the one playing the drums so well. Needless to say they didn't fire him and he still plays at their gigs today. Now he plays the drums barefoot so he can feel the difference of the pedals beneath his feet. He can play the drums so well one-handed because of the way his drumkit is set up so he uses a pedal instead of actually striking a splash or a snare or whatever.

I just wanted to share that with you because I found it so interesting and It's the coolest homework I've had this year to put up.
See Ya Later!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Choir #2

So our other choir assignment so far is also by the real group. This one is called "Splanky" it's an interesting song that holds lot's of value for jazz singers.

So everything about the arrangement of the song is the same as When I fall in love.
For instance, It's still acapella, in 5 parts (the same parts), and has the same 5 people. but since it is obviously not the same song there has to be some difference, right?
The song sounds improvised but clearly is not because they are doing things at the same time.
The text is simply syllables strung together in a seemingly nonsense fashion so that you have to concentrate on the style and expressions. There is one solo and it is very interesting. It is entirely possible that this is written out, but based on the style of the song it is more likely improvised. Again they are very unified because they are listening to each other and making sure they can hear the base line no matter what.

It's a very interesting song and I like to listen to it.

Choir #1

Oops. I forgot about all my choir assignments  Okay so I did the listening and all I have to do is write down my answers to some questions. I think i'll answer 6 questions to start with.
So when I fall in love is a really good song and the real group are some wonderful performers. Put those together and it's an awesome video.

Okay so the song is acapella. I think all of their songs are.
There are 5 singers in the group, 3 men and 2 women.
There are 5 different parts as well, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone and Bass.
The group stayed together really well and always knew what everyone else was doing.
The chord changes at 1:15 are really cool. They're super pretty throughout the whole song but especially there.
I learned a lot from this performance. mostly stylistic things but it really emphasized the value of listening to the rest of you're group.

I forgot to mention in my last post that if you think you can figure out which definitions are real and which ones are fake you should comment to see who can get the most right.

Have fun!

Break a leg...

My newest english project is a lot of fun! I have to pick a bizarre phrase and figure out the origin and definition behind it and then make one up and see if anyone can tell which ones are real. I chose to research break a leg. There are so many definitions out there and some of them are just so strange but I have them here anyways.

When you're not discussing theater break a leg means to make a strenuous effort so it's possible that it just means to work hard.

We all know that theatrical people are superstitious. (I can tell you that firsthand) They believe that if you say good luck to an actor you are wishing the opposite upon them. So if you tell them to break a leg we hope you mean the opposite.

Break is also a synonym to bend so They might want you to put on such a good performance you have to bow, curtsy or "break your leg" many times.

Impress the audience so much you have to bend down to pick up all the coins they throw onstage.

You should have to go onstage so many times so fast that you end up breaking the "legs" or the side curtains.

They want you to go onstage and have you're big break.

It could be a reference to Sarah Bernhardt, a great actress who had only one leg. It could also be a reference to John Wilkes Booth who broke his leg jumping onto the stage to get away after shooting president Lincoln.

The Greek and Elizabethan meanings are quite similar. Instead of clapping they would stomp their feet of band their chairs against the ground so they wanted you to put on such a good performance either their legs of the chair's legs would break.

Also, in ancient Greece when the gladiators fought, people would wish their favorites good luck by telling them to break a leg that wasn't their own.

A really cool reference to A Shakespearean performance of king Richard the lll and the actor was so entranced in his performance that he didn't notice that he had broken his leg.