Monday, 27 October 2014

Music Composition - "Minute's Silence"

I have told you before about the Dorothea Mackellar award.  I won it for a poem about the music in my head.  This was the first thing that showed me I could write things that people thought had meaning.

The award was presented to me by Chloe Charody, who is an Australian composer.  On her blog she said:  "If only I could hear the music that was in his head - I would score it out for him and try to make music become his friend instead of his tormentor".

I had the Lightwriter for the words, but no way to write down the music.

That was a long time ago and I have learned a lot since then.  Since I wrote that poem I have worked with some wonderful people: Jane and Bec, Matt, Jono and Steve, and Harley.

More recently I have been working with Nancy Kiss, my piano teacher, who helped me to understand music.  Nancy showed me the formulas to understand the building blocks for music.  She has also made me no longer scared of the number of keys on a piano.  Nancy showed me how to play piano from a book of music.

Belinda McNamara, who is my music therapist, helped me to take the music from my head and put it on paper.  My work with Nancy had made it possible for me to play the notes on the piano to match the music in my head.  Belinda could then write them down on a music staff.

The first song I worked on was "A Minute's Silence".  I wrote the lyrics for this song in 2012.

The following video shows how this worked.  It is a different song called "Young" and one day I will finish it for you.  Belinda can hear me play a note and tell which one it is.  Mum and Dad cannot do this so the process is a lot slower as this bit of video shows.  It also explains why I need to learn to write my music direct onto the computer.

After I had written the notes I chose crotchets, quavers or other notes from a choice board so it ended up sounding like this:

I wrote the music for "Minute's Silence" before the music for "Young".  That first time, after I had written the notes for the melody, we tried out some different note durations.  Belinda played options and I listened and chose the one I liked.  When we did the base Belinda told me what might fit with the melody and I made choices as I heard the options.  Then we could put the composition onto the computer and play the first version.  Here it is with the lyrics written in so you can follow along as you listen.

I am starting to learn with Adam McNamara, Belinda's brother, who is very good with IT based music programs.  At the moment we are working on the arrangement for "Minute's Silence".  Soon I hope to be writing music directly from a music keyboard to the computer, where I can then work on the arrangement to make my music come alive.  I will write more about this next stage in another post.

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