Part 2 is here!
A good way to spend a break from transcribing music to jam freely to some random backing track found on YouTube. It’s one way to have fun and try to develop/enhance chops.
Waiting can be boring and tiresome, especially when you have to wait for hours. What’s an example of a thing I can do to make good use of time? Improvise a suite of solo piano music on my sister’s piano:
I. While I Wait for You
II. Rain in the Evening
III. While I Continue to Wait for You
IV. Just Messing Around
It’s been a while since I posted about my story as a “single” guy, and here’s one part of it.
Before I proceed, you should know the lady that has been for the most part the inspiration behind many of my solo piano improvisations from the past few days is NOT Genevieve. Genevieve is a friend of hers who, upon discovering that yours truly is a composer, issued a sort of challenge for me to write some music based on the name “Genevieve”. So, I went about figuring how to do it. I decided to use the name “Genevieve” as a melodic idea by assigning each letter notes or chromatic scale degrees. I made a diatonic and a chromatic version:
After coming up with this table, I spelled out “Genevieve” with numbers from both diatonic and chromatic charts to come up with two tone rows:
The top row of numbers is the diatonic version and the bottom row is the chromatic version. I chose the chromatic row as melodic basis for my improvisation. To make things simpler for me, I used a C chromatic scale as a point of reference, and this led me to devise a melody that is based on both Db Major and Db Lydian, and so the melodic theme for “Genevieve” spells out F-Eb-Db-Eb-Ab-G(natural)-Eb-Ab-Eb. To get the mood of the piece right, I asked “Her” about a general overview of who Genevieve was as a person. She said Genevieve was a pretty girl, the heartthrob among her peers who was a ballet dancer. Genevieve was also described as nice but feisty and energetic. This made me decide how to go about the particular rhythms to form the melody and accompaniment for “Genevieve” as you will see in the video of my performance.
Oh, before I go off track, remember Genevieve’s lady friend? Things between us are going rather well. That’s all I can say for now.
There is always hope after emotional turmoil. While I am always unsure of whether or not I will wake up the next day, I always believe there is something beyond the here and now, something to look forward to. The future looks bright indeed. I suppose there probably is no better way to tell that story than through the power of the electric guitar.
…able to create real, unique, custom instruments!
Please take note that I have deep admiration for Filipino luthiers. I am not insulting or trying to offend such fine craftsmen. Their craftsmanship is superb. That I do not doubt. However, it seems to me that most of them are afraid to take up the challenge of experimenting and building unique instruments that will bring about new sounds that will bring about much needed change in the OPM scene.
I will admit I am crazy. I have this loony side. I like weird stuff, with weirdness that crosses over the border of becoming unique without sacrificing function. For years, I have had this dream or aspiration that one day, a Filipino luthier would be able to make the instrument/s of my dreams. Some of these instruments I dream of having include extended-range guitars (more than 7 strings) and a guitar that can function like a viola de gamba (arched bridge and fretboard). It feels very frustrating that these proud luthiers can’t build any of these. There are a number of things or reasons why these luthiers can’t make such instruments, and that would include lack of materials or a lack of knowledge.
One day, while I was on Facebook, I approached this luthier who had a substantial following. I requested from him to give me an estimate as to how much it would take for them to build it. He said he can’t do it because he doesn’t have existing patterns or templates for it. I said I’d take the risk of spending more just to make sure my vision is realized. Afterwards, he said he just can’t do it. A few months later, he starts spewing pictures of how he masterfully copied Taylors, Gibsons, Martins, and Fenders for his customers.
What does this tell us? Do we revel at the fact that we are good copycats? Why can’t we Filipinos aspire for bigger goals? Why can’t just try to change? Why do we have to stick to years of traditions that don’t push us forward?
Again, I am NOT trying to insult Filipino Luthiers out there. I am merely posing a challenge. Please build real custom instruments, not just copies of popular brands like Taylor, Fender, Martin, Gibson, Guild, etc.
Lunchtime around this period of my life consists of a single cup of homemade Greek yogurt mixed in with honey and some sugar-free strawberry preserves. As I was eating my lunch and reviewing my GuitarZoom transcription work, I get this friend request from Michael Shawn Turner. After accepting it, he suddenly tells via a private message something like, “Hey are you the guy who wrote this? ” And then I realized I was talking to one of my heroes: Battery’s Mike Turner!
I was very much surprised. I never would have thought one of my heroes would start to speak to me, let alone read my blog! Anyway, to cut the somewhat long story short, it was a very pleasant exchange. He even wished me well in my search for a new drummer. Afterwards, he explained the reason why Battery ceased to exist: he flew to Los Angeles. It was as simple as that!
I remember saying in my blog that I regret not purchasing any of Battery’s albums back in the day. Mike Turner revealed to me that all of Battery’s songs are available via his Reverbnation page: http://www.reverbnation.com/michaelshawnturner/songs. Now I know that I can enjoy Battery’s music via the web.
I cannot thank Mike Turner enough for being an inspiration and for giving me a fragment of his time.
Before I end this piece, I’d like to share with you folks Mike’s latest project called booRADLEY. They started an Indiegogo campaign, so please visit the page and offer your support. I’m very sure that it’s a decision worth taking into consideration: