Friday, February 09, 2007

Water Rose: masterpiece!

If you're into music notation software, I highly recommend LilyPond. It's really only good for final copies, but it's darn awesome for that. It's just like programming! And there's soooo many things you can do. You can do clusters! Like this. Not that I'm into clusters, it sounds like yowling to me. And you can write in various ancient music styles. And the clincher: it even has banjo notation! Banjo notation.

I've been starting some variation sets on on a series of Jean Berger songs. So I've been listening to When I Admire the Rose over and over trying to transcribe the voice lines, and I've come to the conclusion that a perfectly balanced choir of excellent singers is The Best Instrument. Most choirs aren't like this, but NYC sure was. I actually used to hate the sound of male singers, but the NYC guys were fantastic and the mens' parts in The Rose and Water Night are the ones that make my heart skip a little every time. Ah yes, my favourite choral piece of all time (and I think everyone would have to objectively agree that it is the finest choral piece ever written) is Eric Whitacre's Water Night. Hmm... two awesome songs... should be combined! Like this. Actually, they go together fantastically, especially at the end.

Anyway, while I was transcribing I noticed that songs don't sound as good performed with instruments other than voice. The notes are correct, but it doesn't sound quite as spectacular. Researching for my music encyclopedia has uncovered the reason: most instruments are tuned so as to be slightly out of tune... for good reason, and only barely, but still slightly. Whereas in a choir you don't sing a note, you sing your harmonic function in relation to the other voices, and if it's a good choir it will be perfectly in tune. Just intonation, or something. Whatever, the name isn't important. Not like augmented sixth chords built on the second scale degree, for example. Speaking of which... I should go do some homework.

Good news! Mini Goggles has been rescued!


Amy said...

Hooray for the llama posse!

I love Eric Whitacre's stuff, it's freakin' awesome. I adore the pieces we did with Chamber Singers, and everything else I've heard of his. He makes amazing music.

Anonymous said...

Mini Goggles ... is the baby llama??