Archive for the ‘cinematic’ Category

floyd goes to the open mic

June 5, 2008

episode four:

floyd’s really nervous about going to open mic night.  he’s got some songs he’s been dying to try out live, but he’s nervous that they won’t go over well, and generally has a hard time with social scenes.

listen, and see how it goes.

ABOUT:

this was another experiement for me, initially to find a way to combine a lots of instruments without maxing out my computer completely.  i ended up with a lot of instruments, all generally playing minimal parts.  i wanted lots of different color’s, and wanted to play with more instruments than i have been.  so i started a session of about 5 or 6 orchestral instruments or sections, then 5 or 6 more in another file, and so on, until i had about 4 sessions going, that all got mixed into the final live recordings.  the last step (live stuff) was the melodica, some sound effects, guitar and vocals, and mixing the end to sound cinematic, with volume and panning choices.  considering the number of things going on, and time it took, it feels very short to me now, but hopefully effective.  let me know what you think!  this was also fun, because it started without any clear idea, just sound and idea searching.  the one thing i wanted was the sneaky/creapy/pensive thing, which influenced some of the instrument and note choices.  the entire openning of the piece takes place inside floyd’s head, until he gets out of his head and into a bar at the end of the piece, and makes his decision on the “open mic” experience.

thanks for listening!

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and see detholz, baby teeth, danny black, and dj bobby conn at hideout this saturday night for a benefit for lena yohey’s trip to Nepal this Fall!  http://tmt.detholz.com/yohey-fest.jpg

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floyd goes to the ball

May 21, 2008

click down there

this is the second of the “floyd” series, which is turning out to be a fun programmatic romp with a combination of sampled and real instruments. this one was written only days after the first episode, “floyd takes a walk”, posted last week, and in this episode, we find floyd at a ball or dance of sorts, again struggling in some endearing way. i imagine him trying to fit in socially, maybe even trying to dance, but generally failing at all turns. it’s the sort of party that would be great fun if you were someone else, he thinks, as he’s preoccupied with his own inabilities to function in such a social environment. but floyd strikes me, so far, as someone who keeps trying. this is part of his charm, and part of the thing that frustrates him so much.

musically, i used pizzicato strings for the basis of the waltz, and percussion that nods to a “falling down” idea; clumsy perhaps like floyd. there’s a toy a accordian in the first section of the piece that also feels very a little awkward or out of place playing single long notes at these same “crash” moments. the opening theme is in the oboes, a favorite of mine, but not as popular a solo instrument as, say, the violins or clarinets. the middle section of this piece is my favorite, where a solo violin takes the melody, and the atmosphere changes a bit. here, i think floyd starts to imagine himself as someone else, someone who’s smart and interesting and smooth and charming. he welcomes the attention. he proudly slides through the room like the sound of a single well played violin, and the underlying accompaniment changes with him. it becomes a little more hip. it moves a little better. grooves a little. it’s another, better, place. here, i used electric bass and drumkit, under organ and violin. the “back to reality” transition is me whistling over the organ, and a bit of the first theme, on the oboe again, before one final crash brings floyd back to awkward reality.

i’m hoping to overdub the solo violin part with a real violinist soon, which will help the piece a lot, some of the sounds i think are pretty believable, while that one is sort of an earsore i think.  once that happens, i’ll repost.  until then, sorry about some of the synthyness.

thanks for listening and reading! i hope to have another orchestration for this series soon. either way, tune in next week for more new material of some sort.

j

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floyd takes a walk

May 14, 2008

cause he needs to clear his head. but the head in question is plagued with regret and hopelessness. it’s noisy, and heavy, and just won’t leave his body. it rumbles like the breath of a 50 ft. tall monster drama queen.

“floyd takes a walk” is the first episode of a score for narrative i’m working on (what the hell?).  i’ve been feeling like taking on a bigger project lately, and getting away (for a bit) from the two section three chord drum-machine jams. and i love thinking in sets, or bigger collections. in this case, i’m writing themes for a specifically awkward, sad, lovable character who i’m calling floyd. it’s tough being floyd. he tries and he tries, but to little or no avail, so it seems. “narrative” may not be the word exactly, as i’m writing these and seeing where THEY take the character. music first, scene second. tune in next week for episode TWO! it’s already finished, but i’ll save it for next week.

thanks for listening! i hope this one gets your imaginative imagery going.

j

mailing list is here

mucca pazza at columbia college’s “manifest” this friday.

six shooter

February 6, 2008

six shooter” (mp3)

i watched 3:10 to Yuma recently. and immediately began writing this song. i liked the movie, but was more generally inspired by the genre. i hadn’t seen a western in a while, and just love ’em. love love love ’em.

so, “six shooter” is my music for some version of the “final showdown” and/or “walk to the grave bravely” music.

i went for stringy stuff, guitars, etc. an effected piano that sounds a little tinny and scratchy, and a slow minor key progression, and some dirty-ass drums and other percussion. and bass. and whistles. and organ. and a church bell. those are all things that are in there.

well, i hope you enjoy this one. imagine it with me as a tall skinny dirty cowboy determined to do the right thing even though it may cost me my life. and everything is brown.

love,

brown and dirty

theme one

November 27, 2007

welcome back.

i call this one “theme one” (click to listen) because i think of it as the first of a specific collection of “film music with no film.” i wrote it this weekend at my parents place in Missouri, on their piano, in a food coma.

i’ve been getting more and more focused on writing for picture, and at times when no picture is readily available, i’ve written a few things to mental pictures. this pieces mental picture isn’t as specific as some, but i think it leads the minds eye in a certain direction. while i was writing in MO, i started transitioning into entirely different music at the end of the piece, but in this case, chose and recorded and ending to it. in said film, it probably wouldn’t end the way it does in this case.  i dunno.

Form/Theme

A. the main theme is presented right at the top of the piece, heard in the high voice of the piano…playful but with a bit of a “trouble in paradise” idea.

B. transition material darkens the character a bit, then redeems/lightens (“ah” vocals) the character a bit. this section acknowledges that something mysterious/questionable is abound i think.

A1. the main theme in a new key with slight alterations – a back and forth of light and dark ideas…using a whole tone scale at the end to add escalating tension.

C. transition/truncated theme brightens things up a bit, quoting the theme and creating a nice little “V I” to the end section. a “V I” (five, one) is basically a way to set up a new resting place, or harmonic “home” for the ear. it’s like the “amen” at the end of a hymn, with two chords (five/one or four/one) that say “all-done” or “your home” to the ear.

D. new material – we arrive at this “home” and slow the pace down. the character is tired perhaps, or contemplative. this section goes back and forth between light and dark versions of itself, nodding to that conflict still existing (whatever that conflict is). then, maybe the character falls asleep.

what do you think?

YOUR MISSION, if you choose to be awesome:

come up with a short narrative for this piece and post it as a comment. i have ideas, but they’re pretty open. i’d LOVE to hear yours.

j

the wind dance of satin nightingales

October 25, 2007

welcome back weary travelers! for this weeks tune, i have traveled to the Peruvian high Andes with Frenchmen dressed as Inca kings and toting cigarette holders and 50 year old cognac.

the wind dance of satin nightingales” is steiny’s first real attempt at “exotica”, inspired in part by the halloween party here at maplewood on saturday night. i have heard many of these tunes in my roommate stevies magical party mixes, and finally got inspired on saturday to write in the style.

the instrumentation is as follows:

two pandero’s (small frame drum)

tambourine

shaker

drumset toms

percussion

upright bass

guitar (tremolo)

piano(s)

cellos

xylophone

misc. jungle ambiance and bird calls

some french guy (from a french language program)

jon steiny vocals

rachel steiny vocals

EVERYONE GIVE IT UP FOR RACHEL STEINMEIER! rachel came in just today and whipped out some magical vocal lines, some composed and some improvised. i told her to go for “kermit the frog sings opera” and she rocked it. in case ya’ll don’t know, my sister is a talented and trained vocalist, with a great ear and great range, and will also be appearing in the Detholz – Jukebox of the Dead show halloween night! NEXT WEEK!

well, not sure what else to say about this tune. i’m pretty happy with it. i hope you get transported to a mysterious place (but don’t freak out).

thanks for listening!

j

p.s. a barrel of laughs for anyone who can translate the french

p.p.s mailing list is here

mikey

October 2, 2007

mikey” (click for mp3)

welcome back to the jon steinmeier song a week super blog blitzkrieg. this weeks song, “mikey”, is a fun little electro dance sci-fi cinema sound scape.

i felt like doing a little semi-programmatic thingy this week, and play a bit with sounds and atmospheres. i get into this zone sometimes, inspired in part by sounds that i find. in this case, i’m using some of the same “kraftwerkesque” drum sounds from last weeks song “berlin” but in a more instrumental way, and playing more with atmospheric samples.

i like that the piece is a bit ADD, and moves from idea to idea and back in a pretty short space. and it’s a different sort of “composition” that i’ve gotten into a lot in the past year or so, getting away from chord changes and song forms a bit.

it’s also the sort of piece that i imagine a video with, as the main focus of the piece. in that sense, consider it “unfinished” until one of you brilliant videographers wants to take a stab at it. let me know! i can pay you in hugs.

thanks for listening!

j

beastern

August 29, 2007

hey kids! welcome back. whew…i’ve been writ’n a bunch a songs this week, the most recent of which is this guy…”beastern” (CLICK IT FOR MP3). this song is the “complex” part of a two song personal project i did this week called simple/complex. this is mostly in reference to melodic material, but carries over into arrangement as well.

after a conversation with mama steiny this week about the potential of running out of creative steam, she suggested that i write a simple song that just focuses on a strong melody. i liked this idea alot, and as i am prone to, started to think of it as a bigger project…LOGIC: if there’s a “simple”, there should be a “complex” and they should be released at the same time. whatever. “beastern” is the complex one of the set.

MUSICS

when i finished the basic bones of Our Universe (available at the detholz wordpress blog) i started playing with ideas for “beastern”, as a three or four part, single line, guitar vamp. i recorded roughly three minutes of these parts and added a drum track that eventually loops at different places and comes back to the original groove. i like the busy-ness and harmonic character of these parts, and kept them at the same root and parts for the entire run, as a drony “pedal” sort of base. i was considering writing lyrics with the melody, but decided against it initially. i used a melodica for the main melodic instrument, as i thought it fit the character (much like an accordian would) and because i have one kicking around. with that drony harmonic material, i needed a melody that was particularly “interesting” and starting playing AROUND the harmonic material of the accompaniment. the main scales that would be more or less diatonic to this accompaniment are A to A (white keys – or aeolian) and the same scale with a major THIRD (C#). i started the melody there, and then started adding F#’s and D#’s and resolving them to create an “outside” sort of tension in the melody. i think it created an odd, meandering character, but one that still resolves and gets back to it’s “home.” i made the main phrase 8 bars long before it repeated, but with two repeatable 4 bar phrases, that i broke up later (when the bass and vocals come in). then i split things up between melodica and guitar to give the ear breaks from the otherwise relentless melodica stuff. 🙂

WORDS?

i did end up singing a bit, cause i wanted the tone of the human voice to appear, to add more interest to the piece. once i taught myself to sing the melody, i used the beginning of the alphabet (see here) as the words, and wrote words similar to the sounds and pronunciations of the alphabet part:

IT’S EASILY
THE BEST C S I
JAY ATE A LEMON
DOPIE JEWELER CHEST

A BEE SEES ME
HE LEFT ME AND I
BECAME ELEVEN
O P TOOLER VEST

——————————

it’s a tongue twister!! TRY IT!

the next way that i decided to add interest was sort of cinematic. i used the alphabet idea and imagined someone seeing this song performed live and remembering to practice his alphabet. he steps outside the club for a second to hear himself, and goes through the alphabet once to make sure he’s still “got it,” and heads back inside for the end of the song.

i see this piece as an instrumental really, with the voice as one of the instruments, and the sounds (or words) as articulations. a fun way to write!

thanks for listening.

check out this weeks Special Exclusive Jon Steinmeier Song of the Week at http://detholz.wordpress.com

romance by request

August 3, 2007

hey kids! welcome back. thanks for tuning in to steinyradio. this weeks song is called “romance by request” and goes into that semi-cinematic orchestral category.

the goal: i started out attempting to write a romance theme, and feel like i ended up somewhere closer to tragic romance, or lost love. i think my subconscious connects to that…

A. because the thought of the straight-ahead romance theme felt a bit cheezy to me, and is pretty tough to pull off without ending up sort of comedic (if you’re me). 🙂

B. because i’ve always found the bittersweet or just plain tragic sounding scoring to really get me in the eyeballs. i think the connection between love and tragedy is intrinsic, and unavoidable…from lost love to concern or mourning those you love. i wonder if this is also affected by my faith and idea of sacrificial love, the impetus for some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking stories we know and can come up with.

so, “romance by request” is a bit darker than i had originally intended, but weaves back and forth between light and dark throughout. i always hope that this sort of movement sounds smooth and natural, but i feel like there are moments in this one where it’s a bit obvious. it’s also possibly a bit long. 🙂 but here’s some technical stuff:

a. i wrote the harmonic (chordal) movement first and melody second…not always a good idea. 😉 but the harmonic movement became a theme in itself in a way, in that when it comes back toward the end of the piece i think it’s recognizable, this time with an entirely different melody on top.

b. the weaving i was talking about happens mostly in the big sections (about four of ’em in the piece). mostly from dark to light to dark to light, if you simplify it. actually, this is a really good question for my faithful audience (mom?): “what’s the emtional contour of the piece by your ear?” you could think of it in terms of A/B/AA/BB forms for example, or:

LAUGH/CRY/CRY/LAUGH/CRY

or even

SMILE/FROWN/EAT LUNCH/ROLL EYES/SLEEP/CRY.

ultimately, this is a piece i’m happy with but not trilled by. i think its drawback is that you probably won’t have the melody stuck in your head…and, even though i went for the conflict of emotions angle, it’s still a bit cheezy to me. 🙂 maybe that’s good though. it’s underrated after all.

THANKS FOR LISTENING/READING!

tune in next week for more bore!

take flight

July 21, 2007

alrighty…the first “orchestral” installment of the jon steinmeier awesome wordpress music funtime blog machineTM is called “take flight.” (click it!)

my roommate lena and i recently watched CRIMSON TIDE staring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington, a big submarine, right and wrong, duty, and appropriately tense and somehow strangely patriotic feeling music. i started writing something jolly and orchestral a day later (or maybe that day) starting with the cello line in the intro, thinking very baroque/classically, when my subconscious started to bring in this american blockbuster action drama character and the bass and percussion parts started to develop. i think the ascending (sort of triumphant) trumpet line came next. so, i went with this idea…and got a little more tense (action) and a little more concerned (drama) with this two part horn line part that shows up about half way through…all building to what i think is the interesting part of the piece, the big, loud, somewhat dissonant transition back into the openning material…bla bla bla.

CRIMSON TIDE! ACTION DRAMA AMERICA SONOR AUTHENTIFICATION VERIFICATION DUTY DISSENT LOYALTY RUDDERS HORSES MUTINY WAR.

underwater.