Archive for the ‘melodica’ Category

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July 25, 2008

hey kids! here’s song TWO from “catchup with life week 2008“.

it’s about you!

also, by all means, visit www.jonsteinmeier.com for the complete song of the week cataloged streaming mp3 super player power box thingy!

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this song is a bit of a style study, inspired by chicago band “devil in a woodpile“, who’s performance at the hideout this week made me very happy.

i took my memory of the elements home after said show, filtered them through what i am able to play, and wrote this little dood. guitar, bass, drums, and melodica (i love me melodica). veering almost inevitably from the original sound i started stretching out harmonically a bit, and writing chromatic, and not particularly “catchy” melody lines. ah well. 🙂

thanks for listening!

until “then”

j

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floyd sleeps in

June 18, 2008

click here for the jonsteinmeier muzik player

Floyd Sleeps in

welcome back friends! i’m staying on the floyd-ferry for the time being, and in this episode, he sleeps in a bit late. “snoozes” if you will. this track is a mix of orchestral instruments and environmental sounds, some of which are INSIDE floyds half-awake dream, some of which are outside, in the real world.

i see this entire floyd series as “music for film with no film”, and as always, would love to hear anyones interpretation of this one, or any of them for that matter. any images or ideas they inspire. if they don’t, that’s good to know too. 🙂

it’s funny, i end up with some pretty specific ideas after each of these, and many of them have to do with WHERE things are happening.  what the room looks like for example.  where the window is.  things like that.

next week, i may get more into a full on dream floyd has. stay tuned!

as always, thanks for listening, and come out to Stan Mansion this thursday night for Mucca Pazza’s cd release show, also featuring Chandeliers and Baby Teeth! it’ll be a raucous night fer sure.

j

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

floyd gets about some business

May 28, 2008

firstly, two shows i’m doing this weekend:

1.  friday, may 28, with sad brad smith and friends, at Heart of Gold, 10p.  i’ll be playing drums, piano here and there, and bass guitar and melodica at the same time (it’s never been done before).

2.  saturday, may 29, mucca pazza plays Do-Division Street Fest at division and damen at 7pm.  http://www.do-divisionstreetfest.com/

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now, floyd: episode three

i actually just decided that this was a floyd episode, as i didn’t approach it as orchestrally or intentionally as the first two.  but, the melodica has sort of become my instrument of choice for floyd’s character, and, having bought a new melodica last week, i’ve been using it a lot.  this one was also an opportunity for me to play more with all live instruments, except for that fake honky tonk piano and a fake keyboard sound.  here’s the layout:

2 melodica’s

bass

drums

cowbell

conga’s

tamborine

piano sample

wurly sample

this track is interesting to me, but more repetative than the last couple.  for that i appologize (especially if it bores you)  but, the goals were as follows:

live drums – decent sounds, but i’m still working at figuring out how to get better live drum sounds.  this was not a total success.

live percussion – a success in this case, as i havn’t recorded a live three instrument (or more) percussion section in my little home studio.  worked pretty well i think

MELODICA! – my new melodica is pretty satisfying.  and i’m loving how expressive it is, as a wind instrument, but easy for me to play, as a keyboard instrument.  i also just love the character of it

eastern modal melodic work – this is a little vague, but by ear, i just used a lot of lowered 2nd’s and a couple of other little minory eastern sounding notes in my main scale for this piece.  i also went for some flourishes in the part that were characteristic to my ear.  this worked pretty well.  sort of, almost phrygian.

groove – i’ve been feeling like making something a bit “funky” (as the kids say now), and this was another influence on this piece.  the piece is really the product of a short “to-do list” of musical and sound ideas.  the way that they all came together isn’t exactly what i expected from any of them individually, but that’s part of the fun of it, i think.

thanks for listening, as always.

also, my interview and performance on chicago’s WBEZ 91.5 FM aired on monday night!  thanks to all that tuned in.  i’ll be posting clips from the show shortly!  so stay tuned!

j

clik hier fer thee maling Lyst

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

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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

carnival candy

August 8, 2007

hey kids! welcome back. this weeks song is called “carnival candy.”

it’s a piece inspired by the classic creepy circus idea, an old favorite. i’m not sure what specifically inspired me to write this in the last week, but it’s a character that i love to play with in general. it’s creepy, a bit off kilter harmonically, and kinda funny to me. i love the energy, and the scene it sets in my mind’s eye. a lot of the stuff i wrote for my college senior recital fit into this “circusy” category. it’s just something i dive into pretty easily for some reason.

WARNING: if you’re deathly afraid of clowns, don’t think about scary clowns while listening to this piece. also, if you’re deathly afraid of pianos, don’t notice that there’s a piano in the song while you listen.

this tune started with the bass line entirely, from front to back. the repeated pattern consists of an octave and a minor sixth (key of c – C and Aflat) that changes roots throughout, from c and back to c. the rhythm of the bass line is key to the “movement” and energy of piece. the idea is for it to sound like you (or some character) is moving in some direction, with some level urgency, or just that something “busy” is happening. someone is up to no good. i also used the even more repetitive percussion parts to lend to this movement, but i didn’t want them to get too big, for fear of going from sneaky and mischievous to a godzilla sort of creepiness. they’re all basically percussion “toys,” or tiny noise makers and bells. blabeebla.

so, piano gets melody AND bassline in this one. i filled some space with the pipe organ sound in the background, holding diminished chords to add to the tension and fit in with the harmonically off kilter piano material. and then i added the churchy chime in the background…another classically creepy and ironically devious gesture i think.

finally, i added a melodica and vocals in unison with a counter melody, as the form is bascially a big A A, and gets otherwise boring the second time around. i like this form though. same material TWICE, with new layers the second time around, or progressively thicker as you go, over the same base. there’s a lot you can do with whatever that first idea is. tons actually. and sticking to it as the basis for the piece is not only a good exercise, but also helps hold the piece together from point A to point B. SO, melodica, vocals, and…extra percussion. hm…what is that extra percussion that comes in half way through? any ideas team?

(insert Jeapordy music here)

what is: jonny’s chest?

that’s right!

for extra rhythm in the second half of the tune, i just played drummy stuff on my bare chest with my bear hands. not that many people have bear hands at their disposal, but i was lucky enough to find some at a garage sale last year in hammond indiana.

and…last and least: i wanted to play with this some protools effects (i know, not necessarily a good reason to write something) so i recorded myself saying “ice cream” repeatedly and added a funky time bender to it at the end of the piece. it’s sort of like the punchline to the joke to me. the moment where you realize that it IS a goofy piece, and i know it too. almost like the creepy circus has turned into a mere backdrop for sugary goodies. not so scary anymore, eh? it also fit into the “carnival candy” title, which i came up with before any of the writing really happened.

ok…boring. i know that’s way more material than anyone wanted to know about this tune, but that was basically the thought process for it. i’m pretty happy with it. i think that it sets a mood. i like that it’s light in step but dark in demeanor.

what do YOU think?

thanks for listening.

j