Monday, June 26, 2006

Making a Piece Your Own: Arranging for Guitar II

I have Xodo to the point where it's playable now - It's been a long time since I put so much effort into one piece - and this version is the last one I'm going to blog about: The final fleshe-out version will take months to develop, I'm sure.


One thing I had to work out was "voice three": In measure two you can see a dotted half-rest in the interior, which I needed to get the tie to the dotted half-note in measure three. That avoided an impossible two-bodies-occupying-the-same-space-at-the-same-time clash at the end of that measure.

I also re-articulated the interior voices in measure five using the third voice, which is the only other place in the first section that I needed to use it. In measures twelve and sixteen, however, a signigicant notational improvement was achieved by using the third voice to get the dotted half-note open G's, which is much more like what the guitar is actually sounding.

In measure nineteen I did not re-articulate the D on the last beat - and I play it the same at the following similar points - which is kind of an electric nylon string guitar "thing": With the volume, sustain, and digital effects I work with, a lot of re-articulatioins you would really need to make on an acoustic guitar are simply not necessary and, in fact, the music has a better effect on the electric without them.

At twenty and twenty-two I repeated the B's in the bass versus playing D's on the second attack just because I liked the effect better and it is easier to play that way. I'm constantly making judgements between playability and what I "want" to hear: It's like doing a cost to benefit analysis. Sure, there are a lot of things I would like to add, but is the end result worth the added technical complexity? In this instance, I judged that it was not.

For example, I reallr, really wanted an A below the D in measure twenty-six, but it's a tricky point, and adding it in required several quick fingering adjustments that needlessly complicated the execution of the thing, so I just let it be (Hey: "Let it Be"; There's a song in there somewhere).

As you can see, I'm using the third voice to get the interior open G's again in measures twenty-four and twenty-five. Not only that, but I added it, along with an E, under the A at the beginning of measure twenty-eight, which is not problematic to execute and adds quite a bit to the musical effect.

This third hook section, by the way, is very similar to the hook in Classical Gas. So much so that I wonder if Williams and Dominguinhos are familiar with each other's works... I'm just sayin'.

I totally changed the fourth section. First of all, I deleated a measure that was between measures thirty-six and thirty-seven: It was just a repeat of the bass figure under the sustained notes above. I judged that this allowed the drive of the piece to flag, so I ditched it. I like the resulting transition and maintenance of the drive to be more to my liking.

What I did in the fourth section proper was that I traded the lower octave lead voice for the high D's in the bass. Again, with an electric nylon string your priorities are different: On an acoustic I might go back to Tim's arrangement for the added tension that doubled lead voice gives, but on the electric it isn't necessary, and keeping the bass line rolling carries more weight. No pun intended.

For the following lick that starts in measure forty-six I changed the alternating E's in the bass on the final beats back to D's because 1) It's so much easier to play this way, and 2) with the third measure I added to the sequence, it actually works better.

Measure fifty-five is the analogous place to where I deleated the measure earlier, only this time allowing the tension to relax is fantastically effective before returning to the top.

I've actually added two measures exactly like measure fifty-eight to the coda to wind it down, and I've also changed the voicing of the final D major chord to allow for a six string thumb strum. Other than that, this is the version I'm going to start performing, and we'll see how it grows from there.


Since I'm going to continue posting fractal art I like, I've decided I ought to credit the artists. Today's image is by Paul DeCelle who has twenty galleries of excellent art on his site. Check him out.


It reminds me of a fractalized version of the desert mountain environment that I call home. Note the tiny generating Mandelbrot figure to the left of center. Nice.


I'm betting this is the kind of "sweetheart" those Brazilian Cowboys are looking for.


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