Soundwaves of Heart

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Leader of a Band

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I currently belong to a 7 people, 5 month old band

band

yes, in the picture, two people are missing. one could not make it and the other was too shy for it.

Personally, being a member of a band was one of my dearest dreams, and I’ve always fantasized about me rocking on stage with a crowd of million people in front of me every time I listened to music in my iPod.

and my dream came true. We had our first performance (or should I call it a gig) in a school function, approximately two months ago and we are already scheduled to have three more performances before end of school.

It was extremely hard to organize a band at a time like this when it was half a year before SAT’s, and AP’s of a highschool JUNIOR YEAR, the most that vexed me was members’ inability to practice due to studying. But except we skipped practices 2 weeks before finals, everyone showed up to the practices, and I was relieved.

Recruiting was hard part as well, when we started recruiting people in the summer of 2008, and the finalized member line up was accomplished in January, 2009. Recruiting was difficult in a small highschool of less than 80 people a grade.

So far, over four months meeting once a week,  we’ve covered 12 songs, and we are in a process of writing original songs for future performances.

Song-diversity was able because for some reason we have three vocalists, and they are all talented. That is the unique attribute only a high school band can achieve.

and in this proud band of mine, I was given a position of a ‘leader’.

A leader meaning me having a little-bit-more-heard voice and having authority over practice dates and all managing.

By being a leader, I could learn a more about myself. I am also in student council and other activities for leadership roles, but being a leader of a band was especially more challenging.

I am a person who is not good at giving ‘orders,’ and in order to make the practices run through smoothly without disturbances, I need to order people around.

Since as an elementary student, I seriously loathed people who gave orders. In Korea, social hierarchy is determined by age, and I could not really fit into a society where you have to follow what the elders say. When I was a captain of a Boy Scout Squad during young years, I was considered the ‘nicest captain’.

However in my band, my inability to shout at people and make people do things in a commandative voice turned about to be a great weakness. As members got comfortable, they decided to do something like not practicing at homes; practice qualities began to worsen.

That’s the thing I have to work on throughout. When I use commandative voice, I’m worried if the person felt bad. I’ve always got hurt by some elders trying to make me do what they want just because they were older. My subconscious self is forbidding me to contradict myself.

Keyboardist

Yeah.

Written by soojinandrew

April 6, 2009 at 12:50

Maksim Mrvica Live at Seoul

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Maksim Mrvica Pure II

Maksim Mrvica, a world-class cross over pianist reigned over Seoul, March 18th 2009.

Concert lasted about an hour and a half, and played various songs from all of his albums, including new songs he have as his Pure albums.

I thought they would have some kind of phamplet, but they didn’t and I apparently wouldn’t bring a writing utencil to such concert; I couldn’t write down the songs he played and I barely remember the order…

But I clearly remember the concert had a grandiose opening with Nostradamus from New World, and he continued on with his other famous songs like Flight of the Bumblebee, Exodus, Croatian Rhapsody, Wonderland, Anthem, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Nathrach, Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #1 Rhapsody from Theme of Paganini, and a few more I don’t recall, and lastly Requiem as an encore.

But I CLEARLY remember what Maksim didn’t play… I had been disappointed a little by short duration of concert, and he didn’t perform songs that I really wanted to listen it live, like New World Concerto, Cubana, Gypsy Maiden, and more of his songs from his unreleased-in-Korea Pure I and Pure II albums. Only new tune I heard was Liszt’s Ballade #2, which was so insane that it basically compensated for the miss. Also, Maksim did not speak at all, all he did was wave and bow after playing two or three songs in a row.

Still, it was simply amazing to see a person in live that I had admired for more than four years.

And it was significant in a way that it was a concert I went because I wanted to for the first time. Previous ones, my parents forced me to go to some classical music concert and I would usually fall asleep.

But I will have to say that he DID make (minor) mistakes  :) He played a wrong note in Flight of the Bumblebee like he was in this video (0:20), and for Wonderland, where he was supposed to play the loudest he could, he just messed up like Lim Dong Hyek messed his Chopin Ballade no.1’s pre-climax part around 7:40 during his Tchaikovsky Concour, but the video seems to be gone at youtube for some reason. Also, the piano and background music were slightly, slightly off often as well.

Although I had some hardships getting home (arrived home at 12:30 am) and still had to physics homework afterwards, it was a worthwhile experience that rejuvinated my passion. Maksim’s face expression was just too dramatic.

Overall I have to say that I learned a lot from the concert, especially how to look cool while playing the piano.

Written by soojinandrew

March 19, 2009 at 23:51

Define the “Rock Spirit”

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Rock Spirit is what differentiated ‘rock’ music from some other type of popular sound. Actually, genres do have their own character imbued. Jazz is about improvisation, and many giants of jazz related its music and techniques to anthropology. Hip Hop and RnB music are generally associated with street lives. Rock n’ Roll has the Rock Spirit. Rock Spirit is simply the devil’s (or the heavy metal god’s) pact of what you should or should not do as a lover or player of rock music.

1. Self confidence and destruction.

“Shut up, N00b!” The video above is a good case of a rock spirit, the man John Petrucci, a guitarist from Dream Theater, demonstrates a lot of power and confidence (though it’s a voice-dubbing of another person). Rockers aren’t humble. Even if they have godly skills, being humble as a rock star is like farting in a quiet and compact elevator. Not only that brings the mood of the stage down, but also it gives a psychological effect to the crowd that the players suck. Yes, I’m also talking about performance show man ships. Many underexperienced student bands just stay in one place and play their instruments like chopsticks. That goes against the Rock spirit, shy is a sin. Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses were especially infamous for their ‘excessive’ rock spirit demonstration on stage. Presence of Alcohol and cigarretts during performances was actually on their safe range. Drugs and sexual provocation frequently happened. Slash, the guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, used cursewords on air during the annual ceremony of certain TV show, apparently, drunken. Even quiet bands like Oasis like to boast. They’re not as bad on the stage, but in their interviews, they say they are “*u*king proud” of their new album, and they said they considered themselves geniuses.

2. Musical sensation

Rockers should sing or play from their heart. Plagiarism is the greatest sin, because that is playing other composer’s heart not yours. Rock music derives from fresh spirit of ‘resistance’. Anarchy is one word that is associated with rock music frequently. And generally ‘hatred’ is was the key mind for early rock developers. Bon Jovi was hated by bands like Metallica because of lack of hatred in their music. Well, it’s 21st century now we don’t have to have to hate each other or be aggressive (see this links with the ‘self confidence’ mentioned above?) to be a rocker. What we can have instead of hatred is passion, passion to your own music, and passion as a ‘musician‘. Whether having studied music theory or not, rockers should be able to write songs at some point of their life. Originality through experiments is what a rocker should aim. This is just straightforward and self explanatory: “know why and what you are playing”.

3. Attitude on the market

piano no mori ajino

scene capture from "Kai's Perfect World"

Rockers are not idols, though some really popular (and handsome) ones like HIM and My Chemical Romance or female groups like Avril Lavigne or Paramore are treated like ones though. Rockers shouldn’t design and sculpture their music by thinking what would make listeners buy. That spirit is similar to jazz, where people like Ornette Coleman, experimented with nosiest sounds. Selling album is means letting the world listen you, not making the world pay you. Well, if you are a good musician, whatever genre you follow your albums will be sold. Rock is not pop. stay cool.

Understanding the ‘rock spirit’ would help you noob rock listeners (i know certain visitors of this blog aren’t :) understand a little more about the universe of rock. Understanding the history is important for understanding a subject, I wholeheartedly learned that during AP world history class I took last year; I had better views of the world.  oh yeah and buy CD’s. Though (i’m being honest), I use illegal downloading too, but I’m trying to work my hardest to get stuff legally. Out of my whole playlist, approximately half so far have been paid in a legal way. That took 3 years. If you’re a fan of music, cut illegal downloading. That goes against the rock spirit as well. :P indirectly.

In what language do you like to sing?

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I’ve always wondered about one thing.

I have diverse nationalities in my iPod. Just to name major ones, USA, Japan, Korea, UK, Finland, Sweden, Germany…

And they all have something in common: worldly artists from those nations all sing in English.

Why do they sing in English before their mother tongue? Only answer I could find was that they were aiming for the worldly market beyond domestic, and people had to understand the lyrics. English was the only option available.

Language is beautiful, and each language has their own aesthetics that can be put in a song. Long time ago, singing Operas in German was forbidden; it had to be sung on Italian or Latin because composers of the time thought German was not a beautiful language to be sung. It’s not like German really is a horrible language to sing, but languages do matter in the making of a beautiful song.

Regarding that, I want to praise Steve Barakatt, a Canadian pop-pianist who exclusively sang in his latest album. He sang one of his song, Forgive Me in Russian, and I think the the pronunciation synchronizes perfectly with the mood and melody of the song. Steve Barakatt also in his piano pieces, entitle them after his French ancestry. Some his songs are named in French, like Nuit D’amour Á Paris. Music is about how sound waves entertain the ear, musicians should not choose a language for commercial purposes.

http://www.fukuyama-u.ac.jp/student/sanzo/2005/yui.jpg

YUI, Japanese singer song writer

That may bring money, but if it’s not one truely wanted to do, then it goes against the unspoken music spirit. I had to think more about it after reading my friend’s post about a Swedish rock group called Kent. They sing in Swedish, yet they are famous and the world listens to them even the lyrics aren’t in English. I would want to know some more of those artists who are born outside of an English speaking country who sing in their mothertongue.

Ones I know are Japanese bands called B’z and YUI. They’re both great songwriters, probably better than almost any one else in Europe and America of their similar genre. I really regret that B’z and YUI are not more famous that they are because they did not choose to sing in English. Ellegarden and Nightwish sing in both English and their native language, Japanese and Finnish respectively.

Bands or artists that show their nationalities are quite interesting, and unique. I see Japan as an adequate place to talk about when talking about nationality in music. Japan, unlike Korea, had accepted and lobbied foreign artists effectively. Many of my European favorites like Firewind, Helloween and Sonata Arctica had performed numerous gigs in Japan. Keith Jarrett and European Jazz Trio were already charting top in Japanese market. With their influence, Japanese musicians created Japanese music. They sound like they’ve been influenced by Europe a lot, but, they’re definitely Japanese sound. They’ve been successful in finding their own sound as a nation. Artists like Blood Stain Child, Anthem, B’z, Dimension, Daishi Dance, Yellow Magic Orchestra… their music was possible to be made because they grew in Japan.

If I hear a song for the first time, I can sort of tell where it’s from.

So, language can’t be globally understood, but music of diversity can be recognized?

Therefore, if a music boy wanted to be successful in the stage called world, he should sing in English and play ethnic yet familiar background music.

Conclusion.

Things needed just to do Music

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Life has gotten better these days, anyone who can afford a $1,000 macbook these days can have easy access to super easy midi sequencer called GarageBand.

Garageband is the most versatile recording software for amateur users; it has presets for podcasts, scores, and also regular sequencing. Right, for a person who does music for fun or hobby garage band is perfect.

Well, funny thing is Garage band does not even have an oscillator:)

Here is the list for necessary necesseties.

  • A 88-key master keyboard.
  • Audio Card (firewire for Macs)
  • Monitor Speaker
  • Logic Studio 2 or other professional softwares like Protool 8, FL Studio, Reason, etc

and since I’m using a crappy macbook (not even a pro one), I need to upgrade my system to

  • at least 4 gigs of ram
  • additional 250 gigs of hard drive

Those are just the most most necessary stuff needed to compose in a modern way. I currently possess only one of them, Logic Studio.

Mi madre promised to buy me those equipments if I got good grades, but I kept on failing her expectations. Shame.

Just getting those list up there in average price reach over $1,500.

If I get the best equipments, and all the other fancy stuff, price will rise astronomically, and you’ll end up getting yourself a professional studio. Well, a super fancy tech keyboard alone costs more than $2,000 at least. The linked keyboard is nearly $4,000. Average family like mine can’t simply afford. Not being able to do what you really want to do because of lack of money is the saddest thing. It’s like getting accepted into Harvard and not having any money to pay.

It would be nicer if those stuff were just a little cheaper, so any individual can afford equipments of decent qualities.

Things are expensive, and it would be pretty if one doesn’t succeed after buying all those equipments. Expensive equipment itself is a pretty strong motive to work hard.

Good thing is that I found a mini studio near my place, I’ll try to figure something out there. hopefully.

Until then, for computer stuff, I’ll have to work like a minimalist, or use an acoustic instrument. like this.

This is a piece of score I sketched for the video yearbook. It’s just a sketch, I am going to touch this thing in computer soon.

Written by soojinandrew

February 12, 2009 at 22:27

Posted in midi, music life, original

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The Quest

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Life is full of quests.

Why a quest? Why does people have a very instinct called ‘purpose’?

I pondered.

Why do we live, why do we need to breathe, digest, and work to live when we can be dead?

121996424_f04f3943b5

In the world, life is only smart part of the universe. Even if there were full of alien life in the outer space, life forms would take less than 0.0000….00001% of the galaxy.

What drives us so badly, that when we achieve our goals, we stick to it? Why do we feel happy?

It’s probably God’s, or life form’s natural scheme for us to not explore the world beyond our earthly necessities.

I feel, and felt with my five senses, and decided to follow a sensation with the most pleasure.

Ears.

Ears are one of the most sensible organs in human body. It is hard to recover once it’s broken, controls body’s balance, and most importantly, it receives oral information.

Sound waves can be in a form of words, music, noise, white noise, pink noise, sine waves, square waves… there are just various kinds.

11 years ago, I had my first official lesson of Piano. It was a ‘musical’ instrument, but playing random notes does not contain much musical sense (except for Free Jazz?). There are certain orders, rules, and theory I had to know in order to entertain others’ ears.

Then, why do I need to entertain other people’s ears by putting effort? Why and how did that become my favorite thing to do, and my life long passion?

Well, simply, it’s probably because happiness sprouts the most when I manage to put random notes in enjoyable order. That’s as far as I can get.

This is a new born blog, he doesn’t know how he will grow. Soundwaves of Heart is at his infancy.

Expect his album reviews, original songs, and personal music life stories.

Welcome.

ps. the picture is from Creative Commons, and I thought it looked like a combination of American Idiot and Ágætis Byrjun.

Written by soojinandrew

February 10, 2009 at 21:30

Posted in music life

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