Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Piano Cover & Tutorial: High, High, High

Well, this was a faster update than my usual several-month delay. In the spirit of embracing this newly-discovered having-a-musical-instrument thing, I must have spent at least twelve hours over the past couple of days on my piano. I'm sure my life will go back into balance at some point in the future, but until then, MUSIC OVERLOAD. And I'm loving every minute of it. :D

Anyway, in case you weren't able to tell from my entry a few posts ago, I really, really like the show Usagi Drop. Ever since the show ended a few weeks ago, it feels like I have this new, all-consuming void of cuteness in my life, which may only be satiated by playing Usagi Drop music. If my subliminal urging fails to capture your attention, here's a more straightfoward statement: you should really watch this show. Seriously, just look at that picture of Rin over there. SO MUCH CUTE. D'awwww. :)

In the aforementioned blog post, I arranged a version of the show's OP, "Sweet Drops," so this time I decided to tackle its ED, "High, High, High." If possible, the piano version of this song (original here) is even sweeter and more calming than "Sweet Drops," and I slightly prefer the original ED to the OP. I'd actually completed the sheet music and Synthesia tutorial a couple of weeks ago, but decided that I'd actually try playing my own music. Turns out that's easier said than done...let's just say that my piano skillz have deteriorated dramatically since my younger days. >.< Nonetheless, here's the recording, after many attempts:

High, High, High (Usagi Drop): Piano Cover

Composer: Kasarinchu
Date Completed: 2011-10-18
Software: Audacity, Finale 2008, Movie Maker, Synthesia, SynthFont
Number of Takes: ~20 X_x
Instrumentation: Piano

And below's the Synthesia tutorial. Apologies for the poor video quality; I'll see what I can do about that later. As with my last Synthesia tutorial, the left/right-hand designations are purely optional here; just do whatever feels comfortable (in fact, you'll see me using many an alternate fingering in my recording). Sheet music for this transcription is located here, or at the usual place in my Portfolio.

That's all for this time! As always, please leave comments or critique if you have any! Now stop reading this post and go watch Usagi Drop. :P

See you again soon!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Piano Cover: M07 (Kara no Kyoukai)

Man, I've been on super-music-withdrawal recently. I've been adjusting pretty well to my graduate-student life in all aspects except that my exposure to music has dropped drastically. Part of that, of course, is that I'm no longer an undergraduate music major, but another factor is the lack of accessible musical instruments. Luckily, that all changed a few days ago: I finally managed to procure (however temporarily) an electric piano courtesy of some friends, and I feel like I've been rapidly making up for all of the piano-free days over the past two months.

Being the newly-minted anime fan that I am, I decided to tackle a couple pieces of anime music for my first piano covers since February. I decided that the first of these covers would be a piece of music from the anime movie series Kara no Kyoukai (空の境界), or Garden of Sinners. It's a beautiful set of movies (if a little confusing; I still need to re-watch them sometime), supported by an equally beautiful soundtrack courtesy of Yuki Kajiura. The soundtrack is wonderfully atmospheric, tender at moments, creepy or tense at others, but with an overall tinge of poignancy from Ms. Kajiura's hauntingly gorgeous melodies. Indeed, this poignancy is perhaps my favorite aspect of the Kara no Kyoukai soundtrack; Kajiura seamlessly weaves a few common melodies into a number of otherwise diverse musical numbers, generating a sense of unity that I find absolutely beautiful. :P My cover is of the track "M07" (gotta love Yuki Kajiura's naming scheme for these tracks) from the seventh Kara no Kyoukai movie, "A Study in Murder (Part 2)". In particular, it's from this scene if you care for some context.

Anyway, here's the cover!

M07 (Kara no Kyoukai): Piano Cover

Composer: Yuki Kajiura
Date Completed: 2011-10-17
Number of Takes: Uhh...like 20 >.<
Software: Audacity, Movie Maker
Instrumentation: Piano

Getting this piece together was more difficult than I'd envisioned. I'm not as great of a pianist as I'd like to be, and getting this piece mostly free of mistakes was a sometimes-frustrating challenge that involved many, many takes. There's a reason that most of my piano covers are arrangements rather than transcriptions; it's much easier to get away with the occasional mistake when the cover isn't supposed to be identical to some other piece of music. :P

Speaking of transcriptions, here's the sheet music for my transcription of this piece. Lovely harmonies, but not quite as challenging to transcribe as the previous two Usagi Drop pieces I'd done. Just goes to show that music certainly doesn't need to be complex to be beautiful. :)

That's all for now; look for more music coming at ya soon!

Best wishes,