Category Archives: Other

Very Confused (album track notes)

To continue with my notes on the songs on my 11th album, Sampler, we get to the 6th track. That title is called Very Confused. The description of how I did it may be as equally confusing.

As inspiration for and as a way to try different ways of composing, I took an existing piece, the first movement of the Opus 2, No. 1 Beethoven Piano Sonata. I loaded a midi rendition of the piece into my DAW. I used a function that takes all the notes of the file and extracts them to separate MIDI tracks. I forget how many unique pitches there were, but it was a large number. Based on the visual look of each track in a piano roll editor I moved tracks around and combined many with specific percussion instruments in mind.

I ended up with 16 different midi tracks. Using what I thought would sound good in combination with all the other tracks I assigned various percussion instruments to each of the 16 tracks. All the percussion sounds were from the Native Instruments sound library Percussion Symphony Series. Even the mysterious piano sound was from that library.

Processing, as with much of my music was minimal, once the desired sounds were recorded. The Claves had Replika XT (from Native Instruments) on it with a special effect patch highly modified. The Rain Stick track utilized the Movement plugin (from Output.com), 11.8 pitcher from one of the expansion packs. The vibraslap track sounds like a metalic flying object with lots reverb. That was accomplished by sending it through the Dual Crystals effects chain in Absynth. I used a little bit of EQ and compression here and there.

The original Beethoven Sonata movement, with repeats is nearly 20 minutes long, far too long for a track on the album. So I cut and chopped different sections, mainly silence and shortened it to less than 6 minutes. I was surprised by how much silence there was in the original piece when broken into its individual notes.

It is definitely Very Confused. I hope you like it. If you do or have any other comments or questions, please leave them below.

Sheet Music Plus for Composers/Arrangers

A “Kindle like” publishing platform for musicians

In case you did not know it, SheetMusicPlus.com has been operating a self-publishing platform similar to the way Amazon allows book authors to publish material for their Kindle.

I’ve been using it since Jan 2016 to sell all the titles I have available and have been quite happy with it. (I also should add that SMP is my go to source for printed music since there are no music stores within driving distance of where I live).

The following article explains it much better than I can and includes some videos to help Sibelius users although anyone who can create a PDF file of their music can participate. Their ArrangeMe option, discussed in the article is a great opportunity for arrangers.

http://www.avidblogs.com/sibelius-users-sell-music-today-millions-worldwide-smp-press/

In addition to Sheet Music Plus, ScoreExchange.com out of England also allows you to sell your music for free. They are very geared toward Sibelius users, allowing them to upload Sibelius files directly to them. I also have many of my titles there, but unfortunately, they are not as well known as SMP. JW Pepper music in the USA has a publish option for composers/arrangers that has a startup fee but also makes titles available to customers in printed form and is geared toward the educational market. I’ve not tried them.

Are there any other similar services I didn’t mention?  Any pros/cons anyone would care to discuss? Please comment.

Playing from a Leadsheet (revisited)

Playing from a Leadsheet

for solo pianists

 

Back in 2014 I did a tutorial video on YouTube titles How to play a Leadsheet on solo piano. A followup to it is below.

The video pretty much tells all you need to know to get started playing a leadsheet. One correction is that the D7/F chord on the first line should be a D7/F#. The following description and addition may help in learning to play a leadsheet.

The video shows three different renderings in addition to the original sheet music. The 1st, with just the bass root note in the LH can be a starting point for a walking bass. Imagine a scale based on that root note but not changing any notes from those already in the key signature. Play the 1, 2, 3 & 5 notes or 1,3,5,7 in a measure with one chord. For example, “F G A C” or “C E G B or Bb depending on taste.”

The 2nd sheet music simply shows the block chord with all the notes we could use to harmonize the leadsheet. It is mainly for illustrative purposes. I would never play a leadsheet with just root position block chords.

The final example is the most like one might play. The examples, with the harmony spread between both hands and with rhythmic variation show various rhythmic possibilities for the accompaniment/harmony. However, there’s too much rhythmic variation going on. The last two lines could be played “as is” but the first two lines have, because it is illustrative and not practical, a variety of rhythmic styles.

The next step in leadsheet playing is to listen or look at sheet music of various styles of music similar to the one you are learning. Try and use the rhythmic patterns and harmonic voicing in those examples in your own playing. Leadsheets, after all, are not meant to be a final arrangement. They are there to remind you of how the piece goes and give you just enough information so you can play it such that a listener is reminded of the song.

This is just a starting point to playing from leadsheets.

Bonus points if you recognize what the featured photo shows (besides a leadsheet).

Year 2017 in Review

Goodbye to 2017

To start the blog being moved to this location, I thought I’d start with an article reviewing the past year, 2017, and my musical efforts.

Personally, two things impacted me more than anything else.

First, Hurricane Irma impacted where I live more than other hurricanes in the past have. (I went through Andrew in Miami in 1992 and 3 storms in 2004 here in North Florida). Took probably a month to two to get back to normal. Even now, at least one major highway is impacted due to flooding.

Secondly, I had a USB hub short-circuit or something. It ended up frying the USB ports in my desktop. I had to replace the computer and go through the tedious process of reinstalling software and customizing things to my liking. Of course, the unexpected expense was not welcome.

Most exciting for me (or terrifying I suppose) was one day when I was practicing before my piano students arrived at the church in Micanopy. I saw police go by outside. The short story is that there was a credible bomb threat against two churches in town and a device was found by the propane tanks at the opposite end of the church from where I was. I left the building. A few of my students got to review theory down the street at the library. The crude device would never have gone off let alone caused any serious damage.

Throughout the entire year I released 51 new arrangements or compositions. I performed as a solo pianist three times. Once for a public concert featuring TV & Film music. The other two were for private parties. I played the organ for several funerals this year – more than usual and for at least 3 of them I knew the deceased.

I continue to play for church services at an Episcopal church in Micanopy, FL. It is a good, steady gig at a church that actually sings, sometimes in 4-part harmony, and appreciates music from Gregorian Chant to praise/worship music. (Although they lean more toward the older music than newer).

I continued to coordinate the Concert Series for the above mentioned church. The 2017/2018 series will have 8 concerts, all high-quality performers.

My piano lessons locally and via Skype continued to go well, although I am always wanting more students.

My parent’s cat, featured some years ago in a YouTube video with original music died. He was around 15 years old.

A review of all my music compositions and arrangements follows:

January through March

I released 2 new arrangements and adapted 2 original compositions.
I did one arrangement for a Toronto, Canada church/school for a Reformation celebration.

I’ve also been working with a church in Houston arranging material for their all-volunteer band/orchestra that consists of mostly 12-18 year olds.

Abide With Me — A 12/8 flowing arrangement for solo piano of this familiar piece with large ending. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20407440?aff_id=104230

Was Lebet, Was Schwebet (O Worship The Lord in the Beauty of Holiness) — This was originally a custom arrangement for a Canadian school as they planned to celebrate the anniversary of The Reformation. A hymn accompaniment for Brass Quintet and organ. Suitable for any accompanying of congregational singing. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20407433?aff_id=104230

Missles of October — An original piece, originally for instrumental ensemble. Here adapted for solo piano. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20407445?aff_id=104230

Christ is Made The Sure Foundation — An original piece, originally for choir. Adapted for solo piano. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20441509?aff_id=104230

April through June

During this period I released 19 arrangements or compositions.

All People That On Earth Do Dwell — An unaccompanied setting of All People That On Earth Do Dwell for Soprano, Alto and Tenor or 3-part choir. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20456550?aff_id=104230 Popular Title

BROMLEY (O Trinity Of Blessed Light) — An instrumental hymn accompaniment of this hymn tune. It is intended to be played by any combination of instruments (with keyboard). It consists of two verses of the hymn, each in a different key with a modulation between the two. Parts provided for C, Bb, Eb, F, Alto Clef and Keyboard instruments http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20456546?aff_id=104230

Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross — A contemporary blues, jazz style arrangement of this gospel hymn, Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20456548?aff_id=104230

Amazing Grace, How Sweet The Sound — The popular tune NEW BRITAIN, best known as Amazing Grace here arranged for solo piano. This is a fun, upbeat piece with hints of contemporary and classical music. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20441507?aff_id=104230 Popular Title

Celtic Postlude — When this piece was written, it was popular to have church services that focused on or used Celtic music. This piece is a modern interpretation of an Irish style of music. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20441506?aff_id=104230 Popular Title

Piece in F minor — A piece for concert band in F Minor. An upbeat, almost dance-like piece. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20441502?aff_id=104230

Praise The Lord, Ye Heavens Adore Him    — The hymn tune HYFRYDOL has been set to many different lyrics. Besides this one “Praise The Lord, Ye Heavens Adore Him,” the title “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” is well known. This is a fun, upbeat piece to play. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20441508?aff_id=104230

Amazing Grace    — A setting of the hymn tune NEW BRITAIN, best known as Amazing Grace. For Orchestra. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20441503?aff_id=104230 Popular Title

Nearer My God To Thee    — A setting of the hymn tune BETHANY, best known as Nearer My God To Thee. This is the song the band on the ship Titantic played as the ship slowly sank after hitting an iceberg in 1912. For orchestra. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20441504?aff_id=104230 Popular Title

The Star-Spangled Banner — An arrangement of the US national anthem, also known as The Star-Spangled Banner. For Orchestra. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20441505?aff_id=104230

Awesome God — For Woodwind Quintet. A full arrangement of this popular praise and worship piece.  http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20440218?aff_id=104230

Brass    Bridge Over Troubled Water — For Brass Quintet. An arrangement of this popular Simon and Garfunkel tune. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20436729?aff_id=104230 Popular Title

Crazy — For String Quartet. A country, bluesy setting of this piece made popular by Patsy Cline. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20436742?aff_id=104230

Day By Day — For String Quartet. A classical piece in the style of Mozart. Based on the hymn tune BLOTT EN DAG (Day by Day). http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20436745?aff_id=104230 Popular Title

Fairest Lord Jesus — An arrangement for Brass Quintet of this classic hymn. Also known under the title Beautiful Savior. Hymn tune: ST ELIZABETH     http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20436743?aff_id=104230

Halleljuah Chorus (from The Messiah) — A setting of the chorus from The Messiah, for woodwind quintet. A popular, highly requested title, great for any group. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20436751?aff_id=104230 Popular Title

Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring (Bach) — For Brass Quintet. This popular piece, often heard at Weddings or Christmas time is from BWV 147. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20436744?aff_id=104230

Prelude in E minor (Chopin) For String Quartet. An arrangement of this popular Chopin piece. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20436747?aff_id=104230

The Sound Of Silence — For Woodwind Quintet. A setting of this popular Paul Simon piece. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20440215?aff_id=104230

July through September

The God Of Abraham Praise — An arrangement of the hymn The God of Abraham Praise for SATB choir with piano accompaniment. Hymn tune name: LEONI. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20520291?aff_id=104230

Waiting and Watching — An original composition for orchestra. A minor, reflective piece. For Orchestra. Many parts are doubled so it can be played with a smaller than average group. Piano reduction provided. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20520293?aff_id=104230

LAUDATE DOMINUM (O Praise Ye The Lord) — An instrumental hymn accompaniment of this hymn tune. This is designed to be played by any combination of instruments with piano. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20520292?aff_id=104230

ST GEORGE’S WINDSOR (Come Ye Thankful People Come) — An instrumental hymn accompaniment of this hymn tune. This is designed to be played by any combination of instruments with piano. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20472175?aff_id=104230

There Is Power In The Blood — A new setting of this favorite gospel hymn. For solo piano. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20472177?aff_id=104230
Popular Title

There Is Power In The Blood — A fun to play arrangement of this audience favorite. For Orchestra. There are many doubled parts in this arrangement which means it can be played and sound just as good without all the listed instruments. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20470069?aff_id=104230
Popular title

A Mighty Fortress — A rhythmic piece inspired by the hymn tune EIN’ FESTE BURG. For orchestra. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20467078?aff_id=104230

Amazing Grace — For Piano Duet. An upbeat, rhythmic setting of this all time favorite hymn. Hymn tune: NEW BRITAIN. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20467079?aff_id=104230
Popular Title

Near The Cross — A blues, jazz setting of this lesser known hymn tune. A fun and very different setting for SATB choir with piano accompaniment. Small choirs can sing the piece in unison or two-parts. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20465376?aff_id=104230

October through December

Once In Royal David’s City — For Solo Organ. A favorite Christmas hymn arranged in a meditative style. Hymn tune: IRBY.

There’s A Voice In The Wilderness — For solo piano. For Advent and Christmas. This arrangement is a majestic and festive setting great for a Postlude or Prelude during Advent. Hymn tune: ASCENSION

Now Thank We All Our God — For Solo Organ. A contemporary, upbeat setting of this hymn. Hymn tune: NUN DANKET

SAGINA (And Can It Be) — For organ accompaniment of congregational singing. Hymn tune: SAGINA. Most common lyrics are to the title “And Can It Be.” Alternate harmonization and descant.

Thou, Who At Thy First Eucharist — For Solo Organ. The melody by Orlando Gibbons in the style of a modern chorale prelude. Hymn tune: SONG 1.

At Calvary — For Woodwind Quintet. This popular hymn arranged for woodwind quintet.  http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20666098?aff_id=104230

I Come With Joy — For solo piano. An arrangement of this popular tune. From the Southern Harmony collection, the hymn tune LAND OF REST is often set to the lyrics of I Come With Joy,  a piece often used for communion. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20666093?aff_id=104230

I Remember You — For Solo Piano. An original composition, arranged and adapted here from the original choral piece. This piece could be appropriate for any spot in a church service, school program or recital. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20666095?aff_id=104230

Irma’s March — An original composition for orchestra. A march like feel, a sense of forward motion throughout. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20666091?aff_id=104230

Kyrie from Missa De Beate Virgine — For Solo Organ. An arrangement of this piece by Josquin Desprez. From one of the earliest Renaissance settings of the Mass. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20666092?aff_id=104230

Rejoice, Ye Pure In Heart — For String Quartet. An arrangement of the popular hymn. Tune name: Marion. A fun, syncopated arrangement. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20666097?aff_id=104230

Amazing Grace — An arrangement of the hymn tune NEW BRITAIN – Amazing Grace – for SATB choir with piano accompaniment.    http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20657604?aff_id=104230

Amazing Grace — For String Quartet. A lively, fun to play setting. Hymn tune: NEW BRITAIN. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20657616?aff_id=104230

Amazing Grace — For Woodwind Quintet. An arrangement of the popular hymn. Hymn tune: NEW BRITAIN. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20657617?aff_id=104230

EVENTIDE (Abide With Me) — An instrumental hymn accompaniment designed to be played by any combination of instruments along with piano (or organ). http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20657609?aff_id=104230

NEW BRITAIN (Amazing Grace) — An instrumental hymn accompaniment designed to be played by any combination of instruments along with piano (or organ). http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20657611?aff_id=104230

NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND (Savior of the Nations, Come) — An instrumental hymn accompaniment designed to be played by any combinatoin of instruments along with piano (or organ). http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20657613?aff_id=104230

SLANE (Be Thou My Vision) — An instrumental hymn accompaniment designed to be played by any combination of instruments along with piano (or organ). http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20657615?aff_id=104230

This Is My Father’s World — For SATB, unaccompanied choir. In addition to rich harmonies, the piece ends with a flowing descant. Hymn tune: TERRA BEATA. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20657606?aff_id=104230

Please check back often. I plan to be more active with the blog than I was last year.

Concert Band Arrangements

Sorry it’s been since March (nearly 6 months) since I’ve last posted. As mentioned in the last post, I’ve been doing custom arrangements for a client that’s reached about 10 titles. Plus I’ve been working on series called “Any Size Church Orchestra series” of arrangements for church groups that never know from week to week who will be there. These arrangements, now available at my website, are playable by a wide combination of instruments.

But, today I want to feature my Concert Band arrangements. I will let the demo videos speak for themselves. (Please remember, these are demos from computer software and not mixed. I have neither the time to mix them nor money to hire a real band).

PS. If you’re in the Gainesville, Ocala area on October 16, 2016 I’m giving a solo piano concert featuring TV & Film music. It is at 2pm at the Church of the Mediator in Micanopy, FL.

https://youtu.be/HzFqXC2iHDU

https://youtu.be/7B_lD2Keqvs

https://youtu.be/XLFAX9xK3KE

https://youtu.be/Sbg5-RfVeY8

https://youtu.be/qLMC6I5pE9A

https://youtu.be/1sYPJ0-ub8Q

https://youtu.be/FWNlfrul64g

https://youtu.be/LVsN6WOL8sc

https://youtu.be/mFACaYNftGA

https://youtu.be/M5W1oC5McaY

https://youtu.be/K0ToQbtSQoY

Monthly (quarterly?) post

News

I know I’ve been a bit behind in regular posts here and on my YouTube channel. I probably use Twitter more than anything so if you want to know the latest, follow me there. (@MusicbyJames).

Arrangements

As mentioned in my last post, I’ve been arranging some copyrighted material for distribution via SheetMusicPlus. I have some new titles available including “Crazy”, “Hawaii Five-O Theme”, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and “Fly Me To The Moon.” Mostly for solo piano but also a string quartet. Visit my SheetMusicPlus page to see all I have available.

Custom arrangements

I recently finished a custom instrumental arrangement for a church group in the Houston, TX area. The group consists of ages 11-18 with a few adults. This makes a total of four I’ve done for them. They’ve all been well received. I’m available to arrange or compose anything for any combination of instruments or styles. Drop me a note if interested. Here’s a video of the group playing my first arrangement. Remember, they are beginners.

https://youtu.be/9MVXF_Kw7oA

MIDI files

I continue to provide MIDI files for a Lutheran church to use in their services. I send the files over the internet. They hook their computer up to the organ, select the registration they want, hit play and that’s their accompaniment to congregational singing and also some background music during communion. Any midi capable instrument (piano, synthesizer or organ) can be used to play the files.

Website

I continue to post new arrangements and compositions to my website, JamesGilbertMusic.com

Piano Lessons

Of course, I’m still teaching piano lessons locally. I can also teach via Skype if you aren’t in the area.

Church music

Being a church musician is a great way to have a steady gig as a musician. The small, rural parish church I play for had to give up its choir last November due to only 3 or 4 people (all inexperienced, non-musicians) showing up. But for Easter and weeks leading up to it we had some soloists sing in addition to some extra material from me. I offer consultation on how to make the most of your church music program and/or help in accompanying congregational singing – from a single pianist up to a large praise band or orchestra.

Is there anything in the way of tutorials or general information you’d like to see here on this page or my YouTube page.

 

Where my music is being used

Map of my music usage

Updated Dec 2015. The point in the northeast of Greenland represents all the sales where people did not give their location.

Here’s a map showing where in the world my sheet music has been purchased via my distributor SheetMusicPlus.com. It only covers from March 2014 – October 2015. I plan to update it a few times a year.

[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=zrexh7gpKeMk.kaUBakAOg0Po&w=640&h=480]

Check out all the music I have available at http://jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php

Piano Concert results

Thanks for those that attended the movie & TV themed concert I did on Oct 25, 2015. The audience request section was more popular than I thought it would be. I got stumped on a couple of requests I didn’t know.This might become a regular/annual part of our concert series. I was able to “stump the audience” a few times with a few pieces nobody could guess. Prizes were handed out to those who could guess the hard ones. In addition to the audience participation sections I played a variety of TV and movie music spanning the years from Casablanca up to more current titles.

Variegated Plate

Wonder what this might be?

Coming soon...
Coming soon…

var·i·e·gat·ed
ˈver(ē)əˌɡādəd/
adjective
1) exhibiting different colors, especially as irregular patches or streaks.
Botany: (of a plant or foliage) having or consisting of leaves that are edged or patterned in a second color, especially white as well as green.
2) marked by variety.

Think definition number 2. Coming soon…….