Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back to the Buffy-board

I promise you I'll get to Buffy in just a moment, but indulge me in two quick sidenotes. First, give me a millisecond to massively geek out over my star sightings this weekend. Saturday, I saw Matthew Morrison eating lunch at the same café as me and my friends Robert and Jay. Glee-licious! Sunday, I went to my acting teacher's staged reading at Ensemble Studio Theater where every star and costar under the sun seems to be a member. I did a double-take when I spotted Gates McFadden,who turns out to be the artistic director. Also, I engaged myself in a conversation with Patricia Richardson, who, to my great amusement, introduced herself to me as my cousin's understudy on Broadway. Halfway through the conversation, I was like, "OMG, that's the mom from Home Improvement!" (My non-West Wing-savvy self still associates her as Tim Allen's sitcom better half. I'm working on changing that via Netflix...)

Also, I will make a quick shameless plug for my other project, which I will launch via Internet next Sunday. Its true name will be revealed at the time of its release. Until then, it's codename is Project Pinky and the Brain. I've been doing a lot of writing, musing, and imagining, and I am seriously stoked to share it with all of you. Please join me this week, fellow lab rat, in doing the same thing I do every night... try to take over the world.

Okay, really, back to Buffy. Song #4 has been a little slower in the making due to all sorts of crazy creative and personal stuff. But believe you me, the game is on. David and I have already met twice to work out the arrangements for "If I Were a Robot", love song for Warren. It's a hoot and a holler working with him -- one because he is an absolutely amazing musician and super fun guy, two because he gives me a totally different perspective and awesome insight on what it is I'm trying to do. I am not a trained musician so I really just go by instinct. I go with what I think sounds interesting and fits the feel of the song, as well as the voice of the character singing it. I have a guitar occasionally strum awkward cords on, as well as a piano I plunk from time to time, but for the most part I compose the music in my head. I can play out the melodies (albeit awkwardly) via single notes on piano, and I could even play the chords (though it may take me a while to find them), but I have no idea about key signatures and what the chords I'm using are called.

David, on the other hand, knows all. I love that I can meet up with him and put a name to all those little nuances that have until this point been nothing but crazy ideas in my head. For example, the first time we jammed with this song, I was sure it was in the key of because that was the note the song started and ended on. To my surprise, we discovered that it's actually in the key of C. minor! The C. minor chord also keeps popping up throughout the verse in various places, so David tells me. Another interesting thing is that the bridge is composed of alternating F. minor and C. minor chords that are played in different inversions as they descend. When David told me that, it was so cool because it made it really sound like music. I'm thinking to myself, "I don't know, I just wrote the thing."

We also played around with different keyboard voices to use during the recording. The last two songs were done with street piano, which I think fit the style of the song. This time I wanted something a little more synthesized-sounding, since the song is all about robots. We played around and found two voices for two different segments of the song. (In case you're interested in knowing what they are, they are 254: Square Head 1 and 255: Square Head 2.) We played the song several times through with the chosen keyboard settings. I told David where I wanted chords versus single notes. And he came up with an intro that sounds so incredibly kickass, I can't even BEGIN to explain. I was honestly kind of worried I might not be able to outdo myself after the last set of songs, but I am bursting at the seams with excitement about this one.

At the end of the session, as David and I parted, he said to me, "You really know what you're doing. You may not have the technical language to describe it, but you do." This was really wonderful to hear, since it all started out as a crazy little scheme with me making it up as I went along. Don't get me wrong, it's still a crazy little scheme, and I must keep thinking of it as such to keep it light; to keep it fun. But he's right. I know what I'm doing and I know what I want. And, much in part to this whole process, I feel confident in my voice as a singer and songwriter. Wow, I can't believe I just said that out loud to the world! That's kind of amazingly empowering, huh?

I'm going to step away from my computer and let that stew for a bit. More on the robot front soon!

1 comment:

  1. From one Buffy fan to another: I think it's great that you use BTVS as inspiration in writing songs. So far I've only seen watched one of your videos (the one where you sang about Drusilla - aack! I'm sorry I forgot the title!). Unfortunately the internet connection wasn't so great at that time so I'm gonna have to watch it again.