Title: Rogozhin’s Show Tunes
My Senior Project consists of about seven songs that I wrote between the beginning of summer until October of this year. There is no clear-cut concept behind them, just a collection of variant ideas and images that were inspired by different events and emotions at the time. My music was performed live with a back up band (I taught the musicians all the parts). Since this is purely a performance arts piece, the essence and the thoughts are solely contained in these pieces.
My project was to create a set-list of seven to eight songs about different occurrences and emotions in my life. These songs would then be performed with accompaniment from other musicians who would learn the parts from me as well. The overall goal of this project was to improve the different components of my songwriting process. I wanted to create ideas for pieces more quickly than before, and from that point develop music or lyrics around the initially conceived parts more creatively.
After the parts were to some extent pieced together on paper, I would use Garageband to experiment with all the parts coalescing at once. This allowed me to see how novel additions functioned in relation to the key of the overall piece. Garageband also contained many effects that allowed me to break from conventional instrumentation and incorporate unorthodox sounds.
The next part of the project was to coordinate a group of different musicians in order to create a live performance of the pieces. I wanted to be graded on a live performance instead of a recording because I believe that the emotions that performances exert are more genuine, and thanks to modern film technology, I can contain this memoir on a video file. The musicians had a couple of practices before the initial and latter performances, and I taught them all the parts myself. One of the main challenges to this project was the unavailability of time in order to prepare for the performance. While the musicians were very willing to aid me, it was a very busy time and getting everyone together to refine the parts was rather difficult.
While relating my songs to a prevailing historical or cultural theme was not the main focus, I will confess that almost all of the pieces were inspired by the prevailing genres and ideas of the 1960’s. My main inspirations were Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and Syd Barrett formerly of Pink Floyd.
Brian Wilson’s music was very appealing to me, and I was very interested by his use of chord progressions commonly found in jazz to explore different moods. Syd Barrett interested me more on lyrical grounds. His lyrics expressed effusive emotions without compromising his music. Instead, these bodies complemented the other’s hues and emotions. I experimented with trying to emulate this exuberant outpouring of feelings with my own previously composed poetry and music. On musical grounds I experimented with adding unconventional Minor 6th chords and Diminished chords in order to see how it would modulate the melody’s direction.
In the future, I would like to continue developing this expressionist style in other forms of art, and I will make it a strong point to continue songwriting as a personal hobby.
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