Saint Aggie's '84

The history of a new musical as it comes to be…

Charts and Minds

Less than a week to go before we sing through some of the Saint Aggie’s songs with the band and (hopefully) most of the cast for the first time. I’m really looking forward to hearing what the whole thing is going to sound like. I’m charting the score out like crazy for the songs that we are going to be working on. My brain hurts. It’s not really my thing, but I’m getting better at it every time I write one of these shows. Quite a few of these songs I’ve written right out of my head and onto the page in front of me (well, virtual page – thanks Sibelius 5), which is convenient in the sense that the song is charted out already, when it comes time to perform. It is, however, at the same time, somewhat scary, as the only way I’ve heard the music at all, is in the form of the cheesy midi patches in the Sibelius program or, at best, with the midi info playing Sampletank or Reason patches within the Pro Tools environment. I can tell you, it’s not like hearing real people playing music at all.

I remember when I was working on writing WedLOCKED with Bridget Ryan for the Mayfield, the whole show was written in this manner, right into my laptop. I remember the first time Jen Kinghorn (the piano player) came into the studio and played through all the songs, all the pages of piano music I’d written but never heard. She was playing and I was singing and I was feeling so relieved that it sounded like music. I guess that sounds kind of crazy, but it’s true. And that show was going to be mostly piano/vocal, so the piano parts had to be good. I can write music a lot better than I can play it when it comes to the piano. It was a huge revelation to me when I realized that, and since then it has been so liberating not to be bound by my own limitations as a piano player.

In Saint Aggie’s I also have the luxury of some strings. I’ve never had to chart out parts for violins and cellos before, but it’s definitely a skill I am going to acquire rapidly, and with much enthusiasm.

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2 Comments»

  Hilary wrote @

Where is the chapel and buildings at the top of St Aggies84 blog?
Good luck with the sing through tonight

  chris wrote @

Good question about the buildings. I really don’t know. I know it’s a school in Britain somwhere.


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