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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Expanding on an Original.

Many creative workers, in various sectors, face many challenges when they try to adapt something from the original. Book to movie; TV series to movie; even game to movie we've seen. Then you have people trying to redo songs; remixes, new arrangements and the like.

You have the battle between maintaining the spirit of the original, and putting in your own new ideas. And it's enough of a struggle for the person trying to do it; but then, if you put it out for public viewing - particularly among people who know and love the original - you're always going to have a healthy portion of them who say that you've butchered the original.

It's a very hard balance to maintain. Particularly if you're going across mediums, you have to take in the differing audiences and such, the different limitations and possibilities that you have.

I've recently been working on a project that I've been wanting to do for a long time. A while ago now, I started to do an a cappella arrangement of Time (one of the main themes from the movie Inception). If you're not familiar with the piece, look it up. It's quite fantastic - lots of strings, piano, timpani; it's very layered, adding one more, one more, one more, all the time.
Anyway, I did the arrangement, and it was pretty good (even if I do say so myself), but it was quite beyond me at the time to do anything with it. I didn't have any good things to record voice with, and it was really quite annoying. And there are some points where there are thirty layers - it's quite ridiculous.

But now, I have Ableton Live 9 Standard, and a new Mac laptop. It's pretty cool, and it's meant that I can start recording it! So that's what I've started to do. And having the Ableton is quite handy, because it means that I can just loop what I've got.
The one thing that is going to be tricky, though, is the vocal range. It goes all the way down to D1, and all the way up to B4. That's not in my range, if you were wondering. D1 is my absolute low limit,  and G4 basically my high limit. I'm very out of practice vocally, I've realised; my voice really is not sounding that great in the higher end.

But this balance, between original and mine, is something I've found a little tricky to work with as well. It's a bit of a different instrumental variety, and timbre, and such, going from orchestral strings, and grand pianos, and timpanist, to - just voice. And the dynamics is quite tricky - it's a very gradual, slow fade in, that gets very grand and big near the end. At the moment, mine is transitioning a bit quickly, so I'll need to work on that.

But I'm having fun, it's quite good. Will be interesting to see what else I can do with this Ableton.

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