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Gumshoes (Draft 3.0)

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and ©2012 Gregory Weaver.

Hey, everyone!  I got through another draft of my puzzle/mystery track, “Gumshoes.”  What you’ll hear is the last incarnation of the tune on Finale.  Like my “Theme for the Woods,” I have decided to stop here and leave the track on the back burner until I revamp, mix, and master it in Logic.  I’m waiting until I have a handful of tunes to work with before I start doing that, though, so it’ll be a while ’til you hear another draft unless I get inspired to add to it before then.  There are a handful of things that I’ll experiment with tweaking when I get to the revamp, but for now, I think this is a pretty close rendition to the final. Enjoy!

Or listen at SoundCloud

Here are some things that I know that I want to take a closer look at:

Gumshoes (Draft 2.0)

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and ©2012 Gregory Weaver.


In almost record time, I have come to release the second draft of my puzzle/mystery piece, “Gumshoes”!  If you’ll recall from my post regarding the first draft, I’m writing to the above picture, which depicts Jen, Mog, and me as sleuths.

Let’s check out what I thought I would do last week and compare it to what I did do:

  1. I’d like the initial right-hand melody with the non-piano support to be longer before there’s a transition into the viola-centric section.  I enjoyed writing the support and want to use it to embellish the main melody more and in different ways early on.  Not done.  I decided not to do this after writing the very last parts of this draft.  Instead of continuing in that spot, I kept the transition, which I liked, and then chose to create a whole new section of embellishment on the tail end of the piece, which will lead to whole new idea due to the new direction.
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Gumshoes (Draft 1.0)

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and ©2012 Gregory Weaver.


Last post I indicated that I was planning to write a tune to a picture.  I actually had planned to do such a thing for, I don’t know, a couple years, probably, but never really got around to it.  The drafts that you’ve heard on this site so far have come from general ideas; for example, “Theme for the Woods” was originally based off a flute lick I heard in my head and for “Monday’s Theme” I was thinking about life on a farm.  Using a picture grounded me a lot more, and you’ll read why below.  Here’s the picture off which I’ve been writing:

The picture depicts my girlfriend Jen, Mog, and me as the authorities in sleuthing.  It was drawn by none other than the [Score.] logo artist, Natalie Parisi, who drew it for me because I was one of the first five to solve the first puzzle on her mystery/puzzle blog, Clavis Cryptica.

I decided to use this one for my first picture-to-audio project because, one, it was recently done; two, I like it; and three, because it threw me into an unfamiliar genre.  Out of all of the compositions I’ve ever done – and I’m not just talking about ones done for this site – I’ve never been focused on ‘mystery.’  In fact, I’m not sure that I’m even that close to the music of many puzzle games.  Tetris notwithstanding, the only audio that comes immediately to mind is Professor Layton and the Curious Village.  My tune has a similar vibe to the beginning of “Professor Layton’s Theme,” I guess, but it certainly isn’t half as killin’.  Who wrote it…?  Tomohito Nishiura.  I’m going to have to check out more of that guy’s stuff, holy cow.  And in case you want to compare that live version to the in-game, here it is.

And then, here is mine in all its Finale/Garritan sample glory:

Not even close on the scale of killin’!  But I like the direction that my tune is headed, so I’ll keep it for now.

Originally titled “Sleuths” (and changed because that’s the title of Natalie’s picture, not to mention gumshoes is a pretty cool word), I first started writing by fiddling around with the Steinway in Logic.  It didn’t take very long, as I recall, to come up with the first fourteen measures of the right-hand part (before the woodwinds and viola come in).  In fact, the evidence is in my Logic file; it’s essentially those measures out of time with corrections embedded within.

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MAGFest X Recap, Part II: The Meat

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(in case you missed Part I)

Before I get into the panels and whatnot, there’s one thing that I forgot to share in the last post regarding the Gaylord: because it’s so fancy, the Gaylord is host to a lot of fancy parties, including weddings.  One of my favorite moments at MAGFest X was seeing a wedding party and then seeing a full-fledged Zora walk past them.  Furthermore, could you imagine taking wedding photos and having the Colossus mutant power sound roared randomly by twenty different people all around you?  If that kind of stuff excites you, you should make it to MAGFest next year.

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The first panel that Jen and I went to at MAGFest was called “Orchestral Game Music and Society.”  It was hosted by members of the Gamers Symphony Orchestra, which is a group based out of the University of Maryland that plays orchestral arrangements of video game music as well as original game-influenced compositions by their members.  Their members also do many of the arrangements that they perform.

The panelists essentially just talked about who they are, what they do, and what their goals are.  If you live in area surrounding the UMD, you might be able to join them provided you can make their rehearsals and, more importantly, if they have space.  As you can imagine, there’s a high demand to join and, naturally, a limited amount of space.  There’s good news for all of you who play things other than the piano or flute, though: they do accept people of any instrument, though they can’t guarantee that you’ll play since their make-up is slave to the demands of the arrangements that they play.  Who knows, though—maybe someone will write in a part for contrabass saxophone.

The conductor, Kira Levitzsky (four from the left), mentioned a project that she has a vision for that involves the GSO releasing a CD of the works of “future game composers” on iTunes to help raise money for their organization.  I thought this was a pretty neat idea, so I contacted her after MAGFest—hopefully one of my tunes will be tracked!  Just have to prepare one in time…

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MAGFest X Recap, Part I: The Appetizer

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Two Saturdays ago was the 10th annual Music and Gaming Festival (MAGFest).  As stated in my pre-MAGFest post, this was my second year attending.  Based on last year’s experience, expectations were high (though they were really in no danger of being unfulfilled).

This year, MAGFest was held at the Gaylord National hotel in National Harbor, MD.  It was moved there from a Hilton in Alexandria due to capacity issues.  MAGFest has grown significantly since its incarnation, going from 100 people to, reportedly, 6100.  Astounding.

The reason for this lies in the huge community that MAGFest has created for itself.  Not only are people there to play video games, listen to live video game music, and party, they’re there to play video games, listen to live video game music, and party with other MAGFesters.  It’s easy to meet people with very similar interests there, as you can imagine, which has lead to MAGFest being a community within a multitude of communities.  What I mean by that is, you have your video game community as a whole and then MAGFesters inside of that and, likewise, you have communities like your OCRemixers and then MAGFesters inside of that.

So the Gaylord is really nice.  First, it’s humongous, which totally affected the experience.  Whether the effect was positive or not… I think that depends on who you ask.  For me, both had their advantages.  At the Hilton, gamers were packed in pretty tightly, while at the Gaylord the gaming rooms were a lot more spacious.

In blurry Exhibit A, you’ll see my friends Nick (game designer) and Natalie ([Score.] logo artist; mystery-phile) in the game room.  You’ll see that there is a normal-to-large amount of space behind them.  At the Hilton, that much space wouldn’t exist.  You were closer with your fellow gamers and didn’t have to walk around too much to get from game to game.  Advantages of the Gaylord: you could move and there was a lack of that funny smell that places that hold gamers playing hard for hours on end get.  Disadvantage: it was easier to feel more separated from the other gamers.  Oh, another advantage is that the signature Colossus roar of MAGFest can be effectively spread throughout a wider space more easily.
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