Wow. Is this really going to be my final blog post for In-Depth? It’s shocking how quickly time has gone by since I introduced magic as my topic last year. 12 blog posts later, I find myself starting to piece ideas together for a second In-Depth presentation.
Fortunately, I managed to meet with Jacky once during the long period between post #5 and #6. The reason I say fortunately is that we have been both very busy, so it’s been hard to find an appropriate time to meet. However, I’m still incredibly grateful for Jacky’s help throughout this process; it’s been fantastic to learn from an expert like him, and the amount of valuable knowledge he’s passed onto me is incredible.
During our meeting, I mostly just asked Jacky for tips about how to make my compositions more interesting. One problem that keeps reoccurring in my composition process is that I always feel like my songs are really bland. Although I try to use different chord progressions and unique melody lines, I never find my songs engrossing enough to be satisfied.
After taking a look at my compositions, he suggested using some more advanced chords. I’ve been using too many “open chords”, which are pretty much the simplest kind of chords. As you can see from the chart on the left, there are a lot of more complex chords that can be used to spice up a composition.
Another thing that he suggested was the use of “sequences.” Sequences are basically patterns in music, that give a piece more momentum. This momentum allows for the use of stranger chords that I usually would never consider putting into my music; however, the pattern of the sequence makes these chords okay to use.
The picture on the right shows one of the most common sequences found in music, known as the “descending 5th’s sequence“. It’s called the “descending 5th’s” sequence because the chords go down 5 steps after the first tonic chord, and they keep descending until they eventually circle back to a tonic chord. The third chord in this sequence is one that’s rarely used by itself, but because of the sequence it’s placed in, it sounds a lot better.
Finally, he suggested using more interesting cadences. Cadences are basically a series of chords that usually close the musical phrase of a piece. In basic harmony, we only learned 3 types of cadences: authentic (V-I), plagal (IV-I), and imperfect (IV-V). These cadences are good to use, but he gave me some better, cadences to use. One of them is the one shown on the left, which I don’t even know the name of.
Nonetheless, I’m definitely going to use these new tips into my new music, and hopefully they spice up my piece.
Now, it’s time to think about what I want to do for the actual night, which is only one month away.
Originally, I wanted to do a simple onstage presentation. I was thinking about composing a 2 minute song, and then presenting it live onstage with a piano, much like Jenny did last year. However, Eric (who is also doing his in-depth on music composition) approached me and proposed an idea I thought was pretty interesting. Essentially, there would be a video playing for the audience to watch, and accompanying the video would be music that we composed ourselves.
I agreed promptly because I thought it’d be a really entertaining way to show some of the music I’ve created; however, the only problem is that we’re planning to make the video ourselves, so there’s quite a bit of extra work involved. After thinking about this, I realized I liked how I’d have to put extra effort into this presentation. Playing a song onstage on an instrument I’m already pretty good at would not take a lot of effort to do. I’d like to make something that pushes me and requires me to be creative, no matter how much extra work there might be involved.
Hopefully, Eric and I will be able to create something we’re both proud of.
Well, that concludes my final blog post for In-Depth. I’m actually going to miss blogging about something I’m passionate about, but maybe I’ll continue blogging privately even after In-Depth is over. Who knows?
Thanks for reading!