String Me Along

Welcome to March My Friends!!!


Oh, spring is coming, I just know it!  Every day I check the rolling hills for the Crocuses.  I love to see their little purple or white heads pop up through the earth regardless of the top layer.  Sometimes, snow still covers the ground but they refuse to be detained and they fight their way up and their pretty color announces their arrival, worthy of a gold medal.
It’s a little reminder that we do, indeed, have something to look forward to.

As some of you may be aware, I found myself in a bit a cheeky spot.  I needed Chino to answer the phone and be my Alfred….  He is the only one here with me.  However, teaching him to do that, well, he is a cat, and one set well in his ways.  The task was proving a bit of a challenge and Peter’s call was coming.  Thankfully, MJ sent me an email with a little something to help me out…

CLICK to see Phone Answering 101

Chino found this beautiful, intelligent feline very captivating.  He also liked it when she came to visit and showed off her talents!!!  With a bit of trickery, and lots of deception, Peter got an earful of meows when he called.  He does have quite a unique sense of humor. 

Peter called as promised and here is this week’s interview.   

Peter:
Hi Blu, hey, is Alfred under the weather or did I interrupt him and….. Cat Woman?

Blu:
I honestly can’t say Peter, but if you really want to know, perhaps you can read this week’s blog post!  (lol)
I must say I am so glad you called because it is nice to know I am not interrupting your creative process. Are you ready to answer some questions?

Peter:
Let’s do it Blu!

Blu:
Well for starters,  I could not stop listening to the tracks you gave us.  I cannot believe how different each of those guitars sounded.  One difference that stood out for me was that there was some type of effect on the Les Paul track. I’ve seen guitarists on television stomping their foot on what look like floor pedals to alter the sound. Is this similar to what you did on the Les Paul track?

Peter:
Yes! How astute of you. I used a wah-wah pedal for that track.
The pedal was introduced right around the same time guitarist Jimi Hendrix came to the fore front – he used it on his track Voodoo Child among other tunes – I think it was a VOX.
The Guitar Rig VI software plugin I’m using also has a hardware component where one of the settings lets you program the foot pedal to different types of wah-wah pedals – Vox, Cry-Baby, etc. Speaking of the wah-wah, one of the albums guest artists may use a wah-wah on his non-guitar instrument. That could be really interesting!

Blu:
Really?  You have a guest that might be using this wah-wah pedal and this pedal can be used by other instruments?  Interesting! By the way, just so you know I love the sound of the word “Wah-Wah”, it makes me smile! So if I over use it, forgive me.  Now that you have told us that you started receiving tracks from your guest artists last week – means I have to ask…  Can you share some sounds with us?

Peter:
I can, check it out...

CLICK to hear Violin (acoustic)

Blu:
Peter that is beautiful!   Wow!  You wrote that! The violin is amazing.  When you wrote this song, did the melody (violin) come first or did the harmony (piano) come first?

Peter:
I wrote the chord changes on the piano first. I was looking for a short introduction to a song with a contemplative jazz flavor. The chord changes are: Am9, Dm11, FMaj7, E7#9b13. I gave the violinist a template of the melody and he extended it with some great improvised passages.

Blu:
How did you choose which instrument would be for the melody?

Peter:
In contrast to other instruments, you really don’t hear a lot of violin in jazz or fusion, maybe with the exception of Stéphane Grappelli or Jean Luc Ponty. Because of the violin’s resemblance to the human voice, I’ve always loved it for its expressiveness. I think it’s a perfect fit for the genre.

Blu:
Peter, you explained to us how there are different types of guitars (acoustic & electric).  Are there different types of violins?

Peter:
Actually there is. The guest artist you hear on the clip above will be playing an acoustic as well as an electric violin. It’s not electric in the sense where a pickup is attached to the acoustic instrument, but a violin that is manufactured as an electric instrument. It also has 6 strings which is two more than the acoustic violin. It has a unique sound with a contemporary vibe unlike that of the acoustic violin which is heard predominantly in the traditional classical world.

Blu:
When I first heard the music you created for “Dreams In Bloom”, the first thing that came to my mind was how expressive that music was.  I really felt that anyone who listened to it, if they closed their eyes, a story would form.  When you were working on that album what was your thought process, what were you trying to create?

Peter:
I love film scores so I approached the songs as if I was writing for the cinema. Each song had a story to tell and would progress from the first to the sixth song as if you were watching a film where the film’s story is in each listener’s unique imagination.

Blu:
Peter, I believe you did exactly that!  “Music That Tells a Story” was a very unique concept for today.  I mean I haven’t seen a double album since vinyl was popular and us kiddo’s would want the soundtrack to our favorite movie.  Can you tell me how you decided to do something like that?  Did you feel you were taking a chance?

Peter:
I know ! I release a double album in this age where everyone just releases and streams single songs – what was I thinking ? The story poems you wrote based on the “Dreams In Bloom” song collection were so beautiful I just had to include them on a second disc; hence the double album.

Blu:
Can I ask you to tell us how this albums fared?  Was it recognized?

Peter:
The album was the recipient of many nominations and also won many awards. In addition it topped the charts on Billboard’s Classical and Classical-Crossover charts simultaneously. Not sure I would be able to repeat that again..  ;>)

Blu:
Thank you Peter, I'll ring you next week! (lol)

I want to thank MJ for emailing me and helping me out of my spot. I do hope my work lives up to your expectations.
Hi Leslie, thank you for joining us and I am glad you enjoyed The Fireside Chat. 
Well Gina, I'm glad you made it too!  Hope you can visit often.
I agree with Onnit, I too really appreciate that the samples Peter provides.

I also want to thank all of my supportive blog friends.  Thank you for visiting every week and please keep your comments coming.  If you are new to The Living Pen, welcome.  I am very glad you have joined us and I hope you will return often.
Hope you can join me next Saturday.
                                                                  Blu

 

 

 

 

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