This week’s video is another performance of one of my own compositions, Loss. It’s my take on a funeral march/death scene, which I released last year on my solo piano album, Let the Journey Begin!. The slow tempo is pretty standard for this kind of music, but I experimented with using phrases of varying lengths, so as not to have it feel too measured – I wanted the instability of losing someone.
The piece starts off very diatonic, but as it goes on there is more chromaticism and countermelodies are introduced, so although there’s repetition of the main melodies and long sections over a tonic pedal, there’s always something new being introduced to add variety and interest. I’m believe that repetitions are a useful tool when writing music, but I’m not a fan when they’re used unnecessarily or if they don’t add anything new to a piece.
It’s been several weeks since I last posted a video – I’ve been working on quite a few things musically, but didn’t have anything finished. This week’s video is a performance of my composition, Innocence. This is one of my favourite pieces from my album, Let the Journey Begin!, as I feel that I captured the feeling I was aiming for succinctly.
I had to work on my technique for this one, as I discovered that my arpeggiated chords were nowhere near as good as I’d thought previously – I had to thoroughly explore how to play them well enough to be accurate while dropping them into the main melody. There’s still some work to do before they’re really good, but I’m happy with how they developed during my practice.
I learnt a lot about different arm movements that can help or hinder rolled chords and how some of them can be combined to make them easier. Developing a technique that allows us to express ourselves as we want can take a long time and there’s always room for improvement but it’s a fascinating journey!
Hi, everyone! This week’s video is a performance of the Main Theme from the South Korean horror film, Memento Mori. Specifically, this is the piano solo version from the soundtrack, with some of the repeats removed.
I’m currently working on a piano arrangement of the full, orchestral version of this piece, but wanted to do this version as well, to highlight its simple beauty.
Hello, everybody! I have a performance video this week – the main theme from survival horror game Tormented Souls. It’s the first thing that plays when you boot up the game and I’ve spent time just listening to it on the main menu before playing the game as it has such a nice atmosphere.
It’s not a complex piece – just four chords: Am – F – G – Em. It loops round those four chords for the vast majority of the piece, but the melody starts off fairly structured and eventually becomes looser and feels more improvisational.
Part of arranging this piece was deciding how to condense the other instruments on to the piano and which ones to miss out. The end of the original track has a build up, with more instruments joining in until it finishes – I decided to fade out once the original melody returns, as I don’t think I could have done justice to all of those instruments with only two hands. A duet or arrangement for two pianos might work well for it.
If you’ve enjoyed the video, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel!
Hello, everybody! This week’s video is a cover of one of my favourite piano compositions – To Zanarkand from Final Fantasy X. It’s a great example of economical use of chord progressions – harmonically, it’s pretty simple and uses (for the most part) two variations of the same progression that get moved into different keys.
There’s a brief analysis of the chords involved in the video description, for those who are interested. I’m considering expanding that analysis into a full video in the future.
If you enjoy the video, please consider subscribing to my channel.
This week I have a performance of my latest composition, titled “A Moment of Safety”. It’s inspired by the safe room themes of the Resident Evil games, which provide a few safe areas in the games. The music reflects this but simultaneously creates a sense of tension, a small dread that you’ll have to go back out into the danger eventually. That’s what I’ve tried to capture with this composition.
The chords used are Am11 and Gm11 – they don’t relate to each other, but being so extended softens the contrast between them as they actually share a lot of notes. I chose them for this reason, as together they sound pretty relaxed.
The sense of unease comes from the rhythm between the hands – only occasionally do they sync up. While they aren’t actually playing in different time signatures (although the left hand sounds like it moves between 6/8 and 3/4), there are enough stressed notes falling apart from each other that some rhythmic dissonance is created, in my opinion. Let me know whether you agree or not!
This exploration of creating certain feelings, atmospheres or emotions is one reason I love composing so much and also why I enjoy teaching composition.
It feels like I put out a lot of videos last week, though there were only three – the additional two were things I was too excited about to wait for the usual schedule.
This week’s video is me performing a cover of the main theme from a game called Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights. It’s a really cool, 2D Soulslike game with phenomenally good music which I think more people should hear!
This piece is also a great example of making a few variations on a theme – you get the main melody harmonised with simple chords, then an octave lower with a busier left hand. Then there’s my favourite part, which switches the left hand from 3/4 to 6/8 time and is polymetric when the right hand comes back in. Later we get a similar chord progression, but with a much heavier left left hand with a hint of Dorian mode.
I have a third new video this week! Another orchestration, this time of my piano piece Clockwork Sanctuary.
This is a location theme for the game that I’m making. As the player moves deeper into the level, the piece will change, with more instruments and sounds related to clocks and industry getting added in. This is just the first version that will play upon entering the area.
It took me a while to settle on instrumentation for this version – I had a rough sketch of it recorded about a year ago but wasn’t happy with my choice of instruments at the time, or with my ability to make them sound good. I’m much happier with this version, especially with the string quartet at the end of it. All of the instruments are physically modelled and thus can be played in a very expressive manner (they’re the Audio Modelling SWAM Solo Strings and the SWAM Flute, Oboe and Bassoon, for those interested in specifics).
Here’s the original piano version for comparison. Please let me know what you think of each version! If you enjoy my music, please consider subscribing to my channel!
Hi, everybody! I have a new video on my YouTube channel – me performing my own composition, Grief. This piece is a variation on another one of mine called Innocence – they’re both themes for a character, but Grief is the minor key version of Innocence. Not all is dark and depressing in it, though – I aimed to capture how it feels to work through one’s feelings of Loss, and memories of good times gone by.
If you enjoyed the performance, please consider subscribing to my channel!
A new video is up on my YouTube channel. This week, it’s a cover of the main theme from the film Ju-on: The Grudge. It’s one of my favourite films – it manages to create a feeling of deep melancholy and inevitability, and the music and sound design play a huge part in that.
I think this composition is wonderful to analyse, to see why it’s so effective. In my opinion, it comes down to a few elements: the harmony, use of chromatic notes, and the tonic pedal.
The harmony is pretty simple – it’s in E minor and most of the chords are diatonic: Am, Em and F#m7b5 – only the third inversion Fmaj7 near the end is out of key (and only one note of it). However, melodically there’s a fair amount of chromaticism and in the original there’s a high part that is very chromatic which creates the unease.
At the beginning, there’s an immediate sense of sadness but as the theme progresses, I think it captures a feeling of hopelessness. The use of the tonic pedal helps create that feeling of not being able to move forwards.
If you enjoy the performance, please subscribe to my channel! There’ll be more performance videos of both covers and my own compositions, plus new compositions will usually end up there before release. I’m also in the process of scripting some teaching videos.