Holiday plans.

This coming Sunday (25th) the first WIPUP beta version will get released. I’ve been working hard to ensure that this first beta truly will be feature-complete and bug-free. I was quite delighted this morning when I found a few Brazillian game developers had tried out WIPUP (and a few of its live-only features succesfully) for an RPG they were making – it was all in Portuguese, but it was a great feeling nonetheless. I hope more people can find use for WIPUP and enjoy using it just as much as I have.

One of the reasons I developed WIPUP was to be used as a long-term infrastructure for myself – a way to log and see my progress through time. A phrase I like to use here is insight through hindsight. This of course means that since this is the first so-called stable release of WIPUP, I’m going to take a break from developing it (desktop clients, APIs and the such will have to wait) and resume my personal, more creative projects.

I’ve spent the past week porting over the remains of The ThoughtScore Project’s original thread on BlenderArtists to the WIPUP Project. I shall spend my time over the next week to pick up all those Blender save files that have spread across my hard disk and get ready to resume work on ThoughtScore.

I’m also starting a new composition. After every composing session I shall snapshot the score and perhaps a short clip of me playing what I’ve got so far. You can check out the WIPUP project for it.

Also if you need a webdev job, you can ask the folks at the company I’m now working for, OmniStudios.


Evan interpretive score released.

Remember Evan? No, not the guy – the piece. The piece named after the guy. That piano piece. Yeah, the one I composed almost 8 months ago. The one I never announced I had finished composing.

The reason is partly because I didn’t finish composing it. I slapped on a makeshift ending to wrap it up, became utterly disgusted at the formulaic tonic and then slapped on another note right after because that’s what felt right. It was exactly what the piece was about. But was the piece itself finished? In a sense, yes – the main ideas were there – but they were undeveloped little mud puddles that tried to jump from one puddle to the next. All in all – a hard piece to perform.

It’s not hard just because it has a few technical areas and a heavy chordal passage – it’s hard because it rushes the performer into a frenzy. The piece is divided into two clear sections both of what would first seem like distinctly different characters, but further study of the piece’s theme would reveal that they are not – in fact, they are one single, continuous development. In a way, it’s not the change in emotion that makes this piece interesting (though most would easily say that it is), it’s more of the restraint in emotion the performer has to show.

This restraint must be shown to let the various smaller melodies creep through the heavy banging in the middle. Simple dexterity is not enough. The performer has to understand what exactly the hurry is all about – is it an anger? Is it a frustration? Is it simple mischeviousness? One climax after another – or should they be climaxes?

Many of the melodies are admittedly not for the piano. The main theme itself in one such interpretation is much more fit for violin – long, slurred bows with the piano peeking through with light droplets to add contrast. It will end hanging – with a slight yearning, a slight sadness – or another much grander interpretation: a confident, full sound with a nimble backdrop to emphasise its majesty.

The only clearly interpreted section is the last – one of stillness. A slight murmur – a few sharp breaks of light – a heavy, determined, and resolute ending.

So a while back I had to record Evan to send off with my portfolio – obviously having not played it for 8 months and the piano untouched for a while due to other responsibilities, I will readily admit that my playing – and resulting recording, was an abomination. It was crap. An insult. There was a brief section played just right – but the rest was just note after note – a disgusting sequence of sound that didn’t deserve the 5.5 minutes of MP3 I sent off. As a result I’m not going to show the recording here until it’s redone properly.

However the score itself is another matter. As you might’ve garnered from the description above – I didn’t explain the emotion of the piece – not my emotion with it, at least – but I did give suggestions. The score is unmarked and completely interpretive. I invite anybody who wants to to play it – and yes, it is unfinished. It will probably stay that way for a while. I would appreciate any recordings of people playing it!

Click here to download it (second attachment) in PDF format.


Composition in progress: Evan

I’ve been doing composition again! School has started and that means that it’ll be difficult again to keep up with the rest of my interests. I’m quite happy to say that I’ve managed to keep the post-every-two-days going for a while, with each post actually announcing something significant that has occurred or something I did that I can share.

My cousin is going to have a wedding. I am very happy for him and he’s asked me to perform a little something during the wedding. What could be a better opportunity to compose a new piece? My past three compositions were very rushed on time and so I hope this one could be of somewhat decent quality. (that’s not to say I’m completely free to spend all my time on this, of course!)

I’m quite traditional when it comes to composition. I cannot believe people who use all these technologies and digital whatnot and hi-tech recordings during composition. When it comes to piano the computer pretty much plays no part at all. I sit there with a sheet of music paper and a pencil. Then I just mess around. Or something like that.

I only touch the computer when that sheet becomes too messy to read or I need to clarify some ideas. This obviously means that the computer-typeset score is most of the time miles behind the scribbles. Nevertheless, I have made a decent start. It’s without annotations and still needs polishing. Here is the start of it, and if any of you are musically inclined I would love to hear a recording of your interpretation on how to play it!


Of course, it’s still very much a work in progress, needs polishing and development. More soon! Oh, and if you are so musically inclined feel free to improvise and send suggestions too :)


Back to rock your world

Yes, I’m quite literally back from my month long excursion around the world! I will post about that another time, but I’m jet-lagged and tired because my A levels will be starting in a short while. So, I believe it’s time to let you do the work. (I know you love my stuff, but I love your stuff better). *modest blush*

Ok. Here’s the thing. I want to compose something grand and epic for the ThoughtScore. This’ll become the official film music for it. It’ll be orchestral, grand, epic, awesome, *checks thesaurus (of sorts)*, great, fantastic, awe-inspiring, fabulous, superlative, magnificent, incredible, so on and so forth.

Here’s where you come in.

I want you to give me four notes. Four notes that you feel like. Notes like C, D, E, F. You’re allowed to give sharps and flats. And from those four notes, I shall create, little by little, (and update you on it), this film music. I shall record my piano brainstorming session for you to check out.

Leave your notes as a comment to this thread. I will choose one to start off with, then other suggestion I will likely use for other themes.


Music Composition: The Spice of Life

It’s that time for my third of three music compositions. This one featuring a wonderbar double bass player and myself cranking on the piano a jazzy snazzy tune to brighten up your day.

I would suggest you pile up the volume for your bass otherwise that double bassist is going to be quieter than that bloke in my math class I never knew until graduation. Also please excuse the double bassist not-so-jazzy-sounding-playing as he is actually a classical player and isn’t used to Jazzy pieces. (Yes, classical and jazz D.B players are very different).

Full of fun and ad-libbing in this piece! Lots of jumping octaves for the piano, lots of chromatic scales to brighten up the day (for both piano and DB), and this piece contains some nice chord combinations that would frighten some pianists. Syncopation is seen throughout, yet the piece maintains a classical jazz feel to it nonetheless.

A nice break sometime in the middle where the DB player gets to touch his bow (he’s plucking the rest of the time), and I get to rest my hands from jumping around all the time.

CLICK: “The Spice of Life” Music Composition

You know you want to hear it.

Of course, there is a lot of potential development, extended melodies, more variation, etc. However, this being my first for a double bassist and also note that this was the very first rehearsal with the bassist: it was a go there, show score, play, record – so on the whole I think it turned out pretty well. This piece in fact I had a lot of trouble due to a brain block being unable to decide how to extend it in a way that would have a nice solo for the piano and the bassist, so also due to time restraints (examination), this was scrapped and instead the instruments tend to complement each other a bit more than I intended to.

Again, my music analysis goes back to this being a very fun piece to play (though quite challenging – I might release the score later) – as in, really fun. Lots of jumping around, and it also gives areas where you can change it to whatever you want, as is the custom in most jazz pieces.

A final reminder to turn up your volume and especially bass speaker (or equivalent) as if you don’t hear the bass it might sound like somebody’s plucking a rubber band instead. (not a very nice sound). Of course, the usual note: yes, I composed this piece myself and I’m playing the piano.

…and if you missed the two previous compositions, you might be interested in hearing “Surprises“, a very modern and abstract piano solo, and “From Midnight Until Dawn“, a very lyrical and emotional piece featuring a violin.


Music Composition: “From Midnight Until Dawn”

Since quite a lot of people enjoyed my first composition “Surprises”, I’m going to post up my second composition. (Now recorded with proper stuff, not my phone).

This is a duet between piano and violin. Again, I composed the whole piece myself, and I am the piano player. For this piece I was going for a very lyrical and flowing melody full of emotion. The echoed sounds at the beginning are meant to symbolise the striking of a clock, followed by the soft chimes that one hears from such grand clocks. The violin goes for a more saddened approach, backed up by the piano giving a very rich harmony. Though sounding very simple, the violin is actually horrendously difficult to play, and requires much understanding and feeling into the piece. I myself feel that the piano playing is not expressive myself.

The constant changes of harmony throughout are meant to express restlessness during one’s sleep, where a climax follows to express waking up, and calming down again. The melody then becomes more mischievous, tricking the user into expecting long flowing phrases by the violin, but instead dying out rather suddenly. This leads to a more happy tone, which again fades out into the original chiming of the clock. The ending then features a very special melody change at the very last chord, giving the piece a very interpretive feel.

Short and sweet, I really enjoyed composing this piece.

CLICK: “From Midnight Until Dawn” Music Composition

You know you want to hear it.

All feedback is very much welcome! Whether or not you liked the style of the piece or if you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear it!


Music Composition: Surprises

As many people know (wow, ego flaring!), I do animation, artwork, graphics design, programming … and also, music. To be honest, the main reason online people don’t know I do music is because I never bother to record myself playing. However, suffice to be said that I play the piano, violin, and I do music composition.

Last sometime, I was required to compose three pieces for an exam. Since they were required to be recorded, I have digital copies and I’m able to show them online! Unfortunately, I rushed all of these compositions (I took music as an extra subject – so no actual time allocated to study/work for music exams) and I think they could’ve been much better. However, needless to say I satisfied the criteria for the exam (if not surpassed) and it’s all gone and done with!

Here is the first piece for your listening pleasure. It does not contain off-key wailing and the sounds of dying animals like my infamous music jams. Therefore, you are not required to use ear-plugs when listening. The title of the song, is “Surprises” – thought up within 5 minutes of having to submit piece titles. Each piece had to have a unique style, and at least one piece had to have an accompanying instrument. This piece has no accompanying instrument, has a very rhythmic and modern feel to it, and is meant to be played as a joke, meaning that the undeveloped ideas (again, due to time restraint) in the pieces are intentional (hah!) in order to induce some interest in the piece.

What am I waffling on about?

CLICK: “Surprises” Music Composition

You know you want to hear it.

All feedback is very much welcome! Whether or not you liked the style of the piece or if you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear it!

Note to self: I need to work on an orchestral piece for my movies!

Edit: yes, I composed, performed (I’m the piano player), and recorded (with a phone recorder – sorry for the terrible quality) all by myself.