Introduction: This unit in music we studied soundtracks and arranging. In this unit we practiced and arranged “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter and themes from James Bond. When looking at James bond, we looked at the idea of Leitmotifs, a musical pattern that is repeated throughout the soundtrack. Then we focused on using the leitmotifs with shorts melodies which represent characters and/or feelings. We focused used both hands when playing these themes and the rhythmic parts of these themes. In Hedwig’s theme, we focused on dynamics, playing with both hands and fluidity.
Arranging: In the unit we looked out how to arrange music. We looked at what effects different instruments create, such as brass, woodwind, strings and percussion. Brass can create strong tense sounds, while woodwinds and strings can create mysterious or calming effects and percussion can create tension. First I learned the James Bond leitmotif. After mastering the leitmotif, I continued by learning the James Bond themes. To do this, I would consider the rhythm of the notes, and the pitches of the notes. After mastering the themes, I then added them to the leitmotif. This required me to play the leitmotif with the correct notes. I mastered this by practicing, and hearing what I played until it sounded right. Finally, I went back over the themes to make sure my rhythm and tempo was correct. When arranging the James bond theme mashup with Julynn, Ryu, Kasumi and Shoichi, we took several steps to make it interesting. First, we decided what instruments we would use. In our case, we used 2 pianos, drums, electric guitar and djembe. We used the pianos for their acoustic feels, the drums and djembe for tension and electric guitar for its strong sounds. Then, we decided on what each instrument would play. Again, in our case, the drums and djembe held the beat, the electric guitar with melody and chords, 1st piano the chords and 2nd piano with the melody. Thirdly we decided on the dynamics, style of playing and tempo for each part. In our case, we slowed the tempo slightly, and in one theme we had the guitar play arpeggios to create a sad tone, while drums played the crash cymbal and ride cymbal to add to this feeling. When we wanted to have a active, tense feeling, we had the instruments play strong rhythms and loudly. Finally, we practiced our parts together, to make timing and accuracy of notes perfect. When working on our cover of “Hedwig’s” theme” with my same group, we tried to emphasise the mysterious feel, using the acoustic piano heavily. The drums did not play a strong part, rather an accompaniment.
Improvements: Before the concert, we have a three things which we need to improve on. First we need to decide if we want to vary the sound for the melody. We could add effects to the piano throughout the arrangement or in just some parts. We will tackle this problem in our next lesson and sound-checks, to see which voicing and effect we want. Secondly, we could improve our overall coordination in the band. Though we don’t want mistakes to happen, mistakes do happen and we need to be ready for when they happen. We need to react quickly and somewhat improvise on the spot. This can be helped though, by talking with my bandmates before the performance we can discuss and possibly practice how we are going to communicate to one another during the performance and what we do when we make mistakes. Finally we should firm down some of the tight rhythmic parts in our songs so that we start and end at the same time. We can improve/solve this by practicing our parts individually and keeping the beats in our body throughout the song. Using your foot to tap the beat out, or using a metronome are goods ways to keep the beat in your body. Finally practicing together with the drums also will help us to keep the beat.