Saturday, 28 May 2011


Was noodling about on the piano tonight, and ended up with this... Maybe it'll sound a little familiar =)

Had to find somewhere to host it, found 'soundcloud' .. this looks cool..
Doctor? by DwellerTunes

Else, I've tried to put it up on YouTube, but that 'required' a video, so you get to look at a nice shot of Niagara Falls at night while you listen.

You'll have to excuse the duff notes.. got a bit late to try to clean it up. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Crowd Sourced Blues Generation.

"I woke up this morning.. my blues were all red, 
 Been thinking about, generation instead..
 Chatting with Gandalf, putting thoughts in my head,
 That blues is a sequence, of riffs in a thread.
 Woaah-oh.. maybe you could get some, of my gener-ated-blues.. "

Ok, so, when noodling blues, I have a whole bunch of little tiny riffs, that I glue together based on where I think the music should go next, and when you stop to think about it a bit, the sequencing isn't entirely random.

Perhaps there's enough structure present within the music to allow construction of a system where anyone can contribute to the music, while the system acts as composer & arranger..

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Spotify Buffet Picks of the Day.

I was thinking of a Smashie & Nicey themed post given the title.. but I was convinced by Jim the Jedi to avoid that for the sake of the sanity of the blog readers.

I've been listening to Spotify a bit recently, although some of the discussion over their recent (free) usage limit changes is a little offputting, that doesnt change that it does have a huge pile of  music on there. Every now & then, you come across one or two that make you smile...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Real or Fake ?

Thought it'd be worth sharing my thoughts on this one.. I'm sure many people out there prefer the touch & feel of 'real' but others amongst us prefer the greater opportunities provided by 'fake'.

I'm talking Pianos here, or rather Analog vs Digital, or Thing-with-lots-of-strings-and-tiny-hammers vs Thing-with-an-electrical-plug. However you want to describe them, I've played both, used both, abused both, and learnt a few things I tend to love / hate about them. I thought I might share my thoughts on both here...

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Old School Piano Demo

So I've been messing with Blues in different keys than Cm...

I mean I can play Cm blues with my eyes shut (this may not be a good thing), but its like 90% muscle memory, and 10% creative input from me. On the advice of my piano tutor, I've been experimenting playing them on other keys, Am, Fm, etc. Normally I'd just hit transpose and be done with it, so I'm happy to discover there is a benefit to attempting this, beyond having a few other targets to transpose to.

While noodling around in Fm blues, a phrase came out that sparked off a little nostalgia, it's all caused by the white/black arrangements and how I like to slide off the blacks to get that nice sorta jazz/blues/waterflowing type effect.. of course Fm blues has different alignments for those notes, which then lends itself to the creation of different little patterns to use rather than the Cm familiar ones.

While experimenting with variants of phrasings over the new alignments, I'd started getting the odd flashback to a demo on the Amiga, with lots of spheres rotating on the screen in a vaguely 3d way, where you could alter the parameters used to generate the animation. All the while in the background of this was a piano tune looping round & round drilling down into your subconcious.

Now, I could go power up my Amiga, root through a tonne of Floppy Disks, and hope to discover the one with the demo, or, I wait a few days, and the name 'Piano Plinker' comes to mind, hit youtube, and bam.. here it is. Enjoy... (It's not the original, but the tune's still there.. just as addictive as ever.)

Welcome strange blog reading people

Yes that's right, you.. ;-)
Not possibly me, the one writing the blog, I'm perfectly normal ;-)

So why are we both here? a valid question. This is where I hope to dump my thoughts on musical type stuff, bits I'm enjoying bashing out on the Piano, and stuff I'm enjoying listening to.

Who am I ?
  • I'm a mostly self taught player of keyboardy type instruments.
  • I enjoy bluesy piano noodles, and floyd/tron/sweeping synthesizer sounds, and soundtracker music, and 8bit sid-style, and pop, rock, and the odd bit of classical.
  • I play mainly by ear, from memory (not sure if thats my finger's memory, or mine though)
  • I've just started the journey to try to better understand how I connect listening to sound, to how I play the piano. 
  • Someone who likes bullet points.. yay.. go bullets, go bullets.. 
That much said.. time for a little background.. taught myself how to play keyboard on one of those tiny-key synthesizers that were popular back in the early 90's, I had one of .. these..
Yamaha PSS780
No fullsize keys here.. just tiny little keys that always respond the same no matter how hard you hit them.. (actually, thats a slight lie, if you hit them hard enough, they snap, and stop responding at all until you glue them back together.. ).

I guess technically this wasn't my 1st instrument, at least 5 years before this one, I attempted guitar, there's no picture of a guitar here, as like wookies and endor, they don't make sense. Guitars appear to be 6 monophonic pianos stacked ontop of each other (at random offsets), where you have to decide the notes with one hand, and create the sound with the other. My dreams of becoming an overnight Rock God were sadly crushed into oblivion when I realised just how much effort ever learning such a twisted instrument could be.

So in comparison, I got on really quite well with the keyboard ;-) Plus I'm more than a bit of geek (really, and you didnt get that from the whole blogging thing already), and I really kinda liked the entire MIDI idea, where you can hook the keyboard to the computer, and have it join in.. even more fun if you discover the details of the MIDI protocol & start writing your own little programs to play with it.

Gradually over time I picked up more little bits & pieces, before buying myself a Roland A33, yay for fullsize keys, with velocity sensitive response.. but I still really craved a nice piano sound or eight. Took me many years later before I bought the Clavinova, a CVP103, it's pretty much the main instrument I bash around on these days.

Finally after spending too long playing stuff that all 'felt the same' I figured it was time to go find someone to try give me some proper direction.. someone willing to cope with the fact I've never learnt to read Score, and don't really want to put the time in to do so.. It's been around 6 months or so since then, and I think I'm still being surprised by what I already know but dont understand, and do understand, but dont already know ;-)