Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winter is here and thoughts turn to . . . moss & stone?

Hello my Friends,
It has been a while since I last sat at the computer and wrote my thoughts down.  Not for lack of activity, but really because the musical projects I have been working on were not complete enough to start talking about.  I have had many "irons in the fire" so to speak, but now I am ready to start talking about them.  (Plus, winter is here and it is too cold and icy to be distracted by the outside for very long at one time!).
The first great thing to happen is I have a new digital keyboard, a Kawai MP11.  It is gorgeous, plays just like a grand piano and produces some fantastic instrumental sounds. Digital sampling of the piano sound has come a long way over the last few years.  In the past I have been a "purest", thinking that an acoustic grand was the only instrument to record on, and I still think that is correct for a solo piano CD.  But the digital piano sound has evolved over the past few years into a very rich, deep and "real" sound.  Often, you cannot tell the difference between digital and real instruments with some of the brass and string sounds, and the piano is becoming very close to the real thing. Consequently I have been making some videos using music recorded on the digital keyboard with original photographs or video.  Since my wife sometimes has trouble falling asleep, I decided to start with soothing music and photos.  I also took a video of a nearby beautiful waterfall.  The video is almost one hour long, and is great for relaxing while reading a book, or falling asleep to (no musical background on this video as of now). The video is on my YouTube Channel, please take a look and subscribe to the channel or "like" the video if you are so inclined.  The see the videos, click here.

I have also been busy transcribing some of the older songs into sheet music (I know, I am always working on sheet music).  I have almost completed the CD "Harmony Grove", I have just one song left. There are quite a few new transcriptions from my other CDs.  We have compiled the 10 most popular songs into one file, so you can get your favorite sheetmusic all together in one pdf file for a reduced price.  This Favorites compilation book is the special for this month, and available here.  
My colleague and piano teacher Anne Collins has been working with me to produce a few “easy” arrangements of some of my more popular songs.  Breathe is almost complete, and I think it sounds great but is much easier to play then the original arrangement.  I look forward to a whole book of easy arrangements.
The new solo piano CD is coming along nicely.  I have most of the songs composed (and yes, I will record it on my Yamaha concert grand).  I really like how the songs have turned out and think they show a steady progression in my musical growth.  All that practice should amount to something!  I don't have a title for it yet, but some of the songs are named, and a few are already recorded.  I just need to finish composing the last few songs, tune the piano and I should be set to record them soon.  
Well, that is most of the music news to date; I hope you stay warm during the coming winter months. Take heart in the fact that the shortest day is already behind us, so nothing but increased sunlight from here on out!
Take care,
Greg Maroney