Friday, July 2, 2010

Defying Gravity: Sneak Peek and a Work in Progress

Aunt LoLo is back in town, and you know what that means?  She has singing engagements!  You know what THAT means, right?  That's right: I'm suddenly the accompanist du jour again.

She picked a really fun song for an upcoming arts show- a family friend has a great big back yard, and puts on a "Cultural Event" every summer, with a catered buffet, white canopy for the performance platform, four-piece string quartets, etc..  Those folks won't know what hit them when LoLo busts out this piece, it makes me grin just to think about it.  (LoLo...I'm wondering, do you think Julie was expecting...Faure?  Mozart?  Or even Copeland?  Because I have your collection of "Emily Dickinson set to melodies by Aaron Copeland", that I'm pretty sure would...astound any audience.  Heh.  Guys, if I'm able, I will definitely record one of those songs for you- they're a modern mess and a HOOT.  Love 'em to pieces.)

After a few exceptionally rough "sight reading" rehearsals at her house, she let me take the music home to practice.  And I breathed a sigh of relief, because this is a TOUGH song.  One of my major pet peeves about show tunes transcribed for voice and piano is that they include the melody, in it's entirety, in the accompaniment. It gives the vocalist NO leeway for artistic expression, it unnecessarily complicates the accompaniment because now the pianist must play the orchestral part AND the vocalist' part, and it just sounds redundant and muddy.  Normally I can mentally scratch out the melody parts and just play the leftovers, but because of the intricacy of the accompaniment in this piece (which is a lovely change from most songs, believe me) I'm going to have to make a copy and just white out the millions of notes I won't be playing, and perhaps write in a few extra notes to make sure I'm not left with just block chords as an accompaniment.  Because as harmonically correct those block chords may be....compelling, they're not.

ANYWAY, I thought some of you might like a sneak peek.  It's just the first few pages, and the ending isn't...subtle.  Not when my  kids start jumping up and down saying "It's time to go!"  But hey- life's a WIP, right?

My main concern when I recorded this was:

  • Did the accompaniment appropriately support the vocalist, without overwhelming the melody line (so far, I think yes.  Verses 2, 3,4...are trickier.)  
  • Is the tempo appropriate for the vocalist?  Maybe...Aunt LoLo?
  • Is the accompaniment appropriately played, without sounding like a second-grader let loose on the piano with a kettle drum mallet?  Hmm...maybe.  Those low bass notes tend to get away from me.  Heh.
  • And finally, although not terribly importantly, is my mouth still crooked?  Why yes.  Yes it is.  We don't know why that part of my face seems paralyzed.  Wonder if my voice would be good and LOUD if I could consistently open both sides of my mouth at the same time?  *grin*

"Defying Gravity", from the hit musical Wicked.  Sung and accompanied by Myrnie.

Untitled from Myrnie Twin on Vimeo.

PS- Ten points to whoever first finds my extra-special "made up" lyrics.  Anyone??


Teresa said...

Love that song and you sung it wonderfully....and the kiddos in the background were too as a Mommy, just as it should be.
Thanks for sharing your talents
You rock.

Aunt LoLo said...

Love them thar lyricals. ;-) And the accompaniment sounds great...sure hope we get to perform it!!!

Alexandra said...

Thanks for sharing! I thought it was wonderful.

melissa said...

It sounds great! That is such a perfect song for your voice! I didn't catch the made up lyrics, although the only time I've ever heard that song was on Glee.

Debbie said...

This is wonderful! I am so happy thinking about you guys performing together:)

Dolly said...

Wow! Your a singer-fantastic job:) Thanks for sharing this talent with us. Sing some more...

Su said...

Sounds great!!! Love the voice, and the accompaniment sounds great.
The tempo... sounds good too. I know, I'm not much help here. I have never heard the song before, and it seemed a good tempo.
No way does it sound like "like a second-grader let loose on the piano with a kettle drum mallet" LOL!!!

Liz said...

Talents must be genetic or you and Aunt LoLo were trained the same growing up. You both have killer voices and mad playing skills.

Elizabeth G. said...

Boo hoo. I didn't want you to stop singing. :(

Great arrangement. I loved this post. I know what you mean about playing the melody which doesn't allow for expression.

Love what you did with the song.

More singing, please!