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Topic: Short jazz cue for a stage play

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  1. #1

    Short jazz cue for a stage play

    I'm working on music cues for a new play. Here's one for a party scene, circa mid 1930's, where a live band is playing. We didn't want to use an actual song from the period, and to go with the highly theatrical style of the play, we also didn't want the music to be strict to the period. So this is swing, in triplets, but with a bit of a Dixieland touch to it, some general non-period funkiness, and with drums a bit more groovy than the period.

    Only 30 seconds is needed for the show, but I want to be sure things are covered, so the track is a bit over a minute, with the same 32 bars played twice.

    EDIT: Inspired by comments posted on this thread, I want to add that this hasn't been developed as a piece of music to stand on its own outside of the context of the play. It's just a simple background cue that needs to bounce along a few seconds without drawing attention to itself. Adding a solo break, or doing anything to liven it up would be inappropriate to its purpose, which is to suggest a party scene during some important bits of dialogue in the play.

    It's mostly JABB, with a basic big band line up of saxes, trombones, trumpets. All the brass players have their mutes on. The non-Garritan instruments are drums, bass, and rhythm acoustic guitar.

    Quasi '30's Swing/Jazz/Dixieland Thing

    Randy

  2. #2

    Re: Short jazz cue for a stage play

    This link is broken...it is missing the colon ":" in the URL.

  3. #3

    Re: Short jazz cue for a stage play

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    I'm working on music cues for a new play. Here's one for a party scene, circa mid 1930's, where a live band is playing. We didn't want to use an actual song from the period, and to go with the highly theatrical style of the play, we also didn't want the music to be strict to the period. So this is swing, in triplets, but with a bit of a Dixieland touch to it, some general non-period funkiness, and with drums a bit more groovy than the period.

    Only 30 seconds is needed for the show, but I want to be sure things are covered, so the track is a bit over a minute, with the same 32 bars played twice.

    It's mostly JABB, with a basic big band line up of saxes, trombones, trumpets. All the brass players have their mutes on. The non-Garritan instruments are drums, bass, and rhythm acoustic guitar.

    Quasi '30's Swing/Jazz/Dixieland Thing

    Randy
    Nice clean sound Randy. It reminds me of some of the music from Bug's Life where they also did some "period" mashups. Neat cue/tune.

  4. #4

    Re: Short jazz cue for a stage play

    Quote Originally Posted by jdsnyderii View Post
    Nice clean sound Randy. It reminds me of some of the music from Bug's Life where they also did some "period" mashups. Neat cue/tune.
    NIce - Love that feedback, Jim - Guess the link worked for you the second time. I just checked it, and it was working. In any case - Appreciate your fun reply.

    EDIT: - The link in my original post works - but not in your quote. I guess something shook loose when I re-entered the URL - It looks like the way the insert link dialogue has changed? Hmmm.

    Randy

  5. #5

    Thumbs up Re: Short jazz cue for a stage play

    Nice music and nice rendition, it does the job! (I love this sentence ah ah)

    I've just a couple of remarks:

    - if and only if you get time for improving it, I would make a bit more variation in the middle (a different solo? an additional counter melody? e.g. a nasty clarinet? don't know, just to break the repetition of the module)

    - the very end sounds strange and rhythmically abrupt. Don't know if it was intentional, but sounds more like a sync or timing issue insted, I would fix it in your shoes. But it's my personal opinion, nothing else.

    Great piece of style Randy!

  6. #6
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: Short jazz cue for a stage play

    Excusing myself, again, as I am a total ignoramus re Jazz, but I listened twice. Towards the end, I hear a lovely piano coming through, if I am right, I would bring this up more, it would liven things up.

    Ted

  7. #7

    Re: Short jazz cue for a stage play

    Nice, thank you all for letting me know you caught this!

    I wasn't looking for critical feedback, I was just sharing part of a current project with you. It's pretty much "in the can" for the show, so I won't be changing anything in it.

    But since some questions were brought up, I'll help out with replies:

    --Fabio, you're right that as a piece of music, having a soloist featured the second time around would be good and logical. But this is strictly background music which is only needed for 30 seconds during a transition scene on stage. It will be fading out just as it starts repeating. All that this cue needs to do is provide an unobtrusive, bouncy background for those few seconds. Any more detail in the track, and the music would draw too much attention to itself.

    --The syncopated ending your talking about is exactly the same in the transitional measure before the repeat. It's just as I wanted, ending on an 8th note triplet. If it does feel unexpectedly and oddly suspended, it doesn't matter, because it'll never be heard in performance. That specific syncopation can be heard in period music, that's what I was emulating.

    --Ted, yes there's piano on rhythm throughout the whole thing, with just a couple of little arpeggios. But as per what I've said above about the cue, I can't "liven things up" anymore by bringing the piano up, because the music is totally subservient and just a backdrop to some important dialogue. It was also important to simulate the sound of a band playing live, so it wouldn't sound natural for any of the instruments to come up more than they already do. I fudged by having the 4-to-a-bar rhythm guitar louder than it actually would be. In a lot of period recordings, even though there's always a guitar, you usually can't hear its individual contribution.

    I posted this on a whim, deciding it would be fun to show a bit of what I'm working on. My hesitation was because I anticipated there being some confusion about what this is for and how it will work in the play it's written for. Responses show me that I was right about that. But it's OK. I appreciate the posts - Now you need to understand why the track has been done the way you hear it. It's not a terribly interesting piece of music - it's just a mellow piece to bounce momentarily in the background, helping to set the scene for a cocktail party.

    Thanks again.

    EDIT: I keep getting notifications from Box that people are downloading the MP3 instead of just playing there with Box's MP3 player. ??--If someone sees this footnote and has an idea, I'd be interested - it's just one of those little curious things I can't figure out.

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: Short jazz cue for a stage play

    Hey Randy! I think this is a very cool hybrid kind of jazz thing. I agree with you that it does not exactly represent the time period (not that it really matters) but has a very authentic feel to it and the instruments sound real to me. A really nice listen. Thanks for the post. Jay

  9. #9

    Re: Short jazz cue for a stage play

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01 View Post
    Hey Randy! I think this is a very cool hybrid kind of jazz thing. I agree with you that it does not exactly represent the time period (not that it really matters) but has a very authentic feel to it and the instruments sound real to me. A really nice listen. Thanks for the post. Jay
    High praise, coming from you, Jay - I appreciate it!

    When I first started working on this little cue, I had the style more rigidly authentic to the early to mid '30's, when there was still a lot of that laid back 4-to-a-bar kind of thing before Big Band made things swing more. But, encouraged by the theatricality of this play its for, I broke loose more, went with a modern swing drum feel, got more Dixieland in it - kept it laid back, came up with this "cool hybrid kind of jazz thing," just as you described. I think it's going to work fine in context of the show.

    There's a huge variety of things I'm coming up with for this play - silent movie chase music on a piano, an early '30's horror film kind of track (not authentic either, blending more bombast from the '50's) - quirky little cues that make the plot for this all over the map. I'm having fun.

    Randy

  10. #10
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: Short jazz cue for a stage play

    Hi Randy,

    It's nice to get back in the Garritan listening room and hear a little bit of your newest project. This music sounds fine to me for what it's intended for. A comedy maybe????

    It sounds like you're having fun which can be contagious.



    Phil

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