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Topic: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

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  1. #1

    Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    The whole town has turned out for the funeral of Tom and his buddies, Huck and Josh. The preacher delivers a heart felt eulogy for the boys as the distraught Aunt Polly drowns in tears.

    Gently playing under the preacher's speech is an organ rendition of the show's opening number, "St. Petersburg." I used the Flutes Pipe Organ patch from GPO for smoothness, and layered it with a rather raw sample set of a noisy old European Harmonium to add a rougher edge to the sound.

    Funeral organ - 1:09

    The preacher suddenly stops mid-sentence when he's dumbstruck to see Tom, Huck and Josh sheepishly coming down the aisle, choking back the tears from hearing their beautiful eulogy. They've heard the whole thing from the choir loft at the back of the church.

    Everyone's overjoyed, and Tom says he and his buddies have been out on the river playing pirates. Becky Thatcher, who was crying her heart out over Tom's death just a little earlier, is so incensed by Tom's revelation, she knocks him to the ground with a solid punch. Nose in the air, she and her girlfriends march out of the church.

    "SING! And put your hearts in it!" Cries the preacher, and the congregation belts out a hymn as the stunned Tom remains on the floor nursing his soar jaw.

    Exactly as Mark Twain says in the book, the hymn is "Old 100," or as it's now more commonly called, "The Doxology." This is my SATB arrangement, and I especially enjoyed doing it, this hymn having strong memories for me as a child when it was sung every Sunday and at every church function.

    Beefing up the vocal tracks is the Choir from GPO, run through a morphing filter so the samples do some semblance of singing the words.

    "Old 100" - 0:55

    Everyone takes a new position on stage, and we're in the court room. The district attorney is wrapping up the case against Muff Potter who is being tried for the murder of Doc Robinson. Muff's lawyer calls only one witness - Mr. Thomas Sawyer.

    Just as Tom is about to reveal who he saw plunge the knife into the doctor that horrible night in the cemetery, Injun Joe leaps up and throws a knife at Tom, narrowly missing him. Joe scrambles out the courtroom window, and the crowd is in a panicky, confused uproar.

    From GPO, this cue has Banjo, Tympani, 3 Snares, Full Strings, Violins 1, Violins 2, Violas, Cellos, Basses, Glissando Harp, Piano, Horn Section.
    From Comb - Piccolos group 1, Flutes group 1, Clarinets group 1, Trumpets group 1, Tubas group 1, Trombones group 1.

    "Injun Joe Escapes" - 0:24
    (click the illustration for the MP3)


    When everyone else has cleared the stage, Huckleberry Finn emerges from the shadows, tackles Tom and thrashes at him wildly. Huck's madder than a hornet at Tom for betraying their secret. They'd sworn a blood oath never to tell anyone what they saw in the cemetery.

    This next cue's motif is from "Me and my Best Friend," the song that introduced Huck Finn in the show. Garritan instruments are Banjo, Cymbals, The Strad (the discontinued solo) and Jaw Harp. Acoustic Guitar is from the free Kore Player.

    "Tom and Huck fight" - 0:17

    Tom desperately tries to explain that he couldn't stand by and see Muff hang for something he didn't do. "You can't just walk out on a friend," says Tom. "Oh can't you? Watch me!"- and Huck goes tearing out of the courtroom, leaving behind a forlorn Tom Sawyer.

    Same instruments as the fight, except Tympani instead of Cymbals.

    "Forlorn Tom" - 0:10

    Next time - A big production number!

    Randy

  2. #2

    Re: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    Hey Randy! I had to wipe a tear from my eye after listening to the funeral organ. (not really, but it sure sounded like funeral music to me. I assume that you wrote it.)

    Old 100. Since I have been banned from every church in the country, I don't know what its like to hear church goers singing hymns, but the slightly out of tune singing in spots sounds realistic. Very cool!

    Injun Joe escapes. I really like this. It has a very suggestive sound to it. I would like to hear a longer development on it.

    Tom and Huck fight and Forlorn Tom. They are fun to listen to, but they are just to long. (ha ha!)

    I really like that animated feel that you can get with your arrangements. It is not always key oriented and I think it helps produce great aural effects.

    Thanks for the post. Jay

  3. #3

    Re: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    Hi, Jay - I always look forward to your comments on these "Sawyer" posts - and I love this new post from you. Thank you for it!

    The funeral piece is the solo organ version of a section from the show's opening number, "St. Petersburg." Yes, that's mine, like most of the show. I started this "Sawyer" series with this number way back in July 2011. The chorus from "St. Petersburg" is a primary recurring motif throughout "Sawyer."

    The hymn - what's this about you being banned from every church in the country?! Sounds like there has to be a story there - what do you mean? hehe--the "slightly out of tune singing"-- that would be me warbling away the best I can, going a bit flat like a lot of people--just like a gen-u-wine church congregation! 8-)

    There are quite a few underscoring cues I haven't posted, focusing instead on the show's songs, but since there was some interest in the extensive instrumental underscoring I did for the show, I've sprinkled a few of the cues throughout these posts. They're mostly very short, underscoring bits of action, bridging scene changes. Most are based on thematic material that's gone before and could be developed into longer things, but I'll probably leave them as they are, fulfilling their purpose as brief musical punctuations. The most extended underscoring piece is the atmospheric "The Cemetery," playing all through the famous scene when Tom and Huck witness the murder of Doc Robinson, and that's one of the cues I posted in this series.

    Your observation that these bits are not always key oriented is right on - After writing the show's songs which needed to be simple and easily sung, it was fun to stretch out with these more free-form bits.

    Thanks for visiting, Jay!

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    Hello Randy, I had a chance to listen to these quickies this morning, just no time to reply! Personally, I really like this sort of music (writing and listening). Short, quick pieces that set the stage or describe goings-on...maybe it stems from watching lotsa cartoons of the Looney Toons variety.

    Anyways, I really enjoyed these snippets, and though I have never read the book, your descriptions along with your music paint a clear picture of the scenery. Thanks for sharing!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  5. #5

    Re: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    Quote Originally Posted by sanyarem View Post
    Hello Randy, I had a chance to listen to these quickies this morning, just no time to reply! Personally, I really like this sort of music (writing and listening). Short, quick pieces that set the stage or describe goings-on...maybe it stems from watching lotsa cartoons of the Looney Toons variety.

    Anyways, I really enjoyed these snippets, and though I have never read the book, your descriptions along with your music paint a clear picture of the scenery. Thanks for sharing!
    Thank you muchly, Michael - Hope you catch the next post which is of the biggest production number in the show. I think that will interest people more. And I gotta wrap this puppy up! Good heavens, it's taking me over a year to put up the posts!

    By the way - the book is highly recommended. I loved it as a kid, and rediscovering it when I wrote my adaptation was a total joy. One of The Great American novels.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    Randy! I absolutely loved the choir. Could you explain a little more how you did that?
    ~Rodney

  7. #7

    Re: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    Randy! I absolutely loved the choir. Could you explain a little more how you did that?
    ~Rodney
    Hey, Rodney - Glad you caught the choir in this. I was hoping some Forumites who work with religious music would hear this. I don't do SATB arranging very often, and I enjoyed doing this one.

    The choir - When I use that production technique, I use what was once a free plug-in which, unfortunately, is no longer available. I know there are other plug-ins that do the same thing, but I'm not aware of any free ones - not even sure of what's available for purchase.

    It's a Morphing plug-in, similar to the Vocoder process used for years in studios. You feed two tracks into it. One is the"carrier" signal and the other is the "modulator." With a Vocoder, guitarists feed a microphone's signal in as the modulator that acts on the carrier signal of their guitar. The results are a guitar that talks. That technique is used with synths a lot also.

    In this case, the carrier was the Garritan Choir in GPO, and the modulator signal was a track of me speaking the words to the hymn. When the plug-in's mix controls are set right, you get an almost purely processed signal - only hearing the sound of the choir which is being shaped by the envelope filter of the spoken track.

    This is basically what happens in choir libraries that can sing words. The user has a control panel to choose consonants and vowels, or entire words - those are pasted together, and become the modulator for the choir samples.

    My results using this old, little plug-in, aren't terribly clean. The choir sounds kind of electronic and robotic, which of course could be a great sound in the right context. But to help counteract that effect in this demo of The Doxology, I also layered in tracks of me singing the parts of the vocal arrangement that are in my range.

    I used this effect in my version of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" for the Garritan Christmas CD in 2010.

    So--it's something like that!

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    Ah, the nuts and bolts and springs and levers... the
    incidentals that make the wrapping complete.

    Nice trick with Old 100. I listened before I read, and
    couldn't even guess quite how you did that.

    Best,



    David
    -----
    David Sosnowski
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

  9. #9

    Re: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    You sure made this somewhat sleepy Forum come alive, David! And it looks like you had a grand old time, catching up on posts. Now I know everyone you responded to will be delighted to find your replies on their posts.

    I know it sure made me smile to see you on my threads, and to see how you'd worked your way through the current batch of music on display here.

    I'm keeping my new replies to this, the most recent "Sawyer" thread - But gotta respond to what you said on the earlier "We're Too Young" post:

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux View Post
    ...I won't say you ain't never spilled a clam bucket, Randy -- but it's pretty damned rare for you to do that....
    HAHahahahahaha! Now that gave me good, solid Laughing Out Loud moment. --Yep, I can come up with stinkers, but hopefully I haven't posted very many of those here. I endeavor to not torture the Forum members with the more half-baked things I sometimes torture myself with, then quietly put away when they seem hopeless. hehe.

    When I thought maybe you were winding up to post a new Et Lux piece - always a momentous occasion here, you sed:

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux View Post
    ...Nope. I probably should write something, though. It's been a while.
    Well good heavens Yes you should write something. I was all set for a new Sosnowski musical adventure - OK, I can wait - but don't let the cobwebs pile up on me as I sit here waiting!

    Back to this current thread with the hymn and a few underscoring cues:
    Quote Originally Posted by etLux;691868...
    Ah, the nuts and bolts and springs and levers... the
    incidentals that make the wrapping complete.

    Nice trick with Old 100. I listened before I read, and
    couldn't even guess quite how you did that...
    Once in awhile, I've included a few things from the long list of underscoring pieces from "Sawyer," since phase two of the project was fleshing the score out with scene changes, stings etc, and I wanted to give a taste of that here on the Forum.

    But now, after a solid year of posting the show's numbers one-by-one, I gotta get on the stick and wrap this puppy up! There are still three more songs left to share, and a couple more underscoring things that I want the "Sawyer" followers to hear.

    The choir effect - You know me. I do have me fun with the production side of things. Having a way to get some semblance of a choir in projects is a fun process.

    Hats off to you, David! Your posts have stimulated the energy here with humor, encouragement, sincerity "And Light."

    Hope to see you again soon.

    Randy

  10. #10

    Re: Underscoring cues and a Hymn from "Tom Sawyer"

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    You sure made this somewhat sleepy Forum come alive, David! And it looks like you had a grand old time, catching up on posts. Now I know everyone you responded to will be delighted to find your replies on their posts.
    A lot of new faces, here; I'm sure many would not know me (and I hope they take my jibes with the humor with which they are intended).

    I know it sure made me smile to see you on my threads, and to see how you'd worked your way through the current batch of music on display here.
    It was only twenty posts or so.

    I'm keeping my new replies to this, the most recent "Sawyer" thread - But gotta respond to what you said on the earlier "We're Too Young" post:

    HAHahahahahaha! Now that gave me good, solid Laughing Out Loud moment. --Yep, I can come up with stinkers, but hopefully I haven't posted very many of those here. I endeavor to not torture the Forum members with the more half-baked things I sometimes torture myself with, then quietly put away when they seem hopeless. hehe.
    Oh, I know you know exactly what I meant... lol. We all drop the occasional clunker. I sure do. As painful as that can be at times, though, you learn far more from your mistakes than from your successes.

    I had this explained to me many decades ago by a teacher (and later friend) whom I greatly respected. If you succeed at something, he reasoned, then you must already know how to do that. But if you fail, he went on -- that means you have something to learn, a golden opportunity!

    I can't say I've ever developed quite the cheerful attitude he had about it, but the man was right.

    Well good heavens Yes you should write something. I was all set for a new Sosnowski musical adventure - OK, I can wait - but don't let the cobwebs pile up on me as I sit here waiting!
    Boy, that year surrounding turning 60 hit me like a freight train... rofl! I can now conclusively verify that, despite prior convictions to the contrary, I am mortal. I'm gradually getting back on the dog that bit me, though.

    Back to this current thread with the hymn and a few underscoring cues:

    Once in awhile, I've included a few things from the long list of underscoring pieces from "Sawyer," since phase two of the project was fleshing the score out with scene changes, stings etc, and I wanted to give a taste of that here on the Forum.

    But now, after a solid year of posting the show's numbers one-by-one, I gotta get on the stick and wrap this puppy up! There are still three more songs left to share, and a couple more underscoring things that I want the "Sawyer" followers to hear.
    The layman's apprehension (including mine, at one time) is largely that one writes a group of songs, and *bang* it's a musical! Nothing could be more distant from the truth.

    There's a raft of planning and plotting involved, and a great deal of specialized knowledge required to create a working stage vehicle. I wonder if you realize this yourself any longer: as immersed in it as you are, a lifetime with the craft of it -- it's probably all second nature to you.

    If you're taken to reflect on the mechanics of it, you'd be doing a service to explore this area more for the benefit of others. Indeed, it would make one hell of a book, Randy. With eBook publishing so very easy on Amazon now, I invite you to consider the possibility.

    The choir effect - You know me. I do have me fun with the production side of things. Having a way to get some semblance of a choir in projects is a fun process.
    I don't know if anyone's bothered to mention (probably not) -- but your grasp of production craft, right down to the smallest elements of it, is nothing short of superb... creative, inventive, and uncompromisingly professional. Every piece you present, I learn something; and I do hope others do as well.

    Hats off to you, David! Your posts have stimulated the energy here with humor, encouragement, sincerity "And Light."
    Why thank you, Randy, for the kindness. I hope others will take up the oars, too. This forum seems to have unduly acquired a degree of reticence and formality that is unfitting to it. These are difficult, uncertain times, lacking leadership and direction; and it appears to have infected this musical community with its evils.

    Speak with your own voice, everyone. You can say what you think. And you can do it in a kindly way. But we need to hear each others' thoughts and feel secure in the knowledge that what we say and do comes from an environment of support and friendship.

    Hope to see you again soon.
    Well, now, you just never know...

    All the best,



    David
    -----
    David Sosnowski
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

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