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Topic: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

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  1. #1

    "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    In the spirit of our fabulously successful Listening Room Festival, I'm posting the next "Tom Sawyer" piece less than a week after I posted the last one. That's greased lightning posting speed compared to the 4 months between my 1st and 2nd "Sawyer" posts last year, when I waited patiently for the first entry to retire to the second page!
    ---------------------

    "It's A Big World" (instrumentation listed below)
    (click image for MP3)

    Tom and Becky are lost in the labyrinthine depths of McDougal's Caves. They're both scared, cold, hungry, and despairing.

    Tom rises to the occasion. It's his trial by fire, his chance to take the first step from childhood to adulthood, beginning his initiation into the world of men.

    His rites of passage begin with the simple act of pushing through the bonds of his own fears and focusing on the act of comforting Becky. By the end of the song, Tom and Becky are firmly holding each other's hand, full of renewed hope, even though they're still surrounded by complete darkness and danger.

    Not only has Tom pulled them out of hopelessness, he's led them to a new level in their relationship. For the first time they've gotten a glimpse of what actual, true love means.

    Between the last number, "Celebrate" and this, a lot happens:

    --Injun Joe catches his partner sneaking off to dig up the gold they've been hoarding so he can have it all to himself. Joe slits Pard's throat, then stalks off to find and kill Tom Sawyer who identified Joe in the court room as Doc Robinson's murderer.

    --The townspeople pour into McDougal's Caves, then split up to have fun exploring. Tom and Becky are soon off their own, Tom guaranteeing Becky that nobody knows the caves as well as him, and that it'd be impossible for them to get lost.

    --After a series of mishaps* they end up deep into unknown corners of the caves, lost, completely cut off. Song cue.

    The dramatic climax of the cave scene, and of the whole show, will be in the next and final "Sawyer" post.


    *BONUS TRACKS

    For those interested in hearing a few more underscoring cues:

    --Tom shows Becky his favorite room at McDougal's cCaves.

    Alladin's Palace 0:21


    --As the kids wander deeper into the caves, a huge swarm of bats attacks them, driving them into unknown regions where Tom loses his bearings.

    Bats 0:38


    --In shouting for help, Tom accidentally sets off an avalanche which seals them off and makes their situation all the more dire.

    Avalanche 0:22


    Garritan instruments in "Big World"
    (some additional instruments were used in the underscoring cues)**

    Steinway Jazz Piano - JABB
    Harmonica - JABB (with wah-wah and EQ automation, as described in earlier "Sawyer" threads)
    Banjo – WORLD

    From GPO:


    Full strings KS

    Violin 1 solo KS
    1st strings KS
    Violin 2 solo KS
    2nd strings KS
    Viola solo KIS
    Violas KS
    Cello 1 solo KS
    Cellos KS
    Bass solo KS
    Basses KS
    Tympani
    SAM French Horn section

    Non-Garritan instruments:

    Broomstick Bass - Fender Precision
    EZ Drummer
    Strum Electric Guitar
    Edirol Orchestral - Horn rips

    ** “Alladin's Palace” has a number of Garritan World instruments
    , and a Sample Tank vocal patch for the Soprano.

    From World:

    Maqrunah
    Santoor
    Basic Middle East Percussion
    Wirestrung Harp
    Chinese Gongs

    “Bats” has GPO strings
    plus two patches from Dimension Pro

    “Avalanche” these instruments from GPO
    along with a string patch from Dim Pro:

    French Horn 1 Solo AG
    French Horn Overly f AG
    Trumpet 1 solo AG
    Trumpet Overly AG
    Bass Trombone
    Trombone Overlay AG
    Tuba 2 solo AG
    Tuba Overlay

    All three underscores listed here also have sound effects mixed in. The hollow "cave" sound at the end of Alladin is similar to a windy cave sound I developed which plays continuously throughout the scene at various levels.

    Next time – THE FINALE!

    Randy

  2. #2
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Re: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    That's a real pretty song, Randy! An eclectic yet entertaining arrangement! It helps keep a light on for Tom and Becky, even though they're lost in a cave. I loved this story as a kid and we'd build rafts with tents pitched on them, and pole around the lake and its swamps, really trying to live some of this stuff. Loved caves too, BTW, but wouldn't step foot in one now!!
    Great creative stuff, thanks for posting!

    sd cisco

  3. #3

    Re: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    Way to go Randy! Another stellar performance and production. BTW, a piece of yours that I listen to quite often is your "Peter Cotton Tail" arrangement, lol. Love that work, so much fun. During "Bats" I felt as though Batman was going to show up in my room or I was in Shelob's lair from Lord of the Rings. It sounded like a story within a story once you've entered in the cave. With the palate of Americana, when Alladin's Palace appears don't be surprise if the audience really remembers that cue. It totally transports you across the lands and oceans to another place and even time.
    ~Rodney

  4. #4

    Re: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    Quote Originally Posted by sd cisco View Post
    That's a real pretty song, Randy! An eclectic yet entertaining arrangement! It helps keep a light on for Tom and Becky, even though they're lost in a cave. I loved this story as a kid and we'd build rafts with tents pitched on them, and pole around the lake and its swamps, really trying to live some of this stuff. Loved caves too, BTW, but wouldn't step foot in one now!!
    Great creative stuff, thanks for posting!
    sd cisco
    Really nice response, Sd - thanks much for it.

    Eclectic - that's the perfect word. This recording gets back to the original eclectic concept for the show's music which held most true for some early songs like "Me And My Best Friend," and "I Can Hardly Wait." The simple concept was to use some folk oriented instruments like banjo, guitar, harmonica, but with pop-rock drums, electric guitar now and then, and orchestral colors in good evidence also.

    This is my wife's favorite song from the show. She responds to the melody, which is the only one in the show which can be called "pretty" really.

    This is a good example of how I needed and wanted to toe the line with these songs, making only small "rebellious" moves that didn't stick with the strict model. This is classic AABA-Coda structure in the way pop-songs were almost always put together before more expansive formats started being used starting in the '70's. Except the A section is 18 measures, and B is 16. HA! I got my way and slipped in 2 extra measures!

    I LOVE THAT story of you as a kid rafting around like Tom and Huck! More adventurous than me - I loved the stories, but only imagined doing anything like Twain described. That's so great, thanks for including that in your reply.

    Thanks for listening and posting, Sd.

    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    Way to go Randy! Another stellar performance and production. BTW, a piece of yours that I listen to quite often is your "Peter Cotton Tail" arrangement, lol. Love that work, so much fun. During "Bats" I felt as though Batman was going to show up in my room or I was in Shelob's lair from Lord of the Rings. It sounded like a story within a story once you've entered in the cave. With the palate of Americana, when Alladin's Palace appears don't be surprise if the audience really remembers that cue. It totally transports you across the lands and oceans to another place and even time.
    ~Rodney
    Howdy, Rodney! Great to see you here on my new thread. I get blue when I'm not sure if my friends are listening!

    "Peter Cottontail"-- HA! That is so funny - I never posted that here. It was during 2010 that I wanted to do a series of "Music For The Fun Of It" tributes to national holidays, and that was my Easter contribution, complete with a somewhat controversial ending. I morphed back and forth between images of the Easter Rabbit and Jesus - meant to be social commentary re: the holiday. That whole project, both the music and the video, were really fun to do.

    Nice - you even listened to the Bonus Tracks on this. I've sprinkled a few of the underscoring cues for "Sawyer" in this year-long series of posts, but there are Many more where those came from.

    I'm glad you pointed out the "Alladin's Palace" cue. That was a really fun little project that took awhile, resulting in those 20 seconds or so of music. I used Middle Eastern instruments from Garritan World and looked up an exotic scale to use for the music, I can't remember off hand which one it was - I always have to look that kind of thing up. But I wanted an authentic Middle East sound to it, glad you think the results are striking.

    And you're exactly right that this whole ending segment of the show, and of the book it's inspired by, starting with the entrance into the cave, is a whole new level as its story-within-a-story unfolds. Folklorists and mythology buffs can appreciate that Twain elevated his adventure tale into something of epic proportions when he had the climactic events take place in a cave.

    As I indicated in my text, this cave scene parallels the archetypal stories of initiation, the revealing of Universal mysteries that the inductee learns in strange underground surroundings. It's like grappling with the Minotaur in the maze. It's like Jesus having to descend into Hell before he's transformed.

    Twain brought "Tom Sawyer" into greatness at a level par with other more "serious" literature with these scenes. When Good and Evil meet face to face in his "children's book," it's as momentous as the points of high drama in ancient mythology.

    And so forth.

    Thank you very much, Rodney.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    Randy, I'm running out of superlatives. Really.

    While certainly unmistakably fortified with your usual great energy,
    this leans more to your ballad side -- where I think you do some of
    your finest writing. You know -- and show -- that simplicity and
    impact are not necessarily separate concepts.

    As I hear more, catching up on Tom Sawyer -- I wonder... have you
    perhaps also considered (with a little creative restructuring) releasing
    this as independent album?

    Always best,



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

  7. #7
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    Hi Randy!

    I enjoyed It's A Big World and the other musical spots. It's a good tune and you've added your signature musical spices for a great creation. I hope many young and not so young ears get the chance to hear your musical!

    I'll have catch up on all your Tom Sawyer numbers and music. It's been pretty busy Spring for me and I haven't had the energy to seriously think about music and the forum.


    Phil

  8. #8

    Re: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    Hey! It's A Big Song!
    Bravo!

    DeeJoy

  9. #9

    Re: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    Hello Randy! This was great, I'm definitely looking forward to the climactic number when it comes! I really enjoyed your intermingling of the banjo with the other instruments I wouldn't typically associate with it

    I also enjoyed the underscoring, the sound effects you used for the bats and avalanche were really good, where did you find those?
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  10. #10

    Re: "It's A Big World" - Tom's last song in "Tom Sawyer"

    I really like the melody on this piece. It has a memorable characteristic to it like some of the famous musical production songs. The melody when you are singing "its a big world, its a crazy world becky" around 00:10 is a particularly enjoyable statement, response type of thing for me. I always listen how a melody relates to what happened previously.

    I love your underscores. I had to brush the bats off of my shoulders. A very cool post. Jay

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