DIARY 2006














Thu, Aug 24

<03:29 EEST> Watched a neat little Asian psychological thriller Phone. While the influences from more famous movies such as Ringu or The Matrix bled through a bit too obviously, it was an enjoyable piece. Like Ringu, I was drawn to the minimalist style of this movie, as it allowed the more startling bits to be highlighted well.

It was a fun coincidence -- not that I don't get those anyway ;) -- that the film featured classical piano playing, most notably Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. I had just released sheet music for Talvisuru the same day. A result of a couple days of learning some MIDI issues and Lilypond, it's pretty much the first score I've ever written down, and I expect to revise the sheet sometime in the future.

Besides the technical issues (knowing LaTeX and RTTTL I just love the system :) I've enjoyed more delicate challenges of transcribing. There's a lot of the music that I've deliberately left out, and it hasn't been obvious always, since I've basically composed the piece for myself to play, while playing. For example, I've reduced the left hand section to simple chord markings, since that's my mental representation of those parts anyway. A lot of dynamics and articulations have also been left out, so there should be plenty of room for interpretation.

It started when a friend asked to see the notation of that song I'd played. I later decided I'd give it a try mainly to learn how to do it, since I have ambitions of composing for other people and instruments in the future. It turned out quite a revelation to have to think about what's essential in that piece, and to mentally play it while editing the score. And once again I'm delighted and impressed by the ease and power of plaintext-based markup systems for producing something seemingly graphical.

Finally, for the gory details of the process:

  1. Recorded the song with my synth using heavy quantization
  2. Saved as a type 1 MIDI file
  3. Opened the file in Rosegarden and exported it in Lilypond format. This is a rather crucial stage for which there are many tools, and this is just the first one that worked well enough.
  4. Edited the file heavily, to correct timings, polyphony, repeats, dynamics, accents, and pretty much all. Makes you wonder if the MIDI import helped at all after so much rewriting, but at least it helps to keep the song structure there as a scaffold to begin with.

Mon, Aug 14

<01:39 EEST> Domina Anatomia premiered on Friday night with such a blast that the following couple of shows have been cancelled due to a minor injury :-/ In any case, the completion of this weird and wonderful piece means that I have lots of spare time to come, with no new productions coming up in the near future. With Rigorist moving out of our hack compound, things are bound to change a little around here.

<22:19 EEST> Rigorist has left the building. I feel as if I'd moved into a new home, with a sudden resurgence of space and the need to redecorate, and a sense of restlessness. I'm also in the midst of 'recapping' Hoo's motherboard (pausing for a few days to get some more capacitors) which adds a further neat sense of tension.

There's a past reading worth mentioning: Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone, by Ian McDonald. It's a little novel representing a fresh and relaxed post-cyberpunk in the style of Snow Crash, with some slight overlap in ideas. I'd read one Ian McD novel back in my teens, and then I also liked his relaxed style in the midst of assertive, masculine SF. However, the 'no story, just a world' style wasn't to my tastes and I didn't explore the author further. Now with Domina Anatomia and everything, I should probably dig deeper.

Speaking of the devil, Mr. Salohalme has once again cursed our show to the deepest hell, along with insults like "pseudo-artistic" and "avantgarde" :) Not that I'm really surprised. Besides, fans and makers of the victorious Paska Kaparee will probably take those words for compliment ;)

Risto A. Paju