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Hallo! By accident or design, you've wound up at the music journal of Jesta from parasolprincess (My other name being Sara, which makes the title of this journal, yes, a terrible pun.)

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> previous 20 entries

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
12:17 pm - What even is a varnish error.
Anyway! Updates! (I've realised that even though no one else really looks at this journal, I use it all the time to keep track of bits of music, so, best to keep it vaguely updated.)

Bit of a rantCollapse )

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Saturday, April 27th, 2013
1:26 am
That awesome moment when you're tweaking every note velocity and automation curve to death to make it sound beautiful and natural and better and then you realise you accidentally switched off the master reverb some time ago and you switch it back on and BOOM, instant cheap trick awesome sound, enhanced by the actual detailed work you thought you had to put in.

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Friday, April 26th, 2013
11:19 am

..I am alternatively very pleased with myself and exhausted, also not done yet, also can't gloat/complain about this on facebook or twitter because they might be Watched. I have had such a good time doing this, painting painting, the usual thing I fall into of not being all that thought out in an explicable way, but actually it ends up somewhat interconnected... I do wish I had literally another day or so though, this is a very close run thing for the deadline ^^;;;

anyway, will post the music in a bit, hopefully!!!


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Sunday, April 7th, 2013
6:03 pm - Aaaand stop! That will DO, for now. Phew!
So, so happy to be doing any kind of music again. I mean I guess I was last week as well, working on this song. But that was just really frustrating argh. Apropos of that, have a better, though probably still not final, recording of Edward (with a lot of tape hiss lol. Not trying to sound exactly like Joan Baez anymore and a slightly more restrained performance). The other thing's not done and I'm not in the mood right now!!!

But THIS is fun and, w00t, back to the orchestral stuff. This is a day and a bit's pretty solid work, including as always a stupid amount of time on the 'mixing' etc.

I'm scoring a student film, or will be when it's cut together, so this is sort of ... music from. Like a very mini suite of ideas that might be expanded out -- toned down substantially in some cases, absolutely, I'm just having fun -- and made into the score. Also probably will come up with more, different ideas too.

I haven't sent this to the guys yet, dunno what they'll think..! I wanted to do Real Serious Proper Music (...good grief I'm pretentious!!) -- as in NOT just a big string drone and some odd noises, which I was slightly afraid I would if we went straight to writing to picture, or if I was in too much of a hurry. Also something that sounds "older", suited to the period of the film, though I will have to moderate that a bit because it's not shot or made in an old style at all.

Well, I AM in a hurry, so I am cheating, but in a different way. My plan was to write all this out by hand and plan the orchestration etc and that really isn't happening. Hm, or, ok, I totally am thinking about orchestration! And I came up with a melody to grab motifs out of, a couple ways of harmonizing it, and another sort of bit and wrote them down... aaand then I fired up Logic, and it does kiind of feel like cheating XD It... isn't, really. But. Point is I should like to be able to do this sort of thing off the computer. Who knows, maybe I can. I ~will~, when I get to working on it a bit more.

RAMBLE RAMBLE. Pointful things. It's a mad bleak psychologically weird short basically this film, post WW1. It's hilarious obvious I have been playing Mahler in orchestra all term~~~ neeever mind, stealing from Mahler puts me in the best of company, film composer wise. (seriously, playing Mahler 8? it's like a "spot the film score" game the entire way through.) Written for a small orchestra, something like Honegger's 1934 Les Mis score, which was, weirdly, my original inspiration. So, strings, harp, single wind, a trumpet and a tenor sax. Which I'm wavering on, but I think it stays. Maaaybe a piano but I don't think we need it.

ANYWAY THIS WAS FUN. As I say, it's sort of "music from". Bits and pieces put together in a way that vaguely connects by itself. Oh yah and somewhat WEIRD LATE-ROMANTIC/MODERN, although really not very, but you have been warned~.

Oh yes, here it is.

0.00-1.10 - eh I now think the beginning's a little boring but I was trying for a bit to make it longer and more film-appropriate, which it is, for a while :D

1.13-1.27 - ok this is too OTT and Mahler to be anything but hilarious in a film

1.28-2.07 - a "main theme" and some doodles, possibly flashback romantic times.

2.08-2.44 - couple other takes on main theme

2.45-2.54 - this phrase again

2.58- FLUTE CADENZA OF DOOM. Not to suggest it's a cadenza as in difficult, just as in solo and free, and I've noticed that everyone has to have one nowadays :D Without the backing strings I think it could be even more effective at certain points in the film..

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Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
5:13 pm - Get ur Joan Baez on
Super super quick recording of a thing.

This is possibly relating to a show, but what it is the ballad "Edward" sung in the style of Joan Baez, or at least that's what I'm working towards :D

fun things -- trying to make sure I don't run afoul of copyright issues with folk songs. The first version of this I was trying out was from a John Jacob Niles collection printed in the 60s. I can't find out if this is ok or not. Because -- if he really did "collect" it, does that mean he would allow anyone to record/perform it? If, as the theory goes, he actually altered and 'improved' on a lot of songs in the book, does that actually make any difference if he's claiming they're authentic folk songs...? Anyway this was just all too confusing and I was in too much of a hurry, so I abandoned that and its cute modal thing and went to the version Cecil Sharp has, which is on IMSLP and public domain (so it says, and Sharp died in 1924, so.) And then I altered it a fair bit. The only thing I'm slightly concerned about now is one line which, lyrically, I'd like to use as appears in the Niles version. What about that I wonder..?

The other thing is I discovered Joan Baez! wheee~ Basically, looking up SIXTIES MUSIC as a whole thing, have a nice fun playlist of possibilities, then wandered into the folky side, and thought this might actually be a style I could attempt. And incidentally just discovering music and stuff I like. The Partisan I love to pieces, especially since it coincides with my re-learning 20th C history project :D

Ramble ramble, as per usual.

Super quick recording of 'Edward'. (Super quick as in, playing fake!guitar on piano without any adjustments and recording in one take except where I made mistake with the words at one point. Still slightly deciding what the tune should be at points!) But yeah, trying to steal Joan's accent and her vibrato, when I remember~

Not there yet, still sounds very much like me, and wobbly!

OH YEAH and the song is rather dark and murder-related, by the way.

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Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
11:46 am - Nother cover... it's very shouty!
This is War

...In contrast, with this I had a lot of fun with the production side. Though I still didn't put any concerted or planned effort, ha! Voice + karaoke track, w00t.

I came across 30 Seconds to Mars' "This Is War" with a Hetalia MV~ As you do. Annnnyway, I sort of wanted to do an actual interesting cover with piano and strings and military snares and whatnot! I maaay do that, but probably not as this arrangement is perfectly epic, and eh maybe I should just write my own original song in this style!

so uhhh what I did instead is see there was a backing track sing it at pitch and with a certain amount of yelling. Not screaming because uh idk how, and not very much - ie one or two takes because my neighbours suffer enough piano/oboe/normal singing I wasn't sure about this.

aaaand then I messed around with effects. seriously I think autotune is the only thing this baby *doesn't* have on it somewhere. For e.g. all the 'harmonies' (which are pretty background) are me just screwing around with pitch shift. This may be obvious in places :S

I was impressed to the degree I could yell/belt the notes, even if when I do that sometimes it's only an approximation of pitch~ But. Doing so, at least now as I don't know what I'm doing, is probably extremely awful for the voice so no more for now. [The "brave new world" at the end of the last two choruses is MUCH better than the shouty tuneless teenager version of the 1st chorus!] Also, it would be interesting to experiment with the extent to which you can NOT scream and actually do Proper Singing for similar effect - see the last "brave new woooooooooorld": that's all head voice.

I make up the words and tune a bit. Half the time yaaah I'm singing "brand new world" as that's what I originally heard it as, so.

Anyway, this was way fun. Do not take seriously, I'm not ACTUALLY a rock tenor. At all. But now I kinda want to be.

This was the original video. It has a ton of uncredited fanart, unfortunately (that it's uncredited, I mean - the art itself is one of things I'm absolutely blown away by about the Hetalia fandom.)

and here's a link to another guy covering this song - he's good!

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11:40 am - seriously a glorified doodle, I just kept going back and tweaking it ^^;
Hello! Time for singing again! Recorded this last month and never posted it.

...This is ...

a mashup of Note for a Child's Day of Your Return and Sorrow's Ocean by Helen Trevillion. Which I realise Helen wrote aged like 14 or something, but what can I say 1) that's impressive 2) it's a choooon and 3) I guess to some extent those feelings keep around. TMI, sorry.

So... mixing it up with DOYR... Obviously partly because they're musically easy to link (ISH! they also live in different range places!! Making it a very rangey compound song!) Thematically.. hehe. I'm basically making Day of Your Return much (...SLOWER! my goodness. I KEEP DOING THIS!) more depressing :D Which was kind of my mood at the time, to be honest! (The other thing though, with the ending, and with interspersing it ... it could still be hopeful, or maybe even more so -- aaaand... what might be interesting is to almost consider it a PoV flip, for that song ^.~ Cryptic, oh yes~!)

However - my feelings on recording it once more (having done it roughly a week before) are a liittle different maybe, hence the (awesome fun) 3-part less lonely more upbeat choruses. Um. I think.

...oh and then ETA the ANGSTY SHOUTY(..not really shouting) chorus followed by verby aahhhhs, not sure what all that signifies? :)

Other things. Actually (most of it) isn't recorded piano + singing at the same time. I realised that I'm (mostly) better singing standing up and not playing at the same time ... but thus far I'm too lazy to use anything other than the piano part I recorded in at the time.

I reeeeally... well, could work on writing/covering/making a tiny bit of effort with producing... songs ^^ I really don't like making effort with producing. I just like playing/singing at same time and then being a bit disappointed with the results!

So, I know this isn't perfect, although the singing is better than it was, which was better than it was before, .. but really I just want to stop now! The other notable thing is that the piano is a FREE SOUNDFONT! YES, these thing still exist, and this one in particular is pretty awesome.

(Hardest thing? Well, two. 1) the LOW bits of Sorrow's Ocean. I just can't sound smiley and non-pushy at that range! 2) the HIGH bits of Day of your Return -- I must have terrible technique because I just sounded like I had a cold on all the high bits -- still do in places, but trust be IT'S BETTER. "all the lub and beauty I rebember" and "I am blogging for your presemse" ... probably shouldn't have said that, now you'll hear it!)

Layered vocals totes inspired by Helen :)

...anyway I'm a bit nervous releasing this into the wild ^.^ I'm having a big mashup moment (Neil Young:World on A String / Adele:Rolling in the Deep is next up except I totally can't sing that) but ... really really no disrespect intended to the original songs!! And someday I should do straight covers of them too, not that I would do them justice :)

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Thursday, December 6th, 2012
1:37 pm
Nnnggggh, really need to stop now. Still in my pajamas at 1pm (but because I've been working on this all morning).

I filled in that one bit in the middle that was missing but unngh very unenthusiastically so depending on how I feel later I may have to redo it. Recorded (finally) the missing oboe bit too though!

...haha, but yeah can you tell I'm a little zonked out with this now. Which is fine, I have PLENTY OF OTHER STUFF I NEED TO DO.

Wind quintet yesterday was really nice, and I'm sure I've improved on oboe masses since the first time I played with them last year, what with RWB and orchestra, eek. Who knows, maybe I'm getting back to where I was coming out of school ^^;

And, I totally should write that wind quintet piece! Maybe not for the application deadline, though. (ALTHOUGH. It could be really good, I don't have anything quite like that in the portfolio at the moment.)

cut stream of consciouness..


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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
My compositional process... seems to involve a lot of playing Warcraft III, for one thing XDD Hahaha. I think there's a good precedent for this though because I was introduced to it in the Woodland Road house aand that was in my third year and I wrote a couple good things then, so... uh.. logically... Yes. [What I meant to say is I really DO appreciate the luxury of being able - ok, so I'm not entirely able, financially to do this, but at the moment it's what I'm trying - to be at home and have whole days or composing. Or playing Warcraft. Or napping, but the thing about that is I was actually running a section through my head over and over while I was resting and then I wrote it quite easily, so, that back-burner approach?]

Bla bla, get to the music!Collapse )
POINT IS, next of the long series of WIPs are my ears are now exhausted having been sat on by headphones for several hours. The bit into the jolly section (just before 3 minutes) will still be filled out. Aaand the ridiculous fake!oboe that one time is going sometime!!

Oo.. I think it's going to be over 5 minutes when it's done, which is Good Length for it to be.

...Anyway (ANYWAY!), that all sounded terribly personal. This piece in theory could be one for other people. I was trying to think of how it might be 'presented', in a theoretical ideal world, like as part of a Christmas service or something, only it all turned into Lolcats. (I am not kidding, but that's another story, maybe tomorrow ^.^)

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2:26 pm - Again still
Yep, got very distracted for most of yesterday (well, the couple hours I was in I mean) on making this sound more realistic ... which I think it does now, but now I'm getting frustrated that it doesn't (yet!) sound actually realistic!

But anyway, as of today, there is also now a bit of the Next Bit! "Glory to God in the highest / and on earth peace " etc, (although still missing most instruments on the "and suddenly" link). I think my angels are dancing a bit here as well as singing :D

Humourous non-oboe is still there, I keep forgetting ^^;;;;

320kps mp3 just cos

..Ok, the background noise (actually recorded in the Vic Rooms! some years ago.) may be a bit TOO much, especially as the start has a weird phasing issue(?) and doesn't sound super-real, but it's fun, no?

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Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
11:32 pm - Again
OK, so I got distracted trying to make it sound nicer.. Hm, and I thought it did although now I'm less sure! Have yet to sort out the right amount of reverb etc, and okay, it may simply not be possible with the setup I've got to make it sound like Hollywood strings -- let alone actually like the real thing, which is by the way what I'm trying to model on, rather than a good library sound! But. We're a couple fudges closer to it I think ^.^

Here, plus a little extra just melody

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6:04 pm - and, and, and
1. Important note -- you may notice a lot of links are broken. This is because the free co.cc thing is no more, so anything calling on still-intrepid.co.cc will not work. HOWEVER, if you swap in http://sara-garrard.com/intrepid/ then it should work. Hopefully someday I'll get around to fixing all the individual links, but this for now.

2. Thing that I'm working on ... Very very in progress, and also very not really meant for computer performance, and working on making it sound good on computer as a whole separate process to writing it (not the way we do film stuffs!) Here I've got the proper A3 manuscript pad and various sketches and the reading blu tacked up on the wall/picture frames around my keyboard, which is fun :D

Tis for oboe (yarp, again) and string orchestra and.. I'm calling it something like The Shepherds, a "reading" for oboe and strings ... anyone figure why? or is that far too obscure? It's the KJV version if that helps, and only on the oboe part itself, which doesn't start until a couple minutes in. OOH CRYPTIC. Anyway, having computerized up this far in a VAGUELY (but really not really) satisfactory way, I now need to get on and fill in all the rest of it. I have the oboe tune and a couple other bits but there's a lot missing.

Also, the bit where the oboe suddenly changes into a synth oboe? Not intentional, and I was trying to hide it. It's just that I hadn't worked out that bit of tune yet when I recorded it :) Also, there is most definitely going to be a ton of everyone else playing in that last phrase just, again, haven't written what yet.

The Shepherds, first bit, in prog

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Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
3:12 pm - Song again!
I should stress very very strongly that this is only a sort of demo recording. VERY. OK, just so we're clear on that. It's me on piano and singing, and the quality is a bit... a bit! BUT. You can now hear how it sounds, pretty much! <3

There are a couple minor things in the tune/rhythm that I'm now wondering about a little / didn't sing ahem exactly as written (mostly cos recorded piano part and then tried to sing along to it, which wasn't ideal.)

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Sunday, October 28th, 2012
11:55 am
I set a poem! :D

It's for baritone or alto, I think, and I need someone (ideally a proper singer, not me!) to sing it.

...So far it's just sheet music or, uh, Midi.

Maybe I could tidy these scribbles into a programme note XDDCollapse )

Main point is I wrote this Thursday/Friday and now I do need to some adminny/application type things and sort something about Baroque for tutoring tomorrow, but then I want to get on and write something new.

I am - at the moment - pretty much a miniaturist, and I don't tend to write complex busy stuff (or, again, if I do, it's short)... Couple possible reasons -- one is that I'm not great at playing piano so it comes naturally to a bit lazy with piano parts unless I make an effort ^^;; Also, I haven't "seriously" composed anything like enough lately, so all this may develop into something more complex as I go. OR, possibly, it may not, and I may end up settling into this style because I like it! ...Also, I have quite a short attention span myself in many ways, so. But yes in general, I would definitely like to be able to write much longer things if I feel like, so I'll work on it.

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Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
5:03 pm - Oct 24
Well, this is nothing much at all to show for a day's composing, but as in actual fact I spent the whole morning on the work-seeking aspect of music, this was only like an hour in the afternoon. And thus not bad? And thus, again, making me wish I'd gotten down to it sooner, because now I'm getting into it it's time to do other stuff.

Anyway. This is a non-film/etc/etc piece! Huzzah. Absolute music, or whatever. Actually vaguely inspired by one of the piano-miniature games/techniques we used in 3rd year ;) I'm seeing if I can still write ... uh, 'serious' isn't the word, nor is 'good', or 'complicated' because this most certainly is not that. (I am wondering -- I may have a style of piano writing in which every note is given its importance and it's all very pared down and stuff, or it may just be that I'm lazy and not very good at playing the thing, sooo~) I guess I mean, something I would feel ok showing a tutor. In fact, something very similar to what I would have written five years ago but thing is I'm realising I haven't actually developed/changed massively in any respect in music since... ever really -- and I mean that's not necessarily a bad thing-- I have improved in some technical areas, and in others I've probably become more boring, but mostly it's like it's the same inside. Sculpture to be unearthed from the stone and all. Or, again, maybe laziness XD But anyway, (anyway!) felt that whilst writing this.

October 24: mp3 // pdf sheet music

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Monday, October 22nd, 2012
Uhhh may have slightly sort of kinda completely redone the website. Again. It's like I'm addicted. No but seriously this time it's going to stay for a bit! This time it actually looks kinda professional...er? more professional? while still a little bit fun?

Basically, I've just realised that my proclaimed-on-each-CV "self-taught HTML and CSS" are basically the HTML and CSS of circa the year 2000. I'm not even kidding. Annnnyway, so I'm kind of going back to school and starting with templated and editing them and seeing how it's done that way. I think this one brings me up to approximately 2008 :) Progress!

Also made a showreel. Haha. Actually that was basically the occasion of the whole redesign thing, sending this off to someone and wanting a nicer looking site to back it up. Anyway, you need a password to see this, so anyone reading this will have to ask :)


I did actually do some music last week, and hopefully will do a bit more tomorrow and post then. Bed now.

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
5:17 pm - Unnnnnngh, money :O
...Ok, yah, I really have to get more stuff on TV XDD From a purely financial point of view. At any rate like, 25 minutes worth of stuff, and on Channel 4. but once, and at six in the morning. Repeat, please!!

(PRS just paid me :D Boy we pay the rent this month.)

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5:12 pm
Soooo, according to my new schedule (yes, scheduling myself quite severely, not working yet but give it time arrgh.) today was composing -- music day basically, but due to (excuse of) not having keyboard that really didn't happen, which was silly of me :( I got it together a tiny bit at the last and after practising oboe came up with this thingum, the idea being, hey I can't make up stuff on piano (and don't feel like pacing around humming oddly, which is the other way) so why not oboe? And why not something that actually SUITS the oboe?

Yes, well, believe it or not this is a lot BETTER than I probably really sound; I got to playing in front of the microphone in the first place because I was trying to work on my solos and yeeah pick up just how badly the

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12:54 pm - life is a cabaret!
The show is in full swing once again ... Also once again I'm gathering together showreel etc materials, sooo I've made my own recording of the cabaret number I wrote (and usually Hannah performs! but I've got to have something to send off for Friday, hence this.) Plus I was just sad we didn't have a recording of this because it is one of more fun things we've done!

Sooo, just like a "demo recording", and the main thing is actually the piano part is not as cool as I now play, but alas! my keyboard is in the theatre for the duration :( *withdrawl* So this is the one I made in January for practise, with vocals as of today. Anyway, it's very fun to sing (and play), and I am probably driving my neighbours nuts so shall stop now.

Fear of Henry VIII

The lyrics have nothing whatsoever to do with the plot of the show overall-- an American character performs it a club, that's all :)

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Saturday, October 6th, 2012
12:46 am - Things and also stuff
Escape // Escape sheet music

I played this in basically in 2009, apparently(?!), and then tidied it up/put it together/wrote up yesterday. It's like your classic sentimental improv piano like wot I used to do all the time, and was clearly missing in my life. Sheet music (which is bizarrely, or maybe not so, fiddly to play!) too so you too can do this ...


Also, a bunch of vids are up (by the way, Bristol folks! Next week! as in, starting Monday! Starring me on piano!!! ...and, you know, some people acting on stage XD)
  • Metz preview with most of Invocation, sung rather nicely!

  • Overture from our current thing, yes I could have just posted the mp3, but eh, I didn't even record it until Hannah asked me. Fun one :)


    Finally, sadly although not totally surprisingly (I was kinda hoping though XDDDD), I didn't win the carol contest ... but I do now have a carol .. sometime ... arrgggh, yeah, sometime I should probably pare it down to four singable parts and do something with it :)


    A couple of rejection letters from music library folks (yeeees... it does feel a little teeny bit like selling one's soul but um not really?) ... one of which kept calling my tracks "excellent", which if it wasn't lying is kind of hopeful/interesting, even if I wasn't doing anything unique to be employed.


    Yah. I'm not being wonderfully productive really. At all. Certainly not consistently. I'm going home/parents' home tomorrow lunchtime til Monday to hopefully regroup a bit :)
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