Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RobUsa B is going to Otakon!

I'm going to Otakon!  An anime convention in Baltimore, Maryland.   I signed up for this a year ago and it isn't until recently that I've built up excitement for it, mostly cause I know what will be going on there.  A few of the things I'm looking forward too:

New Arrangement: High High High (Usagi Drop Ending 1 - TV Size)

 RobUsa B is proud to present: Karasinchu's High, High, High.  This is the first ending theme for Usagi Drop.

High, High, High is a different style than what I usually listen to or work with, so it was an excellent learning opportunity.  I took drafts to a piano much more frequently than I did for Resuscitated Hope (which was almost never), so the final product has less awkward voice leading and is closer to my personal playing ability (after much practice).  I smudged the rhythm of the melody around in places for easier performance.  A specific example is in measure 5:  The original recording here is syncopated on the 16th notes, which feels very natural when singing.  On the piano however, I thought it made things unnecessarily busy, and caused the difficulty to exceed my intentions. 

I was hoping to have an actual piano recording of this finished before I go to Otakon.  I leave for Otakon tomorrow -- so much for that.  Now my goal shall be to have a recording done by time I leave for graduate school. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

MAC or PC? Or, how I hate my computer.

I did it.  I bought a MacBook Pro.  Actually, this happened much earlier in the Spring, but I was so slow with creating The B-On that I only now get to talk about it.  But first for something completely different.

Deathly Hallows, Part 2 UPDATED 7/17/2011

Caught a matinee showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 today.  The theater was using film, and the showing was slightly out of focus (enough that I suspected it through the whole showing and confirmed it when I saw the credits).  I didn't intend to geek about about this movie on The B-On, but it cannot be helped.  The thoughts: there are so many.

UPDATE 7/17:  Had a second viewing today.  This time there was constant drone from the air conditioning in the theater.  And I truly mean a "drone," the sound was a Perfect 5th interval and definitely in the bass registers.  I couldn't hear it until everyone hushed for the movie, so I thought it might've been a part of the film score.  Nope, 15 minutes later: droooooooooooooooooooone.  My updated thoughts are scattered through out the article, so read on.

Reader beware, here there be uninhibited spoilers.  Hit the jump to read more.

Friday, July 15, 2011

When I Grow Up, I want to be a Dinosaur

So people like to ask me what I want to do after graduate studies.  Answer: More graduate studies!

Grad School!! RobUsa B runs away from the world!

So yes, Graduate School!  That place of growing debt, endless work and study, free labor, and -- yes, again -- dormitaries.  I'm so excited let me tell you why.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter, Harry Potter, ooh! Harry Potter, Harry Potter, yeah!

In a list of things that I like very, very much:  Harry Potter, and all things Harry Potter.  I don't really plan to geek out on Harry Potter in this blog, but it cannot be ignored that tomorrow is the USA premier of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2!  The excitement it cannot be contained.

More Music

It's becoming crunch time.  In the next month I will have to move (twice!), attend Otakon 2011, study for a rather nasty pre-assessment, take said pre-assessment, and get my class scheduled sorted out (it's broken right now).  I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things.  But before I do all that, I want to put out at least one more arrangement before I go on hiatus.

I want to choose something from the 2011 Summer Anime Line-up, and I'm very strongly leaning towards Usagi Drop.  I think the open and close themes are both good, and different from my usual tastes.  It will be good practice for me.  I will have find time to crank this out this weekend though, or it probably won't happen at all (or for a whole month).  Stay tuned.

So, hey, you are still coming right? UPDATED 7/14

UPDATE 7/14:  I called RL today.  The person who answered told me that someone told him that my first contact at RL told her that my issue is resolved.  Uh...great?  Who can I talk to really confirm that???  Anyways, I left a message and the contact called me back and everything is fixed.  Crisis Averted.  I asked when will I get an email about it, and she said I already did 2 weeks ago.  Huh?  Checked my school email and there's nothing of the sort.  Turns out I had, purely coincidentally, confirmed my room assignment online without even receiving the email about it.  I even remember confirming it, though I was on the website for a completely different reason and didn't know what I was doing.  Anyways, I have a room, but no email that says as much.  RL said they will re-forward the email.  8 hours later, still no email.  Called them again, discovered that my contact has now left for vacation.  Ok...who else can help me?  Her assistant, great!  So I leave a message for the assistant.  An hour later, no email, no call.  Call RL again to discover the assistant has now left for a day.  Sigh.  Well, the problem is resolved, I just really want the email, so I'll keep bugging them until I get it or discover a whole new problem preventing me from receiving the email.  I'm probably done talking about this here unless whole new realms of ridiculousness is achieved.  Hit the jump if you wish to read up on yesterday's phone call.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Where I actually blog about something....

...and that something is the blog itself.  Welcome to The B-On, my space about music, graduate studies, tech, and whatever else.

The idea of this blog formed several months ago, when I was finally making some headway into Graduate School.  I was inspired by a couple of my friends; Endor, who long ago blogged about her studies abroad in Japan (and has since disappeared from the internet though now safely ensconsed in The States), and more recently Rach who writes about her living and teaching in a completely different culture and hemisphere.  I knew I wanted to eventually take my studies to Japan, and thought: "I should blog about it, too!"  But it didn't stop there...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Piano arrangement of Resuscitated Hope (GOSICK)

RobUsa B's first upload:  Resuscitated Hope by Lisa Komine.

Resuscitated Hope, piano arrangement sheet music (pdf download) 
Resuscitated Hope, Lisa Komine - Original (youtube)

This is the first season ending theme for GOSICK, which finished airing earlier this month.  It details the mysteries surrounding Victorique and her friend Kujo, in the fictional European country of Sauville just prior to the second world war.  It is basically Sherlock Holmes but with a touch of Gothic fashion and a touching love story.  I highly recommend it.

I can talk about how I chose to arrange this because of the dark tones and dramatic hits juxtaposed with airy motifs of hope and light, but really I just think it sounds cool.  Also, I felt it was pretty simple and fun.  I tried to go beyond "right chords" and incorporate some of the characteristics of the orchestral/rock accompaniment.  The solo in the middle is loosely adapted from the original guitar solo, and I think it takes on an interesting flavor on piano.  The final arrangement is slightly beyond my ability to play without lots of practice time -- if anyone wishes to perform and record (and credit me for the arrangement...), feel free to do so and please send it my way.

I will definitely have to work on my ability to arrange for specific difficulty levels; and I also would really like to play this song easily, so I will probably make an easier arrangement in the future.  I also think Resuscitated Hope would work with with a solo instrument and piano accompaniment -- which offers opportunities for the pianist to play more of the colorful ornaments in the orchestra.  We shall see, so stay tuned!