I know i should write but…

Today was the final day of School for my year group. Not me though-I’m stuck there for another year so I could do a subject they cancelled in my first year in the sixth form. This means i’m not really in the mood to write, but I feel I should be living up to my new ethos of writing atleast a post a day.

I guess I can just have a short post on my personal thank you and send off to my year group. A few posts back, I listed a few possible tracks that I could play for the final assembly of the year. In the end, I settled on ‘Wait For Sleep’ by Dream Theater-A beautiful piano piece played by Kevin Moore and sung by James La Brie. I only played the piano part…mainly because it was too tricky to play and sing each part at the same time, but luckily it is a piece that sounds great just on the piano.

Here is a link to the song-‘Wait for Sleep’

and the sheet music i learnt to play the song from-Sheet Music for ‘Wait for Sleep’

Although many of my friends will soon be leaving for university once their results come, the piano is a timeless friend that can have whatever feelings you choose to give it. Today therefore I say thank you to these friends who have always but will no longer be there. Music was the only way I felt able to give a worthy enough thanks.

a question of piano pieces…


Piano (Photo credit: esc861)

I have a dilemma today. Soon I will be waving goodbye to my friends who have been with me the whole way through school, as they head off to the wonderful world of university and life, while I stay for one more year where I am. The reason for me staying isn’t that important, but I will say that I am at school for one year more than most people and now have to suffer the consequences by watching my friends leave for places better and more exciting.

So I decided that perhaps I should be doing something in my year’s final school assembly to say goodbye in a proper manner. Words, no matter how well crafted, will never speak as strongly as music so I have decided there would be no better way of saying thanks than to play a song. This is where you guys come in. I have a choice of a few songs and I would like to ask you to kindly listen to the songs and help me decide what to play. I’ll give a little introduction to each piece next to their link.

1.Opeth-Patterns in the Ivy. Those who aren’t familiar with the band probably wouldn’t believe that opeth is a death metal band listening to this stunningly beautiful (but short) song, but they are. The version I play is on piano only, the guitar part just played in the left hand while the piano melody is played with the right hand as usual. If you like the song, you can find sheet music for it for free on a website called ‘vkgoeswild’. Her version is the one I play.

2.Dream Theater-Wait for Sleep. I love this song by one of the best progressive bands around. The problem with this track is I am useless at singing whilst playing the piano and would need heavy practice to get it right. The singer-La Brie-also has a much higher voice than mine making life tricky. At the moment I play this track without vocals but parts sound quite empty without them-despite this it is probably the highest contender of the songs I am putting up here.

3. Ludovico Einaudi-Andare.Now this will be the hardest one to ace piano part-wise, but everyone loved a bit Ludovico Einaudi. Hauntingly beautiful, both mournful and hopeful at the same time, this song really makes me feel things i can’t really explain. In this respect it explains the situation of a goodbye to good friends better than any other song could. However there are parts that i make mistakes on every time I play it and most importantly-the pages in my sheet music book for Einaudi never stay open…infuriation when trying to play a song! As the word Andare is the verb ‘to go’ in italian, it does seem very appropriate.

4.Sonata Arctica-Tallulah. See how 3 out of 4 tracks so far are from metal bands? Good metal bands write beautiful songs! its not all screaming and thrashing of guitars. Anyway, although a love song is perhaps not the best choice of song for the occasion it is a wonderful piece. Main concerns on this one are: I would need to sing again (although much easier than singing with ‘wait for sleep’; There are alot of instruments that would not be being played and would sounds a little sparse in a hall without them.

5. Ludovico Einaudi-Uno. (I love how the advert before this video just happened to have Einaudi’s music on it!) I would only play this track if I’m playing another with it (perhaps wait for sleep or patterns in the ivy as they too are very short).  A very calm piece yet  a quiet urgent expectation somehow resonates from those carefully placed notes. It truely is a joy to play.

And from these five wonderful pieces i want to pick one or a combination of the shorter songs to play. I would be hugely grateful if you all were to listen to these songs and tell me your favourites-it may just help me choose what my year will enjoy the most too!

why are sad songs uplifting?

Its a question i’ve often wondered; Why do i find more joy in listening to dark depressing music than that which is happy?

I’ll start by looking at a band called Blackfield. The melodies are a mix of happy and sad (mainly the latter) tunes, but the lyrics are almost always pretty depressing-yet they are one of the bands that make me feel the happiest. It can be said that a lot of their music is quite calm and relaxing and perhaps that is one reason, but surely the depressing tunes and lyrics would counteract that calm feeling. Maybe you might see what i mean by listening to the band: Blackfield-Lullaby

So what about actual happy music? For me, the majority has no emotional effect at all-goes in one ear, out the other with no interest in the track at all. Its not that case with all happy music though, for example there is (in my opinion) an impressive number of happy sounding AND emotional instrumental tracks.  But maybe thats it-perhaps its simply harder to portray positive emotions with words; that negative words hold more power. Yet, musical notes don’t express emotion in the same way as words and there doesn’t seem to be the same barrier of major keys being any less powerful than minor keys (excuse the awful generalisation of major being happy and minor being sad-i know its not quite as black and white as that). So thats a possibility for why many happy songs just aren’t as happy as they could be-words almost seem to ruin a happy song.

Now back to sad songs. If negative words really are more powerful than positive words, then it should follow that sad lyrics are more powerful and that we may be able to relate to them more easily, even if we are in a good mood. Theres simply more emotional content and artistic feeling in a sad song.Also, often sad lyrics are more personal to the artist, resulting in much more thought being put into them.  One good example is Dream Theater’s ‘The Best of Times‘- a song written about the death of the father of one of the band members. The song just emits pure feeling and power, and the lyrics, although by no means poetic or even particularly good, are the main reason its such an emotional song. Theres a sense of hope and joy, despite the tragedy of the song and that, is why i believe sad songs to be, in a sense, much happier than a happy song.English: Dream Theater live in Buenos Aires 20...

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment 🙂