Friday, March 4, 2011

3/4 "Learn to play Beethoven's 5th on Guitar" / Quartets V2

Beethoven seems to inspire many guitarists.  After piano, there are probably more amateur guitar performances of B.'s music than on any other solo instrument.  In fact, on Youtube there are over 7,000 videos featuring Beethoven's music on guitar...  I suspected that there might be alot but I was staggered to find the actual number.   Recently I came across a few ensemble guitar performances which stand out in some way I think....this batch concentrates specifically on the 5th Symphony.  Feel free to, uhh, skip to the next track if you feel the need  ;)

  • 1. Kid playing the 5th in a surf band (Takeshi "Terry" Terauchi Arr.)
  • 2. Drummer showcase of the 5th, probably my favorite of this genre
  • 3. Acoustic guitar orchestra arrangement of the 5th
  • 4. Salsa Arrangement by Sverre Indris Joner
  • 5. "Wave Invasion" surf medley using Fur Elise, 5th S, Ode to Joy
  • 6. Ruthie Bram's exuberant guitar solo to the 5th
  • 7. Taiko Game version (surprisingly entertaining)
  • 8. Symphony 6 "Pastoral" performed by "Sharp 5" (psych/pop version '71)
  • 9. Beethoven can save the Climate


This seems like an appropriate post to mention that I re-uploaded my rock-sequenced arrangements of Beethoven's 17 string quartets of last year with MAM Player visualizations - here's the main text I wrote for each of these vids on Youtube...

String Quartets (Rock Arr. w MAM Visuals)
Guitar Arrangement by Ed Chang using Synthfont.
Visuals from Stephen Malinowski's MAM Player
Original MIDI sequences :
Boilerplate: These tracks were originally created for my own use to understand Beethoven's string quartets. As an electric guitarist, I "hear" guitar and drums better than violin, so these helped me to follow the different melodic and harmonic turns that Beethoven used in these frankly still-revolutionary works. Weird syncopations and awkward double-stops and trills on violin sound even more exciting and shocking in today's musical vernacular IMHO, and when you add 'Chad Wackerman-style' drums doubling the bass melodies it gets pretty close to fusion/technical metal - tho the most complex metal you'll ever hear.

Of course these are generated from MIDI sequences and triggered soundfonts (samples) so there's a little bit of a "suspension of disbelief" necessary. However if you like Squarepusher, Meshuggah, Alec Empire, Merzbow, or even Nine Inch Nails, then the "oddness" might not require much of a leap - I quite like the "gunny-glitchy" parts myself and decided not to fix them. There were many things I could have done to make these more "real" (for example alternating dynamics on up/down strokes for fast passages, and modifying sustain envelopes on long notes, etc...) but I'll leave that to some one with more patience than I....

About the visuals: YT-er Smalin has been making visual scores of classical music for a few years now and when he made a "home-use" software version I was all over it. The only problem was that in it's current version it doesn't support soundfonts and does not render to video. Nonetheless I LOVE these visual representations and they are the closest approximation to what I see in my mind's eye when listening to instrumental music. I ended up rendering the audio on Synthfont, screencasting the MAM Player with CamStudio, and syncing them up in WMM. Obviously just one step above recording these on a cellphone, but that's what it is for now. Smalin will hopefully release a new version of the MAM Player with rendering options in the coming year(s)...

And here's the playlists for all of the re-envisioned 17 String Quartets arranged for "Rock Ensemble":
Early Quartets (Op. 18)
Middle Quartets (Op. 59, 74, 95)
Late Quartets (Op. 127, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135)

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