Dec 312009

Marco recording Charge of the Dark God for Vornagar…wih the finished song dubbed over the video

Dec 292009

The movie centers around Alex Fletcher (played with ultimate charm by Hugh Grant), a has been member of a former pop group literally named “Pop.” The opening sequence of the film is, in fact, supposed to be a good music video of the group led by Colin (Scott Porter) and Alex (Grant).  Who knew that Grant could make the kind of moves he does in this film? I actually found it kind of in a weird sort of way.
It seems that Alex’s former band, Pop, disbanded years ago when partner Colin went on to become a big star. Alex, on the other hand, never got a break and has ended up playing theme parks, business openings, and class reunions. Just as he is about to give up and admit his has-been status, Alex is approached by his manager to write a song for a current pop star named Cora (played by Haley Bennett). It seems that Cora, who is a weird combination of, Britney, Christina, and Shakira, likes his old songs and wants him to write one for her.

There is a catch, unfortunately, in that although Alex used to write the music for his songs, he never wrote the lyrics. Thorat was the job of his fmer partner. Not wanting lose the gig, which would allow him to sing on stage with Cora, he tasks his manager Chris (played with wit by Brad Garrett) with helping him find a lyricist. But the lyricist that Chris finds for Alex is more suited to heavy metal music than he is to love songs.

As luck would have it, just as the two new partners begin their music collaboration, a girl comes to the door to water Alex’s plants. Sophie Fisher (played adorably by Drew Barrymore), it seems is a natural born lyricist who inadvertently suggests a few lines for the collaboration. Alex finds Sophie’s suggestions much more suited to his style and Voila, a new partnership is born.

Many people decry watching TV as a family activity. ‘There are so many other worthwhile activities to do with a family!’ they wail. Sure there are more active pursuits for families; those activities are often costly and time-consuming. Sometimes, the family just needs to relax and unwind.

Dec 252009

It’s a sad fact that most people, including piano players, regard music theory and harmony as some abstract concept that has very little to do with the songs they play on their pianos. Nothing could be further from the truth. Knowing music theory and harmony is the key to opening a whole new world of exciting insights into the songs we play, and enable us to do things on the piano we never dreamed we could do, to say nothing of enjoying the process a hundred times more.

What is music theory, and how can I benefit?

Here are just a few of the wonderful skills and insights a person benefits from by learning music theory:

How notation works — a huge advantage in sight-reading.

The hierarchy of rhythm — solving rhythm problems before they begin.

All kinds of scales — the “ladders of notes” every song is composed of. Major scales, 3 types of minor scales, chromatic scales, whole tone scales, modal scales.

How transposition and modulation works — playing songs in different keys, and getting from one key to another smoothly.

Complex time signatures, and what they tell you.

Perfect, major & minor intervals — helps ear training greatly.

Two-part and four-part harmony.

Figured bass such as IV, V7, ii6, I6/4, etc. and how it relates to chord symbols such as Fm7, F6, Dmaj7, etc.

Harmonizing melodies with all these chords.

Open & close voicing, inversions, secondary chords, form, cadences, non-harmonic tones, arranging for voices, arranging for brass, arranging for strings, transposing instruments, key relationships and many other exciting insights into the inner workings of music!

But what is harmony?

Harmony is a sub-set of music theory. It is a series of notes in combination, played simultaneously. Listen to your favorite songs, and pay close attention to the back-up vocals when they’re being sung along with the lead. Can you hear how the two vocal melodies differ in pitch? That’s harmony, and it’s highly possible that those back-up vocalists were chosen because of their strong ability to harmonize.

Singing a harmony, or rather picking one out on your own without written sheet music, is an almost inherent musical skill that many singers would die to possess. But harmony isn’t just the province of singers; it’s found in every single area of music. Any time a sound is layered on top of another sound and those sounds match each other in rhythm and melody (but not pitch), a harmony is created.

Harmony is made of intervals, and as such, it can be considered dissonant (scratchy, uncomfortable, like playing an E and an F at the same time) or consonant (pleasing or smooth). What makes a harmony pleasing or unpleasing, however, is extremely relative. In medieval times, only octaves and perfect fifths were considered harmonious, and any harmony that deviated from that was generally frowned upon. In modern western music, though, nearly everything is considered to be harmonious by someone. Fifths are still very popular in modern harmony but are now used in the most unlikely of places; heavy metal music, for example, frequently uses perfect fifths in the vocal harmony to create an eerie effect when layered on top of the more dissonant instrumentation.

Harmony, in addition to being consonant or dissonant, can also be subordinate or coordinate. Subordinate harmony, the tonal harmony used most frequently today, is a series of harmonies that are based on each other. The harmony moves in such a way that a resolution is somewhat predictable; you can hear this type of harmony in modern pop music, musical parts that flow very easily into each other and don’t leave the listener baffled as to the turn the song has taken. On the other hand, coordinate harmony is a series of harmonies that operate independently of each other. They do have some common relation, of course, but don’t typically move toward a goal, or predictable resolution. Renaissance musicians often used this type of harmony, and it’s capable of producing rich and moving textures within a piece of music.

Learning music theory and harmony is not just an option you can take or leave: it is part and parcel of the “stuff of music”. No surgeon would ever say “I don’t want to learn all that stuff about the nervous system & the skeletal system and blood vessels and how the lungs and heart works and all that stuff — I just want to operate”.

And yet the majority of piano players ignore the very thing that would take them to the next level in their playing and knowledge — music theory & harmony.

Dec 232009

Buying used musical instruments are one of the great ideas for children and beginners. Students and first time music learners may not spend money on expensive musical instruments. There is no point in investing a huge amount of money in buying musical instruments for children who play in school band or learn at nearby music classes. Used musical instruments will solve their purpose. However, there are important factors to be considered before buying used musical instruments.

While buying a used electric or acoustic guitar one has to check whether the neck is twisted. If the strings are tied close to the fret board at both the ends with a wide gap in middle that means it is warped. A warped guitar does not allow one to play perfectly. And also one has to look for mild scratches or damages which will tell whether the instrument is dropped on the ground. Another essential aspect in used guitar is checking it whether it can be plugged into an amplifier. Especially for electric guitar it is very important to produce quality chords.

One has to ensure that all the valves and slides work properly while buying used metal musical instruments like trombone or trumpet. In reed musical instruments like saxophone and clarinet the mouth piece and clamps crack down over a period of time due to constant wear and tear, but are easily replaceable.

It is always advisable to read instrument manuals and guides properly before buying any used musical instrument. This is essential because used musical instruments carry risks of sudden break down. One needs to take his musical instrument to a service center or even to buy a spare for it. If one is unaware about its technicalities one is buying trouble for himself.

A person may sell his musical instrument for various reasons. There could be a problem with the instrument or could be a genuine desire to go for a better version. It is always advisable to buy used musical instruments from a trusted source. A nearby used musical instrument store would be a great place. Since they are located nearby they can not afford to sell you a substandard used musical instrument fearing their reputation. Another source would be from your friends and close relatives who can tell you the real reason for selling their instruments. Online sources such as eBay are great places for buying a good used musical instrument. However, one has to take care that he is not taken for a ride while buying a used musical instrument.

Dec 212009

Music is an amazing thing. Uniquely human, at least here on Earth, music has the ability to lift the hearts of everyone who listens to it — making them feel on top of the world and taking their spirit high into the sky.

Music has evolved through humanity’s own evolution. Beginning as nothing but grunts eons ago, it slowly evolved into a music form, complete with born flutes and drums made out of hollowed out tree trunks.

As time went on, musical instruments, and our own musical composition, began to change and evolve. String instruments and sheet music came along, and with it came new musical forms like the violin, piano and saxophone.

Into our past century, music evolved even faster, beginning with the advent of jazz in the 1920s, which spawned rock and roll in the 1950s, which then created nearly every modern form of popular music, from pop and hip hop to grunge and heavy metal.

Music is an impressive aspect of our culture and despite all our misgivings, some of the musical pieces we create are truly revolutionary. That is the beauty of music and it is true what they say, music can tame the savage beast. It is an amazing invention of our civilization and it truly ranks as one of the greatest things our species has ever created.

Think of any civilization or colony of people, and think of them without music. It simply cannot be done because music is a part of us. It is part of our souls and it is our souls that allow us to make that amazing music.

Where will music go from here? Will it continue to evolve and will new types of musical instruments begin to appear to take the place of outdated ones? Well, if you look back 100 years, the concept of an electric guitar, turntables or synthesizers was completely foreign and inconceivable. However, for us, they are a part of our current musical regime and there is nothing to say that new, interesting forms of musical instruments will evolve in the future to continue spreading the beauty of music to us.

Every kind of music has its own beauty to it. From the soft and wonderful melodies of classical, to the angst-ridden and powerful punk genre, music is a diverse beast that occupies every realm of our civilization. Simply put, our civilization would not exist in its present form without it.

It is what allows us to make up for some of the atrocities we have committed, because perhaps there is a bit of hope left for a species that seems to kill without conviction, but can produce unbelievable beauty through the music of such individuals as Mozart.

It is a testament to our species in the diverse forms of music we have created, because it may truly be our greatest gift to the cosmos as our music blasts over the airwaves and out into the galaxy to inspire other, possible intelligent beings, with our song. Who knows what the future holds for humanity’s musical talent.

Dec 192009

No matter what your preferences are, no matter what kind of disposition you have- you simply cannot refrain yourself from being mesmerised and enticed by music. Since its inception, music has been the most loved source of entertainment and people with different tastes and likings admire several kinds of music. It has different kinds and forms. Across the world different kinds of music has evolved with the emergence of distinctive civilizations and the characteristic nature of the people in different countries etc. The influence of music can be felt in every corner of the world. Various genre of music like rock, pop, classical, jazz etc have been immensely applauded by the people. Country Music

is also well accepted and admired by the music listeners across the globe. This highly melodious and mellifluous form of music is awesomely pure and subtle. Unlike the conventional pop and metal music, this genre is known for its flawless and soft rhythms that are soothing to the ears and pleasant to the soul. Many popular artists have given amazing performances and great albums that have remarkable influences from this music. These albums have achieved admirable success and recognition from the listeners.

Country music is a remarkably enticing genre of music that focuses on the melodies and the rhythms. It is identified by its immensely mellifluous tones and upbeat numbers. It is a blend of various distinctive music forms from across the world and mainly has influences from the music that was originated in the southern parts of the United States and the region of Appalachian Mountains. Around 1920, this category rapidly evolved and gained popularity among the masses. This kind of music has its roots in the various traditional and classical types like folk music, old times music, Celtic music, gospel and the blues. In the southern United States the various ethnic groups created music of different styles and the combination of all these styles emerged as the Western Music that comprises a major part of the country and western music.

There have been a number of artists and performers who have gained immense popularity with this genre of music. Elvis Presley, who was earlier known as The Hillbilly Cat was one of the biggest pop icons in the history of music. He won recognition through his immensely admirable country music performances. He was featured on the radio program Louisiana Hayride where he used to give amazing performances based on this music. Similarly Garth Brooke is one of the most appreciated country based music artist whose albums were chart toppers. He made short debut in other genres too. This genre saw its greatest high in the year 2006 when the country albums sales increased by the 17.7 percent to a whopping 36 millions.

The country pop has its roots in the soft rock and the country-politan which emerged as a sub genre of this music in the 1970’s. It was well accepted by the wide variety of audiences during the same decade. The singers like John Denver, Glen Campbell and Anne Murray were some of the most admired artists of this genre. “RhineStone Cowboy” by Campbell is amongst the best and biggest crossover music hits. The songs in this music CD are still hummed by the teenagers and youngsters. Olivia Newton John is considered as the best female country vocal performer.

Outlaw country revolutionized this genre of music completely with the derived Honky Tonk sounds of late 1950’s. After 1935, the Western Swing Big Band leader Bob Willis used drums as the major instrument in his band Texas Playboy. The drums were readily used by the country musicians and the rockabilly groups till 1955. Later, they became significant in the country bands also. The electric guitar was used in the bands that were originated in the beginning of 1938. Arthur Smith achieved immense success with the Guitar Boogie a MGM records album that declared the beginning of guitar as the most influential instrument in the country band.

Dec 172009

“Christian Rock”, the genre often scoffed at by traditional rock artists, enthusiasts & critics alike is gaining popularity and stamping its place as a sort after genre for the young generation of head-banging, mosh-pitting gurus! Didn’t Christian rock die a couple of years ago, you ask? Christian rock music is growing faster than ever before with Daily News of Christian Rock Music, new artists & albums streaming across the Internet and pumping the airways continuously every day. So where did this religious music come from? I mean this is new right?

This type of rock music wasn’t around 20 years ago, was it? Well I didn’t think so until recently, the reality is Christian music or should I say Christian rock music has been around seemingly since the dawn of creation! So why seeing it today all the time? Where were the God Rocker’s for so long and what happened to the voice of damnation for those participating in anything other than a church hymn or Sunday school choir? The chastity belt of today’s Christian rock is alive and kicking. There are many religious organisations who oppose this form of music, I will talk more about this opposition later.

Most Christians are in favor of this “movement” feeling that Christian rock music is another way to reach people with the importance of the Christian faith. So why the controversy?, what is so different about Non-Christian rock music in comparison to Christian rock? Many have asked this question and instead of quoting Mr. Bob Dylan “the answer is blowing in the wind”, I thought I would analyze the facts and see why there is so much “opposition” to the sounds of “thumping grace”. After reviewing many rock & heavy metal music bands and performances and then compared them to their Christian counterparts, I did see differences but not many! The stage performance was very similar with the exception of Non-Christian heavy metal revealing more of a dark or sadistic side at times in general there was little if no difference in presentation from Christian rock to standard or Non-Christian music. The only real difference I could see was in the lyrical content, with Christian rock music singing words from the Bible and preaching family values.

So why was Christian rock music introverted for so many years, seemingly hiding in the shadows from more upright members of the Christian community? Well apparently they weren’t hiding at all, it’s just that I like many people didn’t even know they were around back then! Good old fashioned Christian rock bands like Petra, Stryper, Bloodgood, Whitecross and Tourniquet have been rocking Christians and secular music lovers alike for generations.

The voice of rock damnation is still screaming louder than ever in some Christian circles although seemingly falling on deaf ears of a Christian Rocker community that grows bigger every day. Who opposes this Christian liberation? Who else but other Christians! It seems some segments of who have not advanced to modern day sounds are Bible bashing these Christian rock music head bangers with eternal consequences for their “misguidance”. The most dramatic example I came across was the seventh day adventist (SDA) church who proclaim that Christian rock music is quote “Devil music”. The seventh day adventist church preach that all rock music has the “beat of the devil” borrowed from primate heathen rituals, beating in time with the body’s “natural rhythms”. I found it hard to believe that people could think this way at first, but indeed it is true and the SDA church is serious about stamping out any and all rock music, or anything for that matter that has a drum beat!

Dec 132009

Have you ever sat somewhere and marveled at how quiet it was? You are acutely aware of sound because it is so unusual to be without noise, We always hear hum from machines, the rumble of traffic, a plane, or other people talking Modern noise pollution is subtle, inconspicuous, and more dangerous than we realize

Exposure to most noises causes irritation, stress, and can result in permanent hearing loss and health problems. It’s difficult to eliminate noise, Often we try to cover offending ambient noise with music. If you like the music, it usually results in fewer physical problems.

We know that brain waves are modified by sounds. Beta brain waves, those between 14 and 20 hertz are most common. We achieve relaxed concentration or lucid awareness when alpha waves, between 8 and 13 hertz, are present Music with about 60 heats per minute–particularly that of Mozart, Brahms, and Bach–shifts the brain’s activity from beta to the higher-awareness alpha waves

It’s called the Mozart Effect. This type of music lowers stress and increases concentration. A study in England found students scored 10 points higher on an IQ test after listening to Mozart compared to those exposed to silence, white noise, or other music. White noise is just low-level random sounds. Examples are radio static and running water.)

Researchers suggest that we respond to music because our bodies are rhythmic. Our breathing, heartbeat, and many other body functions have an intrinsic rhythm.

Certain music invigorates people, while other melodies calm them. Other tunes make you sleepy or keep you awake Supermarkets, department stores, and event managers have used music to shape human behavior. Music can be used to make people move faster or slower, to encourage them to shop longer, persuade them to action, or help them to relax.

Other recent research links exposure to music to improved mental skills. Einstein played the violin and believed this helped his subconscious mind to solve problems. Many people who suffer from insomnia find that some of Bach’s music helps them. Lively popular music boosts energy and endurance. These results aren’t new

But being exposed to music you dislike causes negative effects, including higher blood pressure and stress. Most adults refer to the tunes teenagers listen to as noise. Teens feel the same way about other people’s music. There’s a story about a large group of young people gathering daily near a convenience store. They weren’t doing anything wrong, but their presence irritated the store’s owner and customers. The owner had an idea. He piped classical music outside the store, and the teens quickly disappeared.

Martin Gardiner of Brown University checked the relationship between arrest records of teenagers and their involvement in music. Gardiner found that the more a teen was associated with music, the lower the arrest record. Teens with music education were less likely to get into trouble than students without it. Those who also played a musical instrument, played in a band, or were in a chorus had even fewer problems with the law.

Retail stores have discovered that sales increase when they play easy-listening music. Apparently this music calms shoppers and encourages them to spend more time in the store.

Light, easy-paced music tends to help most people concentrate for a longer time, and improves their ability to memorize facts. However, with some people this music has the opposite effect. It distracts and disturbs those who are more analytical or inhibited than the norm. Listen to various kinds of music to determine its effect on you.

The tempo of religious music induces a feeling of peace and helps a person cope with physical and emotional pain. On the other end of the spectrum, heavy metal, rap, or martial music excites the nervous system and prompts people to dynamic action or aggressive behavior. It’s not surprising that Gulf War pilots listened to recordings of heavy metal music before launching their offensive flights into battle.

Studies are under way to determine if music can cure or help emotional problems and people with brain injuries or Alzheimer’s.

The effects of sounds on other aspects of nature have also been known for centuries. In southern India, farmers believe the gentle sounds of humming and buzzing insects guarantee healthy sprouting of the sugarcane. Carefully conducted experiments have proved that plants grow faster when music, especially tunes in the low frequency range of 100 to 600 hertz, are piped over the fields or into greenhouses. Farm animals and pets have been known to respond to music.

Your heartbeat tends to synchronize with any ambient pulsation. With modern rap music, there is concern as to what the unnatural rhythm changes do to listeners’ bodies, emotions, and even their subconscious. Long-term effects are unknown.

Music will influence our health and behavior. By knowing about its effects, we can use it to our benefit.

Dec 112009

As the New Year is upon us, many travellers will be looking to book their holidays in order to get the best deals on trips intended for fun and sun; but for heavy metal fans now is the time to start booking travel to festivals in one of the most exciting years to be a heavy metal fan in recent memory. With so many festivals to pick from, this article picks the best of the bunch to make the decision as easy as possible.

Kicking off the year in truly evil style is the Inferno Metal Festival, held annually during Easter in Oslo, Norway. With this year’s event taking place from 19–22 March, the current line-up includes such names as Satyricon, Cult of Luna, 1349 and Behemoth. Due to the extreme sound of most of the bands playing Inferno, it is unlikely the festival will ever grow to be as big as the more mainstream metal festivals, but like previous years, it is likely to attract travellers from across the globe in shared appreciation of all things extreme, and despite the brutality onstage, the festival has a friendly and inviting atmosphere.

Rock am Ring and Rock im Park are two concurrent festivals held annually in Germany, this year held between 6–8 June. Both festivals have the same line-up, Rock am Ring taking place in the west of Germany and Rock im Park taking place in the south-east, with artists rotating between the two sites over the course of the three-day event. Together Rock im Park and Rock am Ring forms the largest music festival in Germany and one of the largest in the world – last year had a combined attendance of 150,000. This year’s line-up will include Rage Against the Machine, Motörhead, Bullet For My Valentine, The Hellacopters and Metallica.

In the UK, the biggest metal festival of the year is the Download Festival. Held at Donnington Park, the venue used for the Monsters of Rock Festivals between 1980 and 1996 and the 2002 UK Ozzfest, it is sacred ground to many headbangers around the world. This year’s festival is scheduled for 13–15 June and the line–up is rumoured to include Metallica, Judas Priest, Muse, Kiss and Machine Head.

Wacken Open Air is the largest, exclusively metal music festival in the world, taking place annually in the small town of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. Since its humble beginnings in 1990 it has grown to become the major festival on the European metal calendar, attracting fans and bands from all over the world. This year it is set to take place from 31 July–2 August and the bands playing include As I Lay Dying, At the Gates, Children of Bodom, Iron Maiden, Killswitch Engage, Kreator and Nightwish.

Visitors wishing to travel to the festivals can take advantage of promotional flights throughout Europe, with most low-cost airlines currently offering their lowest prices for summer travel. While many assume that they have existing travel insurance that will cover most things, such as made available from their credit card, this type of cover tends to be rather basic and only covers accidents incurred during travel rather than after reaching final destination. Travellers should therefore compare credit cards to ensure theirs gives them the comprehensive cover required or take out additional insurance for the trip.

And finally, heavy metal fans are advised to invest in a pair of decent earplugs in order to block out nasty frequencies emanating from the amps and PAs at the festivals, ensuring their appreciation for heavy metal can be continued for years to come.

Dec 092009

Hollywood based gothic metal rock band Midnight Reign performs three songs live in the flashrock studio. Awesome visually stunning music video that includes an interview with TFG.

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