In which I co-write a musical…

Date: Mon 23 March 2015:   Event: My first ever full-length musical !

TICKETS AVAILABLE!

I’m super-excited to call myself a London Theatre Impresario! A date, a venue, a show, tickets on sale!

Scary as I’m currently only about 70% of the way through writing every single note of the upcoming musical adventure that will be held in conjunction with the inimitable Hack Circus in exactly one month’s time.

We’ve written a story to go with some expert talks and some rather spiffing tunes as well even if I say so myself. Leila happens to be a genius librettist in my opinion and I’m hoping my tunes and orchestration will do those fantastic lyrics justice. She and I have hatched a musical monster of a night out… What a nerve-wracking but satisfying experience this is!

TERRIFYING REALITY:

  • I need to finish building the scores and orchestration
  • we need to finalise the order of songs and talks and audience interactive bits
  • I’ll have to learn and sing pretty much all the songs on the night
  • Leila and I have to pre-record some short bits of audio to give on-stage a break
  • I’m trying to build a home-made instrument that may or may not work on the night
  • Eek I need to do all the audio show control while performing (Ableton I’m looking at you)
    and;
  • people are actually buying tickets so it has to be good because we have a paying audience.

ONE NIGHT ONLY

Talking of which, if you’re in London that evening AND want to be the first to see this quite peculiar and creative take on the musical genre. From the HC site:

We will be travelling in a unique sound-powered tunnelling vessel, currently under development. Please bear in mind: we really don’t know what we will find. We need a strong healthy team. It might be worth getting down to the gym now if you can.

Bring a torch. This is very important. We are expecting it to be dark.

We will be guided on our journey by three experts: monster afictionado sci-fi author Chris Farnell, historian and volcano enthusiast Ralph Harrington and shark-mad comics legend Steve White – but who knows who (or what) else we might encounter?

From: Hack Circus

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE!

OK, I’m intrigued, tell me more:

hackcircus.com/underworlds/ 

(link for mobile users: http://www.hackcircus.com/underworlds )

DID I MENTION TICKETS ARE ON SALE?

Yes!! I’m ready and can’t think of a better way to spend a Monday night!

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!

(link for mobile users: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hack-circus-underworlds-tickets-15756232315?aff=es2&rank=1 )

^^This link goes to the EventBrite Ticket Page if you’d like to buy a ticket or two.

**For some reason, none of my links work. Head over to hackcircus dot com forward slash underworlds. Oh the humanity…

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Eurovision 2010: Musical Analysis

Eurovision Hits and Misses

This year, I analysed the Eurovision 2010 song contest musically for The 63336… it was great fun (apart from having to listen to all the singing) and the bum notes survey picked up a few lines of coverage in the press. Below is a breakdown of how the analysis was done, along with a few extra facts about this year’s contest.

We worked from a google document, and I set up the spreadsheet as follows:

Insanely Complex Cloud Spreadsheeting

We actually filled it in in entry order , though the snapshot shows the worst pitched performers and points in descending order -after the event.

I counted the bum notes while someone else timed the performance in seconds, that’s how we arrived at the “bum notes per minute” stat. I based my assessment of what counted as a “bum note” on whether the singer was in tune with the backing tracks.  Ad-lib note sliding (a la Mariah Carey) was not counted as out of tune unless it was truly out of tune.

The most entertaining thing to do was the “additional observations” tab, where I entered song similarities in. I’m not surprised about how many songs sound like other songs – in real life if I hear something, I can generally think of a tune or two that fits quite snugly. I was surprised that in Eurovision this year, Queen, Sting and Roxette were all quoted from rather heavily.

Listen Here to samples of the Eurovision finalists for 2010, and you’ll find that

Cyprus = Torn by Natalie Imbruglia

Russia = Verse: Slightly Mad by Queen, Chorus: the Piano song from Big

Denmark = Verse: Every breath you take by The Police, Chorus: Simply the Best by Tina Turner

Serbia = Chorus: Whenever, Wherever by Shakira

Albania= Verse: Womanizer by Britney Spears

Greece = Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake

Belgium= Baby I love your Way by Peter Frampton,  Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn, Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan

Azerbaijan, Moldova, France = Listen to your Heart by Roxette

Georgia = Every Little Thing She Does by The Police

Israel = The Show Must Go On by Queen

Iceland = Bridge: The Show Must Go On by Queen

Romania = Middle 8: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John

UK = Verse: Kids In America by Kim Wilde, Chorus: last line “sounds good to me”  = same chords and melody as kids show theme tune “Postman Pat”  ( lyric “that sounds good to me” = “(pat feels) he’s a really happy man”  – 37 seconds in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9KnR_9wpl4 )

Critical Analysis of musical commonalities

OVERALL COMPETITION STATS

14 out of 25 songs were in Minor Keys

Key Distribution:

The most popular key was C with 4 songs out of 25. That’s the scale made from all the white notes on the piano – thought of as the easiest key to play in if you’re a piano player. The least popular keys were C# and Bb – with no songs in those keys.

Key Distribution for Eurovision 2010

Most C=4, D=3, Eb=3,  G=3, Ab=3,E=2, F=2, F#=2,B= 2 A=1, C#= 0 Bb=0 Least

Key Change count for Eurovision 2010:

Only 9 countries went for the traditional dramatic key changes.

Spain and Portugal had 2 key changes, contributing to a total of 11 shocking key changes for the evening – 13 including Spain’s Retake.

Scoring Commonalities

Top 3 songs were in Minor Keys
Bottom 3 songs were in Major Keys

Top 3 songs were all contemporary
Bottom 3 songs were conventional

Top 3 songs had simple chord structures
-Top German Entry had only 4 chord sequences in the chorus
-Bottom UK Entry had an 11 chord sequence in the chorus

Would anyone have won if they chose a folky contemporary pop song with simple chords in a minor key?

Not necessarily, although Norway’s 2009 entry last year had all these attributes, and they hit the top spot in 2009.

This year the winning songs were already popular and well known across the voting audience – so repetition and heavy airplay can also give a song the Eurovision Edge.

Roll on next year!