This week’s VGHVI game was Rock Band 3, with a Billy Joel focus. Four of us were there, and none of us were in the mood to play drums (I would have except for, you know, Billy Joel), so we had to split into two pairs; a real shame that the game doesn’t allow online Guitar + Bass + Keys groupings. I certainly enjoyed playing with Sarah Elmaleh (me on Pro Keys, her on Bass), though! Aside from the pleasure of playing through the music, I had my sights set on achieving score goals by playing through Captain Jack, since it contains a bunch of repetitive chords that it’s easy to get a good multiple on. And achieve score goals we did: we managed to get 1.39 million points, with just the two of us! (Sarah is obviously a quite credible bassist.) Makes me wonder how well we could score on that with a four-person band; I’d have to think 2 million at least, but probably noticeably more.
Eventually, Roger bowed out, and we’d made it through enough Billy Joel, so Jonathan came over to join our band and I switched to vocals. Which was also fun (I’m enjoying singing these days a lot more than I used to); my favorite bit there was that I got 100% for the first time on non-harmony vocals (I do harmonies most of the time), and the song in question was Blondie’s Heart of Glass. Yay for singing in falsetto!
I also spent a fair amount of time this week trying to memorize 風の丘 (from Kiki’s Delivery Service) on the guitar. Which is a lovely song, and I quite enjoy playing it, but it’s like pulling teeth. Enough so that I’ll probably write about it on my main blog, so I won’t go into details here.
On Saturday, Miranda and I went violin shopping: she’s moving up to a full-sized violin. Nice to have an excuse for me to play violin, so she could hear differences between instruments and bows when somebody other than her was playing; I’m a pretty mediocre violinist (though still much better than I am at guitar), but at least I’m good enough to be not completely useless as an example.
On Thursday, I realized that I’d somehow missed playing through three of the Billy Joel songs on Pro Keys; not sure how that happened, but I fixed that lapse on Saturday. Good stuff, as always. And then today I went through three more songs on Hard Pro Guitar; we’re definitely getting to a level where my lack of skills are showing. On two of the three pieces, I only managed two stars on my first playthrough (and this was after spending a good amount of time on training mode); while I got three stars on both eventually, I’m not reliably hitting the chord transitions, especially ones that mix barre and non-barre chords. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a lot better at that than I was a few months ago, but there’s clearly room for improvement, and I imagine my progress will slow down further as songs get harder.
Despite my difficulties, those three songs were a lot of fun; I only stopped when I did because we needed to make dinner fairly soon and because each song takes quite a while to go through on training mode and then play it several times. But we had a little bit of time left, so Liesl and I went through five or six songs on Vocal Harmonies. Which was super fun: like I said above, I’m enjoying singing more and more these days, especially when singing with Liesl. My favorite song today was Modern Love, both because I really like it and because I can hit the harmonies pretty solidly on that; the other highlight was trying Expert difficulty and finding that we could actually do fine at that level. In fact, we got gold stars on one of the songs; I think Expert vocals must be easier in this iteration of the game than previous ones, though I’m sure the fact that we were both trying to sing the non-harmony bits helped as well.
Good times; I’m still not sure why I’ve been on a musical binge for most of the last month, but I’m not complaining at all.