Rock Band Status: October 2, 2011

Oct 02 2011

I spent a decent amount of time in the middle of the week playing through music outside of Rock Band. On the guitar, I continue to try to learn 風の丘, and that continues to be like pulling teeth. But I am doing a slightly better idea at seeing the chords in the piece; I’m also using it as an excuse to learn how to play an E minor scale on the guitar, though that’s not well enough ingrained to have any effect on my playing of the piece yet. And I’ve been playing piano some, mostly the first five parts of Pictures at an Exhibition. Which, it turns out, Miranda rather likes; I’m toying with the idea of trying to learn more of the piece, not sure which way that will go yet.

On Saturday, I decided to go through some of the Yes DLC on Rock Band. I got side-tracked, though, because when I sorted the keyboard songs by artist, the first artist was A-Ha, and I decided to go through Take On Me first. Which turned out to be super fun, albeit slightly frustrating: catchy tune to play on keys, and there’s no individual note in it that I should miss, so why can’t I get five stars on it? I don’t know, and I tried over and over again, but failed; grr, except I had enough fun in the process that I didn’t really mind.

After doing that for most of an hour, I decided to switch over to vocals; also super fun, and it turns out that the top note in the song (which shows up several times) is also the top note in my vocal range. Which, honestly, made me glad nobody else was in the house at the time—to hit it, I really had to belt out the note, and while I was in tune, my timbre was less than wonderful. Still, a nice exercise in stretching my range, I should return to the song and practice it some more. In fact, it turns out that the bottom notes in the song are either right at or right below the bottom of my vocal range, so it’s great for stretching in both directions!

After that, I did move over to Yes, going through I’ve Seen All Good People. Which was also extremely entertaining, on both keys and singing. I did rather better on the keys that time, not making nearly as many stupid mistakes; Liesl was home by then, so we did harmonies when it came time to sing, and I managed to hit harmonies beneath the lead several times, which I’m normally pretty bad at. Not sure if I’m getting better or if the increased separation between the vocal parts helped; I won’t complain either way.

Today was a guitar day. I’d had Modern Love running through my head constantly since last week, so I decided to make it my inaugural Pro Guitar upgrade purchase. And I’m happy with that decision: simple chords coming slowly enough to make the transitions fairly straightforward, but there’s definitely something satisfying in playing a fun piece that I should be able to do well on and actually doing well.

After that, I went back to the on-disc content, going through Viva La Resistance, The Look, Walk of Life, and One-Armed Scissor. All of which but the last I like quite a bit, and even the last one was interesting from a didactic point of view. As were several of the earlier ones: e.g. the repeated notes in Viva La Resistance were a useful thing for me to work on. (Great song that, too.) I played through all but the last of those songs (including Modern Love) plugged into the amp, and they actually all sounded pretty credible: nobody is going to confuse me with a serious rock guitarist yet (not by a long shot!), but at least I didn’t feel that I had to apologize to everybody in earshot for any of those four songs, as happens sometimes.

(The one weird thing about playing unmuted: I’m surprisingly bad at tuning guitars. You’d think that, given that I had a part-time job tuning harpsichords while I was in high school, that I’d be better at that? For whatever reason, though, I have a somewhat hard time hearing the beats when testing a plucked guitar string against the sound of a piano; maybe I’d do better if I plugged the guitar into the amp and skipped the piano?)

Very pleasant week musically; and I strongly suspect that this week’s earworm will be Take On Me, which I’m okay with. (Though I don’t like it as much as Modern Love; hmm, maybe I’ll try to convince my brain to obsess over Viva La Resistance instead?) I should be able to finish the Moderate songs this week; I still have at least a couple of months of Hard Pro Guitar ahead of me, but the end is visible in the hazy distance?

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  1. […] been meaning to go through the Yes DLC pack last week, but I got kind of distracted; I went back to that this week, finishing the remaining four songs on […]