Sunday, August 12, 2007
volume 3 number 21
when asked for advice on how to compose music
Igor Stravinsky recommended placing parameters
on the size of your intentions.
for example, you might state before beginning
'this piece is for these 15 instruments, and nothing more'.
I have often tried to utilize his rule of thumb.
neptune pool began as a finger-picking exercise I devised
for the dobro which, as always, was tuned to DADDAD.
it's tricky to play the melody over the continual bass line
which is played with your thumb.
to orchestrate the music I added 14 more instruments:
piano, string bass, tympani, thundersheet*, theremin,
harp, muted trumpet, two trombone, two clarinets,
flute, oboe, and bass clarinet.
all the orchestration except piano and string bass,
was emulated with my trusty gr-700 guitar synth.
this is one of my personal favorite pieces I've written,
in fact it was played at our wedding and I would like it
played at my funeral when I'm 85 and a half.
neptune pool was only ever released as a hard-to-find
"CD-5 Maxi Single" for pretty pink rose which included
the LP version of oh daddy as well as the acoustic guitar/vocal
version of shoe salesman.
*frank zappa was infamous for long 3-hour soundchecks which were often recorded to be used later. on one such occasion we were at the Hammersmith Odeon, a magnificent hall in London. the second day there frank ordered in some special instrumentation to record within the sound of the grand hall. I was asked to play a "thundersheet", a long piece of thin sheet metal with handles at one end. I was positioned in the balcony with the thundersheet hanging over the front of the balcony. at frank's signal I would gently rattle the giant beast which sounds like wind. I'm not sure where this sound ended up but you can bet its on a zappa record somewhere.
dobro, piano, string bass, guitar synth: adrian
engineer: rich denhart
assistant: dan harjung
recorded at Royal Recorders in Lake Geneva, Wis. on december 19, 1989