My in depth project is still going strong, and I am especially excited for the next step that I will finish this weekend. At this point, I have completed my experiment about what kinds of harmonies different people enjoy listening to (I will talk more about this later in the post). My next step is to write the harmonies to One Light Left in Heaven, which I have already started. I am going to finish these harmonies by the end of this weekend, and then will get a group together to learn them. I will be recording some of my harmony arrangements too.
Back to what I have already completed, my big achievement in the past while was finishing my experiment. I got really interesting results from it! For this experiment, I got people of all different music levels to fill out an evaluation sheet after listening to three of my harmony arrangements to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I used this song because it is a simple one that everyone knows. I got each person to judge each version out of five, in five different categories, giving a total score out of 25. My first song was fairly simple harmonies, and it was written before many lessons with my mentor. The second one was harmonies written in 3561 chords(those were the intervals used throughout). The final one was a mix of the variety in the first version, with the more complicated harmonies of the second. For the experiment, most people ended up liking the last version most, which is what I expected. However, some people surprised me with what they enjoyed. For example, my mentor, who is very well trained in music, specifically jazz, enjoyed the second version best, whereas it was a lot of other peoples’ least favorite. This taught me that there is truly no right or wrong to harmonies. Everyone has a different taste for them, just as with food. What I got from this experiment is to mostly go with what sounds good to you, and there will always be some people that like it and some that don’t. If you want to get the most people to enjoy your harmonies though, try to find a mix between styles and difficulty levels, as I did with my version 3.
I was able to look at De Bono’s book, and connect it to my in depth project again for this mentor session. There are many different concepts that we have been working on. For example, during this mentor session one concept was alternate tuning. My mentor taught me about what it was, who uses it (his main example was Joni Mitchel), how to use it, and he gave me a demonstration. Another concept that came up in our lesson was how to “stack chords” in your head. The main idea of this is to think of notes and chords vertically instead of horizontally. He showed me how to write it out on paper, and how to use stacking scale tones to find the usable harmony notes in a song. One final example of a concept with my mentor is blending. This mostly came up the lesson before this one. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my mentor and I learned about how different instruments or octaves affect blending of harmonies. We have talked a lot about blending throughout all of our lessons as well as this, as it is key for harmonies. As for alternatives, my mentor and I use these a lot. At the beginning of each lesson, we brainstorm all sorts of alternatives for what the lesson could be that week. These allow me to choose the path that I think would best suit my personal in depth project and allows me to learn all about what I find most interesting. For example, my mentor will ask me if I want to learn more about theory, chords, harmonies for singers, harmonies for instruments, ect. I think that these alternatives would change for every different mentor, because everyone has had different experiences and learned more in different areas, and therefore prefer teaching different things.
In conclusion, my in depth project is still going really well, and although I have gone off track from my original plan, I am still learning a lot, and am excited for the next step of my in depth project.