And it was all going so well…
Every now and again, I am persuaded to string together a few musical notes on some instrument or other. The ‘jaunty’ (©Action Dan, 2013) Action Science Theatre theme tune, for example. So, when we needed some music to underscore the exciting alien-hunting montage in Episode 10a, I duly obliged. And people were generally very kind about it.
They won’t be doing that again.
The script for Episode 12 landed in my Inbox a full 31 hours before we were due to start recording and, to my subsequent regret, my initial glance over it was somewhat cursory. Therefore I missed the fact that Action Dan had included another musical montage, viz. a sequence of ‘humerous’ (©Action Dan, 2013) vignettes.
Lacking Science Brian’s approach to sound effects, Action Dan’s scripts are generally a lot more straightforward to edit together. So, by tea-time on the day after the recording, I had a reasonable working edit. All that was missing was the music. Would that it had stayed that way…
What little musical training I had was on the guitar, so most of my attempts to write are done sitting with a guitar balanced on my knee and a pencil clutched betweeen my teeth. Said music is generally based on the chord patterns, sequences and scales that I learnt many years ago, and therefore makes at least a little sense, musically speaking.
A few years ago, I decided to try to teach myself to play the piano, for no other reason than there was occasionally a 15-minute gap in my day when I wasn’t obliged to be doing anything for anyone else and I tend to panic if I sit still for too long. But, having a piano in the house means that I am sometimes drawn towards it when thinking of writing music. You see, a piano is different to a guitar – on a guitar, the notes appear in different places on the neck, and you sort of have to know where they are before you can find them. Hence the list of chord patterns, sequences and so forth. On a piano, they’re all just sitting there in front of you. All of them. From left to right. In order. One key per note. Just sitting there. So, when writing music on the piano, I have a tendency just to hit notes at random and see what comes out. And that’s where the problems start.
The music that ended up accompanying the montage in Episode 12 is a little… unfocussed. And by ‘unfocussed’, I mean, ‘almost completely lacking in structure or form, and practically atonal in places’. In fact, you’d almost think it was the work of someone hitting the piano keys at random to see what came out. *ahem*
If you look at the Episode 12 page here on the website, you’ll see that, unlike some earlier episodes, Action Dan chose not to acknowledge the presence of original music. And, frankly, I don’t really blame him.
Still, I’d like to think that composing bad avant-garde jazz is something that everyone should try once – but only once – in their lifetime.
It won’t happen again.