Sunday, May 17, 2015

Song About Sadness: "The Lullaby That Never Was" by Guitarist Rob Lattin

The Lullaby That Never Was - The Music Box Was Broken.

Sadness: Here is a rendition of Our Lady of Akita
I wanted to compose a song that captures sadness, and one method I would employ is taking the song of a music box, which is supposed to be happy, and throw in some off kilter undertones.

With my latest release :The Lullaby That Never Was" I took the audio image of winding a broken music box to hear a lullaby. Each time you wind it, it conks out. After a third attempt you hear the guitar version of the lullaby.
 This is not a sad song, it is a song about sadness.
During the play of the guitar, you hear spring like sounds to further remind you that the music box is broken. At the end, there is one more attempt to wind it, but it only plays a few notes.

For the symbolism of the song, go to my other blog God Rules For some details about the musical aspect of the song, then stay here, my friend.

The idea of a music box for a theme or lullaby is not original. One of my favorite composers, Robert Cobert of Dark Shadows, wrote the first music box song (Josettes Theme) that I know that transforms from the tiny box playing 18th century melody into a beautiful full orchestra composition.

Similarly, I put music box sounds at the bookends of the song, sandwiching the double melody. With this I employ only guitar for other sounds and instrumentation on the mid-portion of the song. The only sound on the song that is not guitar is the winding of the box, which was provided by FREE SFX (Thanks guys for the great sound and helping me capture the essence of my broken music box!)

This Lullaby was first written in 2001 and finally re-recorded and remixed today. So it's hot off the presses! Most of the guitar was played on a Global hollow body guitar (my favorite axe - no matter what anybody says this thing lasts and does things other guitars can't.)

The music box notes were played with that guitar through the Boss BR-8 64 V-Track. The electric "solo" part of the song is played on a new Fender Stratocaster to contrast solid body vs hollow body guitar, to contrast acoustic with electric, and to contrast arpeggios with simple chord progression.

Although I do not employ any minor chords in this song, I still wanted to convey an essence of sadness. Again, this is not a sad song, but song about sadness. The 'verse' part of the melody is a bit odd in that it doesn't say happiness but presents an unusualness about the song. To bring it down to an impending sadness I did not include any drums, bass or percussion at all. The electric part of the song breaks away from that so it sounds a little exuberant but is shortened and then the arpeggios return and the song slowly end on a broken phrase.

To emphasize frustration, winding the music box and playing only a few notes seems to accomplish this. Well, I guess that's enough analysis.

Be sure to share this song!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Song About Evil, Dark Shadows Music: "Day of Dark Shadows" by Composer Robert Lattin

Dark Shadows, Yes
Art and music (C) 2015 Rob Lattin All rights Reserved
This is NEW and unrelated 
Dark Shadows Music by Robert Lattin 

As someone who loves the original music from ABC TV’s hit show Dark Shadows, would there ever be a doubt that a musician and composer such as myself would not want to create similar music?

Dark Shadows music had songs about love, songs about death and despair, and yes, many a song about evil. The music didn’t glorify “darkness’ that had befallen the characters on the show, it accompanied and enhanced that mood in the people’s lives and the forces that were taking control of them.

As a true fan from its inception, the music kept me mesmerized, it kept me inspired, and it even drove me to obsessiveness. Dark Shadows music was one of the ingredients that made me a collector of DS memorabilia, besides forming my musical tastes in instrumental and soundtrack music.

The composer of all of the Dark Shadows music was Robert Cobert; and myself, being “obsessive” and being a composer, I studied his music daily, even when I wasn’t even proficient on any instrument. There are lots of great horror music composers and songs out there, but Robert Cobert’s music captivated me. He can take a simple piano melody and twist it in a way that was beautiful yet dangerous at the same time.

With other horror flicks that he composed for, such as The Night Stalker, you would get a powerful song about evil, a quick song about excitement, and even a song about falling in love. With Winds of War, you had songs about courage and songs about defeat. With Dark Shadows, you can get a song about love and a song about evil all wrapped up into one.

For me, his music doesn't only create images of the halls of Collinwood or Barnabas Collins or the werewolf as much as it has an emotional effect on me that draws me into the music itself. Where does the violin lead? What step does the cello make? What note turns the corner with the xylophone?

Melancholy, yes, yet melodic, I wanted to emulate that music. I've been composing horror soundtrack music for many years and have plenty of old recordings to testify to that fact. Now I am sharing with you a song I started at least ten years ago but finally have it recorded for the public and proud to present it to you.

A Song About Evil

Day of Dark Shadows” is that song. (Player is several paragraphs down) This song about evil was originally to be the opening piece for an album concept that carries the listener from darkness and into a finale which cheers them up. It does not glorify evil, it is meant to be frightening, according to its intended purpose.

This song focuses not on Collinwood, but on shadows. These shadows represent malevolent action, of course. Sometimes shadows represent doubt or depression or death or sadness. Yes, this is a song about evil - but what is more frightening than evil? The shadows in this song are somewhat demonic, creeping their way into lives, slowly, steadily, and with purpose.

I have tried to convey that image of "slowly, steadily, and with purpose" with the bass line and piano. With this movement is deep sounds, darkness, a slow beat. There no tight timing but a freely moving about type of beat. But, as I said, these shadows are evil, therefore they are not as passive as you think. They taunt man, they trip man and they laugh at man.

The Laughing Guitar

To create this image of a mocking laughing “shadow”, I employed my “laughing guitar”. You can hear that below. With counterpoint, the guitar laughs and answers what the bass and piano do and say. And towards the end of the song, another guitar slowly seeps in the background exemplifying other machinations.

Other notes:

This song about evil is available at Reverbnation. This version is a shortened version and was tapered at the end. The extended version has mood transition and minor song appendix at the end and is not applicable to this release.

This song was originally created on a Gibson Byrdland guitar and the piano recordng replaced all the bass lines on the guitar. I used a Harmony bass guitar for the various bass lines. First tracks were created 2004 in Chicago. Re-recording in Detroit and remix in Chicago 2015.

It also dawned on me that the title of the second DS movie was “Night of Dark Shadows”. My song “Day of Dark Shadows” makes a good “yin and yang” of the words, doesn’t it?

If you are a Dark Shadows fan, or even a horror music buff, please let your friends hear this. It may be a change of pace from what they’re used to hearing in horror soundtrack music. Share and share often!

Art and Music (C) Robert Lattin. All Rights Reserved.
Making Spooky Tunes and Beyond

Relevant links:
House of Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows Music 1969
Robert Cobert Talks about Quentin's Theme SHARE THIS:

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Musician/Composer. Speciality: guitar. I play and record rock and roll, acoustic, soundtrack, blues, middle eastern, Christian rock, humor songs, Horror music. Have guitar - will play.