Archive for May, 2012

Song of Storms Poll

Posted in Opinion, Text Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2012 by mbulteau

Alright, where do I start?

I’ve been having health issues for the past weeks, and it all culminated in a very painful experience last Wednesday which is fortunately over.

The animation of demo #4 has been slowed down again, so I think it better not to try and state another deadline just for it to be postponed again. I’ll just say it will be ready soon.

That Act II progress bar on the right has been stuck at 27% for quite some time, and I intend to finally go on with it, but first something must be solved. I finally noticed why the writing of Act II was bugging me:

In the beginning of Act II there’s a sum up of the issues of a bunch of characters. It’s a long section that lasts for about 20 minutes mixing the Clock Town theme, the Song of Storms, the Song of Healing, Kafei and Anju’s love theme and remnants of the Mayor’s theme, interrupted at some point by a section on Majora.

We have, at Clock Town, the carpenters who keep working under the rain, Anju and the Mayor who miss Kafei (for entirely different reasons, mind you) and the Happy Mask Salesman who, seeing all the sorrow around him, wonders where Skull Kid is so that he might attempt the retrieval of Majora’s Mask. Also, tricked by Sakon and thinking that he is following a good lead, we have an exhausted Kafei trying to climb the snowy mountain pass, along with Skull Kid who stalks him just for fun, to “play” with him.

Every one of these characters expounds their current state, and all the themes that are mixed together have a common denominator: the Song of Storms, which accompanies the second day’s rainy skies.

I thought myself retarded when I finally noticed what was probably making this section not up to par with the rest: The sketches for this have lyrics set to the exact theme of the Song of Storms. Now think of that theme, and have in mind the first three notes. Any singer can do an octave leap (from the 1st to the 3rd notes), but I have found that the 2nd note makes it awkward. Maybe, if I leave the theme as an instrumental and have the singers variate on it in a more lyrical fashion, it won’t sound so awkward.

Or maybe I’m just underestimating the ability of good opera singers to do those vocal embellishments.

The thing is, it’s already hard to understand the lyrics in operatic singing, maybe a more comfortable line along with the original Song of Storms in the instrumental would both allow for better understanding and enrich the whole setting.

What do you think?

Here is a poll on which I would like you all to vote. If there are other reasons for your decision, please speak your mind in a comment on this post.

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Promises… Promises can go but so far…

Posted in Text Updates, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by mbulteau

That’s an actual line from the Happy Mask Salesman in the opera. :P

He came in the form of fate to punch me in the face, all while keeping that grin of his.

I came here to tell you that demo #4 cannot be the trio that was promised, due to factors ranging from the constant re-recordings to make sure it’s good enough for a demo (I write some complicated melodic lines, I’m sorry) to the unfortunate fact that a singer had to drop out of the demo’s production.

However, I do like to keep to schedules, so I had a plan B: Demo #4 will instead be a short choir that got ready way sooner than we thought it would.

As for being ready on Tuesday… Well, we can’t have everything, can we?

The demo will be a simple animation, as it is too complicated to try to assemble all it needs in front of a screen as shadows, and it will serve as a (n awesome) placeholder for the music.

I don’t expect it to come later than Sunday.

Apologies again.

Meanwhile, I have corrected serious issues with act 2’s writing, and I am now struggling with Darmani with such tenacity that I’d punch him to death again if he ever crept on me, just for being such a pain.

Setbacks and Q&A #10

Posted in Q&A, Text Updates, Updates with tags on May 14, 2012 by mbulteau

A slight health problem has been stopping me from writing lately, but not from setting up recording sessions.

Last Friday and Saturday were all about recording voices for the Clock Town choir, the Deku Palace choir, and the Trio that is supposed to be Demo #4. If by any chance the trio isn’t ready on time, the Deku Palace choir might be.

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Jack Archer: I have a little (and legitimate) story-based question: Wouldn’t Cremia fit in some way in the story, even as a simple mention? That is considering that in the game, if asked while wearing Kafei’s mask, Anju’s mom mentioned her as possibly being involved in Kafei’s disappearance.

Yes, although she doesn’t appear, Cremia will most likely be mentioned in the conversation between Anju and her mother on the night of the second day.

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Noeland Cloud: Here’s a question for you. Do you plan on going back to work on any of the lyrics and scores of the demos released now and in the future? Since they are just demos, I would assume they aren’t final versions of the songs and that they will be primed up and made to flow much better than they already do. Just wondering, thanks. Love what you’ve done so far. :)

As I have said before, a lot of this will be revised, re-revised, and re-re-revised. As you’ve said rightly, demos are just that: Demos. The simple fact that the finished product requires operatic singers is already a big change in itself, along with orchestration and lyrics.

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tarabaci: [referring to Demo #2] In the lyrics there are a lot of words with a “sh” sound. Is this on purpose because it’s like the “Sssh!” in “Sssh! Someone’s coming this way!”? I hope you know what i mean. :)

The sibilant sounds are used on purpose, yes, because they evoke a specific sneaky mood. It is also related to why the lyrics are the way they are.

I’ve also found it very interesting that some people complain about his excessive rhyming with obscure words, but that is actually Sakon’s rhyming scheme. He is a greedy, petty, pretenTIOUS shell of a man who clumsily tries to look better than what he really is, and fails miserably. It just adds to the frustration that such an ridiculously empty and despicable coward can be the cause of Kafei’s sorrows. I feel like punching him in the face, don’t you?

Also, I don’t know if you noticed, but no other character you’ve seen so far has the sort of speech he has.

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dadelovezelda: [in Demo #3] Are you really that thin or you used some kind of effect to do the Gibdo? I’m really curious!!

I am really that thin. Actually, my torso looks a bit wider than it actually is in that demo, because of the light’s angle!

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bloodocean07: [referring to Stone Tower Instrument Test] Awesome! What instruments did you use?

Shawm, soprano recorder, alto rauschpfeife, lure, schaefer bagpipe, piers bagpipe, bohemian bock, rattle of goat nails, bass krumhorn, one hand flute, zither, ullis leier hurdy-gurdy and davul.

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Sara Perillo: I was wondering whether the opera would be composed entirely of music from Majora’s Mask – adaptations and extensions of tracks therein – or whether it would be a mix of Majora music and original pieces. I think it’d be wonderful either way – I’m just curious :)

Well, it depends on what you mean by extension. The development the Mayor’s theme goes under, for example, is the kind of thing I’m talking about. I use the game’s original themes and develop on them. Some will be more developed on than others, from using a specific cell and expanding on it to keeping a harmonic basis to do the same, etc, and it’s not just because a specific demo doesn’t develop on a theme that it won’t suffer any sort of development during the opera.

One of the upcoming demos, the Clock Town choir + Kafei’s recitativo, just has a little bit of development during the recitativo, but the theme itself is used in various different contexts all over the opera, from basic mode transitions (Demo #2, right before Sakon’s theme, you hear Clock Town’s theme in minor) to full-fledged developments or mixes with other themes (the Song of Storms in act 2, for example).

Some themes will suffer complete overhauls, like the victory fanfare you hear in the instrumental sample for the battle with Odolwa or at the beginning of Victory and the Giant. It is derived from the Deku Palace theme, although it’s impossible to tell unless you look at the score. In that sense, yes, you will be hearing original music along with the main themes, unless you can tell how the game’s themes were dismantled to make the new ones. I would rather call them original developments.

I intend the work to stay connected to the originals at all times, even if sometimes that can’t be discerned just by listening.

Revisions and Q&A #9

Posted in Q&A, Text Updates, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by mbulteau

Spent hours today in the company of awesome friends revising the score so far. Some parts of the beginning of act II were bothering me in many aspects: Lyrics, vocal technique, harmony…

It looks way better now, and my mental block towards Darmani’s aria can finally be lifted after I implement the changes into the actual score. An hour and a half of opera written so far…

Also, Friday will be a massive day for recordings! Parts of Demo #4, plus parts for the Clock Town and Deku Palace choir demos.

And now it’s time for…

Gregory Smith: If Nintendo refuses to allow this project to be performed, would you release the sheet music/any recordings you have for other people to use (and possibly perform outside of Nintendo funding)?

Honestly, I have never given that a thought, yet. But it could happen.

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The J-Bomb: Are there any aspects of the opera you wish to include, but fear you might not be able to?

The general plot and the division of the entire opera into numbers has been made since I started composing it. It has suffered minor tweaks, but none involved removing something so far. What I wish I could include I am already sure I can’t (like Milk Road and those AWESOME ALIENS). I don’t see any problems concerning what is planned to be included into the written work.

If you’re talking in terms of staging, that is a whole different thing. There are sketches of the sets, ideas, things planned to work in a certain way for optimal performance, and those things will always inevitably depend on what stages this can be on. There are designs of the ideal stages and sets, and alternatives for what may come as well.

I think that you should always plan and sketch out the ideal circumstances for a work, but never be surprised or frustrated if that ideal cannot be met 100% at first. That’s when you should use the planned alternatives. The ideal ones remain there as the original concept to be used when full quality is possible.

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Lee AngellaI can’t help but wonder how you recorded your last three, silhouette demos.  Are your actors behind the veil with a light source while the camera records in front of the veil, or are the actors and the light source behind the camera while the veil catches the shadows? I imagine the first case would involve the camera catching the light, but the camera’s shadow could be caught in the second case (unless the camera is above ground).  How “Sakon’s Arietta” was recorded intrigues me the most.  It looks like the video has a small light source, but how were the shadows cast?

It is definitely the first case. As you imagined well, the camera’s shadow would be caught in the second case. The light is not always perpendicular to the veil, unless it has something to block its bright source. For example, if my big fluffy head (and body, when I get up) weren’t stationary in the middle of the frame during Demo #1, you would have seen a big ball of light there.

As for Sakon’s Arietta, the light was at an angle, since there was nothing stationary to block the source. It wasn’t a smaller source at all, actually. The video just has a heavy colour filter.

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whmurray11: [regarding Demo #3 and Pamela’s father] This video makes me curious, are you going to use the Song of Healing with the Happy Mask Salesman instead of Link to heal him? Or are you just going to leave all the people healed by the song left out?

The Happy Mask Salesman taught Link the Song of Healing to ease the sorrows of the troubled souls he met on his quest. The Salesman’s needs are not those of Link. Although he asked Link to fetch Majora’s Mask for him, Link’s experience is one of growth and maturing through helping others. I personally think the Salesman himself isn’t really concerned with specifics when it comes to people’s private lives. He is rather agitated about the mask being in the wrong hands, but he seems to me as a character who would pass almost undetected through this world, or any world, in fact, unless he would wish to make himself seen.

I think he operates in the grander scheme of things, in his own mysterious and incomplete way. So what would be fitting for a redeemer’s role, the contact with the actual denizens of the world, their healing through mysterious powers, the link between them and a higher order of things, is not present in the opera, simply because we do not have that Link present in this timeline.

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VikzeLink: I wonder how many [demos] he is going to release… I hope not to many, then it wouldn’t be as fun to see the real deal if it ever comes out.

The exact number of planned demos and their names can be seen on the opera’s website.

I would have to release dozens of demos to cover the actual work, as it is estimated to be around 3:30 hours long. What you are seeing as demos is but the tip of the iceberg. I made it this way to give a feel of what it can become without exposing the developments too much (sometimes not at all, like in the last two demos), and without going too far into the more demanding parts of the work.

DEMO #3 – Pamela’s Arietta

Posted in Media Updates, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by mbulteau

As in the last arietta, the theme isn’t developed on, just sung to. Like with most themes, development comes later on in the scene, which in this case is but sketched yet.

For those expecting more developed, flashy and dynamic stuff, be patient. Not everything is a showstopper.
Demo #4 is expected to be a trio with quite the development, and if everything goes well, it will be flashy, dynamic and on time. :)

EDIT: Old video no longer available. Makeover here.

Q&A #8

Posted in Q&A with tags , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2012 by mbulteau

Act II is being a tough nut to crack!

Meanwhile, Q&A #8:

Rick: Did you get perfect take every time, or are there bloopers? Or did you delete those?

Sakon’s video has very short bloopers. I did not delete them, and they will probably be released in some way to appease the gods of deadlines.

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Trevor: From what I’ve seen, you are taking Link’s role and replacing him with Kafei (essentially) What kind of interaction with the Ikana do you think he will have?

Glen has already replied to your comment quite rightly, but I will just add that I have already said Kafei is no professional explorer like Link, or a hero in the grand sense. Kafei is in no way replacing Link. He is serving as a point of view for more of Termina to be shown to the audience while being in a quest for his wedding mask.

Regarding Ikana, I cannot develop on that right now, but suffice to say there will be a way for him to actually reach the ruins and Pamela’s house. It is related to the moment where Kafei and the Happy Mask Salesman, along with their parallel quests for different masks, eventually do meet.

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Jennifer: Are you going to include all of the songs from the Majora’s Mask soundtrack, or are you going to have to skip a few? I imagine it might be difficult to fit in things like Kamaro’s Dance, and if Link’s not there then songs like Zelda’s Lullaby and the Song of Time probably wouldn’t make sense to include.

I will include as many as one can without forcing it, or making tangents to the story. As I have already said, for example, there will be no room for Milk Road or anything from that region without making it a weird tangent, or an appendix of some sort.

Link-related themes like those you mentioned will indeed not appear, as it would make no sense. Termina Field’s theme is an arrangement of the classic Zelda theme, always related to Link, and it too will not appear. Kamaro’s Dance, however, will, as part of a bigger dance number called Kafei’s Dream, involving other simultaneous themes and a long development.

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Aloneus81: I think the encounter with King Igos du Ikana is prefect for this. I hope you do that one too!

I most certainly will. It’s an important bass aria. Although it is not a planned demo. The list of upcoming demos is already up on my website.

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kaialone: [referring to the Victory and the Giant instrumental] Are those bits that sound like Saria’s Song the Skull Kid´s Leitmotif?

Apologies for having overlooked this question. D:

Yes, they are. Although Skull Kid’s leitmotif will be evoked very little, since he is utterly consumed by Majora’s Mask.

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noah prosper: Is this going to be on iTunes, or on CD?

As of this point, I don’t know yet what will be done with the opera’s music as far as music tracks go. If crowdfunding is ever necessary, for example, then there will be tracks and/or CDs available as rewards for donations.

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Kram1032: The Stone Tower Temple is my favourite theme of probably the entire Zelda series. If that’s just a test, I’m really curious how you will implement it to your opera.

I like that theme a lot too. There will be an incursion into Stone Tower because of the Happy Mask Salesman’s desperate search for a way to get the mask back from Skull Kid. But the theme will be used in other contexts, like Igos du Ikana’s aria. It will be modified to fit his nostalgic and brighter view of Ikana before it started spiraling down to oblivion.

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craizyboy1197: And… what happened to the Opera??

o_O

It’s… being written?

Stone Tumblr, and Q&A #7

Posted in Media Updates, Q&A, Text Updates, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by mbulteau

Will the social platform fest never end? You can now follow me on Twitter and Tumblr as well.

I’ve recently finished a massive quintet + choir based on the Song of Storms, the Song of Healing, Kafei and Anju’s marriage theme, the Mayor’s theme, the Clock Town theme and Majora’s theme. The next number is Darmani’s aria and his short interaction with Kafei. I have been struggling with its structure, so I took some time off to get fresh ideas.

By time off I mean working on something else of the opera. ^_^

I tested the Stone Tower theme with some ancient instruments, just as a sample to see how it would sound:

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Time for Q&A #7:

TwilightDeku: Woo hoo! I am loving this! I just have one question. Will you be filming the opera as a movie…. or touring and performing it live?

At this point I don’t know how many resources can be invested in the finished product so as to make a tour possible, but it’s definitely not something I would refuse! Ideally, live performances and a film of the stage work would both be expected.

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BowserTheSecond: [referring to DEMO #2] Is that that same guy who played Mutoh in the Town Hall demo?

The audio is from the same person, yes, but not the video. Sometimes the original singers are available for the video recordings, sometimes they’re not. In the latter case, we use someone who knows the music and can act it out well. We manage fine either way, because we always record audio first. You can tell by looking at the updated credits in the videos.

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kidkidkid12345: Will Sakon be a main character? And… Will Nintendo allow you to do this?

If by main character you mean vital to the plot, then yes. If you mean if he appears often, he appears as often as Kafei sees him. The three main points of view through which the audience gets the story are Kafei’s, Anju’s and the Happy Mask Salesman’s.

As for Nintendo allowing the staging of the work, I will only find out after I have managed to contact them and made my presentation of the opera.