When One Door Closes

When One Door Closes

Another opens.

Recently, I’ve broken two teeth – they snapped off right at the gumline while I was eating, and due to the changes in airflow I can’t play flute any longer. (At least not until it’s fixed.) Well, turns out all my teeth are broken and the estimate comes to over $30 grand.

When the second tooth broke and people started yelling at me in the street calling me names, I thought my performing career would be over.

However thankfully instead of accepting that, I pushed forward.

On Saturday I had been invited to perform improvisational duets with a very gifted pianist, Cedar Wood. We had improvised together before, when I was on flute, and it was a beautiful communication. I almost cancelled because I can’t play flute until I get that ton of expensive dental work. So instead of playing flute I asked if there was a sound system I could plug in to for the event, and showed up with my ancient secondhand refurbished iPad. Cedar is wonderful to improvise with, and his sensitivity and expressiveness on the piano truly were complimented by the synthesizer pads and ethereal leads I’d selected for the evening.

For the more technical minded – the programs used were Chordion, Magellan, Nanostudio, Audiobus, Audioreverb, and Orphion. Magellan and Nanostudio were patched in to Chordion, which was the input in Audiobus, then Audioreverb for the FX slot. A simple headphone line out to computer speakers as it was a livingroom venue. Orphion was run by itself during a mini-workshop on freedom and play during the event, as I wanted a more expressive sound and the pitch bends were perfect.

The limitation of Chordion is that the chords and scales and patches must be set up in advance, it’s not very flexible during performance. However being able to patch two separate sounds and place one into chords with an arpeggiator and one into a scale is wonderful for live performances.

My personal synthesizer style is to use pad sounds even for leads, leading to a lush, soft, heavenly sound which contrasted beautifully with the organic sound of the upright piano, supporting even when leading.

Using Magellan in the chord side of Chordion I laid out an arpeggio underneath what Cedar played, then responded with a slightly modified default pad from Nanostudio in the lead side. The chromatic scale in Chordion is tiny even for my delicate fingers however keeping to long slow notes supporting the brilliant piano made it all blend to one whole sound.

For our second song, I led with chord changes, which Cedar followed immediately, laying out a new melodic structure which I then echoed and supported within the pad framework. He sensed when I dropped the chord changes to focus on a drone and played off and around it until we both faded the song out. It’s always wonderful to play with him due to that almost telepathic musical sensitivity. We are able to dance together trading lead and follow back and forth completely in the moment.

After the performance was over several musicians came up to ask about the iPad as a musical instrument and which synthesizers I’d used, and I have an invitation to come perform with it again soon. This is only the second time I’ve used the iPad in live performance!

Getting this refurbished older iPad last year with my tax return has now saved me twice musically when something else stopped working. I love the sounds and the capability it has to have so many classic synthesizers and effects. It builds on the years of experience I have with computer-based DAWs along with a whole new innovative way of thinking about instruments and interfaces for musical creativity.

Several people suggested that I set up a GoFundMe for the dental expenses, as untreated dental problems can cause all sorts of other health issues. You can check that out here: Miracle for Musician or simply support on a monthly basis on Patreon if that’s easier for you. If you can’t support monetarily, please like and share. Every little bit helps. Thank you so much for the love!

Published by Chagall Sierra

As a child got beaten up for singing. Still singing. Occasionally get paid for singing. Take that, bullies!