Day 109: The First Task

The Tailor is escorted into the presence of the King and his daughter, the Princess. The Courtier is eager to get rid of this rival, and he and the King cook up a plan to give the Tailor an impossible task: capturing a fearsome Rhinoceros that’s been terrorizing the peasants. The Tailor pulls off this feat with a mixture of good luck and ingenuity.

The Princess theme is reprised briefly as the Tailor finds himself in the presence of the girl of his dreams, but those dreams are interrupted by a Plotting theme that recurs each time the Courtier and the King scheme up ways to get rid of the Tailor. The musicologically inclined among you may notice that the melody of this theme begins with the same triadic pattern as the Princess theme, but with this transformation: Sol-Do-Mi (the top, bottom and middle notes of a major triad) in the Princess theme becomes Sol-Do-Me (the minor triad) in the more conspiratorial mood of the Courtier’s plot.

There’s a little two-bar harmonic riff in this Plotting theme that I borrowed from, of all places, Uptown Funk. (Listen for its first appearance around :32 in the first cue on this post.) There’s also a little figure played by low flutes around :55 that quotes the final “one-two-three-four-five-six-seven” of the funky Seven In One Blow song. These little details are the secret “Easter eggs” that I’ve hidden in this music to amuse myself!

Random Post Roulette: The African Rondo is the final scene of A Is For Anything, a show that’s come to mind any number of times while working on The Brave Little Tailor. I created that show in 1988, when my boys were little, and though the technology has changed, they’re both shows for young audiences performed to pre-recorded tracks. Of course, in 1988, the steps involved in creating and playing back that track were more cumbersome. The music required painstaking effort using drum machines and the services of a studio engineer (the estimable R. J. Miles) as a MIDI midwife, while the final product was played back via reel-to-reel tape deck; the machine I used for playback on the tour sits in my office now, a bit of legacy technology I keep around until I’ve digitized the music, mostly original, that I’ve still got stored on R-to-R tapes. Fast forward more than 25 years, and I’m still using a Mac for music-making, but everything else is so different! Garageband makes the mingling of MIDI and live audio a breeze, and I can do amazing things with it without ever leaving my home studio. The digital files can be played back via any number of devices, including my phone! O brave new world!

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