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I come from a traditional musical background.

I have studied
classical piano, harmony, theory, orchestration, and composition, and
I can write romantic orchestral pieces till the cows come home. But
what I really wanted to do was explore electronic music and play with
modern sounds I could create myself.
I learned an immense amount about electronic music from Mark
Isham, whos been a great mentor, and who co-scores the Crash TV
series with me. I learned even more on my own, by just playing with
sounds in different combinations.
I started my journey by thinking like an orchestrator, and sorting
sounds by timbre: Some are round and wind-like, some (like muted
horns) are more biting, some synth attacks sound like a pizzicato cello,
and so on. Here are just a few of my recent discoveries.
Ex. 1. 21st Century Baroque. I love the way Bach uses arpeggios
to define harmony. This cue uses a plucked, harp-like sound from
Spectrasonics Omnisphere. I play a little harder on the downbeats to
bring out more of the plucky attack; you can also go back in and adjust
the note velocity after playing. For a modern twist, I put a quarter-note
delay on the track, so it feels like rolling waves of arpeggios.
Ex. 2. Eerie Melody. I like synthetic sounds that evoke acoustic ones,
but I still want them to sound fresh and unique. This was intended for
a sci-fi scene where giant insects are landing on a skylight. Theyre hor-
rifying, but theres something ethereal and beautiful about them. I
blended a few sounds to create the effect of a ghostly woodwind choir
a washy Omnisphere pad called Megapad, a high, flutey synth, and a
Tibetan bowl sample for an attack that sounds like bug feet on glass.
Ex. 3. Percolating Action Sequence. Im a big fan of how minimal-
ist composers John Adams and Steve Reich use seemingly simple patterns
that interlock and transform over time. Sequencing lets you create many
such parts, then try them in different combinations. Here, Im using an
arpeggiated synth, the pad Desolate from Spectrasonics Bizarre Guitar,
and a pulsing pad from Native Instruments Pro-53. I also sampled myself
singing ha and made a Logic EXS24 instrument out of it.
Ex. 4. Suspenseful Brass Pads. Wagner knew that swelling French
horn lines are a great way to pump up suspense and drama. For some-
thing a little edgier than fake brass, I created these swells from the
Omnisphere pad Evolving String Resonance and upped the attack
time so the sound creeps in gradually. The patch has a built-in swell
that you can augment with volume automation.
Ex. 5. Mexican Mystery. My favorite kind of score is a hybrid
electronic/chamber score, with live players and interesting electronic
textures. Sometimes a sampled sound can subtly enhance a live
instrument, or lend it an otherworldly flavor. Im using acoustic
guitar parts, adding sampled harmonics with a half-note delay for a
mysterious sparkle.
Ex. 6. Ethereal Piano Ballad. I might have orchestrated this with
strings and harp accentsif only I had an orchestra! Instead, I went for
a hipper (and cheaper) collage of electronic textures: a plucked, per-
cussive sound for accents, a pulsating pad for motion, and a breathy
vocal pad playing a single line. These are all from Omnisphere, each with
a little tweak to make them unique. Notice that none of the sounds play
triads; instead, the combined individual lines build the harmony.
Ex. 7. The Loop is the Limit. Loops have gotten a bad rap. But like
any tool, they can be used for good or evil. Take a looping phrase and
evolve everything else around it to change its musical meaning. Can
you reharmonize it? Put a different bass line under it? Drift melodic
phrases in and out of it? Change the rhythm or meter? I tried a bunch
of these things, based on two guitar loops from Nine Volt Audios Chopped
Guitars. Bass lines, a piano melody and chords, percussive accents, and
pad swells all create a composition out of these found sounds.
LESSONS
Cindy OConnor
USE ELECTRONIC
SOUNDS ORCHESTRALLY
20 K E Y B O A R D M A G . C O M 0 7 . 2 0 1 0

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Modified hornlike pads


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Pad
Get these links and more at keyboardmag.com/july2010
Audio examples of all
seven techniques.
Check out the musical
Cindys working on,
40 Is the New 15.
Video: Who else is
playing Spectrasonics
soft synths?
More Online
Keyboardist, vocalist, and composer Cindy OConnor has done
everything from touring with Pat Benatar to scoring the hit TV series
Crash alongside co-composer Mark Isham. See what shes up to
at cindyoconnor.com. Jon Regen
Ex. 4
Ex. 3
Ex. 2
Ex. 1
21 0 7 . 2 0 1 0 K E Y B O A R D M A G . C O M
LESSONS


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Ac. guitar 1
Sampled harmonics
Ac. guitar 2
Ex. 7
Ex. 6
Ex. 5
22 K E Y B O A R D M A G . C O M 0 7 . 2 0 1 0
The timeless standard Body and Soul was written in 1930 by Edward
Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton, and Johnny Green. Paul Whiteman
and his orchestra made it popular, and it was covered by countless
artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra.
Among the most famous jazz recordings are saxophonist Coleman
Hawkins version from October 1939, and John Coltranes performance
from his 1965 album Live in Seattle. Initially, Body and Soul was banned
from radio for nearly a year because its lyrics were considered too
suggestivea serious commentary on the times.
I hear Body and Soul as soul music. Not in the James Brown
sense, but in the way the music and lyrics transport you in the same
way that great soul singers often do. Its fun to take a well-known song
and approach its harmonic landscape in a new way. Instrumentalists
and arrangers have their favorite tricks and tonalities that they apply
to standards. Here are some of mine for the first eight bars of Body
and Soul.
Get these links and more at keyboardmag.com/july2010
Audio examples recorded
by the author.
Hear the use of pedal
tones on John Coltranes
Body and Soul from
Live in Seattle (1965).
More Online
Clifford Carter
ON REHARMONIZING
BODY AND SOUL
LESSONS
Session and touring ace Clifford Carter
has been one of New York Citys most
in-demand keyboardists for three
decades, anchoring the bands of James
Taylor, Patti Scialfa, Betty Buckley, and
Art Garfunkel. His recent projects
include touring with jazz/pop icon Harry
Connick Jr. and co-producing Dallas
songwriter Emily Elbert. Learn more at
cliffordcarter.com. Jon Regen
S
E
A
N

S
M
I
T
H
24 K E Y B O A R D M A G . C O M 0 7 . 2 0 1 0
2. Pedal Tones
This involves using the same bass note as the root of a series of chords. It gives a song that traditionally has a lot of chord changes
a moody, modal sound. In the first two bars of Ex. 2, instead of simply having a different chord (with a different root) every two beats,
each chord now has the same root of Eb. Bars 3 through 6 also make use of pedal tones, which are marked in red.
3. Suspended Chords, Lydian Chords, and Parallel Harmony
In Ex. 3, we extend our harmony even further by using dominant chords built with fourths instead of thirds, Lydian chords (maj7
chords with a #11), and parallel movement of two or more lines or chords. These techniques help us move away from the tradi-
tional ii-V-I progressions. Arriving at these new choices often comes from harmonizing the melody. Here, the use of these three harmonic
tools is color-coded: Suspended (sus) chords are red, Lydian chords are blue, and parallel harmony is green. (Turn to page 26.)
1. Tritone Substitution
This is a great way to reharmonize a song without radically changing its style. The name refers to substituting a chord with another
one whose root is a tritone (six half-steps) away from the original chord. In Ex. 1, the first occurrence of this is in beat 3 of bar 2.
The D7b13#9 chord is the tritone substitute for the original Ab7 chord. Other instances of tritone substitution are marked in red.
Body and Soul, words by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, and Frank Eyton. Music by John Green. Copyright 1930 (Renewed) WB Music
Corp., Quartet Music, Inc., Range Road Music, Inc., and Druropetal Music (c/o The Songwriters Guild of America). International Copyright
Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission of Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc. Reprinted by Permission of Hal Leonard Corporation.
25 0 7 . 2 0 1 0 K E Y B O A R D M A G . C O M
LESSONS


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D 6/9 B6/9 , D 6/9 B6/9 , D 6/9 B6/9 , Emaj7 11


Dmaj7 11
D maj7 11
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4. New Overview
I call this style of reharmonization New Overview because its an adventurous move away from the songs original harmony. The idea is
to give the song a new mood via passionate new chords. In Ex. 4, Im setting up a two-chord pattern in bars 1, 2, and 3its in a major
tonality as opposed to the original minor sound. If I played this on a gig, I might use bars 1 and 2 as an intro vamp, then state the melody.
From bar 4 on, Im using a combination of tritone substitutions, sus chords, Lydian chords, parallel harmony, and a few other colors.
26 K E Y B O A R D M A G . C O M 0 7 . 2 0 1 0
In my touring career with acts like Rob Thomas, Rod Stewart, and
my own band, it has always been challenging for me to find time to prac-
tice. On the road, I dont always have time for soundchecks, and there
isnt always a piano backstage for me to warm up on. Ive found the fol-
lowing exercises essential in my quest to limber up when time is lim-
ited. Practice them at a moderate tempo, and play each one deliberately
to get the most out of them. Also, they should be repeated over and over,
as if on a loop. Remember, though, never to play until the point of pain.
Ex. 1is based on Isidor Philipps Exercises for Independence of Fin-
gers. Its basically a ten-note diminished ascending arpeggio pattern. Whats
particularly great about this exercise is the minor third thats spread between
each finger. Its a wonderful warmup for stretching out your hands.
Ex. 2is a five-note arpeggio pattern that starts far apart, and works
its way together chromatically. It focuses on the fourth and fifth fingers
of each hand.
Ex. 3involves diatonic thirds that work the independence of all
your fingers. Be sure to play the notes as legato as possible.
Ex. 4works the arms and wrists by taking two voicings, C13 and
F13, and alternating them between the left and right hands, using a para-
diddle-like rhythm.
Ex. 5. Heres an tude-like exercise that works the right hand
using major chord arpeggios that go through a progression. Play the
arpeggios as evenly as possible, and use the left hand part to anchor
yourself rhythmically.
Matt Beck
HELPS YOU GET LIMBER, JACK!
Get these links and more at keyboardmag.com/july2010
Audio examples played
by Matt Beck.
Podcasts and
on-the-road videos
from Matt.
Video interview and
Rob Thomas
performance snippets.
More Online
LESSONS
Matt Beck plays keyboards and guitar with Rob Thomas.
He has also performed with Rod Stewart and Lisa Loeb,
and is currently working with U2s Bono and the Edge on
their forthcoming musical Spiderman. Becks debut solo
album, Anything Which Gives You Pleasure, was just
released at iTunes and CDBaby.com. Jon Regen
28 K E Y B O A R D M A G . C O M 0 7 . 2 0 1 0


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Ex. 5
Ex. 3
Ex. 2
Ex. 1
Ex. 4
29 0 7 . 2 0 1 0 K E Y B O A R D M A G . C O M