Friday, January 23, 2009

Kids today

Today I asked my elementary school band and guitar class students about they music they liked (in order to provide them with some arrangements of music they could actually relate to), and here's the list they gave me:

Metallica: "All Nightmare Long"
Beatles: "Hey Jude"
"D-Generation X Theme"
Queen: "We Will Rock You"
The Outlaws: "Green Grass and High Tides"
Beethoven: "Fur Elise"
Rolling Stones: "Ruby Tuesday"
Linkin Park: "What I've Done"
Taylor Swift: "Love Story"
Neil Diamond: "Coming to America"
Bob Dylan: "Masters of War"
Clay Aiken: "Invincible"
Natasha Bettingfield: "Pocketful of Sunshine"
Soldier Boy: "Soldier Boy"
Survivor: "Eye of the Tiger"
Scars of Broadway: "They Say"
Muse: "Starlight"
Black Sabbath: "Iron Man"
"I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire"

I'm thinking a medley is the way to go.


D0nnaTr0y said...

LOL- good luck with that!

(ahh... the good old days)

Andrew Durkin... said...

Ha! Thanks. I don't think anything can top your arrangement of "Enter Sandman," however!

Anonymous said...

Actually - I believe that's Soulja Boy. ;)

And I'll echo Donna Troy's thoughts: Good luck with that.

D0nnaTr0y said...

You're too kind! ;) And what ever crazy arrangement you come up with you HAVE to post the performance for us!

Andrew Durkin... said...

Thanks for the correction, Matt. Just goes to show what a geezer I am -- I originally thought they were talking about the Shirelles. My heart leapt with joy, only to be dashed minutes later.

Though I am impressed with some of the classic rock that made the list. And of course I thought "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" kind of came out of left field -- until I learned that it is used in some video game.

Anonymous said...

"Though I am impressed with some of the classic rock that made the list."

Sorry to dash any hopes, but I agree with this statement. I did think that it was impressive that a group of kids of that age wasn't almost exclusively things like modern pop chart stuff and newer hip hop. Kinda gives a guy hope. :)

DJA said...

"I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire"

Ah, the power of videogames. The kids know this tune because of its use in Fallout 3. (Not that I've been playing that game in lieu of more productive pursuits or anything.)

Several of the others they probably first heard while playing along on Guitar Hero/Rock Band.

Andrew Durkin... said...


Anonymous said...

When I ask kids what songs they like, a lot of times they say something like, "I just download them. I don't know what they're called."

Eye of the Tiger?!?

Jeff said...

Eye of the Tiger is in Rock Band 2 and Green Grass and High Tides is in Rock Band 1.

The Rock Band / Guitar Hero / Other Videogames are going to be a large way of how future kids are going to become familiar with music.

I know the Rock Band games have influenced what my kids are listening to and interested in. If you told me a few years back that my 5 year old would be singing along to The Clash, I might have called you odd... but she loves it.

Next year when Harmonix (who made Rock Band) puts out the Beatle play-along game, watch the record sales... bet there's a bump.

They're a giant part of moving the product.

So now you just need to find Industrial Jazz Fifteen-Tet Hero and you'll be GOLDEN!

Andrew Durkin... said...


Okay, so here's a question that is totally going to sound like a joke, but isn't.

Does the game somehow lend itself more to the pop / rock music format? Would it work with the music of the IJG, or any music, really? Or do there have to be certain restrictions on the music in order for the game to be successful?

If not, I'm going to go right out and find a programmer.

Jeff said...

I was kidding about the IJG thing.

It lends itself to guitars and drums and vocals.

I am sure you could program a "Sousaphone Hero" but I don't see it being a complicated game play, since you only have 3 valves to translate into buttons.

Here's an intersting article re: Guitar Center's surge in real guitar sales in the wake of Rock Band / GH

Gotta run. More later.

Jeff said...

Here's the other thing.

If you scroll down the article, you'll see a YouTube clip of a game called KeyboardMania

which has a three octave keyboard controller.

The video seems inhuman. It doesn't really seem possible to play, effectively along with a player piano roll.

Jeff said...

(siting bored in rehearsal)

To more specifically answer your question, the game is a "rhythm game" which means it lends itself to the rhythm section.

The horn parts wouldn't be part of gameplay (per se, more in a moment) so it would really count on the underlying groove.

Some songs aren't great for GH/RB -- the best songs are those that have interesting parts across all 4 parts.

To use the Beatle analogy, "Yesterday" would be sucky RB/GH song since there's no bass or drums and the guitar part is just strumming.

"Birthday" however, would kick-ass since it's got strong parts in all three instruments, and a great vocal part.

"Got To Get You Into My Life" would be somewhere in the middle, with a great vocal, simplistic bass part (mostly quarter notes, if memory serves), not too difficult drum part (triplets!) and the guitar part is almost non-existent except for the break before the outro...

To get back to some things -- there's one of the Boston tunes in RB where they transcribe the keyboard solo to be a guitar solo... that may be the only example of that I can recall.

In other instances, they ask the artists to re-record some tracks with a guitar instead of a keyboard part -- Devo comes to mind.

The new Guitar Hero World Tour has some sort of music creation section to it, which you can then play along to and share. I have not played with that at all, so I don't know how it really works... more research is in order...

Jeff said...

Guitar Hero Music Creator. 17 minutes worth of training:

Andrew Durkin... said...

Thanks for the links and the info. I haven't had a chance to look through all this stuff, but based on what I think you're saying one thing still eludes me: why is sonic authenticity important in the game? I mean, the "guitar" is just a controller, right? It's not like it's a real guitar. Why couldn't you use it to play a rhythmically interesting horn part?

I'm probably the only person in the world who has never actually played this game...

Jeff said...

Yes, just a controller. BUt part of the "enjoyment" of the game is the play-acting; so hitting an awesome trumpet riff on the guitar controller might "feel" odd.

Plus, once you elminiate the notion of 3 buttons on a trumpet = 3 buttons on the controller, you're less making it about pretending to play an instrument than you are just about hitting buttons in time with music.

D0nnaTr0y said...

Hey Andrew,

Yes, you're right, the guitar (as well as bass and drums) is a controller. And there is instant gratification by pressing down the buttons and hearing the guitar "rock" (which is why one would rather play guitar hero guitar than actually learn the guitar). Technically you could do the same thing with a horn, but whereas with the guitar the buttons simulate pressing down frets which as we know can represent many pitches, to have a horn controller, unless perhaps it were a trumpet, it just wouldn't make sense. You'd either have to learn real fingerings or the controller fingerings would be so far fetched from real fingerings it wouldn't be worth it. You should head to a Best Buy and try playing Guitar Hero/Rock Band at one of the game kiosks they have there, you'll definitely get a better understanding.

I personally am in favor of the video game spreading music appreciation, even if it's just of rock tunes from the 80s/90s. If nothing else, it shows kids that there is other music out there than what they hear on the radio or on TV shows and may even inspire some to learn the real instrument. Any kind of musical mind opening, to me, is a good thing!

Andrew Durkin... said...

Maybe I just have to wait until MIDI guitars become more popular...

Andrew Durkin... said...

I personally am in favor of the video game spreading music appreciation, even if it's just of rock tunes from the 80s/90s. If nothing else, it shows kids that there is other music out there than what they hear on the radio or on TV shows and may even inspire some to learn the real instrument. Any kind of musical mind opening, to me, is a good thing!

Amen to that!

Matt said...

I'm waiting for the Tony Levin edition of Stick Hero.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the spirit of D0nna's comment, but I think thre may be an argument for letting children remain innocent of the popular culture of the Molly Ringwald decade.