Part Four: The Song
I decided, almost immediately, that the proposal was going to have some kind of original music as a part of it. I mean, that’s my thing. So I wrote.
I knew I wanted strings. It’s my favorite part of the orchestra. Besides, too much brass and it’d sound like I was asking her to marry me while riding into battle on the Scottish countryside. I needed it to be personal, I needed to write something from my heart, and for the first time in years, it would be the first piece of music not attached to television, film or video game.
If the notes I wrote were on paper, the trash can would have been full. I was throwing stuff out faster than I was writing it. Nothing sounded right. There was some personal touch missing from the piece, something “real.” And then it hit me.
The guitar was my first instrument at 16, so I’ve been playing it for a long time. I needed to add live guitar to the piece. It’s been awhile since I’d played much; all my time is spent in front of the keyboard (piano), so I was a bit rusty. I tuned it up, plugged it in (I recorded direct, through the audio interface and into Pro Tools) and started mixing chords together to see what came out. After about an hour, I had something.
The piece needed to cover the slideshow and the video, which came out to about 9 minutes. I am not good at “punching in,” so I knew I needed to play the entire 9 min progression in one take. I wrote the drum parts out, synced them up, and played. My fingers were burning, but it worked (after 6 or 7 attempts). I had a foundation.
Then I grabbed the strings and choir. I have amazing choir samples; they can actually speak words you type in. I used the strings, one instrument at a time, to build on the guitar progression, and it started to fill out. The choir was the frosting on the cake; it was just enough to bring out that something special in the piece that you didn’t know was missing until you heard it.
The moment I knew it was the right piece of music: When, while wearing headphones to mix because Allison was literally working in the same room, I got choked up listening to it. Every. Single. Time. I played it. It was even more perfect when I paired it with the slideshow and watched a pictorial history of our life together, framed by the song.
Normally, this would be the point that I’d share the song with you, my loyal readers. But I can’t. 1) It belongs to Allison, who’s the only one to have heard it and doesn’t want to share it with the world, and 2), I’m having it played at the wedding as she walks down the aisle, hopefully by a guitarist and a string quartet.
So the song was written, the movie made, it was time to put the plan in action. Unfortunately, it happened sooner than I expected.
to be continued…