Portrait – Kaori Muraji – An Album Review

December 24th, 2016

If you like good music, classical guitarist Kaori Muraji’s Portraits is some of the best.

Listen to Portraits on Google Play

Kaori doesn’t just sit in a recording studio and play some tunes like a lot a classical artists do. She has put a lot of thought into the way this album is laid out. Just when you want to hear a little more slow lyrical guitar playing with those lush extended ternary chords, she switches to an impossible flurry of virtuosic technique. She stuns you with both musicianship and technical capacity from start to finish.

Just when you think you’ve heard everything she has to offer, she takes you on a educational journey of every sound this instrument is capable of making. But not just for the sake of using the whole guitar’s sound spectrum. She finds legitimate artistic reasons for playing near the bridge, in the center, both hands on the neck, using the body as a drum, open harmonics, pitched harmonics, ect. After using each sound, the listener is still fully present to the music itself. She relentlessly pulls the listener towards the big picture.

Kaori is not afraid to simply entertain her audience either. Tunes by Chopin, Bernstein, Schumann, Clapton, and Lennon along with an original arrangement of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, will pleasantly surprise you as you move through this experience. She rightly recognizes that familiarity adds contrast to a group of pieces like Portraits.

I generally get bored with classical music after a while. But I have listened to this album twice in a one day and was sad that I didn’t have the time to listen to it a third time. I’ll be surprised if the same doesn’t happen for you.

Band Piece Underway – The Modulator

June 19th, 2015

As some may have noticed, I’ve been in a slump. I am happy to announce that I am writing again, and am starting with an intermediate level band piece I think I’ll be calling “The Modulator”. The key continually goes around the circle of fifths while developing its melodic and harmonic content. It’s going to be a blast for high school bands to play, and will hopefully be ready to go in time for the spring semester of 2016. No promises, but I will do my best!

I prefer to write many of the notes out on a grand staff before I begin orchestration. I will share a little of this reduction when some of the ideas for this band piece are a little more solidified. Stay up to date on the progress through the Music Interactive Facebook page.

Here’s a fun little blip. We’ll see if it makes the final cut for the band piece! Keep in mind that I am thinking through the accidentals to be easily read in individual lines, not to be read by a pianist. Save you theoretical criticism for now!


Harmony App – We Built it Anyway!

February 4th, 2015

How to Sing Harmony appEven though it wasn’t successful, this Kickstarter told us an important thing. You guys want this harmony app to exist! So far we have successfully built the iPhone version with the android version to come in a few weeks!

The harmony app features a menu where you can select a song. Then you can mute and un-mute whatever parts you want to hear. It shows you the words, and all you have to do it sing along. Perfect for teaching yourself and others the art of singing in harmony very quickly and easily.

We hope you find this to be a useful tool both for learning and teaching how to sing harmony. Enjoy!

Harmonizing App – We Are Close to Our Kickstarter Goal

November 18th, 2014

We’ve gotten over 60% of our goal with four days to go! Of all the projects on Kickstarter, 98% of those that have gotten to this point have been successfully funded. Let’s make their record even better and get this Harmonizing App nice and ad-free.

Things you can do to help us out:

  • Spread the word to people who would benefit from the $25 sponsorship. We only need 5 more of those to reach the goal. Remember, if someone really wants a song on there that isn’t in the plan, we’ll include a request for $25 backers.
  • The hit stats on this Kickstarter are telling us that a lot of people are interested. Share this project on your social networks encouraging people to pledge just $2. If you know someone with an Android device who will probably buy the app, make sure they know that they will be helping us out by “buying it” (pre-ordering is what it comes down to) via Kickstarting in the next four days. It probably won’t take much encouragement.

We’re currently hard at work finishing up data entry for the bass lines. We’ll be adding the finishing touches to the development of the harmonizing app in the next few days. The only thing we’re missing is making it ad-free with this Kickstarter! Thanks so much for your support!

Harmony App – Kickstarter – How to Sing in Parts

October 24th, 2014

harmony-appThe How to Sing Harmony app is currently in development, but we need a hand with getting it launched ad-free. We are doing this Kickstarter so that you can help us make it happen! The $25 song sponsorship (with a link or dedications at the end of playback) will be first come first serve, so don’t wait to jump on that! Other rewards are also available in both directions of pledge amount.

There is a long tradition of singing hymns in four part harmony; it is quickly dying away. Our purpose with this harmony app is to make it fun and easy for people to come and learn how to sing these songs in parts again. It’s actually not a hard skill to develop and with a little effort the tradition can be revitalized before it dies away.

But we don’t want to limit this harmony app to religion. National anthems, old folk songs, and other music should be included in this project too (i.e. Jingle Bells, O Canada, etc). And we plan to do this through sponsorships.

Here are some of the features we plan to put into the harmony app:

-An app that can isolate each part (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) so that people can easily learn a part individually.
-Traditional music notation for those who read music. Those who don’t can quickly learn.
-Each part will be mutable. The user can implement a variety of methods to master the music.
-Adjust the tempo at any time while practicing–even in the middle of a song.
-Pause, rewind, and retry a segment you just can’t get.
-Efficient programming that uses the same sounds for each song.
This will take up as little space on your phone as possible. –Option of vocal synths and/or piano sounds.
-Clean distraction-free design.
-75 songs already lined up before sponsorships.
-15 free songs (Including Amazing Grace, It Is Well with My Soul, and other popular tunes).
Unlocking all songs will be a small, one-time in app purchase.
-Available for Android and iPhone.

With this harmony app, when people get together to sing songs, whether it be Easter, Christmas, or an event where you sing a national anthem, they will all know their part and sing beautifully.

This is a link to the home page for the project. On the right sidebar is a list of the songs that have already been put onto the website. Try learning a song or two and you will see how effortlessly you yourself can learn a part using the embedded videos (even if you’re not a musician). Imagine how useful a tool like this will be as an app!

We want this to be ad free. The software we are using requires a $299 fee in order to release apps without the ads. If funded, we’ll be able to release this harmony app without ads, include the most popular songs for free, and include any other public domain songs through the $25 sponsorships.

Pledges start at just $1. Thanks so much for supporting this Kickstarter!

Send Caleb a message!