Black Tie

Black Tie

The Musicians

In my last post I talked about the songs that make up the album Black Tie. Now in this post I am going to show you the inserts of the original album that celebrate the musicians that played on this easy listening instrumental album.

 

 

Landis

Contact me

Landis plays hand-built guitars by Darrell Pura, Saskatoon, Sask. Canada.
Classical model: Recitalist
Electric hollow body model: Landis Custom
Acoustic model: OM6

©Copyright Landis Maitland-Whitelaw. All rights reserved. Site design by Mighty Sparrow Design

Black Tie

Black Tie-the music

The Songs

In my last post I talked about the making of Top Hat, my first album of solo classical guitar pieces. Since I play both electric and acoustic guitar, and enjoy playing in bands, the next logical step for my musical writing was to write music for a band. First I wrote, then I assembled a band, then we learned the songs. Before recording we took our playing out to clubs, open air stages and special events, polishing the pieces along the way.

These are the 13 songs you’ll find on this easy listening instrumental album;

Hi Hon I’m Home and Ninth Street are very close to being jazz numbers. If I was a jazz man I would say that I accomplished recording a jazz number, but as I am truly a traditional player I would love to hear jazz musicians do this piece.

Come To Me, and Malagueña are carrying on the tradition of Top Hat in that they are classical guitar solos.

Sky~Earth and Sea is a piece built on emotions . . . you can visualize sea monsters in this one, created for the keyboard.

Un Portrait d’Alain is written and performed by my son Dean Pawliw who plays bass on the album. He wrote this song and named it after his bass guitar hero, Alain Caron. It is of course a bass dominated song and very cool. I play the rhythm guitar on this one.

Walking Thro’ the Heather was inspired by my feelings of walking in the country side in Scotland. I always thought that it would sound great on the bagpipes but no takers to date . . .

Voice of an Angel is a piece written by my friend Danny MacDonald for voice.  It is featured on his album In-A-Chord. When he asked me if I would score it for him, as he wanted the vocal melody in a form that he could share, I of course said yes. I also asked if I could I put it on my album as an instrumental. He in turn said yes, and Danny is featured on the album playing the finger picking rhythm in it. I am playing the melody on a Gibson SG.

From Dusk Til Dawn is based on a chord form and moved up and down the guitar neck creating a vibe that you just think is familiar. It’s similar to the feeling that Chicago puts out.

I’m Crazy for You came about when I was playing back up with a friend on the standard Crazy, sung by Patsy Cline. I played this counter melody and loved it and so I wrote the song around my new melody.

Wind in the Field and North Country were inspired by my recollections of driving from Northern to Central Saskatchewan.

ASpanish Evening is a drum driven song, lots of tom-tom work and a wonderful melody with a nice Spanish feel to it.

Malagueña is based on a Spanish dance of the same name. I borrowed from the rhythm of this dance and created my own piece. It is a classical guitar solo piece.

 

Landis

Contact me

Landis plays hand-built guitars by Darrell Pura, Saskatoon, Sask. Canada.
Classical model: Recitalist
Electric hollow body model: Landis Custom
Acoustic model: OM6

©Copyright Landis Maitland-Whitelaw. All rights reserved. Site design by Mighty Sparrow Design

Top Hat

Top Hat

(the first in the trilogy)

In my last post I talked about my latest composition and recording, “Musings on Covid,” and now I want to share with you the beginnings of my recording career. I started to play the guitar at the age of 13 and in my 20’s I took a year of classical guitar lessons so that I could do some finger-style solo playing. From there I was self-taught and eventually, I felt confident enough to do weddings, banquets and art shows.

At this point, I had begun to write my own compositions so I decided that I would like to put out a recording. I had a variety of compositions so the logical thing to do, it seemed, was to put out albums that showcased the diversity of my compositional work. So the trilogy was born; Top Hat, which is a classical guitar solo album, was released in 1993 and re-released in 2006. Black Tie, which is electric guitar played with a band, was released in 1996 and re-released in 2021 and Tails, which is still to be released, are original compositions that will feature the guitar with other instruments such as strings, handbells and organ.

I was interested in recording, so I decided to self-record Top Hat and began training myself in recording techniques. To start, I purchased a little Tascam 4 track tape recorder, a microphone from Radio Shack, and a Dolby compressor/limiter and a reverb unit. This is the equipment that the album was recorded with.

After recording and mixing, I sent it off to a sound studio to be mastered. Top Hat includes the first song I ever wrote, Sunshine. It also includes original compositions, Come to Me and Introduction Theme and Variations on a Lullaby which is a major work I wrote on variations of the lullaby, All Through the Night. The rest of the Top Hat album was taken from a repertoire of classical guitar pieces that I both loved to play and were popular in my live performances. I self-recorded and self-released this album and sold the CD off stage during my performances. Top Hat was re-released untouched to the digital market in 2006. Click here to have a listen.

Landis

Contact me

Landis plays hand-built guitars by Darrell Pura, Saskatoon, Sask. Canada.
Classical model: Recitalist
Electric hollow body model: Landis Custom
Acoustic model: OM6

©Copyright Landis Maitland-Whitelaw. All rights reserved. Site design by Mighty Sparrow Design

Musings on Covid

Musings on Covid

Behind Musings on Covid

Musings on Covid involved a new way of composing for me so I want to share with you the nerdy aspects of creating this song. While I am a traditional notation user and composer, well … times they are a-changin’. There is a new way to write, produce and compose music with the use of samples and loops. I saw an ad from Unison about one of their midi packs, the chord pack, and since it was on sale I bought it on spec. This is the foundation that I used to create this instrumental song. 

First, I chose the key (the key of C is always easy) and the tempo, then I listened to the choices and chose one. It’s kind of like someone saying to you, can you write me a song using these chords? Now, once you have chosen to write/compose in this manner, you are using midi format instead of notation. There are several ways to input notes into midi: you can mouse them in, you can play them in via a midi keyboard or you can create them in notation and then convert the file to midi and import it to your creation. I am not proficient in the keyboard so I was happy to use my notation software.

Now I have the chord structure so creating a simple bass line is easy. You can simply take the bottom line of the chord structure and copy it to a new midi track and voila… a bass line. Then you take a couple of samples and or loops and try some of them out and choose something that works for you. I then created sections for the song and marked them as such. I then went to MODO DRUMS and choose loops for the different sections. I Choose MODO BASS for the bass and improved on it so it would not be so boring. 

Now with this in place I take my trusty PURA Landis Custom guitar and plug it into my Focusrite Solo and try out the sounds from IK multi medias” new AmpliTube 5. 1st channel, I choose a nice amp. that gave me a warm sound (slight distortion) American Clean MK111 with no effects, for the 2nd channel I chose something really gritty, the Orange RockerVerb 50. with a tape echo and tube drive. This provides the contrast to the song. Now I am ready to rock & roll. With this, I jam or improvise over what I have created, and eventually voila… a wonderfully crafted song emerges, mixed into a wave file and mastered and ready for distribution. 

So am I done? Well yes and no… I … being a composer, want you … the talented guitarist that you are, to be able to play it. Those of you that do not read music … well it’s a snap. You learn it by ear. Those of us not so blessed and trained in reading music, rely on what we call notation… yes reading notes. So now comes the next step. How do I make a notation score and parts from this? I found no easy way to convert midi to notation. So I lay down the chord structure, create the bass line and take what I played and put it into notation. Now I have a score and parts that I can sell you if you wish to purchase it, sometime in the future when I have that part working on my website.

Any questions? Comments? I would love to hear them…email me. 

Keep Safe and Well!

Landis

Contact me

Landis plays hand-built guitars by Darrell Pura, Saskatoon, Sask. Canada.
Classical model: Recitalist
Electric hollow body model: Landis Custom
Acoustic model: OM6

©Copyright Landis Maitland-Whitelaw. All rights reserved. Site design by Mighty Sparrow Design