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“Resplendence” Dropping on Thanksgiving

I decided to give my radiant handbell choir piece, “Resplendence,” a fresh new sound on its very own single release, just in time for your Thanksgiving! A musical kick-off to the holiday season! ^_^

Originally written for 3.5 octave handbell choir, this release features unique orchestral and electronic textures blending with the evocative timbre of the bells.

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Starship Invasions OST (1977)

Listen to the whole sound track here.

Another rare find! The AMAZING soundtrack by Gil Mellé—a soundtrack that its film does not deserve! 😹 I feel like it belongs with some epic city crime drama…

This soundtrack from 1977 by jazz composer and artist Gil Mellé is an amazing, colorful work of art. What strikes me is how this music got involved with the 1977 Canadian sci-fi film “Starship Invasions” (starring Christopher Lee!!!).

When watching the film, it was a typical B-movie experience, except for the fact that the music continually struck me as beautiful and clever and engaging–nonetheless, the music does NOT match up with any of the vibe or story of the film! It was a surreal experience!!

When listening to the music alone, I imagine some gritty, city, detective drama. And, musically, it is a joy to listen to! So, I’ve taken the available synthetically-made stereo tracks (it feels like these were taken from the original reel-to-reel, that perhaps wasn’t stored too carefully, and then manipulated on early equipment), and I ran them through my up-to-date basic mastering system, to at least try to breathe some fullness into these tracks. 

It’s still not the greatest quality. Someday, I may track down the original mono files and just build them up from scratch… I like the music enough, I may just do that someday. But for now, I hope you’ll enjoy this symphonically jazzy soundtrack masterpiece by Gil Mellé!

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News on “Prisma Vol. 3”

PARMA recordings is just about ready to start manufacturing of “Prisma Vol. 3”—the orchestral compilation album that my “Dark Glass Sinfonia” will appear on! I love the little blurb they came up for it in the liner notes; so perfect!

”Next comes Dark Glass Sinfonia by Sarah Wallin Huff, in which crumpled dissonances flower into exuberant tonality, capitalizing on the full dynamic range of the orchestra.” (PARMA Recordings)

I’ll let you know when it’s released!

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A Note About Cognitive (Musical) Bias

Disclaimer: Please note, I’m not in any way knocking the budding talent of young Alma. This particular instance only serves as an interesting example of the cognitive bias we all encounter at various points in our lives…

Also note– the mistake elaborated on below could be as simple as her mind seeing B as B-flat– in old-school German notation B is B-flat, and B-flat is H

So here’s an interesting discussion– at the very beginning of the video, the first random note given is a B, not a B-flat. And she does call the B, “si” which is the accurate term for Fixed Do Solfege. Even so, she plays and sings a B-flat.

It’s very natural for musicians and composers to fall into this kind of “cognitive bias“, hearing/seeing the note you really want to, instead of what’s actually there. How many times have we as students and performers done this? ;-P

One time I wasted an entire part of a recording session because I was playing an original folk melody all in a minor tonality, even though it was written in major!!! Luckily I realized my mistake in time to re-record everything–I would have hated to have the composer hear the recording of their work done in an entirely “opposite” mode from what they had intended!

The human brain is powerful but subject to limitations. Cognitive biases are often a result of your brain’s attempt to simplify information processing. They are rules of thumb that help you make sense of the world and reach decisions with relative speed. (source)

Initially in the video, Alma mistakes the B for a B-flat, then, I think seeing the E-flat later reinforced that notion for her.

Theory-wise, she probably “hears” a B-flat, because it will go so much more easily (tonally) with the E-flat two notes later. That interval is a Perfect 4th. The B-natural to an E-flat is a Diminished 4th — much more challenging to work with, especially with an A in the mix, creating sort of a lowered 7th scenario if we were in B Major. In fact the A to the Eb is a Tritone that, again, is easier to “explain” in traditional theory if the B is flatted. (For more on intervals, visit my Music Nerds video on the topic.)

Personally I love the idea of using the Eb as, say, a lowered third in the realm of C Major or A minor (thereby keeping the B natural) and would have loved to see how she might have handled it. But kudos to her for playing with notes and music patterns as she does!

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“Radioactive” in Concert this week!

I am super stoked to have been invited to perform “Radioactive” on my 6-string fiddle with the Cal Poly Sax Quartet this Monday night, Feb 19 at 8pm!

Joining us on drums will be the amazing Damion Frigillana.

The whole concert is going to be amazing, and I’m really looking forward to jamming on this awesomely fun fiddle part with the group! <3

Get tickets here!