The best parts about Halloween are the creepy decorations, festive parties, and creative costumes! But, when it comes to choosing something fun to play for Halloween, it may be a bit challenging to come up with a good playlist. Here are a few of my favorites:
Danse Macabre - by Camille Saint-Saëns’ in 1874
This music is based on a French legend about death appearing every Halloween at midnight. The violinist lures skeletons from their graves as they dance until dawn. I love this arrangement played by violinist virtuoso Chloe Trevor (below).
A Night on Bald Mountain – by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky in 1867
This piece was originally inspired by a short story about a peasant witnessing a witches’ Sabbath on Bald Mountain new Kiev on St. John’s Eve (June solstice). Rimsky-Korsakov later revised this piece and was used in the soundtrack for Disney’s Fantasia. Listen below.
Toccata & Fugue in D Minor – by J.S. Bach in early 1700s
This masterpiece has been used in classic horror films like The Black Cat and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Who, and Fantasia. Vanessa Mae plays an impressive electric violin arrangement (below).
This is Halloween - by Danny Elfman in 1993
This song is from the film, The Nightmare before Christmas. The haunting tune has also been featured in both HalloWishes at the Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland’s Halloween Screams.
Addams Family theme song – by Vic Mizzy in 1964
Couldn’t resist adding this one to the list. The Addams Family was a delightful and quirky show about a family of misfits based on the characters from Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons.
What are your Halloween favorites? I would love to know! Just click on ‘Comments’ at the end of this blog. Wishing you a scary Halloween! Suzy, Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com
Why do certain songs make us happy or overwhelmed with emotion? Why do babies enjoy Mozart? Why do you want to get up and dance when hearing a particular song? I can’t personally answer all the scientific know-how behind those questions, but I can give you some insight into the enjoyment of listening to music.
If you know a few essentials on what to listen for, you may appreciate the next tune you hear in a different light.
The 6 Essential Elements of Music
Many people are familiar with the essential elements of music, however, are not aware they are experiencing them. The next time you hear a tune, pay close attention to the six essentials. You may be surprised on what you hear.
As I wrap up this blog, I’ll leave you with the song that always makes me get up dance. What’s yours?
“The Art of Listening to Music” author: Suzy, violinist and founder of Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com
My personal top three are: #6. Take a day trip into the woods; #9. Be positive; and #13. Laugh out loud. What are yours?
Author: Suzy, violinist and founder of Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com
Is music from the movie "Titanic" or "Beauty and the Beast" appropriate for your wedding ceremony? The answer is yes! Incorporating music out of the ordinary is a great way to create a memorable wedding. For those of you out there that want to be different, here are 12 movie tunes that are perfect for an unforgettable ceremony.
The most important rule is, do not outshine the bride or bridesmaids! As a wedding musician, it’s important not to pull visual attention towards yourself or your ensemble. Most couples prefer their wedding music to help set the mood and provide beautiful music during the ceremony.
It is best to wear neutral colors that do not clash with the bridesmaids or wedding color scheme. Time and time again I have never regretted wearing my standard black & white dress. Black & white, and shades of gray goes with everything and provides a touch of class. When in doubt, of choosing more casual versus more formal, always steer toward the latter, you’ll be glad you did!
Vogue Violin’s recommendations for wedding musicians: You will always portray fashion protocol if you wear black & white attire or shades of gray. For summer weddings, gray suits are a good choice and go great with other musicians wearing black and white. Here are a few appropriate wedding attire examples (all available at http://shop.nordstrom.com/ ).
Not only is it easy to find these basic colors in any high-end store, they typically come in a variety of sizes and lengths. Have fun and much success to you!
“Fashion Protocol for Wedding Musicians. What to Wear?", author: Suzy, violinist and founder of Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com . Photo credits: Nordstrom online.
People often ask what is my favorite song to play. That’s a hard one to answer since it seems to change from month to month. But right now, my favorite tune is Autumn Leaves. It is a beautiful tune that has become a jazz and pop standard over several decades.
Autumn Leaves was originally called “Les Feuilles Mortes” which means the dead leaves. I think the new name change went in the right direction! Joseph Kosma, (French composer) and Jacques Prevert (French poet) wrote the song in 1945. Shortly after that in 1946, the song had its debut in the film Les Portes de la Nuit (Gates of the Night).
I have heard many different versions of the song both folk and jazz and must say, they are all fabulous! I’ve been working on my version and recently completed an arrangement for violin and guitar (video/audio to be coming out soon).
Until then, here is a beautiful version of Autumn Leaves with string bass, electric guitar, and piano by Les Paul’s Trio. Enjoy!
I'm curious to know if you liked the arrangement? If you have the time, please comment below.
“A Beautiful Jazz Tune – Autumn Leaves” author: Suzy, violinist and founder of Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com
Before signing on the dotted line, review your contract and make sure it includes the items below.
“8 Things Your Wedding Musician's Contract Should Have” author: Suzy, violinist and founder of Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com
Looking for something a little different for your wedding? Consider one of these three unique wedding venues: Glamping Resort, Tree House Resort, or Rustic Barn.
No that’s not a typo, a glamping resort is a glamorous campground. We’re taking comfy cozy! No tents to set up here! When selecting music for your glamping wedding, go with an acoustic guitar and folk singer to feature that outdoor camping flavor. To find a glamping resort in your area go to: https://glampinghub.com/.
Photo by: Glampinghub
Tree House Resort
How about a tree house wedding? Tree House Point located in Fall City, WA is top on the list for tree house resorts. Here you can choose just about any wedding music because electricity is available. Acoustic or plugged in, either way, you're good to go. For more information about Tree House Point, go to: https://www.treehousepoint.com/weddings.phtml
Photo by: Lloyd Photographers
Rustic barns are the perfect choice for either a dressed up or dressed down wedding style.
Photo by: Kristin Griffin Photography
If you choose the more dressed down style, a country music repertoire or Willie Nelson theme may be fun and different. Rustic barn weddings have been gaining popularity and can be found just a google search away. If you live near the Seattle area, an excellent choice is Pickering Barn in Issaquah, WA, http://issaquahwa.gov/pickeringbarn
Wherever you decide to have your wedding, enjoy the process and have fun! Congratulations and may you have many happy years ahead.
“3 Unique Venues for Your Wedding” author: Suzy, violinist and founder of Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com
I recently listened to an inspiring video on YouTube, Violinist David Garrett’s live concert in Hannover. He is AMAZING! No, the photo above is not the concert hall in Hannover. The best I can do is post a nostalgic photo of where I played several years ago at the Montalvo Arts Center.
Shortly after watching and listening to David's awesome video, I realized that he had selected a brilliant set list! So, what is it that makes such a perfect set list and entertains the audience so well? Of course being a handsome and talented violinist helps, but there really is an art to making a captivating set list. Here’s the set list that David used at his live concert in Hannover:
Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N’ Roses
Sabre Dance - Khachaturian
James Bond Theme - Monty Norman
Scherzo - Symphony No. 9 - Ludwig van Beethoven
Live and let die - Paul McCartney
Tico Tico - Zequinha de Abreu
Yesterday - The Beatles
Funiculi, Funiclua - Luigi Denza
He's a pirate - Klaus Badelt / Hans Zimmer
Palladio - Karl Jenkins
Sandstorm - Darude
Viva La Vida - Coldplay
Cry me a river - Justin Timberlake
Miserlou (Pulp Fiction) - Dick Dale
Leningrad - Billy Joel
Corelli – Variations on a Theme - Fritz Kreisler
Stop crying your heart out - Oasis
Smells like teen spirit - Nirvana
Music - John Miles
We will rock you - Queen
Encore: Let it be - The Beatles
Most musicians already know they need to start out with an attention grabber and end with a bang. The challenging part is choosing everything in-between that can make or break for a successful show. The perfect recipe for a great set list really boils down to 3 key factors:
Know the audience type: It is the musician’s responsibility to know who they are performing for and to know what kind of music they will enjoy. Different types of audiences prefer different genres, such as vintage jazz, swing, classical, Celtic, rock, show tunes, and so on. Once you know who the audience is, think about how you want them to feel or what kind of mood you want to create.
When speaking to the audience it can be rather awkward or downright fun. Either way, it's always good to engage with the audience, but keep it to a minimum. The audience appreciates a connection, but too much talking may be boring! When you are speaking, is should be just as special as the music is.
Order blending and transitions: Choosing the right songs in the right order is the most important task when creating a captivating set list. It’s best to start with a fast energetic song followed by another upbeat tune. To gain confidence, always start and end with your best songs. Your worst nightmare is to bore your audience. Try not to have similar songs, tempos, or keys one after the other. The transition from one song to the next should be gradual in volume and mood. Here's a few tips to keep in mind:
Be connected: Sometimes things don’t go as planned, so it’s important to be prepared! Be careful not to get so involved in your music that you forget to connect with your audience. Be aware if they're getting fidgety or seem non-interested. If the mood changes from ho-hum to happy every time you play something upbeat, take note! It’s good to have extra music ready and on hand to cater to the crowd.
A couple more tips:
If you have a short set like 30 minutes or so, start out strong, then bring it down a notch at the 20 minute mark, and end strong. For a longer set, such as an 1-hour gig, this formula works well: Start out upbeat, then gradually add more mellow tunes, slowly go back to upbeat, repeat, and end strong.
That’s it! Good luck, and have fun!
“How to Make a Captivating Set List” author: Suzy, violinist and founder of Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com
This morning while searching around the internet, I came across something that caught my eye. It’s from an unknown source but they hit it on the head on why I like music. Here's what they wrote:
Music is Science. It is exact, specific; and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor's full score is a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time. It embodies many levels of physics from acoustics to architecture.
Music is Mathematical. It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper, in a highly specific form with regard to exact placement and symmetry.
Music is a World Language. Most of the terms are in Italian, German or French; and the notation is certainly not English. It is a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.
Music is History. Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, taking on the emotion of a nation, region or a people. It is the only Art form we can hear as people hundreds of years ago had. Unlike paint, whose image is always there once created, Music is perpetually "Repainted" each time it is performed. The feelings and thoughts of countless generations are forever cast in Sound.
Music is Physical Education. It requires fantastic coordination of the fingers, hands, arms, lips and facial muscles, and control of diaphragmatic, back, stomach and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets. There are as many calories burned by a symphony trumpet player in one performance as there are by a quarter-back in a professional football game.
Music is Art. It allows a human being to take technical and sometimes difficult areas of learning and translate them into human emotion. It helps every person to recognize and understand beauty, and to understand love, compassion and how to live more fully within this world.
Boom, there it is!
What do you think? Did they hit it on the head? Let me know by liking or commenting below.
Suzy, violinist and founder of Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com
Suzy, founder of Vogue Violin and accomplished violinist.