Jazzing up the incoming Year of the Rat with an Electone big band version of 春風吻上我的臉.
While drilling Kurosawa Daiju’s Big Band Christmas Medley in December 2019, a tragic thought occurred to me.
There are pathetically few Chinese New Year songs played on the Yamaha Electone, as far as YouTube is concerned. Even when using Chinese search words, I found less than five.
Every Christmas, Electone players throughout the world would upload dazzling Christmas performances. I myself make it a point to always play something technically challenging every Christmas.
In contrast, and despite the Yamaha Electone long being sold in East Asian cities like Singapore and Hong Kong, practically no one uploads anything for the Chinese New Year. Let alone arrange a CNY song.
The sheer tragedy of it!
And so, this. A rushed project over three weeks.
Now, it’s obviously inspired by and based on Kurosawa’s above-mentioned Christmas medley. As much as I tried to, I also still ended up using most of his drum patterns and tutti setups – no way I could come up with something better.
Regarding that, well, I need to address that in more detail. But for the moment. Here are the files. My video too.
Yamaha Electone Sheet Music and ELS-02C Registration Data for 春風吻上我的臉 (Spring Breeze Kisses My Face)
Warning! The registration and Finale PrintMusic files are zip files! You might need to disable your virus/malware protection before downloading.
(Ad by Google)
Hey! There are No Drums in The Registrations!
After much deliberation, I concluded I shouldn’t share the rhythms. Because I copied several drum patterns from Kurosawa’s Big Band Christmas Medley.
Nope, I didn’t do anything funky with the protected file. What I did was, I dissected the patterns sound by sound, micro-beat by micro-beat, using the R.P.P. Then I keyed in suitable amendments.
Despite the amendments, it is still his patterns, not mine. With copyright issues one of the reasons that crippled the Yamaha Electone organ market, I concluded it’s just not right for me to pass off someone’s work as my own.
Besides, it’s not that hard to program, as long as you’re patient … (The patterns, more or less, are built on the Big Band/Orchestra Big Band presets of the Electone Stagea) You just need to, well, spend some time on it …
- There is a certain part in the first stanza that I’m sure some would feel I used the wrong chords. In short, yes, I know it sounds weird. Unfortunately, though, every cover version I’ve heard handled those two bars differently. I’m hoping my overall feel isn’t too discordant.
- There are many bars with crochets on the second, third, and fourth beat. (All lead-ins, btw). I find it more entertaining, and more expressive, to play the second crochet with different degrees of Aftertouch.
- Does the Clarinet work well with a trumpet during the chorus? It sounds a little shrill towards the end, IMO. After fiddling with horns, Alto-Sax, etc, though, I really couldn’t achieve anything significantly better. That is, short of replacing the Clarinet altogether. Feel free to experiment if you have better woodwind combinations.
- There’s a brief Tenor Sax segment in the chorus. To highlight, I deliberately played some notes off beat so as to capture that breathy, draggy, Tenor Sax feel.
- My “visual concept” for this arrangement is, in truth, not that of a big band Jazz performance. Instead, it’s the song performed during a stage musical. (For example, a Chinese stage musical performance at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands) Because of that, I almost added finger snaps to the piano interlude. Because, you know, performers tap-dance during such interludes? Just something for you to consider experimenting with!
Check out my other Electone posts here!