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Matto, caldo, soldi, morto...girotondo

I got a huge package of CDs from Quartet Records and I am so excited to listen to them! But I am waiting on a new CD player to hook up to my computer—the old one won’t mount with Monterey. Such problems. (Forgive me, I listen to music on my computer.)

One of the new titles is Vergogna Schifosi by Ennio Morricone—just sitting here, waiting for me to listen to it, mocking me—which reminded me of this great cover version I found a while back on YouTube of “Malto, caldo, soldi, morto...girotondo.”

I had to look up what that means. Google translate says, “Malt, heat, money,” Somehow I think that’s not quite accurate, but anyway...

The YouTube page says this is a “Recital at University of North Texas, March 20th, 2014, Denton, TX with Robert Gomez (Guitar) Marion Powers (Voice), David Pierce (Trombone), Buffi Jacobs (Cello), Tamara Cauble Brown (Violin), Evan Jacobs (Piano), Ross Schodek (Bass), Zach Forsyth (Drums) and Ronan Delisle (Acoustic Guitar).”

They also did a Francis Lai classic. These guys are good!

This reminds me of two things: One, I love these songs.

Two, having spent some 30 years listening to demos from people wanting to be film composers—this is a very big topic, and I’ll just scratch the surface today.

Suffice it to say, people have sent me music from time to time, or I’d check things out on composers’ websites—and to say the least, it’s almost always disappointing.

It’s very similar to the field I’m trying to break into: screenwriting. Almost everything you read is not very good—and that includes a good 10–15 years’ worth of my own stuff. In fact, I’d say 90–95% of what you come across is worthless and arguably unreadable.

But music is much more complicated to execute. A screenplay you can just write on the computer. Music needs to be performed and produced.

Whether that’s by yourself on a computer, or a small group of musicians—it’s more like asking a screenwriter to create a demo film, not just write the script.

But I can’t tell you how many times I have heard composer demos from computer software and the result was...not good.

I guess you could say it was hard to tell if it was the composition or the performance—but in truth, usually both are pretty bad.

But listen to these two tracks, above. It’s a nine-musician group. They’re pretty good, but, I presume, they’re students (or at least were at the time).

The songs are great. They are tuneful, charming, memorable, well constructed, well-balanced in the ensemble. They’re classics.

If the music is great, you can get it to sound good. You can find people to do it. It might not be super easy, but it’s possible.

If either of those songs were ever something I came across on a composer demo, I’d be like, holy crap—and I’d tell everybody about it, immediately!

What you really need is the talent and perseverance to create great compositions and arrangements. And that’s a very rare gift.

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