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Monica Xiao | Piano Music Posts

A Night in Merzouga

Through a school window in Marrakech. Photo by Szabolcs Horvát.

Here is the link to my latest composition: A Night in Merzouga (Unlike in a recipe blog, I FIRST present my recipe, then write about every single thought I had during the day).

I have always preferred to listen to a piano solo. However, as a composer, I have many times seen the limit of my instrument. The piano is a powerful tool, but not omnipotent. In “A Night in Merzouga”, for example, the piano has talked a lot, like a stranger trying to paint a foreign world with his own words, but you don’t feel enough of it.  When wearing VR glasses, you can sometimes see the pixels of a movie. That’s like the piano effect to me, a “virtual” reality. Sometimes I find it important to stick to a solo instrument so other people can play it more easily. You can build a crystal castle with one kind of transparent shining stones which looks fantastic, and so can you build your style with one instrument. But the monotonous result simply doesn’t have the earthy feel that I missed from many places. My ears dig other sounds, too, and I allow them.

Let me show you some of the instruments I am gathering in this music:

  • Riq: an Arabic tambourine. Unlike the tambourine I have seen in the jazz band back in ND, it has fewer and bigger jingles. It was originally used in Egypt, but used in many other Arabic cultures.

    Riqq
    (picture from Wikipedia)
  • Drums. This is a picture taken by Sz in Merzouga. It is THAT night I am talking about,druming with some Nomads in the Sahara. I don’t know the exact name to these drums, but I think they are leather drums.Drums in the night
  • Krakebs. It is my first time seeing them. I found them throughout the souks in Marrakesh and in the dessert as well. They are the Berber version of the high-hat.

    Krakebs
    (picture from Wikipedia)

A friend of mine told me how she felt about the percussion. “Being kidnapped”, she said.

This guy plays great piano solo

By accident, a pianist Carlos Marquez found my CD on Bandcamp, and bought my album with the music scores. Later he contacted me and sent me a recording of Water Lily from his studio. It was a blast. It was my first time hearing someone play my composition better than my own recording, even though some parts are treated very differently as what I would have done.  It was truly an amazing moment. If you love impressionism, classical, colorful and soft tunes, make sure to check out his collection of recordings on SoundCloud.

Game Music

How to get people to listen to your music, probably in a cycle, for 100+ times without getting crazy 🙂 ? The answer is given as the title of this post.

Last week I was making some music for a  game that a friend’s company recently developed. The company’s name is “C-peak”. Previously they made gaming illustrations and 3D modeling.  It is a lovely android game called “Yi Zhan Feng Shen”(一战封神). In the game you fight with the powerful or the sexy spirits from the legends of China.

I will upload the tracks after it is officially launched. Update: The game is now launched!

I just love their graphics!

Yi Zhan Feng Shen