A MIDI Moment:
Explorations into the Making of Anime Soundtrack Music

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Having connections in the music business, show host Mark Weiss is in a unique position to dig deeper into anime music than listeners might normally be expecting. Mark's involvement with radio & television production and his unending interest in picking apart anime music to find out what makes it tick, have resulted in some interesting listening on this weekly program lately. Mark is also a certified Bass Pig. See what he uses to listen to anime music at home at www.BassPig.com

Working in a production studio and using the same equipment used in major motion picture soundtrack production, Mark arranges popular anime themes into his own special renditions and performs them on a Kurzweil synthesizer/sampler, using a variety of synth sounds and samples of real instruments.

Several examples from previously-broadcast shows are available for listening below.

Hear Recently-broadcast Examples

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[Kurzweil] Laputa-Memories in the GondolaUsing K2500RS
[Kurzweil] Nausicäa-Bird Person PC2R-O VersionNEW! Played on the Kurzweil PC2R/O
[Kurzweil] Record of Lodoss War-Kaze no FantasiaUsing K2500RS w/ ProSonus samples
[Kurzweil] Madoka's Piano Files - EmotionUsing K2500RS
[Kurzweil] Madoka - Kyosuke No1 [St John's Lutheran Church, Madison, WI]Using acoustic impulse from this venue
[Kurzweil] Ayashi no Ceres - Scarlet PianoUsing K2500RS
[Kurzweil] FF 10 - To Zanarkand [St John's Lutheran Church]Using acoustic impulse from this venue
[Kurzweils & FS1R] Please Save My Earth - Memory of the TimesUsing K2600RS, PC2R-O and Yamaha FS1R (for vocal part)
[Kurzweil] Ah My Goddess! Illusion Using K2600RS, PC2R-O, ProSonus String Collection, KeySolutions percussion/bass
[Kurzweils] FF8 - Eyes on Me Using K2600RS, K2500RS, PC2R-O, KeySolutions percussion/bass
[Kurzweils]Card Captor Sakura-Kurayoru no utaUsing K2600RS, K2500RS
[Kurzweils] Joe Hisaishi - SummerUsing K2600RS, K2500RS, PC2R-O,
ProSonus String Collection
[Kurzweils] Lupin IIIUsing K2600RS, K2500RS, PC2R-O, KeySolutions percussion/bass
[Kurzweils] FF6 - Mystic ForestUsing K2600RS and PC2R-O
[Kurzweils] Macross DYRL - Angel's PortraitUsing K2600RS, K2500RS, PC2R-O, KeySolutions percussion/bass
[Kurzweils] KOR - Remeniscence of You in the Red Straw HatUsing K2600RS, K2500RS, PC2R-O, KeySolutions percussion/bass
[Kurzweil] Angel's Egg - PreludeUsing K2600RS
[Kurzweils] KOR - A Couple (Futari-de)Using K2600RS, K2500RS, PC2R-O, KeySolutions percussion/bass
[Kurzweils & Yamaha FS1R] Vampire Princess Miyu-OpeningUsing K2600RS, K2500RS, PC2R-O & Yamaha FS1R.
[Kurzweils] Wings of Honneamise - Rikuni's ThemeUsing K2600RS, K2500RS & PC2R-O.
[Kurzweils] El Hazard OvertureUsing K2600RS, K2500RS & PC2R-O.
[Kurzweils] El Hazard - IfuritaUsing K2600RS, K2500RS & PC2R-O.
[Kurzweils] FF6-Aria de Mezzo CaraterreUsing K2500RS & PC2R-O.
[Kurzweils] Ghost in the ShellUsing K2600RS, K2500RS & PC2R-O.
[Kurzweils] Spirited Away - Inochi no NamaeUsing K2600RS with altered Piano pgm
[Kurzweils] Tenchi Muyo - Ryoko's SongUsing K2500RS & K2600RS
The Meaning of Music, or, an interview with Jerry Gerber

This is probably one of the most lucid discussions on the meaning of music and what it takes to write music with passion, feeling and direction. The answer to the question, What is "fine art" music and how does it differ from "pop", "commercial and other forms of music? is answered about halfway through the interview. Highly recommended reading for anyone with more than a passing interest in music!

"There are many pieces of classical/romantic music which cause me to literally stand up with an exultation which runs through my whole mind and body, and in some instances I am filled with the urge to walk through walls, pushing all obstacles aside ... The nature of these actions is value-oriented, that is, the kind of actions, if taken in a non-musical context, would lead to the attainment of values or to the destruction of disvalues. However, a mere following the rhythm, or the beat, with feet or clapping hands, is action which is not value oriented. That is why the emotional and visceral effects of a great symphony are much more valuable to me---in listening, I am fully alive and going somewhere, achieving something with heart, mind and spirit. The world is great and beautiful and I am central to it. When I listen to most rock and heavy metal, it's like I'm very vigorously going nowhere----the world is loud, but small."
The Gestalt Theory of Music
A philosophical and technical article on the motives of music, how the composer sets up anticipation, and then violates it to create elements of surprise and heighten the interest. That article can be read here:
Beyond Emotion: The Gestalt Theory of Music
“The formulation of a common vocabulary of music would require these answers...It would require: a translation of the musical experience, the inner experience, into conceptual terms; an explanation of why certain sounds strike us a certain way, a definition of the axioms of musical perception from which the appropriate esthetic principles could be derived, which would serves as a base for the objective validation of esthetic judgments.”
Kurzweil Synthesizers, ROMplers & Samplers

"The Composer's Den" --an array of Kurzweil synthesizers, ROMplers and samplers. Well, there's also a Yamaha FS1R for those popular "anime-ish" FM sounds. The Kurzweil lineup includes the fully-loaded K2500RS, a brand-new fully-loaded K2600RS, and the fabulous new PC2R-O. MIDI controllers include Kurzweil's "ExpressionMate" Ribbon and the Peavey PC1600. Master keyboard is a Roland A-80 with piano-feel weighted keys. Everything's connected to an Edirol MIDI patch bay which links the whole setup to a PC running Cakewalk Sonar3 sequencer software for recording the notes.