A while ago I provided a demo of what direction I was taking Bob’s theme. When I recorded that demo I was naïve about a couple things. First of all I had no idea how to record audio; now I do. Second of all when Kaelas (Robert Owens himself) listened to the theme and simply shook his head.
“It’s not Owens,” he said.
And I thought to myself, “How dare him!” How dare he offer criticism to his own character’s theme? Now to be fair I knew a good two thirds of the theme were subpar. But that last third was the part I stole from Ricky’s theme, and I loved that part. Seriously, how did he not see sacrifice I was willing to make by giving my own character’s theme his character’s instruments and….
Suddenly I realized what I was doing wrong.
Of course the theme didn’t fit Owens, it was originally gallant and upbeat, dashing and daring, bold and heroic. That’s not Bob at all. He’s down to earth, gritty, and a bit ill-tempered. Just because the guitar fits the cowboy theme doesn’t mean I can put any melody to it. So I got to thinking: How was I going to come up with something that would fit Owens? Well first of all, there was a piece of improvisation I did during the first demo that Kaelas did like. So more like that, I guess.
At Steampunk Symposium it was joked that Kaelas should carry around a guitar to complete his cowboy look. This would have been cool, except Yami’s guitar is BRIGHT RED. Though I guess it would match the bandana. Anyway, if Kaelas did carry around a guitar that would mean that Owens would be able to play one right? That got me thinking about how to go about hashing out his theme:
What would it sound like if Owens was playing his own theme around a campfire?
I can’t imagine that Owens got any formal training on how to play the guitar. Not to mention that’s half the reason the guitar exists, it was a cheap instrument designed to be easy to learn and play. So how does an amateur that’s held the instrument for years, but put no effort into it sound?
Now many of you may or may not know, but Radiant Vanguard meets usually about once a week to talk, game, and marathon movies or shows. This last week’s meeting I arrived at my usual time. Late. Kaelas was busy playing (read, abusing the sneak skill) in Skyrim and while we were all talking and watching Kaelas be thrown about the place by some Nordic zombie with the power of the force, I picked up Yami’s guitar and began trying to hammer out the Skyrim theme song while we chatted.
Now I don’t play the guitar, and in this context I don’t mean like when I say “I don’t play the piano.” Because that’s just me being modest. I actually don’t play guitar. Which meant, first of all, I attempted to try and treat the thing like a keyboard, substituting the keys for the frets and generally failing to get anything that sounded remotely good out of it. Secondly I couldn’t hit the notes in tune. (One of the two reasons I dropped the viola, pianos are just magically in tune.) Anyway, all that sliding around and frantically trying to hit the note gave me a good feel for how to do a rough demo.
So, have a listen. Try to see if you can visualize Owens kicked back against a dead tree. His hat askew over his eyes. He twists the tuning pegs slightly after hearing a sour note. The firelight flickers illuminating his jaw as he taps his thumb against the side of the guitar in rhythm with his melody-less song.
That’s it for today, buckaroos. Next time I might have something more concrete for drum practice, really. Unless I get distracted again.
–Kendandra, we’re done here.