Happy Holidays! “Keys” To Christmas

Seasons Greetings from Ed Przyzycki, of Ed Edited It Productions!

“Keys to Christmas” is our latest free music album, just in time for the 2014 holiday season, with music performed and arranged by Ed Przyzycki.

Liner Notes for “Keys to Christmas”

I bought my first music keyboard in 1998, and promptly recorded a holiday album called “Heart for the Holidays”. Why? Simply to try out all what the keyboard has to offer. Fortunately for me, the feature song with the same title which I wrote and performed, was featured on WGN-AM Chicago radio during the holiday season. After many songs, and many years, my trusty Roland XP-50 died in late 2013.

Early in 2014, I was inspired to begin a search for a new keyboard, and ended up with a new Yamaha MOXF8. Just like “Heart for the Holidays”,  I decided to put the keyboard through its paces by recording a holiday album. “Keys to Christmas” has the same general feel of my last holiday album, with a variety of keyboard sounding styles and genres.

01- Jingle Bells: A trumpet concerto, which may or may not make Bach proud. I’m not the most thrilled with the particular trumpet set I used. I ended up altering it from the default MOCF performance. Brass instruments are always the hardest to get right. Maybe next time. I do like the authentic harpsichord sound. (Performance > Splits/Layers > USR2 – C08: Trumpet Concert)
02- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: When you have your own Yamaha Electone FS500 organ, it’s my go-to choice for organ music. But since the MOTIF series offers quite  a lot, I thought I’d give an all-keyboard version of this a try. (Performance > Jazz > USR2 – C12: Blues Organ Trio)
03- It Came Upon a Midnight Clear: This is the MOXF’s “Fairy Tale” performance right out-of-the-box. I love it. (Performance > Splits/Layers > USR2 – GE08: Fairy Tale)
04- I Saw Three Ships: When I started auditioning various world sounds, and came across this one, my mind went right to this song. It’s one of my favorite arrangements for this song.  (Performance > World > USR 1 – B15: Multi-Cultural)
05- Let it Snow: Not so sure about this one. Maybe a little too “out there”. I do like some of the electronic sounds in the background, they generate a “ice cool” sound in my mind. Why did I do that bizarre overused piano thing in the beginning? Makes me cringe.  (Performance > Electronic > USR1 – G09: Traumzeit)
Keys To Christmas06- “Little Drummer Boy”: This one worked out pretty well. Like the oboe sound and the drums seem to work. It could use a bit more variation or something. Maybe it’s just that these songs are just so overplayed.  (Performance > Rock Pops > USR1 – E03: Auto Ballad)
07- “O Little Town of Bethlehem”: Amen to this one. Sounds like church. Check. (Voice > Organ > PRA 2 – A06: St. Peter)
08- “Holly Jolly Christmas”: Do you think Santa Claus drinks Martinis? He would if he walked into this jazz bar. But where’s the piano player?  (Performance > Jazz > USR 1 – G12: Smooth it Over)
09- “O Holy Night”: I like how this one builds in intensity. Had trouble with the volume and getting it to normalize with the rest of the tracks. Sometimes I think it’s too quiet, but then I think, “Hey, it’s ‘O Holy Night'”, and it’s supposed to be that way. Some people are going to hate the drums. Yep, I’m missing with tradition. I like the voices, but there’s some rouge tenor and bass singers that got out of control at the end a bit. All stuff I’d like to fix if I had a multi-million dollar studio and millions of dollars. (Performance > Electronic > USR2 – G07: Chillin Keys)
10- “Fum Fum Fum”: The first track I recorded. When I came across this performance on the MOXF, I just started into ‘Fum Fum Fum’. I still start a little jive every time I hear it. (Performance > World > USR1 – A15: Andy Garcia)
11- “Heart for the Holidays”: Had to try it again. Thought it would be a good comparison to 1998. Bad idea. This was the last track I recorded, and I was tired. Had trouble with the recording, mixing, playing, and everything. (Custom Mix, starting with Voice > Piano > Piano & Ooh Choir)
12- “Deck the Halls”: I really liked it when I did “Jolly Old St Nick” using a quadruple tap delay on the first holiday album. I tried to rekindle the magic, but I don’t think it worked. It’s not bad, but it’s not really what I was trying for. Maybe if I had more time. Or, maybe next year. (Custom Mix)
13- “Auld Lang Syne”: I downloaded a ‘Yamaha S6 Intimate’ sound, so I wanted to see how a solo piano would sound recorded. Something in the recording process made it more ‘digital’ than when I play on the MOXF live. Not a fan of how I played the ending. But a great sound nonetheless.
14- “Not So Blue Christmas”:  I love the rockabilly piano boogie style, but I’ve never really taken an opportunity to do something with it. I laid down the drums, followed by some random organ and bass sounds, then through in another with piano. Almost forgot about a real melody, so I then added the clean guitar sound to actually make it a real song. Wish I could have recorded it a few different ways to get rid of the bad notes. The weird processed piano glissandos happen when you forget and accidently quantize a glissando. This one is my favorite.

 

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