I like to wind two or three music boxes at the same time, and see if I can hear any interesting or haunting harmonies, or maybe some cool note sequences. I must be strange, because I think it sounds beautiful when different songs are playing at the same time with that sweet little instrument.
When I was writing my song, “End of the Beginning,” it had started with a simple and gentle piano introducing the main theme. It then built into a big orchestral thing, playing with the theme in grand major keys and dramatic minor keys. After all of that bombardment of sound, I needed it to finish with something gentle, to bring the end back to the beginning.
A brief aside: I have noticed that many metal players and bands only have one speed and one volume. In my opinion, this takes all of the drama out of the heaviness. To me, if music is all hard and fast, it becomes monotonous. It doesn’t seem extreme unless there is some kind of contrast. That’s the advice I’ve given to new metal players who have asked me.
Anyway, back to “End of the Beginning.” I wanted it to finish with just a quiet music box playing the theme. Back in 1993, there were no music box samples, so when I asked my producer, Dan Alvarez, about it, he started creating a music box sample himself by tearing apart a real music box and recording himself plucking one note at a time. He then played the theme on that sample. It was everything I had hoped for. It’s good to surround yourself with brilliant people!
Some people take chords for granted. Let’s say you write a nice melody in B minor. You don’t always have to play a