Ben Folds Composes a Song LIVE for Orchestra In Only 10 Minutes

[applause] Alright, so [applause] OK, so I want you to know we have not
rehearsed anything here, okay? This is all going to be new. The orchestra, actually, has no idea what Ben's going to do. In fact, Ben doesn't know what he's going to do
because he's going to ask you what to do. So a couple of things. I would like from
the audience a key that Ben can work in. [audience shouts out suggestions] Whoa, that's a lot of people. I think I heard an A-minor in there. Okay? Okay A minor. Now could somebody give me a tempo. Do you want here ballad or do you want to hear something more upbeat. [audience: "upbeat"] Pretty universal. Okay now does anybody have a program booklet that has an interesting sentence in it? And because I can't decipher 50 sentences coming at once I'm gonna have some volunteers from the front here… Call out a sentence to me
that's interesting. [audience calls out] I'm sorry, one more time. These new spaces are all designed to be flexible. Yeah, yes. [audience laughter] So, Ben is going to improvise in A minor, an upbeat song on "these new places are designed to be flexible." [applause] It has to be something completely new, right? [plays first 4 notes from Beethoven's 9th] OK [laughter] OK A minor. These new spaces are all … designed … [audience laughing] to be flexible. [laughter] These new spaces are all all designed … to be flexible, flexible, flexible, flexible. Okay let's see, now let's see… [applause] Cellos, let's try, um, Arco go um… [plays piano] [cellos play, correspondingly] Yeah and then just one on the second one. [makes rhythm sounds] Great. Now let's move that down, then the same, the
same thing and we can go to F so so that's, that's the A minor that's and
that's with a 9 on it so [makes rhythm sounds] [makes rhythm sounds] and that's an F, a concert F. The C, G [makes rhythm sounds], 2 there [makes rhythm sounds] and then a low C Eeeee So whole cycles. Okay great, now let's see, uh, Let's do one size fits all sort of thing for the, uh, uh, the winds, reeds let's just take, like, flutes, oboes,
and bassoon, clarinets, and just it just it this can be in whatever octave spread you want and we're gonna go… No, no, let's just make it a harmony we go I'm taking them out. Just, clarinets, two clarinets go E, concert E, and G go… Let me hear that, make sure I don't suck. [laughter] That's it. OK you can let me hear that with the cellos for a moment… 3, 4… Okay that, so when we go to that E we're gonna do that. So the first, the first one is uh, Sorry this takes a second to create a
whole song. [laughter] And I'm gonna take something back
about the cellos, let's just do that one cycle on each one [rhythmic sounds: bum, bum, bum, bum] and yeah [rhythmic sounds: bum, bum, bum, bum] And then, ah Then the clarinets Yeah, so let's try that. Two, three, four Ok this last one of the cycles goes So move that, ah, G up anyone has the G moving up to G sharp Okay great. Now, uh, uh, Okay, uh, violins, first violins let's go, uh, A Great and then the second violins go up… Uh, so you'll go to E. Eeee…B OK, you're going… Great, let's hear it all together, make sure it's not crazy. two, three, four OK, great. Thank you, now, uh.. I'll give the, uh, the viola a little timing sizzle here, just go… one, Great, perfect, and then and then double-basses you know what you must do… [applause] OK, let's start it from the top. Now if there's anyone who would like a drum set you know what to do… [laughter] Um, and, uh, then I'd say, uh, you know if there's a trumpet player that wants to take a solo after the first course when I run out of ideas then you can just jump right in. OK, so let's, uh, and then, you can bring anyone in and out that you want to but I think I'm probably almost over
my time when, I had to write a song in ten minutes so… let's just start in, or close to it. one, two, three, four… For more than 25 years the JFK Center, with the performing arts has served as a living memorial to President Kennedy by bringing an unparalleled diversity to our arts. Our nation's capital… And serving a critical role as a leading provider of the arts education mission across the USA and around the world These new spaces… [laughter] are all designed to be flexible These new spaces are all designed … Let's milk it, make it a little bit
louder now. Mezzo forte. Forte Double forte… double forte Fortissimo. Fivetisimo Let's take it out now, you ready? Way down here… [applause] Thank you very much. [applause] Um, so for those of you that are obviously liking Ben Folds' work… [laughter] Available in the lobby… he will be the next artistic advisor for the National Symphony Orchestra. [applause] Mr. Ben Folds. [applause]

32 thoughts on “Ben Folds Composes a Song LIVE for Orchestra In Only 10 Minutes

  1. 7:00 kind of sounds like a bit like Ghosts I by Nine Inch Nails ( or at least something off Ghosts I-IV

  2. I could do this easily but have never had the chances in life. When you go into music as a young musician you need contacts to break through or you don't get anywhere. Nobody knows or believes that when they're young, and I spent all my life trying but for nothing. Unless you know somebody already in the music business at a high level, you're wasting your time, so best to keep it as a hobby. The other thing is is that music (like all arts) is a matter of opinion, so insiders can recruit their own friends and family… and they do. Outsiders have zero chance unless they're supremely talented like Stevie Wonder or Sting. The rest, like me, languish in obscurity, regretting that they ever bothered. What Folds does here should be within the capabilities of many reasonably good musicians or composers. I could do 100 times better but I'll never get the chance. Bitter much.

  3. Drumkit!!!!!!! shoulda come in way earlier!!!!!! Also, needed a lot more rhythmic percussion! like shekere, caxixi, backbeat with cross stick, and 16th notes on the hats!

  4. I could tell he was a musical genius just from listening to him as a judge on The Singoff. I had no clue what he was saying, but it sounded good!

  5. i know this is more for entertainment, but it could actually be used educationally to teach students/kids about instruments.

  6. It really isn't hard to do this. I have done it with middle school children in a group piano class with synthesizers. He is using a very stereotypical pop song chord progression mystified encased in Steve Reich Phillip Glass minimalist harmonies.

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