Volume 1 / Chapter 53
Jo Hyung Joong could not spend all of his time on Jun Hyuk. He needed to listen to the two people practicing with zeal in the next room.
“Jun Hyuk, let’s work together again tomorrow. Can you make a score for the orchestra that goes along with the piano song you just played and bring it?”
“Yes, I’ll write that too.”
“Okay. Then watch other people practice here. You can watch the MIDI operations you’re interested in.”
They were not recording formal tracks. They needed to get used to their voices in the mic and practice their mission songs thoroughly.
The future stars dragged home their bodies exhausted from practicing until it was night. They had just completed their schedules that were packed from 7am to 10pm. They could not even go to sleep right away. They needed to show the vocal trainer and producer something better the next day. They needed to find what they were lacking.
Jun Hyuk sat at the desk and started writing out scores. Kwak Hye Sung watched enthralled as the notes filled the pages.
“Jun Hyuk, is this classical?”
“No. It’s an arrangement of the orchestra that’ll go in my mission song.”
“This is pretty simple… I’m going to use around 16 instruments, so it’s not that complicated.”
“I’m jealous. Really.”
Jun Hyuk put his pen down and looked at Kwak Hye Sung,
“What do you envy?”
“Your talent. Not everyone can create a song that a 16-person orchestra will play.”
“Not everyone can sing like you sir do.”
“You’re calling me sir again. Oy, forget it.”
Jun Hyuk did not use the nominals ‘brother, sister’ that everyone in the dorms used comfortably. Older men were ‘sir,’ ‘there’ or ‘excuse me’.
Jun Hyuk made everyone uncomfortable because it was difficult to become friendly with him, but they gradually became used to interacting with him at a distance.
“Anyway, what good is it if my range is wide. Teacher Jo said it too, I can’t bring out the emotion in the lyrics.”
The emotion in lyrics… Kwak Hye Sung saw Jun Hyuk smirk and spoke,
“Why are you laughing? Is it weird?”
“I guess you understand all of the lyrics of a pop song? Even when it’s in English?”
“That’s not it.”
“But you still like the song. There are times when we become so emotional we cry even if we can’t understand the lyrics. The lyrics are a problem for later.”
Kwak Hye Sung went next to Jun Hyuk in order to hear him well while Lee Hae Jun laid on his bed pretending not to listen.
“Have you seen Shawshank Redemption?”
“The movie? The one with Tim Robbins?”
“Yes. The one where he comes out with an old black man.”
“I saw that. It was really good.”
“In that movie, the main character turns on opera in the prison broadcast studio. The soprano duet so everyone in the prison can hear.”
“Oh… That scene?”
Kwak Hye Sung remembered the scene where all of the prisoners stared at the speakers.
“Do you know what that song is?”
“Yes. It’s ‘Letter Duet’ from Mozart’s opera ‘Marriage of Figaro’. What did you think of it?”
“Wow- it was just like the movie itself. The melody… angels, freedom… that kind of feeling?”
“Right. There’s a narration by the old black man as that music comes out, ‘That song must be about freedom. It was like birds had left their cage and flew over the prison walls, freedom…’.”
Kwak Hye Sung was taking in Jun Hyuk’s every word. Even Lee Hae Jun had gotten up at some point and was sitting at the edge of his bed to listen.
“But do you know what those lyrics really mean? That duet is like this; it’s a scene of a countess speaking as a maid writes out the letter. That’s why the title is Letter’s Duet.”
“Yes. There’s really nothing to the subject matter. ‘Under the pine tree in the bush’ ‘Pine tree?’ ‘Yes pine tree’ ‘Oh, pine tree’ ‘You understand?’ Stuff like that.”
“What? The lyrics are like that?”
“Yes. There’s no meaning. That’s all. Something about winds from the mountains surrounding the pine tree…”
“You don’t say.”
The thought that that beautiful song is just about a letter to meet under a pine tree. Kwak Hye Sung felt like a fantasy had come shattering down.
“It’s far from the emotions of freedom, angels, and wings.”
Kwak Hye Sung looked bewildered but could understand what Jun Hyuk was trying to say.
“So what I’m saying is to understand the sound before the lyrics. A singer is a sound. If the melody is great and that sound for that melody is good, people are bound to be impressed.”
“Use your voice? Hm…..”
“Why sing if you’re going to rely on the effect of the lyrics? You would just recite a poem. Don’t you think so?”
Kwak Hye Sung was beginning to understand what Jun Hyuk was saying. He even thought he might have wasted his time being satisfied with his ability to hit high notes and having a wide range in the past.
Jun Hyuk looked at Kwak Hye Sung frowning and spoke,
“Sir, do you want me to tell you how you can get to the first stage?”
“Really? What is it?”
“Get them with a high-pitch. Like a soprano.”
“Yes. Go between high notes and falsettos… You have to show the bass too, right? But instead of hitting the melody with the heavy tone, get that melody with a moderate tone and a wide range.”
To Kwak Hye Sung, it did not seem like this advice would be helpful,
“Whew… Do you think that’s possible?”
“Everyone is going to think that your sound is like a big iron rod. But it would be as if you are jabbing at people with the tip of a sharp fencing epee. They’ll be impressed and they’ll be seeing a different side of you. I’m pretty sure the judges will be surprised too. Then the game’s over.”
“But I can’t do what you said. I’m not good with the high-pitch notes and falsetto.”
“There’s still a lot of time left. And you have a really good vocal trainer, Ryu Sun Hee. Anyway, that’s all for my opinion.”
Jun Hyuk turned his chair and picked up the pen on the desk again.
“Uh… Jun Hyuk. Who do you think is the best?”
Lee Hae Jun who had only been listening to Jun Hyuk and Kwak Hye Sung’s conversation had approached them and spoke carefully.
They had not spoken since they got here and Lee Hae Jun had addressed him for the first time. But he was using informal speech.
He did not know how old Lee Hae Jun was but they looked to be the same age, so he thinking of throwing a punch at first calmed down when he thought of his boss’ warning.
Lee Hae Jun thought that Jun Hyuk was not responding because he was thinking of his response.
“Let’s see. If we’re looking at singing skills alone, Jessie?”
“Yeah. But that girl with the braces… Who is she?”
“Jang Na Rae?”
“Yeah. She improves so quickly I think she’ll be the winner in the end.”
“Jang Na Rae improves quickly?”
Kwak Hye Sung stepped in because he was surprised by Jun Hyuk’s words.
“She improves a lot every day during the vocal lessons. And her tone becomes more and more polished with vocal tuning.”
The unexpected Jang Na Rae would grow ominously. That meant there was another strong competitor. It was not something that Lee Hae Jun had wanted to hear,
“She can’t get that good in a month.”
“Why is it one month? It’s one month until the main starts, but an additional six weeks until the last round. She’ll grow even more during that period since she’ll be experiencing the real stage. And she’s learning from a producer right now. If they go against each other today, Jessica will win, but in two months, Jessica can’t keep up with braces.”
Lee Hae Jun had not thought of the real live stage. Could Jang Na Rae beat Jessica in a matter of two months? They could not know whether Jun Hyuk’s prediction would be right or wrong. What does this kid who even the judges call a genius think of him? Lee Hae Jun was becoming curious.
He spoke again carefully,
“What you do think of me?”