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Topic: Glissando composition question...

  1. #1

    Glissando composition question...

    Greetings fellow GPO users!

    I have a sort of novice composition question to ask of you fine talented composers! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] I know this may be a little off-topic in the GPO forum, please forgive me if I\'m posting in the wrong place. Now, I have been using GPO for about 6 months now and I love it. Just recently I\'ve been getting many opportunities to do student film scores and I use GPO extensively. I\'ve been in school for one semester for composition/ theory and I\'m on my summer break... so I have nobody to ask this question to.

    My question is about getting a rapid glissando effect in GPO. What I mean is a rapid glissando up or down usually used in a transitional type effect in the orchestra to bring in the next period, phrase, motif, or note, etc. I use LOGIC PRO and I know my way around it pretty good.

    I\'m well aware that all theory rules can be broken and nothing is really set in stone, *BUT* I\'m asking about the basic most commonly used compositional method at this time- then I can take it from there. I know a glissando can be 16ths or 32nd notes, triplets, barrowed time, etc. Do you go up/down the glissando with the diatonic scale, chromatic, certian intervals (2nds, 3rds, perfects, ect.), passing tones, arpeggios, or what? Any info or tips are appreciated.


  2. #2

    Re: Glissando composition question...

    A glissando is different things to different instruments. For the Harp a gliss is rapid playing upward or downward of all the strings which can be tuned in a number of ways, diatonic. chromatic (with limitations in stepwise motion) pentatonic or even an original scale. To a string instrument the gliss effect is quite different as it is produced by sliding the finger up or down on a particular string. A glissando can either be in upward motion or downward motion. Some good examples (although not complete) would be Debussy: Prelude to the afternoon of a faun (beginning) for a harp glissando. Ravel: La Valse for string glissandos. The clarinet is also capable of glissando playing as evidenced in the beginning of Gershwin\'s Rhapsody in Blue, not being a wind player I can not tell you how it is done however. The value of the notes of a glissando depends on the tempo of the work at hand. I find that in working with Sibelius, using 1/16 notes in an Allegro Moderato tempo is a good starting point. If it sounds too slow increase the value to 1/32 notes.

    Hope that this helps
    Ira Kraemer

  3. #3

    Re: Glissando composition question...

    Gee...isn\'t there a harpist in this group that can answer this? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Re: Glissando composition question...

    somebody doesn\'t like these cans!

  5. #5

    Re: Glissando composition question...

    I\'m somebody!


    I found my purpose!

  6. #6

    Re: Glissando composition question...

    We\'ll call them Opti-grab

  7. #7

    Re: Glissando composition question...


    I think there is someone by the name of Gary or something like that who knows a little about GPO and the harp. Anyway where is that guy when you need him? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Sure hope that he and Marianne are taking a little well deserved rest since Allen is holding down the GPO fort. But, most likely he\'s just working. What a guy. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    So although I know next to nothing about the mechanics of the instrument, perhaps I can shed a little light on the subject. A harpist plays a gliss by setting the pedals of the harp so that when she/he brags a thumb or finger across the strings the resulting sound will be that of a chord, or scale (major, minor, whole-tone or diminished etc.)

    I hate to bring up those infamous harp packets again, but if you have been using GPO for 6 months now I’m sure you’re aware of them. In them lies the answer to all things harpy and glissy. If you use them you don’t have to think so much about the actual note values as much as the following:

    <ul type=\"square\"> [*]On what note do you want to start your gliss, [*]The chord or scale you want to render, [*]The shape of the gliss. Does it rise only, fall only, rise and fall, or do you want a more complex pattern of slopes and curves [*]The note on which the gliss will end. [*]The speed of the gliss, start slowly and accelerate, do the opposite, or just play with an evenness of rhythm. [*]The dynamics; start soft and crescendo, start loud and decrescendo, etc. [/list]

    If you need to notate a gliss you can do the following. Lets say you have a simple gliss that will be based on an A minor chord. If you want to start your gliss on an A3, you can suggest the chord within the first notes of the gliss, then draw an arrow to the top and suggest the last few notes where the gliss will end. Check out scores from the composers that Ira mentioned above for examples of how to write them.

    The thing about a gliss, is that although one has to write it out as 32nd notes or something like that, a gliss is actually better if it is played with little regard to actual note values. This instability of rhythm is one of the factors that make harp glisses breathtaking. Often a harpist will start slowly then accelerate as he/she approaches the top then, decelerate as he/she/ comes back down again. It would be impossible to notate this clearly.

    Your piece will dictate what chord or scale will compose the gliss. So learn to use the harp packets, listen to the music that Ira suggested. A search on this forum will provide several threads on how the use the packets, or there might be something on Gary’s website.

    This was off the top of my head. It’s by no means complete. I’m sure I’ve not mentioned something important, or handed you somewhat of a line with this post, but it is how I think of the subject when writing music.

    Hope it helps a little,

  8. #8

    Re: Glissando composition question...

    for film scoring..you might be wanting to do what is commonly refferred to in the biz as a \"String Rush\" or \"Rush\". This is the sound where the whole orchestra...or string section...seems to glissando up or down.....or in series up and down...in a way that you can\'t hear any distinct notes...just a sort of \"whoosh\" up or down...

    If that is what you\'re looking to acheive..its normally handled by live performers by giving them all very fast chromatic 64th\'s.. Basically, you make it so that there is just not possible way for 80 musicians to all play that series of notes together in sync perfectly. so they all kinda play it as best they can..but the out of sync-ness ends up creating this kind of blurred out orchestral Rush...

    There are obviously many ways to augment that by using different scales, different instruments, layering something like harp on top (which you would actually probably hear the discrete notes more clearly stand out above the sound of the orch)...etc..to get different kinds of sounds..

    Now...the big question is how to acheive that with GPO...since you aren\'t dealing with 80 random players and their timing differences.. I haven\'t gotten that far yet..

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