This piece originally started earlier today as an experiment in working with 5 sections of keyswitched strings. Then, I decided to play around with some simple themes in 5/4 time and one thing led to another, including some cutting, pasting and transposition here and there. To bring a tiny bit of interesting variation to it, I also decided to modify the tempo (starts at 66 bpm, accelerates to 80, then 127, then down to 56, the up to 112, down to 64, slightly up to 80 and winding up at 64). The piece is subtitled “Music for Strings, Percussion and French Horn” as the percussion elements (cymbals, gong, snares, bass drum and timpani) are used as punctuation here and there and a French Horn decided to mimic a couple of Cello lines on an offset.
WARNING: atonal, challenging and (hopefully) controversial. This isn’t your grandfather’s Tchaikovsky (and I seem to have gotten a dose of “modernism” with my last cup of coffee!)
For those with ears brave enough, it's at the top of my usual Preview page.
Last edited by KevinKauai; 11-04-2004 at 09:01 PM.
First, let me throw a great big disclaimer out on this one. Given that atonal music isn't my personal frequency, I can't really comment intelligently on it.
That being said, I'll just offer my gut feelings, for what they're worth. I take it from the Cinematic Exploration in the title that it might be something used in a film. Considered from that perspective, I think it could be quite effective in underscoring tense moments in a picture. However, I don't think it could run the full 3 minutes in that scenario. Much of art is based on the old tension and release thing, and this piece stays with a completely dissonant theme, offering nothing to relieve it, for its entire duration. Because of this, I feel that as a blind listen it gets stale after about the first minute, and in concert with a picture would probably start to lose the tension about then, as the listener would just get used to seemingly random notes.
If any of this is valid within the confines of what you were intending, I might suggest that you not run pure dissonance unbroken for more than a minute at most. To break things up, you wouldn't necessarily have to shift into an ode to Smurfs or anything so distressingly major and resolved, but you might at a couple of points try to bring a few elements together to form a melodic theme that the listener could lock on to for a few bars. If it was, for instance, a melody in a minor mode, it might not seem too out of place. Once you had them distracted, you could move back into the more discordant elements to generate tension once more, as it would appear as a fresh effect again.
Of course, if you're a Richard Bach fan, the last page of the Messiah's Handbook may well apply to this perspective...
To me, it's interesting stuff nonetheless, as it's a style that I haven't played with.
You are becoming quite prolific - not only in the number of works you product but in the divergence of styles. This is unlike anything you've done before. It's daring to go out and navigate some uncharted waters. And you even provided a warning for the atonal challenged (Tom and Hardy Hern can discuss this one )
What a strange piece. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, though. Actually it was quite interesting, kind of made me feel wierd listening to it, but not uncomfortable, kind of like that wierd feeling you have when you know someone is drawing your portrait, you know? Ah, maybe not.
The only thing I didn't like about it, and this may have to do with my inexperience with such kinds of pieces, was that it didn't seem to go anywhere, it stayed kind of the same throughout, you know?
It's interesting just how crazy you can get with music if its used in a film context- people don't seem to notice the music is dificult since there's a visual attached. I mean, if Bernard Hermman's famous shower scene music from Psycho had instead just been premiered as a concert hall piece there probably would have been riots ala Rite Of Spring...
Thanks to Fred and Sean for comments, Gary for encouragement and Christopher for pushing me to the direction of giving the ear a “rest” in a middle section. I’d love to say that I’d been toying with that, but it would be a fib. But when I read the “notes” it started to germinate earlier this evening. It finally hit on me to find a place where some of the dissonance and free-flowing parts could come to rest and “chill out” for a few bar, so I shoved everything from the beginning of bar 26 to resume at bar 36, opening up 10 measures (of 5/4). I introduced a French Horn choir to settle things down there and then brought in a simple clarinet solo line (with a tiny bit of simple harp accompaniment) to move things along.
Personally, I find this version a lot more listenable. As far as “going anywhere” Sean, sometimes you have to look inside to see where the piece is taking you. Part of my personal fascination with this sort of rambling atonal dissonance is the happenstance collision of things that come together somewhat arbitrarily and give a few moments of delight or wonder. (At least, that’s one of the underlying intentions.) Preview 2 of this piece is now at the top of my usual Preview page with some additional notes and documentation about the instruments added to this version.
thanks for all the comments given and to come ... KevinKauai
Part of my personal fascination with this sort of rambling atonal dissonance is the happenstance collision of things that come together somewhat arbitrarily and give a few moments of delight or wonder.
That's an interesting perspective on this sort of work that I'd not previously considered, and it will give me a yet another way of hearing things. Coolness!
Looking forward to giving the new version a listen on my next coffee break (man, will I be glad when I'm done with this web redesign)!
Man, the updates really give your work a natural sound! Love the overall spaciousness of the instruments. Quite an interesting work of art, sir. Nice! If you don't mind, I think I'll mingle a bit more on your site.