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Topic: Sandstorm - A work in progress

  1. #1

    Sandstorm - A work in progress

    Hello folks

    This piece is, all disclaimers aside, quite unfinished at the moment.. However I wanted to post what I had completed so far in order to possibly get some feedback for improvement as I keep trucking on writing.

    This is part of what will be the first movement of my 4-mvt. work Four Elements. As is somewhat obvious, Sandstorm represents the earth element. It will eventually move into the fire element, die down for the wind element (Lighting Field, which I've already posted), and then meditate for a while on the water element.

    Now, this movement is based on an Indian raga for the sunrise. The actual name escapes me, and my bookmarks are being somewhat unreliable at the moment... In any case, I took the scale and began writing in what a usual raga form consists of, albeit much shorter since most ragas go for upwards of 30-60 mins It starts with a somewhat free section that explores the scale. It transitions into a more rhythmic section that establishes the melody and rhythm. The percussion then kicks in and it begins its rollercoaster ride, gradually accellerating and becoming more elaborate.

    Of course, the challenge for me was to create this using only western instruments. If I had more world instruments in my collection, I would've used them for sure, but I thought it was an interesting hurdle to get over nonetheless. So eventually I came up with the instrumentation:

    Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, Bassoon, Contrabassoon, 2 harps, full strings. I also decided to retune the harps so as to create a somewhat dissonent buzz between them, more characteristic of a sitar's drone.

    I appologize if I ramble a bit in these posts, but I do like to get the creative process across In any case, here is what I have thus far:

    Sandstorm (Unfinished)

    Things to do:
    - Finish writing, obviously
    - Add dynamic de/crecendos
    - Add percussion
    - Loosen up rhythm on 'solos' so it's not so square
    - Add gracenotes and pitch fluctuations
    - Create giant accellerando during rhythmic portion

  2. #2

    Re: Sandstorm - A work in progress

    I can almost see the camels and the dunes and the blazing sun.

    This is good work. I enjoyed your creation. It is definitely mysterioso desert music. You paint a realistic picture.


    Larry A.
    Larry G. Alexander

  3. #3

    Re: Sandstorm - A work in progress

    I agree,

    It perfectly encapsulates an exotic distant land.

    My only comment, and perhaps it's due to the quality of my headphones, or a reverb issue, but the voices seem to be competing with each other in terms of tonality. The lead harp could stand out a bit more, not volume but perhaps brightness?

    Also If you're interested in a few reference samples of this musical style genre , I could recommend "The Prince of Egypt", or "The Mummy" soundtrack. They may not be as pure in terms of cultural integrity, ( a bit Hollywood) but it could be an interesting listen.

    Great work!

    .. Looking forward to hearing more

  4. #4

    Thumbs up Re: Sandstorm - A work in progress

    this is a very good piece! You hve absolutely to go on with this.

    In my humble opinion I will make some modifications for the orchestration:
    - I will add a solo violin to layer with the full string patch.
    - I will add a little more 'verb on the strings.

    Anyway this song sounds really good without any expression I can only image how it will sound with them added!!!

    thanks for sharing this work in progress.

    Best regards,

  5. #5

    Re: Sandstorm - A work in progress

    Very nice work, I look forward to the finished version! Whatever scale your using works great, as I close my eyes I am transported to another world. I especially like when the rhythm picks up. I might suggest, though it might just be my cheap pc speakers, perhaps lessening the intensity of the bass instruments, as it seems to sound a little thick and muddy when the rhythm starts going faster. Overall, I love it! Great job!
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  6. #6

    Re: Sandstorm - A work in progress

    Thanks so much for the feedback so far! This is the kind of stuff I was looking for, totally appreciate it.

    As a side note, this is all directly from Sibelius without any tweaking yet. Once I finish the piece, I'll be taking it into my brand new copy of SONAR 5 and making it sing That, and give its shiny convolution reverb a spin... *Devious mad composer laughter*


    Anyways, thanks again. Continuing to slave away at the digital canvas

    p.s. On a side note, in my religion studies class today we got to watch a rather recent Bollywood film called Lagaan. Really well-produced, quite the epic! The music was top notch and hilarious at times, and I noticed... They used sampled instruments for the songs! Lots of pop-influence as well, which was interesting to see. Right, tangent over!

  7. #7

    Re: Sandstorm - A work in progress

    Leif, I agree, the music evokes a mood very well..... All the good things the others said, I agree. Great start!
    My only suggestion, since no one else offered this, is regarding the persistance of the beat, and the underlying eigth note pulse. Great technique, but I want you to break out of it... I want the wind to come along and the mystery and the arabian style gauzy curtains to take over for a minute and for the music to leave the ground, so to speak..... I think leaving the beat, dropping the pulse out, and coming back to it might be effective.

  8. #8

    Red face Re: Sandstorm - A work in progress

    oops, sorry, Cobalt, I don't know where I got Leif. I'm new here.

  9. #9

    Re: Sandstorm - A work in progress

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieM
    oops, sorry, Cobalt, I don't know where I got Leif. I'm new here.
    My signature Leif's my real name. No worries! And thanks for the comments/suggestions~ I'll take that into consideration, though really I'm following the raga form which has that continual beat which will eventually lead into the 2nd movement. There might be room to wind down towards the end though instead of transitioning right away. I'll think about it

  10. #10
    Senior Member valhalx's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Wine Country, Colorado

    Re: Sandstorm - A work in progress

    Mahv-alous!! The only criticism I can offer...well...MORE. It is dripping and oozing with desert ambience and really hits the mark. Can't wait to hear the finsihed and tweaked version.
    Never look at the trombones. It only encourages them. Richard Strauss

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