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Topic: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

  1. #1

    "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

    "I Heard the Laughter"

    From my stage musical, "Dorian - The Remarkable Mr. Gray," this song/scene immediately follows the quasi-Elizabethan "Non Nonny Ho" which is the most recent posting from my show previous to this.

    I Heard the Laughter - MP3

    vocal score PDF

    As with everything I've posted from my musical, these are the instrumental backing tracks which will be the "orchestra" for the show's first staging in April 2008.

    In the intro, the Elizabethan mood continues, only in a teetering 5/4 meter. Then it settles into 6/4 and 9/4 as Sibyl pours her heart out in an almost manic mood.

    The piece develops into an argument with Dorian, and builds to a semi-Operatic duet when Dorian rejects Sibyl for having made a fool of herself.

    Throughout, Sibyl has been dancing, trying to force Dorian to waltz with her. The choreography will be frantic and dizzying with the two characters' contrasting moods--her giddiness and his stoic refusal to give in to her.

    As usual, impossible to convey how all this really works in context of the musical, but you can at least hear the music as a thing unto itself.

    The vocal score PDF shows just the two vocal lines, and may be of interest especially since the melodies aren't always part of the orchestrations--notably in the opening when Sibyl's talk-singing passage has the English Horn dancing around her simple vocal line.


    --For those who have been following the "Dorian" posts closely, there are leit motifs to catch. The melodic recurring chorus of Sibyl's in this song is the very first theme heard in the show's opening number, "Prelude"--it's the theme for Dorian's music box.

    --This song ends with Sibyl alone, crumpled on the floor, and she sings a brief reworking of the chorus from "Why Didn't Somebody Tell Me Before" in the medley "Into The Sun."

    GPO is the main sound source, supplemented by some Sound Fonts and my Korg X5DR hardware module.

    Randy B.

  2. #2
    Senior Member squoze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Re: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

    Wow. I liked this very much.
    The dynamics of the orchestration, the variety of sound combinations, the rhythm variations make this orchestration a winner.
    With all the variations, it remained a single, encapsulated musical idea to me.
    I'd love to hear the vocals at some point. Nice job.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2004
    Wilton, NH

    Re: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

    Excellent, as all of these excerpts are. I looked at the vocal score real quickly but just to read the words, but I didn’t even try to follow along this time.

    Oh, BTW -–“--For those who have been following the "Dorian" posts closely, there are leit motifs to catch. The melodic recurring chorus of Sibyl's in this song is the very first theme heard in the show's opening number, "Prelude"--it's the theme for Dorian's music box.” -- In all of your little clips you have been posting I have noticed references to earlier music.
    Trent P. McDonald

  4. #4

    Re: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

    Wow,!...A fitting title!

    There's so much going on here.

    Nice transition from the Elizabethan intro towards a more contemporary theme. The conflicting interplay/dialogues work wonderfully.

    ... and quite the climactic build near the end!

    You've certainly achieved all that you described in your outline. And love the music-box reference at the very end.. creates nice sense of isolation/sadness as it all winds down...

    Excellent work, Randy!


  5. #5
    Senior Member LHong's Avatar
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    May 2000
    San Jose, Ca, USA

    Re: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

    As usual, I like your music; it presents as the Professional - Music – Production.

    A beautiful Dramatic Orchestration that impressed me as much as I listened more and more…I can tell it is not easy to compose, whatever the workflow being used, the details like not something we can get it done in a few days, in other words? How could you make time?
    You must be expert in the 3/4 and 2/4, etc Time Signature’s composition and various tempos' adjustment. This made the song’s none-stop being excited from the great introduction to the excellent ending. Not mention about its contained, the string is excellent and has solid-mixing/arranging skills, where to shine the entire entertainment kind of songs that I’m mostly interested, in addition!

    It’s simply great as State-of-art with colorful painting pictures that we see in the included Main Title (bitmap) Picture.


  6. #6

    Re: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

    It's immensely fun to share these pieces from my show here. And it's always so appreciated when I get to hear back from some of the people who listened.

    So, THANK YOU Squoze - And I wish you could hear vocals for this also. I've done a few vocal demos on previous "Dorian" posts, but it's not practical to do very many. Next year when the first production is done in April, I'll be getting a good cast album of the production--You can hear it all then!

    Trent - Thank you, and I especially appreciate knowing that you've been catching the recurring themes woven throughout the whole piece. I couldn't be sure it was possible to do that, with these posts being sprinkled over so many months. But the motifs are a point of interest, glad you're catching them.

    Bow of thanks to you also, Jeff - Ah you liked the sad music box ending. Sibyl is alone, crumpled on the floor in her gorgeous Juliet costume, looking quite like the crushed flower.

    And Long, I am also honored to have you here listening and apparently enjoying so much, thank you!

    You are certainly right, that this and all the other pieces are not things I could do in a few days. They've grown over quite a period of time, in some cases, years. The initial burst of composition is the shortest period, then the whittling away, the editing, first the piano arrangement, then the trial and error period of orchestration.

    A big round of applause for the guys on the Cakewalk Forum - They helped me out tremendously as I was doing test recordings of these pieces. I struggled through many versions with different reverbs, EQs et al before settling on an approach which worked for the full 2 hour project.

    You commented on the constantly changing tempi and time signatures. The time sigs come first--First, I work away from any instruments. I hum and sing, turning off my critical, analytical brain as much as possible. When I finally move to the piano to start plunking out the melodies that have stuck most in my head, I'm usually surprised at how a variety of time signatures have crept into what I was humming. Most of those kind of changes remain as I flesh the ideas out.

    Tempi is something that emerges as I do the initial piano arrangement, and tends to get broader and more dramatic as I go. I try to have the majority of changes mapped out before I start expanding the arrangement into an orchestral score, so that when I play each instrument, I'm following that invisible conductor. I'm a DAW user - I just HAve to play the instruments, without aid of plugins to add random MIDI events for me--I just have to do all that myself. The results, to me, are more satisfactory than recording at one tempo and then superimposing changes later.

    Something that inspired me to feel more bold with tempi was importing .wav files of classical works and then working out a tempo map for them in my Sonar program. It's illuminating to see just How varied the pace can be, and how fermatas can look -etc.

    Excitement - Big smile from hearing you use that word, Long. I've always been excited by good music, since I was a child. There was a long period of being hooked on pop music, and that reached a height during the "Art Rock" period of groups like Emerson Lake and Palmer. And musical theatre has always been a love. That's why my taste in classical music tends to be for things which are big, lush, and dramatic. Influences filter down, and like anyone, I find myself writing in emulation of the elements which excite me most.

    Final thank you for even enjoying the illustration I found online for this. She is perfect, looking beautiful and colorful, but with a pensiveness--I'm ready to dance with her, even if Dorian isn't!

    Thank you all!

    Randy B.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Jan 2005

    Re: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

    Really liked the odd meters - it reminds me a little of Britten's music for his opera Gloriana, which was Elizabethan-with-a-modern-twist kind of piece. (Very nice, too). This piece - yours, Randy- has a lot of energy, and keeps moving along without being monotonous or motoric. The way you go effortlessly from singing to dancing is admirable (and yes, I know it is not effortless...).

    As always, this piece impresses, and continues to grow on me. Yes me, the guy who keeps saying how much he doesn't like musicals. Randy, you're going to make a liar out of me yet!
    Ron Pearl





  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    May 2006
    Penfield (Rochester), NY

    Re: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"


    Great light work, really fitting orchestration. Really enjoyed listening to it as with others of your Dorian postings.



  9. #9

    Re: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

    Ron, I'm tellin' ya, having you follow the progress of these "Dorian" posts and having a good time despite your general disinterest in musical theatre - that is one of The most fun things for me every time I put something up.

    Britten! Nice - shrinking to be mentioned in the same breath, but I surely appreciate the analogy.

    And, especially after hearing most of the current crop of Broadway hits, I have to say what I have before - That perhaps part of your surprise over these pieces, Ron, is that I really haven't written this in any established Broadway mold. It isn't a typical musical. It's not comprised of a lot of "take out" songs, for one major thing. Most of the songs are impressionist musical passages with the lyrics being the dialogue that propels the story. It doesn't sound like Opera, but has more in common with Opera than traditional musical theatre pieces.

    To be fair to modern musicals, an incredible variety is happening now, and the restrictions of bygone eras are long gone--There are intelligent rock score like for "Spring Awakening," gorgeous and highly original takes on pop music of the 1940's in "Grey Gardens," the sophistication and incredibly refreshing styles of "Light in the Piazza" - yes the variety on Broadway is Very BRoad these days.

    So I could be wrong, and maybe some NY producers could find Broadway potential in what I've written, but I feel it's even farther afield of the traditional musical style than the above musicals. It could very well be thought of as not "commercial" enough.

    As I wrote the show, I really picture a different venue with even more room to stretch and be different than on the modern Broadway stage--The excellent regional theatres dotting the landscape, the light opera companies, the better University theatre departments. NY is no longer the only place where new stage musicals are born.

    But--who knows? The show will have its maiden voyage next April. We'll get as many potential producers, backers, theatre directors to see it as we can - and then we'll get a good video and cast album to demo the show with. Then - hopefully it will keep being re-born, to whatever level on the professional ladder which is possible.

    Many many more musicals are ever written than which ever see any kind of production. I'm glad I've so thoroughly enjoyed the creation process, and naturally, I hope the show will continue to have a life for years to come.

    Randy B.

  10. #10

    Re: "I Heard the Laughter" - from my musical "Dorian Gray"

    I sure like this randy. I can see someone dancing in the street. This is another of your numbers that has a little of that 'elfman' touch. Just a great sound. I also like the image that you posted with this. Who painted it?

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