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Topic: My Only Composition

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  1. #1
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    My Only Composition

    Greetings -
    I have mentioned before that I don't have a 'compositional' bone in my body. I arrange things - not create them. Over about 15 years of dabbling with computer music, to my recollection, I have only made 1 original composition. Since this forum is 95% original works, I thought that I might give my "widow's mite".

    This came about when my oldest daughter finished her course work to become a massage therapist. So I decided I would make an attempt at putting together some 'relaxation' music that she could use.

    I had just gotten some vocal samples and thought that this would be a good medium to use. They had a selection of major and minor chords with the entire choir humming in harmony (not separate parts). So this would be in 'perfect' harmony, not in equal temperment - which, except for octaves, is "out of tune".

    To make this piece for the forum, I decided to break up the vocal parts and double them (quietly) with GPO Lush Muted strings. (Afterall, posts are supposed to have some sort of Garritan library associated with them). Therefore, I needed to bring the 'inner parts' back into 'perfect' harmony (since the Soprano and Bass are octaves of each other). It turns out that the thirds are about 13 and 15 cents off, while the fifth is only about 2 cents off (I knew that the fifth was the closest interval in the equal temperment scale to being "in tune"). So I added the appropriate amount of pitch bend to each inner voice note to bring it into tune.

    I'm not sure what happened, but it sounded terrible! I really didn't investigate it, but it sounded like the pitch bend range was an octave instead of 2 semi-tones. And, since I was using corrections on the order of 560 and 640 (out of 4096 per semi-tone - or so I thought), this should have made only a slight difference instead of what I think may have been around a semi-tone and a half. So I just used the equal temperment version. I don't think that most people would know the difference, anyway.

    Here is a little more info about how I constructed the piece. It is 12:51 long. This corresponds to the length of time between 1/1/2000 and 12/21/2012 (at 12:21:12.21 - ha, ha), the end of the Mayan calendar. Each year (365 1/4 days) corresponds to 1 minute of music; hence, 12:51. Each chord change is about as long as one season. (Remember, this is meant as a relaxation tool, so the long 'metaphysical' nuances play into the whole scheme).

    The name - Saturn-Enh: In my messing around with 3D sound presentation (like 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1, etc. - they are really 2D), I decided to do a bunch of tracks depicting the planets of the solar system circling the sun (the sun being the listener in the center of it all). I made a completely different set of sounds for each planet so that they could easily be distinguished from one another. With the surround panning in Sonar, I positioned each planet in its proper angular location on 1/1/2000, and programmed the correct angular velocity (as a track pan parameter) so that each planet would progress the actual distance around the sun for the period of time respresent by this piece (the same 1/1/2000 to 12/21/2012). Mercury was a combination of rhythmic patterns and made one revolution every minute (about). I used the piece posted below as the one for Saturn, since it is the slowest moving (takes the longest to circle the sun) of the planets visible to the naked eye (and ancient observers). "Enh" is for the fact that I "enhanced" the original version with the use of strings.

    The first half is a simple downward, then upward chromatic scale. The first and last quarters of the piece are major chords, and the middle half is in minor. The first half and last 3 chords are close harmony and most of the last half is in open harmony. And, believe it or not, the last half IS a series of cadences (some are obscure).

    The strings are just barely noticeable as the choir's hum is supposed to dominate. I reprogrammed the attack and decay of the choir to be 3.5 seconds, each. That is why the change in part notes seems to melt into one another and why there is such a seemingly long reverb (but it really isn't reverb). So at the change of notes, you can hear the strings a little more since their attack and decay are 'normal'.

    Please don't get too bored with the first half. Remember - RELAXATION. It is intended to allow the tensions of the day to be supplanted by a VERY simple musical progression - no surprises or anything to 'catch' your attention; just to relax. Then, the last half (possibly) evokes a soothing response.

    Maybe this is something that you can (should) play at the very end of your day (just before going to bed). (Maybe to judge it, you should play it while you are semi-conscious so that you won't be too harsh on me). After listening to this piece, you will understand why I don't do original pieces.

    So, please, take it for what it was designed for and not as a "thunder and lightning" composition.

    The choir sounds are from SpectraSonics' Symphony of Voices.

    Frank

    http://www.box.net/shared/lfafvqy8so
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  2. #2
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: My Only Composition

    It would be fun to watch what people would do if this was played in concert.

    Really, it sounds fine for it's intended use although it reminds me more of a sound track than the usual new age sounds that are associated with massage.

    Maybe toss in some faint bells or sounds of nature like a breeze. Just an idea. If it works it works.


    A nice personal present for you daughter and her new profession.


    Phil

  3. #3
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Re: My Only Composition

    PHil -
    Good observation about the genre. I didn't particularly look at it in that light. There is some good New Age stuff, but I think that most of it is JUNK and maybe created by automated systems. Although, my favorite composer of the last half of the 20th Century is Constance Demby. But she is in a class of her own.

    Unless very artfully incorporated, I think that bells are really overused. And, I find them annoying, usually. That is why I didn't put anything extraneous in it - originally just the SATB.

    I did forget one thing about the evolution of the piece. I made one version where I placed a subliminal heartbeat track in it. I started with a normal activity heart rate for a minute or so, then slowly lowered the heart rate to a normal, resting rate. It remained there for about 3/4 of the piece, then, toward the end, I increased it back up to the normal, active rate.

    Ya, I'm pretty weird!

    Oh, BTW, my daughter hasn't taken the licensing exam (in 2+ years), so she hasn't really done anything with her new skills. So I haven't done anything more with this type of 'music'.

    Frank
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  4. #4

    Re: My Only Composition

    An interesting concept and an intriguing soundscape

    You have accomplished what you set out to do. I am thoroughly relaxed... now I got to get to work. This will be my best focus day ever thanks to this piece.

    I am a musician but your discussion of temperment and "out of tuness" didn't seem to be apparent in the piece. Maybe it's the tintinitis from years of teaching marching bands.

    You have made interesting chordal connections in this piece. I do not understand your relationship to the planets, but it worked for you to get this piece organized and that is what is most important.

    Thanks for giving my day a little massage to start with.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  5. #5
    Senior Member 4209fr's Avatar
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    Re: My Only Composition

    Rich -
    I guess that I didn't "dot my I's and cross my T's" with the planets explanation. I was simply pointing out that I have given this piece "double duty". The fact that observing Saturn is like watching grass grow (only slower) was not lost on the impression that this piece moves about as fast as grass grows. Mercury was given a rather fast, rhythmic setting because it circles the sun in 88 days. I forget, but Saturn is like 20 Earth years to go around the sun. So I chose something for its 'theme' that moves lethargically.

    Frank
    Frank Newman - Houston, Texas, USA, Earth, Milky Way (for our 'extended' viewership)
    Vista Ult SP2, i7 chipset, 12Gb, 500Gb (int) + 1 & 1.5Tb ext., E-MU 1820, Sonar 8.5PE, VSampler, CME UF5, AcousModules (for 3D playback), GPO/JBB/CMB

  6. #6

    Re: My Only Composition

    Hi Frank, I don't know a lot about music, but I can tell you it's an interesting piece of work, I noted a "space environment" with a "UFO" effect haha... maybe it's just what my brain catches, but that's how I can describe it. I agree with fastlane, I think it will do just fine for your new daughter's career
    Film Composer
    Visit me: http://www.andinomusic.com
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  7. #7

    Re: My Only Composition

    Frank,

    For someone who doesn't write much, maybe you
    should. This is darned interesting. And I don't at
    all mean that in the non-committal "I got no idea
    what to say" way, either. Conceptually interesting;
    and it most certainly does have psychological effect.

    I imagine most would call this "soundscaping"; yet,
    it has the fundamental elements of good music:
    it communicates... mood, emotive content, flow...
    almost a Gregorian feel to it.

    I would very much encourage you to take this
    exploration further. Even taken as meditative
    accompaniment, it's highly effective and far better
    than most I've heard.

    With super low-cost unit production facilities like
    http://kunaki.com/ -- it wouldn't cost much at all
    to get it out there, either. Who knows... you could
    just have a hit on your hands... lol!

    My best,



    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

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