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Topic: Sounds of the Outback?

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  1. #1

    Sounds of the Outback?

    I'm writing a piece right now where I'm trying to capture the old Australian Outback, but I'd like to know some instruments that should be used - even sounds. Of course the didgeridoo, but what else?

    I want it to have a raw sound - almost folkish - but also big and wide open. I wrote a western piece a few months ago where I used rattles (snakes), high whistles (hawks), whiny violins (horses), and even sound horse sounds that I added some effects to. I started using the same sort of things in this, but I really want something else.

    So to all you Aussies out there, what do you recommend?
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
    ---
    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  2. #2
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    Re: Sounds of the Outback?

    Apart from indigenous stuff, have a listen to Peter Sculthorpe's Sun Music series, (I-IV) from the 50 and 60's.

    Uses mainly a traditional orch, with brass clusters and lots of percussion. I think he suceeded in creating a sense of space and oppressive heat. He was interested in how the environment there was/is alien to European settlers.

    Its a very influential sound too.

    Bye the way Im scoring an animation of two characters racing cars in the outback at the moment. The music is more like Charlie Sexton, and the soundtrack to "Bullitt". Anything goes in the desert?

  3. #3

    Re: Sounds of the Outback?

    One important aspect of indigenous music is the rhythm stick. Two pieces of wood about 8 inches long about an inch thick are struck together, sometimes in a regular pattern about once strike every for or five seconds. And sometime for short bursts for or five times per second.

    Perhaps listen to the soundtrack from the recent Australia movie directed by Baz Luhrmann for ideas.?

  4. #4

    Re: Sounds of the Outback?

    If Fox had thought Australia worthy of a soundtrack release, he could listen to the Hirschfelder score. Unfortunately, apparently an epic Outback Western does not warrant a CD release...odd.

  5. #5

    Re: Sounds of the Outback?

    thanks for the replies so far. before this, the only examples i knew of were from crocodile dundee and the the crocodile hunter (what is it that australians love about crocodiles so much?). i think i might order Peter Sculthorpe's Sun Music series for some inspiration. even if it sounds nothing at all similar to what i'm writing i think it would most likely be a source of ideas and hopefully good music to listen to. so far i've used a lot of heavy percussion and different woodwinds, mostly from asia. even though they aren't traditional in this genre, they give it an older and more raw feel.

    Alan - are the wood sticks just regular wood sticks, or do they have a unique sound?

    thanks again so far.
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
    ---
    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  6. #6

    Re: Sounds of the Outback?

    Keith, the rhythm sticks have a definite resonance to them.






    The sound they make when struck is sort of like the sound of pulling your tongue of the roof of your mouth - the single clucking sound if you know what I mean. A moderately high picture resonating wooden sound. The pictures above should give you an idea. The two pieces of wood are held, one in each hand and struck together, not overly hard.

    The wood is a hardwood.

  7. #7

    Re: Sounds of the Outback?

    I scanned this thread pretty quickly so I might have missed it but what about bull roarers? Flat pieces of wood on long strings whirled around one's head. I surrounded an audience with them once (about 8 in the auditorium) and it was really effective. I believe we made them out of wooden rulers and string (ancient technology!) It's a haunting and unusual sound.



    These are not the ones we made! The pic above is from the website:
    http://www.bushcrafts.com.au/Aborigi...Paintings.html
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  8. #8

    Re: Sounds of the Outback?

    About those rythmn sticks.

    I have VI.One and in the ethnic folder there are these sticks.
    They are pitched. There is also a patch with multi hits. If authentic, I guess they are sometimes played in ensamble.

  9. #9

    Re: Sounds of the Outback?

    Nooooo, not the digeridoo, please ! That sound is so cliched it's embarassing. It's like showing some Bavarian slapdance and thinking that stands for all things German. The digeridoo signature moment belongs to the realm of caricature.

    If you want to capture the sounds of the outback you need insect sounds and bird sounds. And anything that helps conjure the image of heat, dust, desolation, and wide empty spaces.

    By avoiding the digeridoo you will instantly elevate your piece to a far more sophisticated level.

  10. #10

    Re: Sounds of the Outback?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard400 View Post
    Nooooo, not the digeridoo, please ! That sound is so cliched it's embarassing. It's like showing some Bavarian slapdance and thinking that stands for all things German. The digeridoo signature moment belongs to the realm of caricature.
    Sometimes cliches become cliches for a very good reason. As someone who lived in Berlin, and the former DDR, for several years, I came to find that the Lederhosen-Gluhwein-and-singing-to-an-accordion thing went on nearly as much as everyone else thinks it does.

    For an Australian I'm sure the didgeridoo is painfully caricaturish, and there are many things that would resonate in a more sophisticated way with their experience of Australia. But for foreigners, a lot of those things might go straight over their heads, and not say Outback at all.
    David

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