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Topic: Dark Moods

  1. #1

    Dark Moods

    Here I offer a musical depiction of:

    Dark Moods and Somber Places

    It is fugal in nature, but not a fugue. It is a canon with a cantus frimus in the string bass. It is based on a row devised from the name of my tutor and friend Dr. Jeffrey Mumford who studied with Elliot Carter. It, by no means, is Carterian in nature, but it is based on a row. I devised the row this way:

    A B C D E F G H I J K L
    M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ
    A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#
    J E F F R E Y
    F# C# D D D C# G#
    M U M F O R D
    A F A D B D C

    ROW:F# C# D D C# G# A F A D B D C

    Forgive me for I can't line the letters up well using this interface, but you get the idea. XYZ are treated as one letter.

    The row is used as a canon over a cantus firmus of the row in dotted half notes. There is a brief episode and the canon begins again followed by lyric digress in the 1st violin and chords provided by the row. The second entrance of the Canon is a mirror of the original row at the interval of a fifth. (And we all know how much musicians love open 5ths).

    It was a fun project and he was delighted in the outcome.

    Thanks for listening and Don't Baroque the Bach door by mis-Handel-ing.

    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  2. #2

    Re: Dark Moods


    though it starts interesting, I find this a bit artificial. There is enough material in it to make it a more "sudden inspirational" piece. By the way, the rendering is a bit too dry. Once I tried to make such a piece also, using alphabetic sequence, but gave it up, just because of that "artificial and thus un-inspired" mood. Look at those letters as a carddeck and shuffle them several times. The outcome maybe surprising.

    But to comfort you, I listened to it twice and was attracted by the harmonies.


  3. #3

    Re: Dark Moods

    Interesting piece Bill.

    My composition teacher in college wrote an interesting piece for the college's new dean. He used his name as a motivic basis for the piece. Although your piece and his don't sound the same, the idea has inspired me to try something along these lines. It would also be a good exercise in writing linearly and not worrying about vertical constructs, which sounds like what you've done.

    Steve Winkler

  4. #4
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: Dark Moods

    An interesting experiment. It's not music that I would call enjoyable but the chords are interesting and there is something there.


  5. #5

    Re: Dark Moods

    Thanks for sharing the experiment, Bill - It's great that Dr. Mumford enjoyed it. It would be an interesting experience, to have one's name worked into the formula for a composition!

    I'll blame my lack of emotional response to the cold formulaic origins of this. Interesting clashing clusters at times, but firing off so randomly as to sound only like the accidents they are. I found it relentless, strident, and wearying.

    Well, that's OK - That means that during the 2 years I've been on the Forum, it's only 1/2 of one percent of your music that I haven't enjoyed~!

    Randy B.

  6. #6

    Re: Dark Moods

    Raymond - Thanks for the listen(s), I sometimetimes do these exercises just to free my brain. I have found certain portions within this exercise that will make for the basis of a work. I will probably expand those and trash the rest.

    Steve - you are right, I was experimenting with the linear construct and paying no attention to the implied chordal content. I find that this will generate some interesting concepts. Thanks for the listen.

    Phil - Thanks for the listen. Yes there are some interesting portions. I will 'flesh' those out and create a new piece. This is just the first step in the process.

    Randy - As usual, you get to the heart of the matter. Yes, it was an experiment and the music is a bit random, but that's the beauty, you never know what you are going to get, like a box of Cracker Jacks, you don't know what's inside until you open it up. Now I have to open it up and put the puzzle pieces together. This generates in me thoughts of "What is music...?" Can radomly generated notes and rhythms be called music, or is it simply a sound collage? Food for thought. Thanks for listening.

    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  7. #7

    Re: Dark Moods

    Hi, Bill - Thanks for the reply to my earlier comments. The Cracker Jacks analogy is great. --(reminds me, I still miss the days when you'd get NEat stuff in a CJ box instead of just the flat picture things they've used for quite awhile now. I miss the rings and little toys.)

    I want you to know I really hesitated to say anything negative about your experiment. That's kind of silly of me probably, but we have such a good thing going here in The Listening Room, supporting each other's efforts, so I generally avoid saying negative things because I always remind myself that my own personal opinion isn't an especially important or helpful thing.

    Once in awhile someone will criticize the tone here for being too unrealistically positive all the time - well, I think that even if we sometimes gloss over our true reactions a bit, we feel protective of the friendly community we're part of here. If we want constant negativity and nasty feedback, there are Plenty of places online where we can find that.

    To explore new horizons through experiments like yours is a very worthy activity. The questions raised by randomly generated music have long been debated and will never be actually resolved. I admire you for the exploration you've done here, even though the results were something I couldn't honestly enjoy.

    Hats off to you for pursuing the experiment, and for your even tempered replies.

    Randy B.

  8. #8

    Re: Dark Moods


    I have heard a lot worse!!!!

    I think pieces like this are usually much more interesting when heard live.

    The piece does have a number of very nice spots in it.

    Well done

    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein


  9. #9

    Re: Dark Moods

    Randy - As you stated, we are here to support, but we are also here for dialogue, being kind does not aslo mean only be positive. Discussions are generated from ideas and ideas only come when one questions the 'status quo' or, in this case, the music. There is a big difference in being 'negative' and offering constructive criticism. There are some here who are just negative and there are some here that only want comments from 'yes' men. Show me a man who surrounds himself with yes-men, and I'll show you a guy that can't take no for an answer! So, thanks for the input, it is always welcomed.

    Ron - thanks for listening and I agree, it does have its moments. I just need to begin the work of ironing them out. Another day, perhaps. Tonight it's off to a romantic dinner and motel stay for my wife and I...

    Happy Valentines Day everyone.
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  10. #10
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Central Illinois

    Re: Dark Moods

    Hi Bill, When I read your description I was a bit intimidated, wondering what I would soon be hearing. But I actually found this much easier going than I imagined. As some have written, there are some beautiful moments in the strings in this. The part that follows the first held note and pause is spot, after the, as someone said " relentless"-ness of the first section.
    You have challenged my big ears with this. John

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