I see you made some new MP3s, Tom - Good - I was standing by to make them for you if needed, since yesterday you mentioned wanting to post this but you only had .wav files.
This is around 20 minutes of music - You wrote it in 4 days! Amazing - I really can't imagine.
After reading your descriptor, "innocent" - I wasn't sure I was in the right place after hearing the opening Kryie, it's so conflicted and tragic sounding. The rest of it was a bit more as I would expect, and full of lovely moods that must have been very effective at this very sad funeral.
That tends to be how I write.But in this particular case there simply was no alternative. I had to get it done.
I purposely wanted to begin in solemn respect and then bring the listener into a brighter world of thought. IN other words, allow for grief, but then offer hope. It was amazing how easily it flowed. Interestingly the shortest piece, the Agnus Dei, gave me the most problems.
In response to a private message that may be of interest to others:
Yes, all vocal music was using choir in GPO4. It would have sounded better with I/O, but time was a factor and I did not have a lot of experience with I/O. Security over final sound.
Thank you for your comments. You bring up a very interest question: How does music manipulate our emotions? Here is my feeling on that topic.
Music therapy is vital proof that music reaches us in specific ways. It is my opinion that the effect of music on the human psyche is based on several essential elements:
First the basic concept of stress and release, academically referred to as Sturm und Drang meaning storm and stress, is characterized by a greater expression of emotional unrest. The composer can use carefully considered tonal dissonance and control the release through tonal resolutions; chord to chord or bar to bar or phrase to phrase. One of the greatest examples of this effect is Barber’s Adagio for Strings.
Equally important is a composers understanding of social musical perceptions of the people for whom he is writing. In our American society major keys are identified as happy and minor keys as sad. Although that does not hold true in all societies, manipulating changes between major and minor keys, is one of my favorite devices.
Also, the composer needs to be able to understand and use vibratory elements. From the Greeks to modern science we have learned that certain vibrations have specific effects on the human mind and body. Simply said this means that a human will react differently to different keys and modes. This implies that a composer can take immediate control of the effect of his music by selecting the correct key.
Using all these devices as well as several others, the composer can create a flowing sensation that will motivate the listeners to predictable feelings.
Composers tend to learn these elements as they mature. That inherent understanding is what defines them as composers. Further, a composer will develop these sensitivities in spite of academic training. They learn by doing.
I read and listened to your beautiful mass a few days ago; all the more impressive when we hear how quickly you created and rehearsed it. What a lovely, heart-felt contribution you made to your friend's family's time of need.
Interesting how you commented that the simplest piece was a bigger challenge ... I think we can all relate to that; complexity is rarely the deciding factor.
I also enjoyed your recent write-up on the psychology of music. I agree with most of it, including the modal or maj-min aspects, but would argue against that certain keys are a better choice for a piece of music based solely on vibrations. I think the composer needs to carefully select the optimum key for his work based on where the music lays and by whom or what will be performing it.
I.E., a piece whose range would place the meatiest, most tastey timbres of the instruments performing it that falls somewhere in the range around A-Maj or Bb-Maj ... well, I think you know where I'm going with this: If it's primarily a string piece, the A-Maj is generally going to be a more sonorous key than the Bb. But if it's a woodwind or brass-dominant piece, well the Bb-Maj would probably be preferred. Neither choice would depend whatsover (IMHO! ) on preconceived notions of a "best" or "better" key based strictly on vibrations.
Thanks for sharing all this Tom; really nice work.
Thank you so very much for your comments and observations.
The point about selecting the base key in respect to what kind of group will be playing it, etc is extremely valid and is sometimes a deciding factor used by publishers to accept or deny a piece. (I know from experience)
Yet, the way the brain reacts to vibration does merit consideration. In 1970 I worked with Dr. Alstrom on a research project to see which parts of the brain reacted to specific pitches. Once a general reference was determined, we found that a mode played on different beginning pitches produced surprisingly different responses in the test subjects. Also, long sustained tones on certain pitches (vibration) could greatly enhance or nearly destroy a passage. Not because of music theory, but because of music physics.
Given your points concerning key selection I would amend my comments to say that knowledge of vibratory effects should be considered and when practical implemented. This may well apply more to choral than instrumental music.
I would not discount the vibration studies; merely that it shouldn't be the only criteria. As far as vocals, having worked on musicals with singers of all talent levels (and ranges! LOL), once again, where the singers can comfortably sing is going to determine the optimum key.
Sidebar on vocals and vibrations: Barbershop Quartets (assuming a cappella) have long enjoyed 'ringing chords' (also heard them reffered to as 'peg chords') and essentially harmonizations free from the slight imperfections of an even-tempered scale.