Epic

Stringy bits ‘n bobs

Posted in Cues, Drama, Epic, Harmony, Instrumentation, Lyrical, Orchestration on December 5th, 2009 by leslieq – 3 Comments

I’ve a whole backlog of String-y compositions that I’ve always avoided mocking up in virtual software instruments because I’ve never been able to get the Strings patches to sound right. Well I’ve been making friends with Logic Pro and the EXS24 instruments. I think it’s definitely getting there and would really appreciate some feedback from additional ears. I’ve been tweaking knobs and buttons for what seems like days now that I’m not sure I’m the most objective person when it comes to reviewing the results.

Anyway, here’s a little medley featuring bits of three compositions titled: The Story Begins; Arise, Sir and This Is Me.

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I write contrapuntally for parts so no block chords and most of the resulting harmony is a consequence of individual part-writing for the orchestra.

As an orchestral player I’ve really tried to use my experience of real orchestras to physically lay out my orchestra in sonic space. So if you were sitting in the audience listening to an orchestra in front of you, I’ve actually arranged the strings (from left to right):

Violins I (front left)
Violins II (mid left)
Cello (mid off-centre/right)
Violas (front right) and
Double Basses (far right, behind cellos and violas)

Physically this is a very common orchestra layout because you achieve the maximum sonorous and darker-tones of violas.

As usual. Comments, please.

Fragments of new ideas

Posted in Drama, Epic, General Musings, Harmony, Instrumentation, Lyrical on July 27th, 2009 by leslieq – Be the first to comment

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where I am going with these but I thought I’d post them anyway. These are two different cue ideas for two very different scenes. The first is set in a Dorian mode which gives it a really distinctive sound. You have more than likely heard T.V. composers using this mode when setting music to those bleak, cold, winter scenes, wide shots and solitary subjects.

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Although the harmony shifts around the melody, I use an upper-pedal note that sounds constantly to add to the expanse and emptiness. I’ll talk more about pedals (high and low) in other music posts but they are very useful devices. I think my EQing is steadily improving (moving in the right direction anyway). I really like the clarity of the piano sound now. So much so that this next idea was initially one of those really broad string melodies but couldn’t resist adding a piano figure.

I’ve previously shied away from posting very obviously String orchestra tracks because I’ve not been happy with my string mock-up sounds. Try as I might, nothing can replace how a human string player would interpret a single note. Give a good violinist a single held note and they’ll be able to do the most amazing things to that one note — colour it; shape it; change it’s nuance; give it direction — a whole multitude of things a computer simply cannot recreate or imitate. So here goes… it is only about 8 bars (but a very broad 8 bars).

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Not music for a small screen – broad sound, broad visuals. So as I said, I’m not sure yet where I’ll take these ideas but I’ll be sure to post the results here.