I’ve been a little quiet, so here’s an update on a few things! 🙂
I finished a track about a week ago, however it won’t be made completely public quite yet (but hopefully soon). It’s a piano and strings piece and it turned out really well, if you ask me. There’s a few reasons why I won’t post it here yet, but it is out there and you can find it if you look beyond this site. 🙂
I made a cover for it as well, which you can see out to the right.
I’ve also been working a lot on chord progressions and melodies, and I think I’m getting a lot more comfortable with that whole thing. The piano/strings piece I just mentioned is an example of that, but more so is this little thing I’ve been working on, that I probably have to turn into an actual track. So check out what is currently Trance 08 – 05 below. 😛
I’ve been a little quiet lately asI haven’t had much time for music, which means not a lot of things to write about here, sorry!
However I did complete one piece recently called “The Voyage to LB201-5V”. Wether or not this will see a public release is undecided at this point. It’s a piece made for something special and includes both piano and a full string quintet.
While making this piece I realized just how little I know about using a string section. Like how the different instruments relate and are meant to be used. The resulting piece is rather messy to be honest. I just kind of did things that sort of sounded good, as I had no idea what I was doing – or what I was supposed to do.
For instance I have single sections playing chords – like the 1st violins playing chords as well as the 2nd violins. On top of that while they’re playing those sustained chords, they’re also playing stacatto. I kind of knew that wasn’t really something that would happen in real life, but hey… 😛 The piece certainly has redeeming qualities and overall it’s not bad, but it does become a mess because there’s just way too much happening at one point.
So realizing that, I decided to start looking into how you’re supposed to utilize a string quintet. Not the easiest thing to find information about, but I did find a few bits and pieces and things make more sense now – at least I have a sense of what I’m supposed to do.
Likewise I also decided to learn more about harmonies, since learning to use a string section is a lot about harmonies, so might as well kill two birds with one stone. This also means I have to finally really learn to use the circle of fifths, so that’s another part of it.
So yesterday, at 5:30 in the morning, I started playing around with my string library (Hollywood Strings) and trying some things out. Basically I made an 8-bar loop that started out with basically just triad chords (C major, just to keep it super easy to deal with). I then divided everything up into each string section. The bright part and main melody is being played by the 1st violins. Then the step lower of the chord (inverted C maj chord) by the 2nd violins. And the last part of the chord, the lowest, is played by the violas.
The celli are then playing 2 octaves down the same notes (although less variation) as the 1st violins and the basses an octave more below that.
Basically for most of the 8-bar loop they stay within the base chord notes (C, E and G), but every 4th bar breaks away from that.
I started out with 1-bar long notes, which I then, mainly for the 1st violins, to add some variations between each bar, changed to 3/4 bar length and then a note change for the last 1/4 of the bar. I then did the same to a lesser extent to the 2nd violins, even less so to the violas and minimally to the celli. The basses are completely unchanged in this regard.
When that was done I started shifting notes within the scale to create different harmonies, as opposed to just sticking with the chord. Here I should probably have used the circle of fifths some, but I just went by ear for now. Next step is most certainly to incorporate the circle of fifths into it.
Enough talking; here’s the 8-bar loop (played twice) that I created. It’s nothing fantastic or anything, it’s just a very simple step on the road to becoming better. I have a tendency to try and do it all at once, but it’s just usually too much when I haven’t got enough music knowledge yet, so I now try to break things down and take smaller steps – I think that will help me progress more than just getting overwhelmed and trying to solve 40 problems at once.
And about time as well! But yes, I’ve released the final version of As She Passes Through The Storm now and it’s free to download (with the option to donate, if you want)! The download will allow you to get it in lossless quality, which means 24-bit/48 kHz for this piece, but “normal” compressed formats are available as well (that’s the wonderful thing about Bandcamp; you’re given the choice of format you want, which includes lossless as well).
This piece is the first (and so far only) thing I have ever just played using my MIDI keyboard. It’s played in one go – just me going at it. This also means that it’s not the most complicated or structured piece, but even so I think it has a certain something to it, despite its simplicity. It also means that it has a few minor timing issues, but so be it. It IS after all the first time I’ve ever played the piano for real (remember that I have no idea what I’m doing – just trying to learn 😉 ), so of course it won’t be perfect.
I will go over the technical aspects of the track below, but before that you should give it a listen! 🙂
As She Passes Through The Storm (The Final Version)
Think I’ve mostly got everything sorted out for that final version, however right now I’m having a bit of an issue with some distortion, mainly in the upper frequency range. It’s not very audible, but it’s there. Not sure where it comes from, but it might be the exciter module in Ozone 6. Regardless I obviously need to get that sorted before I can release the final version. I’m looking into it, but it takes a little while to properly find the cause and fix it.
Oh yeah, I upgraded to Ozone 6 a week or so ago, since they were having a sale on it, so figured I might as well… 🙂
Well, not really… At least not in the sense that I actually managed to finish that final version.
I kind of got distracted by Surge and what not. However there’s no reason for me to not just do the few last bits needed and get that final version done. I aim to have it out before 2014 ends – then I can also stop having it poke me from the back of my mind. 😛
I’ve been working on finishing the final version of As She Passes Through The Storm and it’s almost there. I’m just spending some time listening to it and making sure I catch all the minor stuff that I want to fix. Since I’m making this the final version, I want to make sure I don’t have to re-visit it and make a final final version. 😉
But in essence I hope to release the final version of it very soon.
Let’s start with the Jeff Kurtenacker CD: I received a CD he composed called Images of RMNP yesterday (autographed as well, thanks Jeff!) and I was blown away listening to it. Just an amazingly wonderful emotive journey, perfectly crafted by Jeff. I want to urge you to get your hands on it, because it’s fantastic! Right now there’s even the chance of getting an autographed version as well, if you hurry. You can grab that directly from Jeff’s page.
It’s a joint project between him and his friend, photographer Erik Stensland, who has taken some amazing photographs and created the base for the project – a project that resulted in some wonderful music as well.
New content? Why yes, indeed! I obviously got inspired by what Jeff created and wanted to make sure I could still not create anything remotely like it, so I went into Studio One and fired up The Grand 3 and Hollywood Strings and, uh… Did things. Just messing around and trying out different things, but I do have a nice little start going, I think, and you can listen to it below.
Untitled (WIP 01)
Regarding As She Passes Through The Storm I’ve come to a point where I’m considering just keeping the piano as it is, meaning the version you’ve already heard, and just adjust the reverb and such to make it sit as I want. Reason? I’m not really getting the same feeling from it using The Grand 3 – the conversion is basically a lot more tricky than I thought, and I seem to always end up with a result that’s not quite where I want it to be, compared to the original and how it was played. So yeah, it would probably just make the most sense to not try to fix something that’s not really broken. 🙂
Haven’t had the chance to do much work on As She Passes Through The Storm, but I did manage to solve the lack of openness in the track. In doing that though I need to adjust some note velocities again. I got the velocity curve pretty well dialed in again, but there’s still notes that aren’t behaving as they should. 😉 Basically the main problem is that the hammer hits are much more audible in The Grand 3 and that changes the tone of the piece. Obviously by playing the notes softer you also reduce how loud the hammer hits the string, but it does make things a little tricky because I also have to be careful not to go too soft on all the notes, as that again will change the tone of the piece. So yeah, there’s a bit of fiddling left to do still. 🙂
As for Prototype I received some bassline examples back from Arjen Lead today, so huge thanks to him for helping me out (again)! I will go through them tomorrow and figure out things (and probably bug him later because there’s stuff I don’t understand ;)) and start to progress further with the track.
I’ve had a piano piece brewing in my head for the past few days as well, so it’s likely I’ll jump on that, possibly tomorrow, and get it made. 🙂
I’ve picked up Serum (a synth) and looking forward to really using it (aside from just playing around with it for demoing purposes). I think I have some bass sound ideas so I will probably try out a few things for Prototype using it, but we’ll see how it goes.
That’s about it for now… I hope I will have some new content to post very soon instead of just talking random crap. 😛