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Applying classical forms to new music

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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:01 pm

Some exciting developments on this piece over the past week! I've discarded some of my previous core conceits and approach, and have adopted some new ones.

At the end of the day, I guess I'm not a very good purely electronic composer lol. I think the biggest limitation I was facing was the fact that you can't easily change the gate length with modular and as a result it gets very same-y to my ears.

So, voice-wise, I went to my small MIDI setup and sync'd it up to the modular, which is easily done via the Erica Synths MIDI <-> CLK module. This now adds a second sequencer (MC-500) and palette of sustainable sounds.

Revisiting the first Subject, I kept the original key and tempo (Dm, 88 bpm) and started working on a new motive. I ended up on a solo cello patch on the JV Orchestral expansion card playing a sparse melody in D Pentatonic Minor. After it plays the motive the first time it's harmonized by a second cello line outlining the chords of Dm-C-Dm.

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As you can see, the melody line has been stripped back to the most minimal I could make it whilst still keeping it moving forward. It sustains on each of the chord tones in Dm to reinforce Dm as the i chord.

And so far, so good! The build is slow I'm working really hard to make each additional voice really add something to the overall composition. How successful I will be remains to be seen! :D
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Dec 31, 2020 8:02 pm

Whew, okay ... one month later!

This endeavour took a serious detour since my last post! No need to rehash the minutae, it's all captured in another thread, but I took a month off from writing to concentrate solely on the sound-making portion of this project. It's been a fun and educational process and I feel like I've emerged with a much better grasp on how to actually get this thing done.

And now, without further ado: The Exposition. :)

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Musically, it's a nice melody in C Mixolydian, it took a bit to get the notes exactly the way I wanted them, and this is just a guide post of sorts, but I like the sound of it.

As for the arrangement, it will probably end up being somewhere between the two extremes I outlined earlier on.

The hardest thing about this piece has been balancing my normal modus operandi with the nature of modular synths. The bottom line is, they don't really work well as a pile of subtractive voices and if you're going to go that route there are other more expedient ways to go about it. However, as an inorganic writing partner of sorts, the modular is truly wondrous; might sound weird, but I ended up developing something of a relationship with the instrument, each of us pushing towards a common goal. I feel like we have come to an understanding lol. :)

I'm very excited to begin working on the piece this weekend, many of the building blocks for the piece were prototyped during my 30-day examination of whether I could even pull this off.
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Jan 02, 2021 2:50 pm

Recorded the first Subject, yesterday -- was a lot of fun! I'll be working on the second Subject today, and miiight get to the the soloist's entry in the composition, but I'll have to see. It took about 6 hours to get the performance and arrangement to where I liked it.

The first Subject is based on this ostinato:

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This ostinato plays over the bass notes of C, F, E, and G.

As for the number of voices, I used 5: 3 voices are used for the bass notes, one voice for the ostinato, and one voice for counter-melody.

Audio sample of the section: https://soundcloud.com/user-329043613-5 ... ject-clip1
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:51 pm

The second subject is now complete. I wasn't a fan of the line starting on the b7, so I reversed it and it had a much better flow. I also doubled the length of the line and played it reversed, and then fowards. That gave it a nice, solid arc.

Here's a sneak peek of the second Statement: https://soundcloud.com/user-329043613-5 ... ject-clip1
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:47 pm

Bulked up the second Subject today with some orchestral strings and horns, though they are rather buried, just adding some depth and textural smear to the already reverb-drenched synthesizers.

I also doubled up the Minibrute bass line with the Mother-32. Crazy amount of LF push right now which I'll sort out in mixing, but for now it's sounding great and I'm ready to push onto the solo!
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:08 pm

First “movement” is now complete! About 23 minutes of music so far. I was a bit worried when it came time to record the ‘soloist’ as I’m a remedial keyboard player at best, but it actually turned out rather well using the Mother-32.

While the piece doesn’t sound like traditional classical music, using this structure as a framework has been very helpful! (Once I came to grips with the technical aspects)

Arrangement-wise, I have been using 4 synth voices thus far: the Moog Suhbarmonicon and Mother-32, Arturia MiniBrute, and Roland JV-1010. Adding string pads from the Orchestral expansion card has done wonders to glue the modular pads together, the resultant sound is otherworldly.

Next up: the Development!
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:52 am

I just finished recording the final few bits for the piece. It will be interesting to see how this is received, and perceived. Did following a classical structure make a difference? I think it did, it really got me out of thinking in terms of intro/verse/solo and more in terms of thematic movement ... but whether anyone listening to it will feel the same influence? I guess that's remaining to be seen.

This was definitely a fun experiment, though, and I feel that the final piece is pretty emotive ... it certainly took me on a journey very unlike the one I was expecting!

In retrospect, what would I have done different? For one, I would have really worked out the modular synth aspect FIRST ... decided on what voices I was going to use SECOND ... instead of trying to shoehorn a preconceived notion into the form. Other than that, I think the way the motives were then developed, simplified, and the chords spread across the various modular tracks works really well!

I probably bit off more than I could chew at first and I suppose I could have started this with a much smaller scope in mind than a full-blown concerto -- the finished piece is nearly 45 minutes long! -- but, all in all, it got done and I'll be happy when others can have the opportunity to hear it!
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:34 am

Album is now complete! More detail to be found here, https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 36&t=76186
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