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Applying classical forms to new music

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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 26, 2020 4:21 pm

GilesAnt wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I never thought that the first note I wrote on that paper would turn into a 2 minute piano piece, or a 40 minute epic, each note builds on what went before, and sometimes things unfold we would never have predicted.

He is planning to write something in sonata form, classical in scale if not in style. This does need some thinking about in my view. The interplay of subjects, their development, harmonic tension etc. will all need at least some outline design. Sonata form looks simple at one level, but many composers have grappled with this, not always successfully. The form isn't intended as a straightjacket, but a model that can help the composer.

For smaller pieces where no specific form or architecture is envisaged then a bar by bar approach may of course yield excellent results - but that's not his aim (as I understand it from his posts).

From my readings, many of the great composers did indeed work with a vision in mind. Schubert, Mozart and others would carry more or less completed works in their head, and just needed time to write them down. Others would sweat and toil so the music matched their vision. Similarly Wagner could have hardly tackled his operas on a bar by bar basis.

The equivalent might be of an architect who sketches out a building without getting too involved in the details at the start. If he just piles one brick on top of the other with no plan it is unlikely that he will get good results.

Having a crack at something on a classical scale is brave, and I wish Ben all the best. I'm sure he will have fun having a go, even if all else fails.

Fair enough, but I think that’s a lot to do with why I left the classical world, all its rules and regulations. I understand all about working to a discipline, and it’s produced some of the greatest music of all time, but I got seduced by Cage and Roxy Music, and I never returned.
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Oct 26, 2020 5:14 pm

It's great to see that Ben is getting such positive feedback here on his grand objective, but I felt I ought to say that even at this point I'm enjoying this first 'Philip Glass' inspired output :clap:


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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Arpangel » Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:51 pm

Martin Walker wrote:It's great to see that Ben is getting such positive feedback here on his grand objective, but I felt I ought to say that even at this point I'm enjoying this first 'Philip Glass' inspired output :clap:


Martin


I’m liking it too, just add a bit of Eventide and you’ll have an album man.

:D :D :D :D :D

It needs this tempo to keep up the momentum.
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Wed Oct 28, 2020 4:07 am

LOL @ arpangel, lots of great discussion, thanks to everyone for continuing to share your perspectives!

I got caught up with day-job work and have had little time to work on music the past couple of days (even my commutes have been spent dealing with work), but I think I solved another piece of the puzzle: I wanted to introduce sustained notes to the arrangement and think I have a solution using the Hold function and a long delay on the RV-500. This will enable me to keep the role of the Quadnic the same whilst utilizing different timbres. The final step will be weaving in the Mother-32 and Boomstar. One step closer!!

I’ve also started working on the second subject and how to move from the first into the second.

As for the argument about composition vs experimentation: I will continue to experiment, to be hard on myself, and to not allow myself to accept anything that’s not my best effort. It will continue to evolve. And then when it’s repeatable it WILL be composed.
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:49 am

Tonight's proof of concept test went great! I was lost for quite a while with just the one voice, it sounds great. Next step will be to work it into the piece, it definitely adds some atmosphere!

Ingredients: super saw VCOs > Eudemonia filter > RV500 with 10s hall reverb and 2s delay and latching hold on the reverb tail. Stir in filter sweeps over drone. Let it sit for probably longer than it should. Serve digitally. :)
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Arpangel » Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:46 am

Ben Asaro wrote:Tonight's proof of concept test went great! I was lost for quite a while with just the one voice, it sounds great. Next step will be to work it into the piece, it definitely adds some atmosphere!

Ingredients: super saw VCOs > Eudemonia filter > RV500 with 10s hall reverb and 2s delay and latching hold on the reverb tail. Stir in filter sweeps over drone. Let it sit for probably longer than it should. Serve digitally. :)

I need to hear this Ben, sounds cool.
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:34 pm

It sounds very cool! The advantage that the RV-500 has over other “freeze” reverbs is that when you latch a section of the reverb tail it still applies reverb and delay to whatever you are playing on top of it. Since I set up the RV-500 to play two algorithms simultaneously, you ALSO get the other side’s reverb and delay if you wish. This can be used to create incredibly thick atmospheres if you wish with delays lasting over 2 minutes.

I may explore that type of thing in another piece but for this one I have the ambient/latching side of the RV-500 just for the long, sustained pedals, and the other one is applied to the general mix using a mid-side processor: the closer a sound is to the edges of the sound field, the more reverberant it is. Anything in the center is essentially dry. This allows me to have the kick or other elements unaffected without having to do any special patching through the Sound Stage mixer.
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:09 pm

Had a lot of forward movement last night after a very bumpy takeoff, looking forward to recording what I have thus far over the weekend!

TL;DR: The first movement is probably about 1/3 complete now. The first Subject is at the 50% point, this morning’s commute will show whether I can add additional voices to what I have or leave it with just the four current melodies.

This piece is proving to be a multilevel challenge: part sound design, part composing, part hardware. My first big hurdle, after writing something that I actually liked, was sorting out the tuning, which I did last night. The tuning subtly shifts when you are tuning VCOs without any CV inputs vs when they have something plugged into them, even at 0V. So I made a ‘tuning patch’ that plays C at 0V and 1V. This way I can tune the entire modular, the Mother-32, and the Subharmonicon in about 10 minutes now.

I ended up repatching the Quadnic so that all 4 voices are following the same signal path (NerdSeq > Quadra > Quad VCA > Sound Stage) and as of now they all have the same waveform as well, though that may change.

I ended up putting the Pluck through the super long reverb/freeze side of the RV-500, it sounds much more ethereal than using a standard synth voice, which sounds rather congested when used this way. It took quite a bit of tweaking until I found settings that work for this piece: quite a short slice size, medium hall, short predelay, 10s tail, no delay. Since the Pluck will also hold notes indefinitely if the Decay is set long enough, I had to find the sweet spot where the notes eventually end but also create an overlap so that the latch doesn’t sound so abrupt.

I also added lyrics and a vocoder section to the beginning!

Overall, a very productive experience!
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Nov 01, 2020 7:21 pm

Very productive weekend thus far, have a good chunk of the second Subject complete. Once that’s done I will have to iron out the transition between them and then I can demo the completed section!

With so many parallel meters going on, I inserted a ‘pattern clear’ to get them back in sync. Otherwise some of the tracks will drift so far out of sync it’s possible to have patterns on multiple pages making it really difficult to know where I am within the piece as a whole.
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:33 pm

Looking forward to hearing more in due course Ben!

I understand exactly about the rhythmic reset - when I was writing 8-bit C64 music many years ago when every byte counted, I'd run several different length patterns alongside each other.

It could be a nightmare trying to keep tabs on when they all finished so I could start the next section with the channels in perfect sync again ;)


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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:15 pm

Totally! You know, it's interesting that you mention that because I'm very much using the NerdSeq like 8 separate step sequencers as opposed to one master sequencer. I love using the tracker layout, I find it to be really intuitive and quick-moving.

Here's what I have thus far, have to get the transition and vocoder down, and the write a conclusion to the second Subject, but I'm digging it thus far!

https://soundcloud.com/asfollowswriting ... nd-subject
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Arpangel » Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:59 am

Ben Asaro wrote:Totally! You know, it's interesting that you mention that because I'm very much using the NerdSeq like 8 separate step sequencers as opposed to one master sequencer. I love using the tracker layout, I find it to be really intuitive and quick-moving.

Here's what I have thus far, have to get the transition and vocoder down, and the write a conclusion to the second Subject, but I'm digging it thus far!

https://soundcloud.com/asfollowswriting ... nd-subject

Oh Ben, the attraction of classical form, it produces music that changes and actually "goes" somewhere.

:thumbup: :)
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:22 pm

LOL I can't tell if you're implying that my composition goes nowhere. :think:
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:29 pm

Another crazy work week, I’m hoping to work on the piece some more tomorrow night, I have a few ideas I want to test out.

I have another verse to write as well, I’m liking this idea of having vocals at the top of each section.

I also have two more synth voices to add to the arrangement! I think one of them will be a low pitched voice, the arrangement sounds a bit ‘light’ to my ears right now and having something low pitched will help add drama and dynamics to the party (I hope). Using the BeatStep Pro will be a big help here because I can sustain those notes if needed without having to worry about gate length.

There’s something about the second Subject that reminds me of Alan Parsons, I can’t quite put my finger on it, though!
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Re: Applying classical forms to new music

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:17 am

.... aaand we're back! I took a hatchet to the arrangement and reworked just about every element to get something much different: more chill, but also more tense, more atmospheric, but also denser, and other contradictions!

And here are the first and second subjects!
https://soundcloud.com/asfollowswriting ... icon-jam-4

The first subject is a series of chord inversions around Dm/Em with a walking bass line of D-F-A-G. The second subject adds an ostinato over top of the chords and outlining them.
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