Archive for the ‘pipe organ’ Category

floyd goes to the ball

May 21, 2008

click down there

this is the second of the “floyd” series, which is turning out to be a fun programmatic romp with a combination of sampled and real instruments. this one was written only days after the first episode, “floyd takes a walk”, posted last week, and in this episode, we find floyd at a ball or dance of sorts, again struggling in some endearing way. i imagine him trying to fit in socially, maybe even trying to dance, but generally failing at all turns. it’s the sort of party that would be great fun if you were someone else, he thinks, as he’s preoccupied with his own inabilities to function in such a social environment. but floyd strikes me, so far, as someone who keeps trying. this is part of his charm, and part of the thing that frustrates him so much.

musically, i used pizzicato strings for the basis of the waltz, and percussion that nods to a “falling down” idea; clumsy perhaps like floyd. there’s a toy a accordian in the first section of the piece that also feels very a little awkward or out of place playing single long notes at these same “crash” moments. the opening theme is in the oboes, a favorite of mine, but not as popular a solo instrument as, say, the violins or clarinets. the middle section of this piece is my favorite, where a solo violin takes the melody, and the atmosphere changes a bit. here, i think floyd starts to imagine himself as someone else, someone who’s smart and interesting and smooth and charming. he welcomes the attention. he proudly slides through the room like the sound of a single well played violin, and the underlying accompaniment changes with him. it becomes a little more hip. it moves a little better. grooves a little. it’s another, better, place. here, i used electric bass and drumkit, under organ and violin. the “back to reality” transition is me whistling over the organ, and a bit of the first theme, on the oboe again, before one final crash brings floyd back to awkward reality.

i’m hoping to overdub the solo violin part with a real violinist soon, which will help the piece a lot, some of the sounds i think are pretty believable, while that one is sort of an earsore i think.  once that happens, i’ll repost.  until then, sorry about some of the synthyness.

thanks for listening and reading! i hope to have another orchestration for this series soon. either way, tune in next week for more new material of some sort.

j

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romance by request

August 3, 2007

hey kids! welcome back. thanks for tuning in to steinyradio. this weeks song is called “romance by request” and goes into that semi-cinematic orchestral category.

the goal: i started out attempting to write a romance theme, and feel like i ended up somewhere closer to tragic romance, or lost love. i think my subconscious connects to that…

A. because the thought of the straight-ahead romance theme felt a bit cheezy to me, and is pretty tough to pull off without ending up sort of comedic (if you’re me). 🙂

B. because i’ve always found the bittersweet or just plain tragic sounding scoring to really get me in the eyeballs. i think the connection between love and tragedy is intrinsic, and unavoidable…from lost love to concern or mourning those you love. i wonder if this is also affected by my faith and idea of sacrificial love, the impetus for some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking stories we know and can come up with.

so, “romance by request” is a bit darker than i had originally intended, but weaves back and forth between light and dark throughout. i always hope that this sort of movement sounds smooth and natural, but i feel like there are moments in this one where it’s a bit obvious. it’s also possibly a bit long. 🙂 but here’s some technical stuff:

a. i wrote the harmonic (chordal) movement first and melody second…not always a good idea. 😉 but the harmonic movement became a theme in itself in a way, in that when it comes back toward the end of the piece i think it’s recognizable, this time with an entirely different melody on top.

b. the weaving i was talking about happens mostly in the big sections (about four of ’em in the piece). mostly from dark to light to dark to light, if you simplify it. actually, this is a really good question for my faithful audience (mom?): “what’s the emtional contour of the piece by your ear?” you could think of it in terms of A/B/AA/BB forms for example, or:

LAUGH/CRY/CRY/LAUGH/CRY

or even

SMILE/FROWN/EAT LUNCH/ROLL EYES/SLEEP/CRY.

ultimately, this is a piece i’m happy with but not trilled by. i think its drawback is that you probably won’t have the melody stuck in your head…and, even though i went for the conflict of emotions angle, it’s still a bit cheezy to me. 🙂 maybe that’s good though. it’s underrated after all.

THANKS FOR LISTENING/READING!

tune in next week for more bore!