The home of the haikulator

 

Links

My Stand-up & gigs
The Coding Craftsman
BurberryAndBroccoli
MarkInventions

The Musical!
Incredible Productions

apostrophell
backlash
incredible
haiku


Previous Posts

Steps have been taken
Back in the driving seat
Weird Al Meets Star Wars
In case Amazon don't publish it.
A Cat Video - Simple as That
Some Thoughts on Bullying
Seeing it my way
A Bit Random
As Promised - The Online Chat I Can't Explain
Bubble experiment two

Blog Archives

January 1970
October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
August 2009
September 2009
January 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
October 2011
December 2011
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
May 2014
July 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
July 2016

Global Domination

Locations of visitors to this page

Friday, January 23

Space Theme From Outer Space

I've put a bit of time recently into the question of how to write a space theme. This has led me to a couple of interesting places. Firstly, all John Williams soundtracks are using the same tricks. This is a phenomenal discovery which now makes me laugh when I hear his music. That said, I love John Williams' music - it's just I can see through the tricks. These are the tricks of "write a hollywood blockbuster epic score" and in fact, there's not exclusive to Mr Williams - he just writes largely in them.

For those interested, this most amazing YouTube clip about how to write an epic score was a good way to clarify what I'd already worked out.

The second place this journey has led me is into the world of sampled instruments. I'm using Acoustica Mixcraft as my sequencer and DAW of choice. This may not be the most featuresome DAW out there, but I know how to use it and it does a number of things very easily.

If you want your own private orchestra on your PC, then I can't recommend Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra enough. It's free and it sounds pretty good. It has its limitations, but I'm really happy with using it. The SFZ player I used to play its samples via the VSTi plugin to my DAW was Alchemy Player by Camel Audio. This does exactly what it says on the tin.

For those people wanting to pay money, it looks like the Kontakt software by Native Instruments is pretty good and there's a free Orchestra sounds set for it called Total Composure. The free version of Kontakt player cannot play the free Orchestra for more than a few minutes before it starts demanding upgrade fees. Shame.

So what are John Williams' tricks?

  • Fundamentally the song is orchestrated as though a brass band piece - lots of fanfares
  • The tune will switch instrument to keep you on your toes
  • Flutes will swoop
  • The rhythm section is bashing out messages in morse code
  • Strings will swell
  • The glockenspiel will sit at the top end of the track secretly emphasising bits of the tune it likes
  • The timpani will be busy
If you boiled every John Williams track down to a glockenspiel and timpani arrangement, you'd realise how much they add to the piece.

The side effect of writing music
The track I wrote - "Space theme from outer space" is based on a single repeating chord sequence. It goes round and round with different voicings and the use of a counter melody when things start to get dull. It was going well, but I couldn't work out how to end it, and it was stuck in a loop in my head. I usually get my own compositions stuck in my head, but this one was especially bad.

I found the answer tonight while finishing the piece. I could never find an ending because of the looping chord structure which modulate from C to Bb then Bb to Ab and then via a couple of chords back to C via its dominant chord - G. This progression could only loop me round again and again. Every time I thought of a musical variation, it took me back to the start.

This is a secret of a catchy song, the need of the end of the verse to give you the start of the verse again. See This Love by Maroon 5 if you want an example.

Tonight I discovered that the various modulations and key changes were flirting with a total key change of the piece from its initial key of C major into Eb major. A raise in key of a minor third. My trick to get back into the right key after the modulations was preventing the natural rise in key that the chords would have given me (or at least, it felt that way). When I let the tune actually change key, it brought itself to the exact climax I was looking for.

It ended with a crash of cymbals and a big grin.

Does anyone have an orchestra and a choir I can borrow? And a glockenspiel...

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

All content ©2001 - 2012 Ashley Frieze