Showing posts from March, 2022

Hildegard Westerkamp

  Hildegard Westerkamp's piece Kits Beach Soundwalk is a mixture of sounds and monologue taken from a beach near Vancouver. Even though the recording is close up to the ocean gently washing over barnacles, the city is omnipresent in the background. The speaker lets us know that we could easily be rid of this through filtering and we hear the filtered sound. The city is no longer there, but is still there in its absence. Westerkamp talks of the sounds in her dreams and in her present interchangeably, yet the city always remains the "monster to be conquered". This is a romantic notion common to her era where peasants' lives are idealised against the backdrop of an ever burgeoning modernity. It is this modernity which has given her a voice, however, and she doesn't seem to be able to reconcile this reality into her poetic musings. I can't help thinking that this background 'noise' of the modern world needs to be embraced. Why should we always live in deni

Sketch 1

  Jonesie · Sketch 1 Ver10 This was written as a requiem for my late wife. It is based on descending guitar voicing in Am. It has a B section in Dm. The drums could be done without and a recurring violin pattern of ascending fourths followed by a tonal descent. I think this sketch turned out pretty well and has a dreamy feel to it. I would like to work on it more in Logic though. I find it difficult to do this sort of stuff in Ableton as the quality of gather strings and brass etc is limited.

Sketch 2

  Jonesie · Sketch 2 Vers19 Sketch 2 is based on a simple I VI II V progression in the A section with a contrasting I i IV VIIb7 progression returning to the home key in the second four bars. I think this is a cool little melody with a lilting feel to it. It has a bit of swing but this could be worked on more. I find the MIDI swing setting very fake and sound not much like a swing feel at all. Anyway, I think this piece has some promise as an idea for a larger musical foray in the future.

Drum racks in Ableton Live

Drum racks in Ableton Live  Building a drum rack in Ableton is fairly straight forward. Just drag a drum rack onto a MIDI track and load it with a Simpler/Sampler on the first drum spot. Assign the most common controls to a Macro. I did Frequency, Resolution, Attack, Sustain and Volume for instance. Then command D the simpler in the chain section of the drum rack for as many drums as you want, say 32 spots. Now load the sample you want for each spot onto that spots simpler/sampler window. Voila. A drum rack. Use found sounds as your samples and manipulate them to your heart's content.

Acoustics and Psychoacoustics

 Acoustics and Psychoacoustics This book by David M Howard and Jamie Angus is a treasure trove on the fundamentals of acoustic theory. It covers many aspects of sound and its perception and is a great textbook. I just read the graphs and diagrams and found it really interesting. The section on psychoacoustics is fairly short but includes phantom notes and scales. It also includes a CD with examples of the described phenomena.

Music by the Numbers

Music by the Numbers  by Eli Maor is an easy to read survey of the history of western music theory in the fields of mathematics and physics. I found the content really easy to read and accessible. I got the book on loan from the Fairfield library. The book starts with Pythagoras' investigations into music before moving to the revisiting of the topic during the renaissance by Galileo Galilei. Interestingly, his father, Vincenzo, was an accomplished Lute player and theorist on music. Galileo inherited this interest and went on to lay the foundations of later enquiries into the nature and structure of music. I haven't finished the book yet but I am enjoying the read.

Additive Synthesis

Additive Synthesis This is a really cool fully functioned additive synthesizer. It is one of several included with Ableton Live 11. By detuning the oscillators slightly you can get an analog synth feel. It has two oscillators configurable in a number of ways, as well as a sub oscillator which can be injected from the screen. There is a filter and amp section both of which include a dedicated ADSR envelope. Finally, there is an LFO and an output section where there is vibrato, unison and glide settings.   By clicking on the button for the appropriate section to the synth the screen will change to display settings for that section. Also pictured is an EQ8

Animal Spirits by Vulfpeck

 Animal Spirits by Vulfpeck We were played Animal Spirits in class. This song by Vulfpeck has a steady walking pace tempo with a regular 4/4 beat. It has a happy upbeat feel, with a simple yet elevated vocal melody. It has a simple drum line consisting of a syncopated kick drum, a snare and a high hat . The piano is played by two people giving it a rich harmonic structure. This style of playing is called piano forte. There is also an organ playing along with a funky electric bass guitar, a synth and a xylophone. The main progression is a I III IV V with a bridge of I V I V giving it a AABB structure with a four bar break in the middle. There is another section towards the end of eight bars with a repeated VI II7 VI V progression. So that the over all structure is ABACA'. There are male lead and backing vocals and the song overall has an open, fun texture. 

Pictures of You (from Little Fires Everywhere)

 Pictures of You (from Little Fires Everywhere) Pictures of You by Lauren Ruth Ward is a song from the sound track of the TV series Little Fires Everywhere. It is a simple song in 4/4 time at around 65 bpm or Adagio. It consist harmonically of only two chords in the key of G being the Ist and the Vth. Syncopated piano carries the lilting vocals of the song with a minimal amount of strings in the background. The song is divided into sections only by the use of instruments and the loudness of the m middle section. In this way has an AABA structure but is really only an AAA'A structure. The piece contains piano, drone strings, vocals and backing vocals, a banjo, kick and snare drums, and cymbals. It is a sparse arrangement. Even in the middle section where it thickens considerably with the addition of the bulk of the instruments, it still remains a simple arrangement. This fits in well with the narrative of the series which is based on the stories two women who both have a female frie

Charlemagne Palestine

  Charlemagne Palestine I Chaim Moshe Tzadik Palestine goes by the stage name of Charlemagne Palestine. He is considered one of the founders of New York minimalism, but prefers that his music is known as maximalist. He also works in the visual arts.  In this performance in Germany, he is surrounded by stuffed soft toys. This is somewhat of a signature of his, as too is the piece he is a, Concert I which also goes by the name of Strumming. The piece consists of intervals played repetitively over and over, broken into movements, key changes, and finally returning to end with the signature motif from which the piece begins. In this sense it has a neo-classical structure though I imagine Charlemagne's work would horrify many classical musicians. The piece has an AA'BCA'' structure. It opens quite slowly before building into a somewhat frenetic 4/4 beat of sixteenth notes played with increasing volume and tension at about 120 bpm or between a Moderato and Allegro pace. There