Toward a new pentatonic musical score

Better ingredients

Better ingredients

Laying down bassoon tracks tonight on an experimental pentatonic collage piece I started working on about a week back. So far it’s scored for strings, piano and bassoon and runs about 23 minutes long. I expect it will become considerably longer, more dense and variable as it evolves.

I’m trying to create five sequences for each instrument, improvising parts without listening back to other tracks done on previous nights. Some use clipped, fast tones, albeit somewhat sparsely distributed. Others are more fluid and sustained, drawing upon instrumental abilities to swell and fade gradually. And some are somewhere in between.

All use the same five notes, though in widely varied sequences. But when they are randomly combined the generate sequences that are predominantly quiet and sad, with some grit and dissonance sewn in along the way.

Each night after I finish improvising the new parts I toss a few segments into the mix and listen back, sometimes moving the new materials around for better sonic fit.

Eventually I will freeze individual tracks. For those unfamiliar with the term, to freeze tracks is to turn MIDI sounds into audio snippets. The advantage of this is that the resulting audio tracks use less CPU power than MIDI, and are much more mobile on the time line than MIDI sequences in a “song.” One can also fade the audio tracks in and out more efficiently.

Over the next few weeks improvised sequences will be created using all of the instruments of the orchestra. And in the months ahead new layers and patterns will be tried out, hopefully building a piece that is cohesive and interesting.

I trust, as I always do, that the universe will guide me in the direction of something odd and lovely. So far, it has.

~ by Daniel Buckley on November 30, 2013.

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