AFO sketches, 2/12/10

Yes, I said “sketches.”

First of all, I took Marc Honea’s “Vibes” piece, which I will let him explain in comments, and which sounds like this [mp3]. He sent me a MIDI version of that, which I sucked up into Finale 2010, creating a score, after much mucking about, that looks this [pdf].

My only goal today was to slam some of those notes into a Finale file that would start playing with the orchestration to see if would even work as a string piece. My suspicion is that it’s always going to sound better and cooler in the computer version. However, here’s where I’m stopping for the day: vibes sketch 2/12/10 [mp3]. Four measures of bass vamping, then the first four measures minus the top notes, then the same four measures with the top notes added back in.

I couldn’t resist the glockenspiel.

About this time, as I took a break for coffee, it started to snow. I went out on the back deck and watched it begin to come down. Why not a piece called “The Labyrinth in Snow”?

Here’s what I’ve plopped down. It’s got some nice bits, but it’s still just noodling. Labyrinth sketch 2/12/10 [mp3]. The violin accompaniment will continue under the cello solo, probably quiet little triplets. In addition to the piano, there will be a solo violin as well. The three soloists will wind in and out over increasing flurries from the rest of the strings. I think.

And just so you can share in it, here’s the labyrinth. In snow.

Update, 5:14 pm:

Here’s the most recent version, a little extended. I’m thinking about changing the opening to be a lighter, more mysterious, trill-y kind of thing. Labyrinth 2/12.b [mp3]

4 thoughts on “AFO sketches, 2/12/10

  1. When you suggested making a string orchestra piece out of it, I was excited because I thought the strings could easily capture the “dance vamp” underlying pulse. It’s also easy for strings to give the right weight and balance to the “dissonant” whiffs in the stream. I like the textures you’ve created. Probably more than you do, I’m guessing. Sounds great! I think there’s great potential for the strings to run riot and have a great time.

    Don’t be afraid to approximate the original tempo. I am wondering if your modifications to the bass vamp lock in a major triadic feel when much else is more in a minor seventh-ish mode. The major actually may work against potential propulsion. Not sure.

    I may be biased, but I really like what you’ve done so far. Please don’t lose interest.

  2. Notes on the original midi file. Some of your readers may be interested in the fact that this little piece represents a collaboration between me and my computer. I’ve been playing around with a little widget I built within one of my audio processing programs. It generates numbers in the Mandelbrot Set, complex number coordinates produced by a famous recursive algorithm that when plotted graphically and colored in certain ways creates the famous beautiful fractal images with which many are familiar. Instead of graphing these coordinates, I’ve been using them to influence musical values of frequency spread and duration, sort of attempts at musical fractals.

    This was my first attempt to influence midi values as opposed to directly manipulating digital audio signals. I set the tempo, the fundamental tones and pulse, one minor interval, and the fractal generator did the rest. I was stunned when I pressed play and heard the product for the first time. What you hear in the original file is the midi values as they were produced. Not a bad collaboration.

  3. I’m going to keep playing with the Vibes piece–it does have a kind of wildness to it that I want to explore. I may, however, switch it over to a full string orchestra and aim it at one of these competitions instead of the AFO.

    The Labyrinth piece, too, may be problematic, because having stated this theme, I get the feeling that it cannot be contained in a five-minute piece. Of course, I could do a quickie for the AFO, then revamp it into what it looks like, a triple concerto. Merciful heavens.

  4. I feel like all these “sketches” have an underlying camaraderie, more than that they were written by you, but possibly that they are connected.

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