Sunday, October 24, 2010

Banging On

I've been working like crazy in vain on this music and I'm getting rather frustrated. I've now got three production fragments of tracks, basic beats with chords that can be adapted to a variety of tunes.

Most of my work though has gone into a strange new tune that uses strange new methods! I began with the golden ratio and converted it to base seven, using the C major scale for notes. The idea was that this would represent chaos. I played the stream of notes along with a basic pulse in C, and added a similarly nonsensical chaotic counterpoint. This continued in F and then alternated between the two growing in intensity.

Then a new arrangement of chords began, a simple familiar cycle; A min-D min, G maj-C maj, F maj-Bb maj then E and E. This sounded like order and beauty by comparison.

But alas, this hasn't worked very well and I'm not pleased with it. There are a few problems.

Firstly, the tune lacks drama. It has a regular rhythm and the stream of notes, chaotic or beautiful lacks timbre and volume contrast. Injecting more contrast was/is difficult.

Secondly the tune lacks melody. Melody melody! is vital, and here we have a stream of notes instead. There is something hummable in there, and the beautiful part does sound pretty but I'm frustrated by the lack of tune. Adding a tune later is quite possible, but there are only a certain number of combinations.

Finally there is a lack of overall structure. I managed to fade the chaos into the pretty part quite well but the two parts are rather different. One key to creating drama is to lead into the key element. Once the target theme is set, lead into it. Alfred Hitchcock tried to sum up each film by setting one scene, one key that represents the whole film. It's the same in music, and this must be set first and built towards. How much of Beethoven's 9th Joy appears before it? Lots.

I need to rethink.

I also need to redecide from the beginning exactly what I'm doing and aiming at. I've been over thinking this! I must avoid getting tired before the race begins.


Kathy said...

Creating chaos is impossible - we always impose some sort of order. I once had a calculator that would create a sequence of "random" numbers that I could assign to whatever I was working on. This proved helpful, but I wondered if even the calculator (which was programmed by humans) was incapable of producing truly random sequences. I also think there's a limitation on music - that is, our minds can create what our ears can't tolerate or make sense of. Therefore, most music has repetitive themes and a definite structure - much like our paintings. I really appreciate your innovative style and would like to hear some of this music!

Mark Sheeky said...

I agree, I'm not convinced in randomness... although the quantum world has some. I wonder if music based on radioactive decay would be random... hmm machine idea; a Geiger counter piano, that plays notes on the keyboard according to the frequency of the particles.

You make a good point about the mind filling in the gaps. I'm excited by the unpredictable, yet too much unpredicability would be annoying. By the same token though the predictable can be the banal and simplistic... like poems with obvious rhymes. So a mix of the predictable and unpredictable is needed... chaos to order again. I wonder if the Feigenbaum constant can be used to calculate the ideal proportion of that! Hmm. So much to think about. Thank you!!