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Trumpet Songs 1

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This is a work in progress…

I recently began work on creating a brass quintet from samples made by the University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios. These are terrific mono samples, with 44 kHz examples for every semi-tone in the instrument’s range.

I downloaded the samples for many instuments, and then went through the time consuming process of finding loop points in the samples, and tuning them. I used a program called Awave Studio, which has an automated tool for finding loop points and adjusting the tuning. With the 44 kHz samples from Iowa, it takes about 20 minutes per sample to find an optimum loop point. If anyone knows a faster method, I’d love to hear it. The Awave Studio’s tuning is poor, because the program often assumes that an overtone is the loudest note, and it attempts to adjust the pitch of the note based on the overtone instead of the fundamental. I had to use a trial and error approach to tuning the samples.

I’m just starting the composition process with today’s entry, a short example of two similar chord progressions. The first:

  • G 3/2 Minor
  • F 4/3 Major
  • E 6/5 Subminor
  • D 12/11 Subminor
  • G 3/2 Subminor

and the other one:

  • G 3/2 Subminor
  • F 4/3 Supermajor
  • E 7/6 Minor
  • D 8/7 Major
  • G 3/2 Minor

A few definitions: Based on the overtone series, Major is 4:5:6; Subminor is 6:7:9. Based on the undertone series, Minor is 1/(6:5:4); Supermajor is 1/(9:7:6). There is a nice geometric symmetry in those four chords. The subminor and the supermajor have a real bite to them, while the major and the minor are sweet. I like the idea of wringing a major out of the undertone series, and a minor out of the overtone series. The chords are taken from a quote by Kyle Gann on a column in the Village Voice, talking about Philip Glass:

What’s less often acknowledged is that, amid all the reams of three-against-two and G minor-F-E-flat-D chord progressions, clich├ęs rendered painful by lifelong repetition, he continues to occasionally turn out amazing, advanced, original pieces of music.

They are nice chords, as chords go. But I prefer their microtonal forms.

Balloon Drum Music 10

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This is a work in progress…

Today’s installment modifies the bridge to keep the notes closer between keys. I also cleaned up the octaves used in the primary section. Note the nifty 11th overtone that the oboe ends with. It’s an 11/8 over the main key, which is B 16/9.

Balloon Drum Music 8

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Today’s entry includes a bridge with a modulation. Here it is in Sagittal Notation:

Balloon Drum Music 6

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Today’s revisions include a better mix of volumes among the instruments and some tempo experimentation. This version is taken from one of a many 7 minute realizations generated for my walk by the Boise River tonight. The posted segment had the most interesting combination of sounds and tempos from those I listened to. I can make more.

Music that’s “Fake but Accurate”!
Web page: http://prodgers13.home.comcast.net
Complete examples available at: http://www.soundclick.com/PrentRodgers

Balloon Drum Music 5

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I’ve decreased the volume on the finger piano and increased it on the flutes, and added a new arpeggio:

&obo1.o+1d8h10e8&c1/1. &e5/4. &g3/2. &b7/4.
d4h5o+1&d9/8. &f11/8. &a13/8. &b15/8. o+1&c1/1.h48d0v-10&shift-*.

The

&obo1.

triggers some initialization code for the oboe sample;

d8

is the duration, 8 clicks, about an 1/8th note before the next note plays;

h10

is the length of the sound of that 1/8th note, sort of a legato articulation;

e8

is a sharp envelope, with a down slope at the end;

&c1/1

and the other note names are the notes to play. The last note,

o+1

(up and octave) C is held through the next measure, and shifted from the left to the right channel during the note duration. Lots going on here.

Balloon Drum Music4

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Today’s edition includes a new finger piano part, and more repeatability in the indeterminacy. Each instrument picks a random part to play for each 6/8 measure. If it doesn’t pick the same measure as it did before, it picks another random choice, among the 8-10 to choose from. If it tries 5-6 times and still picks a different one from the last time, it plays the new one. In this way, the piece tends to repeat each measure for a while, then change, after repeating itself a few times. This is one of several algorithms that I can use to tweak the indeterminacy.

Balloon Drum Music3

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Today’s addition is some new bass finger piano and alto flute parts. Ten minutes a day, four pieces a year.

Balloon Drum Music2

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Today I made some additions to the oboe part – more notes, and to the finger piano bass – the use of an exponential envelope with a fast bass line. Clipped and sharp.

Balloon Drum Music1

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This is a work in progress…

The balloon drum is a 3″ sewer pipe with a balloon membrane head. The head is struck with a short rubber covered mallett. This version is a single 48″ model, sampled and manipulated with Csound. Also on the track are finger piano, flutes, oboe, and guitar. The notes are the otonality on C. 8:9:10:11:12:13:14:15:16. More later.