Saturday, 23 July 2011

So musically speaking...

This last three minutes of music start with the most intensely worked-on minute of the album, (which in the end is OK but not thoroughly impressive considering the work). It is a musical cube, with notes at the vertices (corners)

Oh come on! What kind of spellchecker is this that doesn't recognise "vertices" (or "spellchecker" or "recognise" for that matter)??

So up/down is pitch, left/right is stereo left/right and in/out is volume. The notes are cheated to be an f7 chord. Then there are some transitions, where the note slides from one vertex to another (using a guitar slide to slide the pitch (these are electric guitar notes), and cubase post-production to move the notes in stereo space and volume). There are 21 ways of sliding notes along the edges of the cube from one vertex to an adjacent one without any notes colliding with other notes coming the other way, and I used 18 of them. This was the whole process:
  • work out what notes to use and what stereo spacing and volumes were reasonable
  • draw lots of diagrams of cubes to work out the transition
  • using the diagrams write out the sequences of notes to be played on the guitar, 8 tracks in all showing slides and held notes (it would have been pointless to use musical dots as I cannot sight read to play)
  • Play and record the tracks (with copious editing to get it right)
  • Trawl through the tracks applying the right pan and volume transitions in the right places

As you might imagine this took HOURS. The result - interesting, but needed drums and bass added to make it seem more like music.

So for the last two minutes I went in a more musical direction, showing positive change by a never-ending but always changing set of chords. Starting with F, Faug, F6, F7, then onto Bb for the same sequence, going up a fourth each time (OK so eventually it cycles round). This started with one acoustic guitar picking, then as it works up the strings and the fretboard another starts lower, and another and so on in a barber-pole effect that has a maximum of I think 6 guitars happening. Add some interesting and sporadic drums and the whole thing is interesting, beautiful (in my opinion) and uplifting. Now it just needed a solo line - but in a moment of inspiration - inspired by the fact that the guitars cover a large part of the tone spectrum and , any soloing in the same note areas would struggle to lift above that - the solo is on the bass, beneath all the guitars.

I don't often enough make use of the fact that bass is my strongest instrument.

I love the end result.

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