Triplets. I love them! Back in the days when I played in several bands as a drummer I sometimes just switched for fun to triplets. Making my band go mad. Cause you can get really disorientated by these kind of rhythms.
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The steps: from piano to orchestrated version
- 00:00 – Introduction (new intro sound)
- 01:33 – First listening (start on the piano and orchestrated version)
- 02:44 – The melody (the simple piano line I started with)
- 04:09 – Triplets (playing three notes in the time of two)
- 06:32 – The harmony (building up chords for support)
- 07:46 – Orchestration (the symphonic version I ended up with)
Great memories about triplets
I remember the good old times when I walked on the street. My foot steps were the quarter notes. Then I started clapping. First same quarter notes. Then eights. Speeding up to sixteenths. Switching to triplets. Then only the accents on the triplets: 1, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, etc.. I loved doing that.
The same as patters like right, left, right, right, left, right, left, left. Also called the paradiddle. And then really going fast. With changing accents constantly.
Now I won’t go that crazy in this orchestral sketch. But I had my thoughts on triplets.
First listening to get an idea
Alright. Let’s do a first listening as usual. First the piano melody line I started with and then the orchestrated version.
To be honest, I’m quite satisfied with this end result. Definitely because I struggled with the melody line and the triplets. Not even talking about the orchestration itself.
I know these orchestral sketches are about learning, experimenting and just doing without judgement. But he, I’m also human so I do like an end result that sounds decent enough.
The melody line
What can I say about this first step. Well, it took me some time on the piano to write this. Meaning, I didn’t play this melody in one time. I needed some fiddling around. For example, I did not play the sixteenth notes the first time. That kinda evolved on the way.
I wrote these four bars in one of my favourite scales: G Minor. So I work with a B flat and E flat. Starting on the G and ending on the G. I did that on purpose. See it as hammering in the tonic of the scale.
A very important aspect of composing, cause you make your audience familiar with the sound of the scale you’re working in. Not that they care about the scale, but to get them connected with your music they need some orientation points. And hammering in the tonic is one of the things that helps.
I guess that’s all I wanted to say about this first step. Let’s do another quick listening and continue with the triplets.
Triplets – playing three notes in the time of two
For this sketch I wrote triplets for each quarter note. In counterpoint three to one. But I also made some exceptions. And I needed to adjust the original melody line to fit well with the triplets.
Let’s have a closer look.
The first half note is backened by 2 triplets. The half note is a G and the triplet is actually a G minor chord: G, D and B flat.
The first quarter note – which is an A – is also backened by a triplet. With an interval of six falling step wise down to a next triplet with an interval of three. At this point I needed to adjust the melody line to fit well to the triplets. So I rewrote the original eights to a triplet with a rest at the beginning.
I continued with a triplet in the second bar. I also adjusted the original melody at this point. Doing triplets in intervals of three.
I kept the sixteenth notes. I doubled them in intervals of three. Working towards the next triplets which I also wrote in intervals of three and six.
Now if you haven’t watched the orchestral sketches before this one, you might wonder why I use intervals of 3 and 6 so much. Well, simply said these intervals have a rich harmonic sound. Imperfect consonances. So I’m keen on using these ones in my writing.
In this step I wrote the harmony. The supporting sound in the background. And I kept it really simple.
The melody and the triplets are very busy. So adding more like this would be too overwhelming I guess. It would take too much attention of the melody and the triplets. And I don’t want that, cause they are the main part of this sketch.
So simple and clean. I go from a G Minor chord, to a F chord, to a C minor chord and end with a G minor chord. That’s the chord progression.
I minimised the notes in the area of the melody and triplets. The thought behind this is to make them stand out a bit more.
The orchestrated version
G minor feels sad. And the oboe has that magnificent timbre and sound that totally fits that feeling. So I gave the melody to the oboe.
The triplets are for the clarinet. This instrument is lovely and very suitable for melodic lines, different articulations and doing supporting parts. So ended up with a mixture of legatos, long and staccato notes with accents. I love it.
The strings, flute and bass trombone do the harmony. In piano to make sure they are not too much present.
The strings end with a tremolo effect. The effect I talked about in the orchestral sketch no. 6. This gives just a little bit more excitement to the end.
Definitely when combined with the triangle. A small lovely detail in my humble opinion. It’s also doing a fast ringing at the end.
Last but not least, the timpani. Two soft strikes. Was this necessary. No. But, I like the timpani. So I gave it role in this sketch.