Recently I saw a post on Facebook about the popularity of certain music. Someone asked: “Why do we love one composition more than another one?” I have always found these questions enormously interesting. Cause it’s related to our brain. And the way we programmed ourselves as humans.
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Timestamps of the video
- 00:00 – Introduction
- 00:32 – Our brain and music
- 01:32 – First listening to a simple melody line on the piano
- 02:43 – Predictable patterns for our brain
- 03:27 – Another instrument to tickle our brain
- 04:41 – Deconstruction of the orchestral sketch
- 06:23 – Ending
Our brain and music
Now maybe you’re wondering, what has this to do with the orchestral sketches? Well, everything!
Doing these short sketches forces you to write simple music. Music to which listeners can lock into within seconds. That our brain immediately understands what’s happening. At least, that’s my goal!
If you are able to do that successfully, you have valuable knowledge in my humble opinion. Knowledge about how to start with simple melodies and how to utilize them. Knowledge about which chords progressions work. A better understanding of the use of patterns. And how to develop all of this into a more exciting and less cheesy, but easy to follow music for the majority of listeners.
You could say, a valuable insight in the way our human brain works and how we experience music.
With this video I break with the concept of “from piano to orchestra“. I guess I have said enough about that for now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still using that concept for these sketches. But I will not integrate all the steps anymore in the upcoming videos.
So let’s start. We do a quick listening at the simple melody I started with. And then dive into the orchestrated version straight away.
The simple melody I started with.
The pattern our brain picks up immediately
I would dare to say that almost everybody can reproduce this melody line instantly. It’s very recognizable. It’s predictable. The pattern connects the listener. Our brain is locked into it.
But our pitfall as composers is that evil voice inside our head. That convinces us that it is too simple. That we should write more complex music.
And that’s my point. You don’t have to! You need to know how to utilize and develop this simple idea into a more interesting sounding, but yet still into a simple musical concept.
Use another instrument to tickle the brain
What if we change the piano into a solo violin. What will that do with this simple melody line?
I don’t know how you experience this, but for me it already sounds better. More interesting. Just by changing the instrument. The orchestral color that you hear.
Funny how that works. At least, with me.
Now what will happen to the simple melody if we start adding more instruments.
Deconstruction of the orchestral sketch
This is what I ended up with. A string quintet that consists of two violins, a viola, violoncello and a double bass.
The violoncello plays a countermelody. With again a very predictable and recognizable pattern. Do you have noticed that the countermelody goes up stepwise? Just like the melody played by the violin?
The violin II and viola fill in the harmonic aspect of this sketch. Nothing special. Just chord tones.
The double bass addresses the rhythm in the low range with pizzicato notes.
And this together sounds like this. By the way, this is a mockup I made in my DAW based on the exported MIDI out of StaffPad. So it sounds a bit different.
That’s it. If you support me on Patreon you can download the sheet music and MIDI file of this orchestral sketch and all the others I did before.