In this video I concentrate on the fifth storyline out of the orchestral composition Seven. I named it “The end of an era”. This is the saddest music scene of seven. How did I write this? What were my thoughts? My process? Which pointers can I give you to write something similar? All topics in this video which I will address.
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Timestamps of the video
- 00:00 – Introduction
- 01:00 – Tip 1: aeolian is your mode for the saddest music sound
- 02:39 – Tip 2: re-use the melody line in another mode
- 04:16 – Concentrate listen to re-use of melody in different modes
- 05:01 – Tip 3: double the instruments with a good reason
- 06:29 – Concentrate listen to doublings (bassoon with violoncello)
- 07:22 – Tip 4: dare to surprise your listener
- 08:33 – Next week: storyline 6 which is fun, but also weird
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Tip 1: Aeolian is your mode for the saddest music sound
If you have followed me along during the deconstruction videos of Seven so far, you know I already used myxolydian for the friendly opening. Phrygian was my mode for a dark sounding scene. I used lydian for a floaty and mystical sound in the third storyline. And last week I used the mode Dorian for the creation of a melancholic sound. So the ones left are ionian, aeolian and locrian.
For this fifth storyline I pictured myself the saddest music scene of all seven. The animal that got injured in the garden by the black angry cat passed away. A big feeling of sadness and grief took over and everybody cried their eyes out.
The choice for such a scene led me towards the saddest mode of all: Aeolian. This mode uses the formula of semitones and tones like: T – S – T – T – S- T – T. Or in half and whole steps: W – H – W – W – H – W- W.
When we have a look at the score of the fifth storyline and the notes I have used, you will see no sharps or flats. That means I wrote this storyline in A Aeolian.
Tip 2: re-use the melody line in another mode
Last week I told you that this storyline builds further on the melancholic sound of storyline four. So both stories are connected with each other. And you can see that immediately when we have a closer look at the score.
Let’s compare the melody line from the flute from last week with the melody line played by the violin and oboe from this weeks storyline. You will notice that the melody is the same. The only difference – if you could say – is that the melody of last week started on the E cause of E Dorian. And that this weeks melody starts on the A cause of A Aeolian.
The other melody lines in this fifth storyline are simple derivations of the original one. For instance, I used a quarter note and a triplet to make it more interesting. Or I wrote all quarter notes instead of a halve dotted note. Etcetera.
So the melody lines are similar as the ones from last week, but it sounds different yet recognizable. Fresh, but familiar. A great and simple way to connect different storylines within your works and to utilize written melodies to the max without being bored as a listener.
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Tip 3: double the instruments with a good reason
As your job as an orchestrator you need to pick the instruments that tell the story the best. I told you this many times before. Now you can pick one instrument that does the job. But you can also look for doublings. But why should you do that?
I do doublings for a couple of reasons. They can sound more powerful. Or create a massive wall of sound if you will. Or doublings can create a new orchestral colour. In this case the different orchestral sounds merge and result in a new beautiful sound wave.
In this storyline I used two doublings. The oboe with the violin and the violoncello with the bassoon. Both doublings merge beautifully into a wonderful orchestral colour that adds an extra touch to the feeling of drama. At least that is my humble opinion.
Tip 4: dare to surprise your listener
I wrote this storyline in A aeolian. That means no sharps or flats. Just the white keys on the piano if you will. Starting on the A and ending on the A. And again as a good practice, I hammer in the A to make sure that everyone knows this is the tonic.
Though, the ones with a good sense of hearing must have heard a note that raised their eyebrows. Or the ones that pay good attention to detail must have seen the G sharp in bar 85. That note isn’t part of A aeolian! So why did I write this?
Well, I wanted to surprise my listener. Give them a short thrill. Maybe even an uncomfortable feeling that goes well with a dramatic scene. A moment of ‘hey, I didn’t expect that, but it was nice’.
So when you feel the urge to do little things like this, throw in a note that isn’t part of the mode. Dare to surprise your listener.
Next week: storyline 6 which is fun, but also weird
That’s it for this week. Hopefully I gave you some valuable insights and pointers to start writing your own music for a truly sad scene .
Next week I will continue with the sixth storyline which I named “Wakening up in a new world”. We leave the sadness behind us and continue with some fun and weird scene. Already looking forward to that! I hope you do too!