In this video I concentrate on the sixth storyline out of the orchestral composition Seven. I named it “Wakening up in a new world”. This is by far the most fun and weird scene of all 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
- 01:04 – Tip 1: need something unusual, pick Locrian!
- 03:02 – Tip 2: use instruments on beat and off beat
- 04:19 – Concentrate listen to rhythm
- 04:37 – Tip 3: dare to use unusual playing techniques
- 06:07 – Concentrate listen to falls and doits in the brass
- 06:43 – Next week: storyline 7 which is loving and caring
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Tip 1: Need something unusual, pick Locrian!
If you have followed me along during the deconstruction videos of Seven so far, you know I already used five of the seven available modes. I used myxolydian for the friendly opening scene. Phrygian was my mode for a dark and suspenseful sound. I used lydian for a floaty and mystical sound. And dorian for a melancholic sound followed by aeolian last week for the saddest sound of all. So the ones left are ionian and locrian.
For this sixth storyline I pictured myself a weird and yet funny scene. Out of nowhere a couple if weird insects ran towards the animal that passed away. Giving it resuscitation. Can you imagine, little insects doing this? If they succeeded, I let you decide.
The choice for such a scene led me towards the mode that you probably will hear the least in music: locrian. It sounds like it is unfinished, like someone simply stopped playing in the middle of a melody.
But nevertheless, this mode uses the formula of semitones and tones like: S – T – T – S – T – T – T. Or in half and whole steps: H – W – W – H – W – W- W.
When we have a look at the score of the sixth storyline and the notes I have used, you will see two flats: Bb and an Eb. That means I wrote this storyline in A Locrian.
Tip 2: use instruments on beat and off beat
When we have a closer look at this storyline, you will notice something familiar. I based the bassoon line on the one from storyline 3. Staccato notes on the quarter notes. Starting on the A, then the Eb, again an A and it ends on the C. That makes it an A diminished chord.
On top of that I wrote eight staccato notes in the clarinets. You could say they fill in the gap on the second eight note that isn’t covered by quarter notes. They play the A, hammering in the tonic of A locrian.
On top of that I wrote the xylophone part with 16th notes. On the 2/16 and 4/16 notes. So off beat this time. Which will give a nice nervous feeling to the rhythm. A feeling I was after.
To complete the entire picture, I also wrote triplets in the oboe. Which all makes it a very interesting moving part. At least that is my opinion.
Listen to the full mockup of Seven
Tip 3: dare to use unusual playing techniques
Until now I have used several – I guess – familiar playing techniques in this composition Seven. Think about legato, pizzicato, tremolo and open harmonics in the strings section. Staccato in the woodwinds. And an arpeggio in the harp.
But there are of course many other playing techniques that you can use in your works. Think about mutes in the brass section. Tenuto in the woodwinds. Or a bartok pizzicato in the string section.
In this storyline you will find a new playing technique in the tuba, bass trombone and trombones part. It starts in bar 99 with the tuba. And it repeats in bar 103, 104 and 105.
What am I talking about? It starts with a ‘Fall’ technique in the tuba. The resuscitation of the animal that passed away didn’t work. The heart started pumping, but stopped again.
Then the weird insects gave it another try. More successful this time. The sound of the ‘Doits’ technique (hopefully I pronounce that correctly) represents the revival of the animal that passed away.
So yes, they succeeded!
Next week: storyline 7 which is loving and caring
That’s it for this week. Hopefully I gave you some valuable insights and pointers to start writing your own music for a fun but also weird scene .
Next week I will continue with the seven and last storyline which I named “Happy and loving ending”. We leave the weirdness behind us and continue with a scene that brings closure to the story. Already looking forward to that! I hope you do too!