Monday 29 November 2021

AUTUMN Music Album & St. Ralph Sherwin

 The past couple of weeks I decided that I needed to write something completely new and without pressure, something completely free.  My sister suggested that I write a seasonal album called "Autumn". This really inspired me as I love the idea of falling leaves with their colours, mushrooms etc.  I asked her to write me 10 track title names and I would use these as the basis for my writing.

When I write, I start with a picture or an idea and set up my basic project in Cubase.  I have some standard instruments like harp, piano, strings, soundscapes, guitar.  Mostly I briefly decided on a 4/4 or 3/4 time or something else and tempo and then I'll hit record and play in starting with usually either harp or piano or strings and record in something for about 30 seconds.  I will go back to this, quantize it and normalize any velocity that's been played in way to loud or quiet, get it sounding nice, then I'll hit record again, change instrument and play in another tune or accompaniment over the top of what I have recorded.  I do this about 5 times with bass, strings, voices or whatever I feel the piece needs and I gradually build it up.

When I started AUTUMN the first title was "Ode to the Fungi" so I used mostly guitars and stringed instruments which I switched about.  I like to change instruments or bring in new ones after a minute or so.  I was told once by my college tutor "overkill on the oboe" and he suggested switching the lead instrument regularly.  This really helped and I am always aware of the need to bring in something new.  My favourite samples are by Eduardo Tarilonte and I draw upon his soundscapes a lot.  For this album I was able to use Forest Kingdoms more as it's not a "Holy Spirit" album or a religious contemplative track or film.  I felt I could do what I wanted so I used forest soundscapes with subtle sounds of fantasy beasts and birds.  I used sound effects like crackling fires and rain.  It's been really fun and this album captures the atmosphere of the season well.

I certainly enjoyed the last 2 tracks, tracks 7 and 8 that I have written this past week "Walking the dark woodland pathways" as I was able to write something darker and more sinister using the piano and strings and some creaking trees soundscapes and wind.  

I am gearing up to work on "St. Ralph Sherwin" music score, it's been a few weeks since I finished Anna Maria Taigi film score which was so epic I have not been able to go back to it through sheer exhaustion.  I decided to write a couple of "pre-tracks" for St. Ralph Sherwin and ended up writing 3 in a row yesterday which was great.  Finally I was inspired to use Highland Pipes which, if used well, can be so moving - like in Braveheart film.  

I started with subtle soundscapes to give an atmosphere of depth and expanse, then I used the pipes with a lot of reverb to "call out" over the "landscape" that I was picturing.  To this I added a fidule and it gradually built up from there with strings and bass and a bit of subtle nylon guitar to keep in moving.  I fell in love with this piece but had to stop for dinner and just managed to finish it.  Every hal hour or so I would record 30 seconds of video and music and tweet it on my Twitter account.  There was a lot of response to this and people got to hear what I was working on.  Today I've set up the St. Ralph Sherwin film and hope to incorporate this piece into the film as it hit that emotional spot.  It will mean at some point in the score, introducing the pipes and bringing the themes around to this kind of epic thought - probably towards the end where you know the character is going to prison and be executed.

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