Nov 17, 2009 New compositions
Ok, so this track is a little unorthodox, as I always try to push my envelope. In my opinion it’s an artist’s obligation to be unorthodox (while making art, that is) because art is, or can be, escapism. In the visual arts you can work towards realism, but even there art is only interesting, in my opnion, when reality becomes the artist’s creation, as it were, as opposed to art being a mere copy of reality.
As for pushing one’s envelope, I worked myself into a lower back pain on this track and even then it’s never finished. It’s got some weird hamonics, but please listen to the track several times to get a feel for it, before you dismiss it as weird. The vocals you hear consist of English language vocal samples, but reversed. So it’s English, but the other way around. I did that to get the vocals to be a little more interesting, because it’s very difficult to find interesting vocal samples.
I renamed the track to Your Dreams, which is from the lyrics of one of the vocal samples. Prozaic, but self-evident.
Expect at least one update to this song, because I’ve detected an harmonic mishap and a mixing issue. As for the harmonics, the part between 1:15 and 1:32 min. is experimental. It’s a pivotal part of the song, but I don’t really know what I’m doing there. If it were “wrong”, as so to speak, the song wouldn’t be able to continue in the way it does, but it isn’t entirely “right” either. I put right and wrong between quotes, because music isn’t exact science (in practice, exact science isn’t exact). Near the end of Requiem for Batman there are some chords that sound “off”, but without them the ending would be dull and only the very attentive listener will detect the offness. So, what to choose, the smooth version or the more dramatic version, that’s an artistic choice, which transcends musical rules. (The same applies to the intro (00:02 – 00:27) of Your Dreams.)
As for the mixing (this is geek stuff), the penultimate part of Your Dreams, where the Vocaloid begins, sounds unstable. This may have something to do with the compressor’s reaction to the bass sound and I spent a week trying to fix that, only partially successfully. Oddly enough, it appears neither in the sequencer, nor in the .wav file it produces, only in the .mp3 file. It will take a better geek than myself to get to the bottom of this.
On Nov 24th I updated My Dreams. Check out the intro and the 1:15 – 1:32 part. Also, the piece now has a 96 kHz sampling rate (instead of 48), which gives the piece a better overall sound quality. And the above-mentioned unstable sounding part got through the MP3 converter better this time. No idea as to why.
Which sampling rate produces the best result is an art to me (if not coincidence), rather than science. Of course I tried higher sampling rates the previous times, but then it didn’t improve the musical value.
The human ear is not supposed the be able to hear an improvement of sound quality above 44.1 kHz, but if a file conversion from the lossless .WAV to the compressed .MP3 is required, then there’s no doubt that increasing the sampling rate makes a big difference.
However, a more realistic sound doesn’t always produces a more musical result. I learn as I go.
Nov 25 (v2): Another update. The intro is always the last part of the song I write, because it serves as a kind of blueprint for the rest of the song. Its purpose is to set the song up. “The meat” of the song is often three part counterpoint, or more, with which you can’t start a song, because that would leave the listener confused from the first moment on. The maximum number of melody lines that a listener can hear simultaneously is two. If there are more, then you still hear two and regard the rest as harmony. You assume the additional lines are there, based on what you expect from what you heard previously. So a convenient way to start an intro is with two part counterpoint, although there may be expections: as long as the listener can grasp the music without prior knowledge.
The difficulty with My Dreams is that the intro must set up an unorthodox harmonic structure (I think, I’m not a musicologist) to a simple melodic theme. So the intro contains the theme, which suggests straightforward harmony, but at the same time it must have notes that are external to this simple harmony to set up the more complex harmony that follows. The “external notes” make the intro sound illogical, so the two have to be balanced: the intro must make sense in its own right and at the same time set up the unorthodox harmony that follows.
Nov 26 (v2.2): Another update: I changed the strings following the intro. This blog’s MP3 files have “tags”, some of which show up on your player’s display, such as the song’s title and an image. The MP3 files also have a “comment” tag, which isn’t generally displayed on your player, but I use it to add some technical information, such as the song’s version. Today’s version is 2.2, hence the (v2.2) next to Nov 26. Just in case you feel the urge, if you download a tag editor, then you can access the comment tag and see which version you’re dealing with.
Dec 3: Update v2.3.
I changed the 1:15 – 1:32 part on Nov 24th, which necessitated a change to the strings of the part following. The objective is not necessarily to make the part in question sound better, rather than to improve the flow of the song overall. If all these updates piss you off, I am sorry, but when these changes occur to me I feel the need to implement them. This song is just a lot more complicated than the previous ones and I learn better to understand it as time passes.