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Thread: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Working on a rather large scale piece right now combining the Soundtrack Machine (see THIS THREAD) as well as live guitars, synths, and bass.

    This is the first layer of the first section; as I add more layers I will post updates here.



    The chord progression, after the intro, is pretty involved. It's 64 measures long.
    The chord progression is:
    Dm/A/Gm/Bb/F/C#dim/Am/C
    C#dim/A/D/G/Bm/F#m/Dm/A
    Gm/Dm/Emb5/F/Gm/A/Bb/Dm
    Emb5/C#dim/Gm/A/C#dim/E/Dm/A

    The melody is written as a canon: A synth line (panned left) plays over two chords and then is repeated by a second synth (panned right) while the first line plays a new line over the changing chord progression. This leads to some interesting harmonies and rhythmic variations as the sections overlap.

    The intro is a Yamaha TX7 into a BOSS RV-500. The strings were recorded on the MC-500 and played on a Roland JV-1080. The melodic synths are sequenced by an XOR Electronics NerdSeq tracker style sequencer; the two canon voices are two oscillators of a Studio Electronics Quadnic vco/Intellijel Quadra envelope generator/Intellijel Quad VCA; they run through a strymon AA.1 and RV-500 (delay and reverb). They then feed back into the modular through a WORNG Sound Stage filter/mixer along with Tiptop Audio BD808 and SD808 drum modules. The drums are being triggered by a vpme Euclidean Circles trigger sequencer. The bass is a Moog Mother-32.
    Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 07-04-2019 at 08:47 PM.
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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Well, that was fun! I like the blade runner-y vibe at the start. Then we get into a kinda busier Metroid thing. When do the guitars get added?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Thanks! Guitars are the next step. Gonna rewrite the intro as well, it needs more space.
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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Upon further experimentation it's become clear to me that the piece, overall, has too many moving parts at once -- there's no room to simply add additional layers and nowhere to go if I start out with chords on full whack from the first moment. So I am trying a new approach:

    I Breaking the piece into five separate movements/sections
    II Stripping back the complexity of each voice so that there is room for more instrumentation
    III Allowing the piece to grow in terms of complexity to create movement and drama, and then pulling it back to create dynamics and degrees of light and shade
    IV Incorporating MIDI control and a drum machine instead of Euclidean patterns for the drum parts

    I am almost done with the first movement based on the new approach and it's working great! A simplified string part (just two string lines atop a pedal tone) allows for the poly synth to add additional textures and there's room left over for drums, guitars, modular synth voices, and vocals.

    New clip coming soon...
    Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 07-13-2019 at 08:01 AM.
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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Breaking down the piece and rebuilding it has been quite a process! I find that my drive to write melodies makes me VERY impatient; as a result, the piece gets filled up really quick making it hard to be as expansive as I would like.
    After MUCH experimentation, I have found an arrangement for the intro that I like! I am now moving into the next section, which will contain the first couple of verses.

    Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 07-20-2019 at 06:46 PM.
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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    How long is the entire piece going to be? I struggle to write songs much past three minutes myself. :P
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    How long is the entire piece going to be?
    That's a very good question; I have no idea! My target is 2 minutes per section, and it's going to have five sections, so 10-20 minutes in total.

    I struggle to write songs much past three minutes myself. :P
    Oooh, I do not have that problem, for better or for worse lol
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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    The A section for the verses in Part 2 is now complete!

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Had a major breakthrough yesterday! Figured out how to chain the parts together using the MRP-500 operating system for the MC-500. It's not very intuitive and some of the configuration steps are backwards; for example, the way Auto Pause works.

    It was quite a moment when I got everything to play all the way through and got my proof of concept after weeks of work!!

    Here's the first seven minutes of audio, still missing the live synth and bass guitar, but otherwise intact.

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    I listened through it twice and I'm curious what the final intent is? Is this a backing track to something else or is this the full piece?

    I don't mean to sound negative at all, but movement is really slow and the layers seem so fixed, like there could be more dynamics overall. The synth really drowns out the cool guitar chording, as well. Just a thought.

    All in all, it's interesting!

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Quote Originally Posted by masta' c View Post
    I listened through it twice
    Thanks for listening, and for feeding back!

    and I'm curious what the final intent is? Is this a backing track to something else or is this the full piece?
    I can totally grok it being hard to see the big picture because this is a small piece of the overall work, and an incomplete one at that, of a much larger work. (Hence the 'WIP' tag in the title) To answer your questions, this is a large scale piece of music and what you are hearing here are some of the backing tracks. This is definitely not the full piece, it's barely the first two sections for what will have five sections in total. So, this is just under half of the finished product.

    I don't mean to sound negative at all, but movement is really slow and the layers seem so fixed, like there could be more dynamics overall. The synth really drowns out the cool guitar chording, as well. Just a thought.
    I am not taking it as negative at all, I appreciate the feedback! Yup, it moves slow.

    All in all, it's interesting!
    Thanks for listening!
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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Thank you for the clarifications. I knew it was a work in progress, just wasn't clear to me what was left to do after your previous post.

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Added the DX7 (live synth) last night as well as the guitar solo. Below is the solo and its lead up.

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    And here's the finished arrangement for the fist half-ish of the song. On to the next section!

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    I like it so far. Kinda wanted the synths to drop back a bit and the guitar to come up during the guitar parts at around 5:10 - 5:40.
    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    Kinda wanted the synths to drop back a bit and the guitar to come up during the guitar parts at around 5:10 - 5:40.
    This

    Also, would it be possible to feather in the transition at 1:58 a little more?

    Sounds really good overall!

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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Thanks for listening and joining me on this adventure!

    There is no post added to these tracks, these are live-performance songwriting demos, so it's unlikely that I will be adding any automation.
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Parts 3 and 4 are blocked out and started sequencing last night. Tying to make a little more space, memory wise, to squeeze in a horn line! Really like how Part 3 develops in particular, there are two string parts that alternate between contrary and parallel motion creating an interval pattern of octave, major third, minor third, perfect fifth, and then it reverses. Over that I think I play every 80s Alex Lifeson style guitar chord lol.
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Part 3 is done but I caught a summer flu! So, minor setback for a few days...
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
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    Default Re: Canon For A Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) - WIP thread

    Quick update -- suffered a minor setback, in that the MC-500 ate my floppy disk! So, I've had to rebuild the song from scratch! I've since worked out some improvements to the arrangement and also some redundancy/back up in case of another catastrophic failure. Lesson learned! But the piece is almost complete now and sounds better than ever!
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
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