IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…

You may be aware that I have been having a bumpy ride with my flirtation with PC’s and the Windows operating system. At first, I was unsuccessful but hey, if you don’t succeed, try, try, try again! There is just too much money floating around this PC to not give it a good old-fashioned go, so I have taken everything back to basics. I am using East West instruments exclusively and am not using an interface, just the laptop, sample-library, and a set of headphones. This set up is basic to say the least but I had to simplify to minimise any problems and focus on composing.

The piece I have written is a concept for an upcoming Blackfeather Productions game that is a metroidvania adventure platformer. I am so pleased with this piece and WOW, am I amazed at East West! Those guys aren’t fooling around when it comes to quality sounding virtual instruments, so hats off to the crew for enriching our lives with a fantastic product! Let’s have a listen to the piece and take a look at how it was written.

COMPOSING THE SYMPHONIC POEM

I have described in detail in a previous blog the technique of using short score to work a concept before orchestrating it, if you would like to familiarise yourself with this concept then click this link to check out what goes on when composing the short score of a piece. OK, let’s continue.

To begin with I composed the block chords on a piano track, it was very basic and nothing special to listen to, but it became so interesting after I had broken the chords down with arpeggios and added a melody.

Shortscore of opening motif.
Arpeggios and melody make it interesting.

If you can’t already tell, I am a huge Studio Ghibly fan, and Joe Hisaishi is one of my favourite composers.

ORCHESTRATING

There was no exact science to orchestrating the piece, I just added instruments that suited the sound of the music and after a while, I was left with the ensemble that you hear in the listening demonstration. The flute and oboe playing the melodies at the beginning were the first instruments I added, then the basses and celli performing the pizzicato. French horn, english horn and trombone were added along with harp, violins and violas to fill out the harmonies. Bassoon was added and it gave a light-hearted character, until turning melancholic and this inspired the next section of the track. As the piece progressed I kept doing short score versions of the different sections and new instrumentation was added along the way to add tone colour. This ensemble is what I think of as a Big Chamber Orchestra (haha).

The ensemble.

I am happy that I have now been able to have success composing with virtual instruments using windows, and who knows, I may even stick with it?! Until next time, stay creative! 🙂

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