Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cumulative Line Composition

This blog is intended to demonstrate how an entire composition (i.e., melody, harmony, bass motion, etc...) can be derived from a singular line containing these key elements to then develop further.

Years ago, I attended a brilliant concert by the great Ravi Shankar and at that time I had been studying Carnatic Indian Ragas, Talas and Konnakol. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konnakol)

At this performance he and his group performed one particular composition based on a 50 beat-cycle which I found intriguing... after the concert I decided to write a composition based on a 25 beat-cycle, which is now the example I will be using to demonstrate this musical approach.

The above comments were merely intended to describe my creative inspiration for this piece of music and nothing more... I will now layout the actual blog topic at hand.

This piece was once again based on a 25 beat-cycle which I subdivided into a 5 bar progression to include a single bar of each 3/8, 4/8, 5/8, 6/8 & 7/8 time signatures in succession, thus equalling 25
beats all combined.

I then decided on using the key of D major and it's respective modes for the overall note content.
My first priority was that I wanted to have an ascending bass line working against an descending melody line all within the figure in order to create an interesting blend of movement and tension.

Please note in the notation example below that the first and key downbeats of every bar represent the bass motion that in essence simply moves right up the scale starting from E Dorian to F#, G and so on... ending on B in order to create a Cycle V resolution back to the beginning therefore ensuring the ability to repeat itself as long as desired.
The melody line is then starting on an C# moving in a downward motion more or less from that point on as a counter to the bass.

This cumulative line was entirely conceived and written in theory, while of all things riding the train!

It worked out beautifully without one edit being required, which just goes to show once again how musical creation can be achieved thru the use of theory, anywhere and anytime... a truly divine and wonderful thing to be sure!

I have also attached a link to a brief orchestrated audio example that takes the original above and continually deconstructs and develops the line even further. All the individual instrument figures are solely taken from this initial figure!


Please note that this is a quick audio example using basic sounds in Sibelius, therefore its quality is certainly less than desired... However, it suffices just fine in order to demonstrate this topic, so please refrain from any comments regarding the mock-up quality, etc... for that is not the purpose of this blog example at all.

I hope you find this topic very interesting and potentially useful... till next time... keep on writing!