‘Prelude to scarier chorals’ (Laptop Musicianship task 1 composition)
After weeks of tinkering with code, writing and re-writing the piece i have finally completed the following composition. It has gone through many transformations and i have had to significantly reduce the piece in length; originally it was about 8 minutes, now it is just over 4. I have named this piece ‘Prelude to scarier chorals’ (anagram of ‘A Supercollider Orchestra’).
It is written for cello, harpsichord, harp, piano, vocals and various percussion. My scale is 0, 3, 7, 12, 15, 20, 22 ; it stretches over two octaves starting at C, then D# and G from the first octave and C, D#, G# and B from the second. However only the introduction is played in this scale, all other parts are transposed (+7, +2, -2 and +5 semitones in sequence) every 4 bars. I feel this scale and transpositions give the piece a bright, airy feel.
What follows is overly verbose waffle – i’d just scroll to the bottom if you are interested in having a listen!
Each instrument has several different sections. In the introduction the cello and vocals play long legato notes, accompanied by two harp staccatos speeding up and slowing down (one transposed up 12 semitones, one transposed down 12 semitones), till the 30th bar. At this point the whole piece doubles in speed starting with cello and two separate harpsichord parts (one part 2 octaves lower than the other) playing different melodies. These are also joined by the percussive elements (Timpani, Gong, kick, snare toms and hi-hats). The percussive elements are randomised, so on each evaluation of the code it will play differently. After 4 bars of each transposition (a reoccurring theme) the cello and harps are replaced with three piano parts, one playing a sequence of chords, the other two mimicking the parts played previously by the harpsichord. In the next section the piano chords remain while the other parts for piano are replaced with a harp and the harpsichord returns, this time playing the same pattern as before but at twice the speed. We then move on and introduce the vocals, one female, one male singing the same sequence one octave apart. At this point all percussion is stopped,the pianos are reintroduced, with one part playing twice the previous speed; the second harpsichord part reappears at double speed and the existing part slows back to it’s original tempo whilst the harp is switched for it’s alternative part and joined once again by the cello. In the next part the double speed piano and harpsichord are brought back to original tempo, piano chords and one part of harpsichord are removed. To bring the piece to and end the following sections consists of piano and female vocals only, finishing with a gong hit. But have a listen for yourself!