beccatoria: (johnny the astronaut)
So FIRST, oh my god, the VidUKon auction was an amazing success! We raised almost £250 including £111 for RAINN. So that was pretty fantastic. Many thanks to the vidders (buffyann, LithiumDoll, jagwriter78 and purplefringe) and all the bidders!

Also, I finished this a while ago but I should probably post it. I'm not sure it's as epic or successful at evoking a particular tone as my string quintet, but I'm pretty happy with it in the sense I feel I started cracking the use of accidentals for some deliberate dischordant...ness. Plus, a wild key change appears!

I do think I probably should have not been quite so minimalist with the left hand obsession with repetitive thirds, though. Oops?

beccatoria: (johnny the astronaut)
Okay! So it's been a while since I posted about my musical adventures. Not because I haven't been working on it (well actually I took a pretty long break to play Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I'm back at it now) but because I've been...simultaneously working on a few things and not really finished with any of them. My original plan was to post this, along with another piece I mostly finished but am trying to go back and polish a little and a piece I'm currently working on but is a bit stalled. If I do that, though, who knows when I'll be brave enough to post anything, so screw it.

I give you 20 Strings, a piece for string quintet in C Minor.

It's my attempt at a sort of minimalist style so there's a lot of intentional repetition and slow builds because, well, I like that sort of thing. Hopefully you will too. Or at least not think it sounds terrible.

I'm...actually kind of happy with this because I feel it's long enough it feels complete, but also feels consistent throughout. (What I'm working on at the moment, for instance, I'm quite pleased with on the one hand because I feel I'm getting the hang of using accidentals and some chromatic harmony, but I've got a tonal shift in the middle I'm not entirely sure works).

I do think I should have bitten the bullet and put bow markings in. I didn't because Musescore can't play them back properly and I was all GRR MINIMALISM FINE FUCK IT everything will be bowed! But whatever I'm not actually a hipster, I should've put them in for completeness. On the other hand, it's a piece made up of layered repetitive phrases so I think most people would guess correctly where to put 'em.

Finally, for some reason, the custom soundfont I use with Musescore didn't include a viola so I'm stuck with the default viola sound which is a) not great and b) clashes with the custom stuff so, with deepest apologies to the viola, which is a beautiful instrument, the audio here is three violins and two cellos.

I think that's everything.

But seriously, guys, I'd love to know what you think. I'm sort of new to this and not entirely sure where I'm going with it. I don't actually know almost anyone else who's into composing stuff. It's hard to know what it would sound like outside of my own experience. It's not really like when I got into vidding and there was a ready made community of enthusiastic people of varying skill levels, you know? As far as I can tell "composing" fandom is super hardcore people who understand...a lot more than I do when it comes to musical theory.

But, I think I like doing this. So. Onwards.

(ALSO ALSO, festivids went live this weekend! I haven't had a chance to watch that many vids, though, cus I suck. I will try to have a recs post up before the reveals, though!)
beccatoria: (londo loves it!)
SO. Earlier this week I discovered an amazing programme! It is called Musescore and it is a free, open source, platform agnostic (Windows, Mac, Linux, even BSD) programme that lets you score music and play it back.

I mean, it's not perfect - the default soundfont (what the instruments sound like) wasn't amazing, so I downloaded a different one, and playback has some limitations as it was initially implements as more of a "checking" service than a way to create a final product. But it's pretty freaking good, and the piano, particularly, sounds fairly authentic.

YOU GUYS. This programme.

This is just a fucking AMAZING demonstration of the democratisation of information and creativity and education on the internet.

I decided to compose something. I haven't done that since I was about 16 and doing my GCSEs, and I remember back then not having the musical skill to play it properly on the piano so only half understanding how it sounded til my teacher could help. But then, of course, she couldn't stay with me for long, so I was back to guess-work and swearing. I remember working out minor/major triads mathematically (how many half steps...?) on paper. And just...generally things being harder. Like trying to look at a giant mural with a match for light.

Now we have this website which over the course of a few evenings reminded me of all the basic music theory I knew and had forgotten in an easy to understand, bite-sized way, and then provided fucking TOOLS like CHORD CALCULATORS and CHORD PROGRESSION GRAPHS to help me.

And now, fifteen years later, building off a rusty recollection of I, IV and V chords going well together and a bunch of TOTALLY FREE SHIT FROM THE INTERNET, I have composed a song!, you guys, I think it's good?

I mean, I have to be honest, I was raised in a culture that focused more on music than most. I was lucky that I was able to have subsidised group lessons (and a year or so of private ones) for most of my childhood. I had the chance to play in orchestras. The fact I can read sheet music (however haltingly when it comes to Treble Clef) is an enormous advantage here. I'm not saying that I came at this out of nowhere.

But...but GUYS. It's like the first time I made 10 seconds of vid and just had to rewatch and rewatch and rewatch.

I simultaneously feel like I have uncovered a great, sleeping talent, like, holy shit, I CAN DO THIS? I CAN COMPOSE MUSIC? I AM MAGIC. HOW. HOW AM I DOING THIS. While at the same time wanting to run around screaming at everybody to wake up because if I can compose music this means you can too! Like this great, hidden secret that's been concealed from us and that I want to share with everyone.

So I present to you:

A Song in E Major for People with Large Hands because it's full of 10th intervals which I shouldn't really have used probably

So, uh, yeah.

Hopefully those of you who've seen me exploding over twitter don't think I oversold it too much. Half of my excitement is the high of successfully finishing it.

But, um, I guess yeah. I'm proud of myself - I think it sounds pretty good for a sort-of-first-attempt-in-fifteen-years.

I hope you guys like it too. All 81 seconds of it.


June 2016

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