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Adventures in Multitrack

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Author Topic: Adventures in Multitrack  (Read 473 times)
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« on: February 14, 2015, 01:05:57 am »

Adventures in Multi-track

For the last year or two I've been creating "compositions" using multi-track recording, combining improvisations and "composed" backing tracks and loops, making "non-traditional music with traditional instruments"-- the hammered dulcimer, hurdy-gurdy, frame drum and Indian Tambura.  I freely dabble in early music, microtonal, northern Indian classic music, jazz, blues, minimalism, and whatever else may seem to fit what I'm working on.  Some of the work I've been doing has worked a lot with alternate tunings (just-intonation, pythagorean, meantone quarter comma), and I've also been working with waveform analysis to capture "micro rhythms" from live music with waveform analysis so that I can create sythnthesized tracks that hopefully have a more natural feel.  Finally, I do a lot of editing of improvised tracks to create works.  Whether all of this is "composition" or "art music", I won't say.  I lack much knowledge and any training with harmony, so my work is generally modal.  (I also enjoy cutting videos to match the works-- I can't promise they are anything significant.. )

With all of that said, if you are willing to sample, here are a few works.

Monsier Colombe's Blues: I applied  the meantone quarter comma tuning, and edited and assembled a series of variatons on Colombe's Chacconne in D Minor.  In order to get a rough, bluesy sense of swing, the tune is in 12/8, and the tempo changes slightly with every 8th note.  The thirds are very tasty in this tuning.

Heironymous- Composition for Frame Drum and Medieval Ensemble
(Yes, I spelled the name wrong)  I threw this together when we were snowed in for a long weekend- I was looking for something to highlight the Frame Drum.   This is simply an edit of multiple improvised tracks assembled with a sequencer.  All instruments in Pythagorean tuning. 

Los  Set Gotxs This is an acoustically "rocked" out version of one of my favorite medieval tunes with some fun  tempo changes, with all instruments set to pythagorean tuning.

The Hanging Man: I'll confess that this is a "flawed" experiment, but I learned a lot here, and I like the general vibe and will need to revisit the idea in the future.  I had recording an improvisation on Raga Malkuans (notes 1,3,4, 6, 7 and 8 of a Phrygian Scale), with the opening and ending and free meter, and a rhythmic central section based on a 16 beat rhythmic pattern.  It came out pretty well to my ears, and I decided to compose some tracks and add rhythmic loops without changing the original at all.  WHen I tried to apply loops and tracks, however, I found out how much my tempo varied, and needed to do some waveform analysis to record the length of each measure.   For three straight 16 beat measures, I kept the tempo within .001 of a second, but there were a lot of other places where I slowed down or sped up by as much as 15 BPM , and no single tempo would fit.  So I set up a framework to change the tempo at each measure, and composed tracks (and bent some percussion loops) to fit the tempo map.  I've been doing this analysis on other works since,  and I honestly believe that "real" music, even professional stuff, often stretches and contracts the beat, and this is a good thing.  Anyway, this work is now an interpretation of the Sylvia Plath poem of the same name.

That being said- there are parts in the Central section I would love to revise, some that I could not really integrate as well as I would have liked with the backing tracks.

Other stuff:  I've not yet created a  video for a 20 minute Indian flavored suite for Hurdy Gurdy in Just Intonation, using Tabla loops and a 16 beat rythmn.  My current project is a cover of "Equinox" by the John COltrane Quarter (whom I consider every bit as essential music as any "serious" 20th century music. )  I've had t develop a mapping of an individual length of each beat, as well as am applying some statistical modeling and "Participatory Discretiony" theory to capture the essence of improved music in a reproducible form, where differnent musicians would be  eitehr slightly ahead or behind the beat by 5-20 milliseconds. .  Even if this does not come off, I've shared my analysis with a couple of academics that specialize in micro-rhythms and wave form analysis to define "groove"

I've got a couple other early experiments of my overdubbing existing backing tracks on teh web as well as some solo Hammered Dulcimer, but I wouldn't consider those as compositions.

No harm, no foul if you don't want to listen, or, if you do, they aren't your cup of tea.  I'd welcome any constructive (or not so constructive) criticism. I  do this because I have to. 

If this sort of stuff shouldn't be posted here, please let me know.  I've been trying to adapt my playing/recording/composing to my musical limitations, so if you are looking for any sophisticated harmonies, you won't find them here. 

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All download links I have posted are for works, that, to  my knowledge, have never been commercially released in digital form.  Should you find I've been in error, please notify myself or an Administrator.  Please IM me if I've made any errors that require attention, as I may not read replies.

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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2015, 07:00:50 am »

Thanks for sharing this with us, Jowcol :)

I'll come back later when I've got better listening equipment connected :)
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2015, 09:21:17 am »

Indeed, thanks for posting these! Not the kind of stuff I'd often listen to but The Hanging Man was certainly refreshing. Interesting that you've carefully considered the tuning systems.
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