Developing Small Ideas

A few weeks ago my music teacher decided to try something new with me and I thought it turned out pretty interesting. He gave me a motif, and the motif was “four of the same note in a row.” This week, I’ll be writing about how that turned out.

So at first, I wanted to know what he meant exactly by “four of the same note in a row,” and he said that the first bar has to be four of the exact same note, at the same pitch, and of the same duration. From there, I’d have to figure out how I could develop that into something more while still keeping the motif. On the piano roll, I started with four quarter notes in the first bar. In the next three, I did the same thing but just changed the notes.

After that, I decided to have the left hand hold down different chords for each bar. At the fifth bar, things started to get a bit repetitive, so I had to change something about our four note pattern. I could have changed either the pitches of the notes or the lengths of the notes since those two attributes were what mainly stood out from the original motif. I decided to go with changing the four of the same note pattern to a three of the same note with one note different pattern, and that was only for one bar followed by three bars of the original pattern.

We kept that pattern going for a little bit until it also started getting a bit repetitive. After that, we went with two of the same note and two different notes for one bar still followed by the original pattern. Eventually though, I thought it was getting quite boring quite fast, so I switched it up to having every single note of every bar be different. Now, the main pattern was that all the notes are just the same length instead of focusing on the pitches or tones of the notes. There was kind of a melodic pattern in the notes, but it wasn’t the main thing that I was trying to go for.

Since it was just a small project, we wanted it to be pretty short. We brought it back to the original pattern until it sort of fizzled out and ended it on a final chord. After all that my music teacher wanted to try and take the piano arrangement and rearrange it for a string quartet. However, that idea kind of turned out a bit underwhelming for me since I felt like the patterns didn’t come through as strongly with the strings as it did on the piano.

Overall, I think it was nice to try something different in terms of writing new material. Usually I’d already have a melody or chord progression in mind and add other elements to that instead of having something super simple and developing that instead.

Finishing Up The Full Orchestral Arrangement Project

Before summer break started, my last post was an update on an orchestration project that I’d been working on at the time. I still actually ended up finishing it over the summer despite not writing about it. It’d be weird if I didn’t actually write about how it ended up so that’s what I’m going to be writing about this week.

In the last post, the basic layout for the climax was decided. We had the percussion playing a bit faster and the cellos and double bass were still doing the same thing as they were before the climax. We also had the violins, horns, and some winds all layering the melody with the rest of the winds doing runs. The things we added were a trumpet section that was playing chords, timpani, and a glockenspiel. I had the trumpets change chords before the downbeat in order to make them sound less square. The timpanis added more impact and the glockenspiel was just a little something extra that I felt like putting in.

After the climax continues for a little bit we started to work on how we wanted to move towards the ending. The way we went about it was building tension and then finishing with the orchestra playing one big chord. So the climax transitions into a back and forth between the violins and horns playing swells and the rest of the orchestra doing a staccato type call and response in between. For the percussion, we took out the timpani and a few other elements of the percussion to lessen the impact from the climax section. The chords we used went higher in a stepping type fashion as well as the swells. After a few measures the orchestra comes together and ends on one big chord.

Once we finished with the orchestration we worked on setting the levels of the instruments right because for some reason after we exported the track some of the instruments were a bit quieter than we were hearing them in Logic. One of the things I would probably change if I were to do this type of style again would probably be to extend the length of some of the sections. In my opinion, some parts go by a bit too quickly and you can’t really remember what each section sounds like. However, that was kind of to be expected in an exercise like this project. Another thing I would do would be spending more time with the programming of a few instruments so they would sound a tiny bit more natural.

Overall, the project ended up better than I initially thought it would sound. There were a few times were I was having a hard time thinking about what I wanted some of the instruments to be doing, but I think everything turned out alright. I ended up learning a lot more about different ways you can use the instruments in an orchestra as well as how to develop sections of a track. It definitely took a bit of while to write out, but I think if I were to do things again it would go by a bit faster now.

Starting School In 2020

A few days ago, the school board for the area I’m in started with school again. Unlike other years, the COVID-19 pandemic has made things more complicated in order to try and keep people safe. This week, I’ll be writing about the different measures that the board has put in place.

The biggest change that the schools have made this year is the introduction of the remote learning system. Unlike the previous year’s temporary emergency online learning, this system is supposed to be more organized. Before actually starting school, students were given the option if they’d like to participate in either full online learning or a mix of in-person and online. I ended up choosing the full online learning experience, so I’ll be able to comment more on that, but I also have a decent understanding of how the in-person side goes.

From the information that’s been sent out says, students that participate in in-person learning will be placed in groups of 15. Those 15 students will physically go to school every other day for around two hours. When they are not physically at school, they will also be participating in online courses. In my opinion, this just seems like online learning with a few extra steps that don’t really seem necessary. Students will only be at school for a little bit of time each week and will be doing online learning anyways, so I don’t really see the point. Supposedly, students won’t even get tested unless someone in their group of 15 starts showing symptoms.

As for the full online learning system, students will spend most of their time in Google Meet sessions with their teachers and the class that follow a normal school schedule. However, students that opted for a full online learning experience will be placed in classes where students are mixed from different schools and teachers. This means that you might not know as many people in your classes. So far, the board is still trying to get everybody’s courses figured out since some teachers had issues configuring their teaching platforms of choice.

Personally, the courses that I’m taking are Math, Technological Design, Careers & Civics, and Food & Nutrition. I’d say that I’m okay with all of the courses and the teachers seem alright. I actually had a bit of a problem getting in contact with my Food & Nutrition teacher, but eventually, we got things sorted out. None of my classes have actually started with any actual course material yet though, so it seems like it’ll take a little longer until we get started.

Overall, the school board’s approach to reopening schools has been going alright so far. I’m not too sure how well the in-person learning will go, and I think some of the choices they made are a bit questionable. We’ll see what happens though.