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Shenandoah Sunrise, 1864


by

richard13

 Genre: Film Scoring

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Description
This piece was "composed" in the Spring of 2010 and I was able to listen to it on Easter Sunday morning while driving down the Shenandoah Valley. I haven't posted it before for a number of reasons but mainly because I was not sure how I really felt about it. Let me know your thoughts please.

I think I was attempting to play some keyboard chords and recorded a little of it. It sounded amateurish. Looking at the "piano roll" view I was struck by the groups of lines, representing the durations of each of the three notes in each chord, and wondered: what if I staggered the lines -- played them one after the other -- instead of all at the same time? So I moved the lines apart, causing the notes to be played one after the other in an ascending fashion: I arpeggiated the chords visually. I also cleaned up the timing.

When I reached the end of the little phrase I had recorded, I played it back and was satisfied enough with the result to invest the time in making two variants. In the first, I copied the MIDI phrase and then changed all the ascending runs to descending runs simply by transposing the first and third notes of each chord. In the second variant, in a moment of inspired creativity, I made some chords run up and some run down. Voila!

For some strange reason, I was noodling around over a drum loop ;-) and, being the frugal sort, decided not to waste it. In other words, I left it in for no reason other than it was there to begin with! However, it was too obtrusive to leave playing throughout so now it serves as a counterpoint (?) to the vaguely string- or choir-like synths carrying the melody. While working on this piece I was also researching a golf trip to Virginia and coincidently learned something about the Civil War. Somehow, the history and the music went together.

If I remember correctly, the spring of 1864 was particularly tumultuous in northern Virginia and the music is meant to symbolize the morning after: a battle is over, though there are troops around -- both living and dead, on both sides; the sun is rising, not only on the aftermath but also on a new day, bringing hope. The synths sound vaguely choir-like here and sing a hymn to the fallen and the future.

The photo is by vjflicks @ flickr.
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Song Stats
Hits: 2236
Comments: 28
Fans: 11
Plays: 108
Downloads: 60
Votes: 0
Uploaded: Nov 24, 2010 - 09:52:36 AM
Last Updated: Nov 24, 2010 - 09:56:50 AM Last Played: Jul 14, 2017 - 05:02:02 AM
Song License
Creative Commons License:
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Creative Commons

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Hardware:
Imac & Yamaha KX49 keyboard/controller
Software:
GB
Comments
MarkHolbrook said 2463 days ago (November 24th, 2010)
Mellow!
Very cool piece! I found it quite relaxing!
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

I hadn't thought of it that way but I can hear your point ;-) Glad to be of even a little help.
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kristyjo said 2463 days ago (November 24th, 2010)
Interesting
The juxtaposition of drums with the very mellow synth sound is great for a piece like this with a story line. Now, add some faint buglers in the background for a few bars, and the story is expanded, too.

Since there's no really explicit melody line, this would work great behind a narration or poem about the civil war. Maybe a reading of the Gettysburg Address?
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Thanks KJ. The buglers might be nice but narration is a great idea. Cheers.
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
H3nry said 2463 days ago (November 24th, 2010)
Contemplative
Quiet, but a slight tension between the hymn and the drums trying to bring the world back to "business." Nice.

I can envision another version with a swirl of melodic fragments - taps, bluegrass, brass marching band, Johnny Comes Marching Home, etc. floating quietly over the ground.
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Glad you like the tension Henry. I don't remember it being intentional but it seems to work. This is one of the things I was unsure about in posting, and debated with myself many times: the tune is 3/4 time and the drums are 4/4. Sometimes I argue that that's just wrong and that everyone will laugh, while my other side replies weakly, but it's not TOO bad..., it kind of fits.
Thanks for the visit and the suggestions.
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jibes said 2462 days ago (November 24th, 2010)
Shenandoah Sunrise, 1864
Well, your experiment worked out quite nice!!
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Thanks. I guess all my work is an experiment of one sort or another but sometimes the object is more subtle. Basically, these days, I'm trying to make noises that other people will enjoy listening to, without the dependence on loops which I used to have.
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
kassia said 2462 days ago (November 24th, 2010)
ah richard
this is truly lovely. I especially love how you have the drums fading up and then out, with the panning movement. i agree that this could be just the beginning of a more complex piece with some bugles and/or fifes. expanding on the civil war concept. but on its own this is lovely.
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Thank you Shay. I appreciate your thoughts. The way your fingers dance across the keyboard is such a huge contrast to my slowly moving pixels around on the screen, I am in awe of your abilities and grateful for your continuing interest.
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
michaeljayklein said 2462 days ago (November 24th, 2010)
Nice undercurrent in this...
...quite a fine work Richard; I enjoyed this immensely (it had some very definite restorative powers I might add). Take care and have a good Thanksgiving! Michael
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Thanks for the kind words Michael; I'm glad you enjoyed it. But, "restorative powers"? If hearing this made you feel better in ANY way, then I done good ;-) You take care, yourself.
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
alackbass said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)
Shenandoah Sunrise, 1864
I love how the drums fading in changes the feel of the melody. Nothing about that synth sound or rhythm changed. But that jazzy drum beat makes it feel so. That's a very interesting arranging concept.
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Maybe they'll call it the "richard13 effect" -- now that's an interesting concept ;-)
Maybe it's a bit like those color demonstrations where one particular color placed on different background colors or tones, changes the way we perceive the first, in subtle or significant ways. I hadn't really noticed the effect until you commented, Andrew. Thanks.
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CIASM_ZENABI_ said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)
1864 sunrise
very nice feel and imagery. relaxing and laid back. cheers
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Thanks for the visit. I'm so happy you laid back for a few minutes.
And cheers to you.
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
rabittwhole said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)
i love
shenandoah area. and u get the same feeling everytime i am there. such beauty and tranquillity but under it all there is still the echo of a bloody history. Richard you captured a moment ... nice work.
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

It's hard to escape that bloody history in the towns and areas where battles were fought because of the tourism, but I believe I was conscious of that echo even away from signage on backroads and such. Trying to imagine huge numbers of men and horses moving through valleys, fields and woodlands every time we rounded a corner. It's almost palpable. Many ghosts.
Thanks Jack.
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
falcef said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)
Shenandoah Sunrise, 1864
Salve from Italy. Tanks commenty my song Deme na focola and sharing. Song relax in meditation bye falcef
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Thank you falcef for the return visit. I am happy that you were relaxed.
Cheers.
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
Moviz said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)
At first
I thought the drums were out of place, but as I read your intentions of the piece, I realized that they fit very well as the after sound of Battle, while the ethereal synths represent the solitude after the battle and also gives a spiritual element, representing the dead. A lovely piece I think, regards M
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Thank you Mo: you got it.
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jdholliday said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)
This is really really good!
amazing job capturing this feeling of that eerie feeling you get when visiting these Civil War battle areas, wow, fantastic piece Richard, I love it!
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

I wish I could say it was written for that purpose, JD. But it did evolve INTO this from my early fumblings, so maybe my hands were guided...
Glad you enjoyed it so much.
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shavingronaldscar said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)
Sweet!
I love the playfulness in the groove, turning the melody's time signature on its head in that little polyrhythmic shuffle. Very pretty.
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richard13 said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)

Polyrhythmic shuffle: I like that. Could be an album title ;-)
Thanks.
Check out my latest song called one last night with you
Jarvoid said 2462 days ago (November 25th, 2010)
Ah having read
all the explanation/descroiption I get it fully now....I hit the play button and read at the same time...I was expecting something a little more powerful...Shenandoah the Western TV Series,the River coming to mind but the last paragraph puts it nicely into perspective and places it firmly as spot on.You are right about the vox like quality of the synths,and sad but not over mournful...more like a resignation over errant humans and their stupid ways !

Jarvoid
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egobandit said 2457 days ago (November 29th, 2010)
floating bullets
A machine gun in the distance, great imagery!
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Name: Richard M
Location: near Peterborough Ontario Canada
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What's past is prologue 23 September 2016 Howdy! After an absence of two years at MacJams I'm back and making some noise. I haven't been totally absent but my interest in music was practically nada. My wife Anne died last year after a... [see more]

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