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Caledonia


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This is another (and the last) of the "Black Key Only" experiments I did a couple of months ago. It is special to me for several reasons: it has a MELODY, something that another MacJammer has been looking for in my work for a long time (I've come to the conclusion that we have different definitions of what a melody is, or can be, but this one, I think, conforms to the standard definition); and it has a real HARMONY, or something close.

It took me quite a long time thinking about how to harmonize this until I a) pencilled in duplicates of the longer notes of the melody in a new track and b) added two more notes to each of those duplicates (creating triads). I think that most of the resulting chords are, in fact, inversions, because I didn't put the second two notes above the root notes, at least not consistently. And I have absolutely no idea of the chord names.

The chord creation process was made easier by the fact that I was in the Pentatonic mode (black keys) and that Garageband's piano roll view has darker grey lines indicating the black keys all along the length of the roll. In other words, I had a visual assist in creating the chords; if a note wasn't on a dark grey line, it was wrong. (Being on a dark grey line didn't make it right but even a small advantage helps when you're feeling your way in the dark, as it were.) Since the harmony track is "sung" by a male choir (Alchemy), I also spent a fair bit of time adjusting the start/finish times of each note in each chord to make it sound a little less mechanical and more human.

Another thing that may be of interest is that the melody/harmony was created at 120bpm but I could not find drum loops at that rate which sounded right to me, so I created a new project at 240bpm for the drums and then imported the melody/harmony as an mp3. This created its own set of problems trying to adjust the levels of the music, not only each track to the other but also to the percussion, but I persevered ;-) I'm not suggesting that this piece is either perfect or beautiful but I had fun making it and learned a lot: it was like a lightbulb went off over my head when I started creating those chords.

In any case, I am quite happy to present my latest creation: it is what it is, and I hope you enjoy it. I envision a military camp a couple of hundred years ago, on the eve of a great battle, and one of the soldiers sitting by the camp fire reading a letter he has just received from home, but if the piece paints a different picture for you, excellent.
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Song Stats
Hits: 1942
Comments: 52
Fans: 28
Plays: 320
Downloads: 45
Votes: 0
Uploaded: Apr 11, 2013 - 11:11:25 AM
Last Updated: Apr 11, 2013 - 11:11:25 AM Last Played: Mar 18, 2017 - 02:20:31 PM
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Comments
jgurner said 1446 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
Very nice!
All the detail work you put into this really paid off. It works really well. The percussion works really well, especially in the middle of the tune.

Really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
I'm glad you enjoyed it Joe
Thanks for listening and commenting.
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Bowman said 1446 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
Has
echoes of a folk tune called Shenandoah but with it's own unique character and militaristic flair.

I think it's great that you're so generous in your description of your learning process. I often think that all great artist at heart always feel that they're learning every time they attempt something.
A good one Richard.
Cheers,
Charlie
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Hey Charlie
I feel I'm learning something with every new tune and, while most of you probably already know whatever I've just learned, I feel there are some people who might benefit a little (not that I can believe that anyone knows less than me ;-) Whatever, I am happy to share: meager knowledge or so-so tunes. Glad you like it Charlie. Thanks.
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Moviz said 1446 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
Reading above
it seems that you struggled with this, but you truly succeeded and the harmonies and chords as well as the melody are beautiful Richard.... the hard work paid off and you ended up with a lovely, at times ethereal, theme..... it does have a Scottish feel to it, which ties in well with the photo...... consider your aim realised, regards M
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Thank you Mo
There was more angsting than heavy lifting involved but I'm gratified that you not only appreciate the effort but enjoyed the result. I'll be over to check out your latest in a while. Cheers.
Check out my latest song called afternoon in heaven
oldlibmike said 1445 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
Worth the penciling!
Very cool sound to this and painstaking work :) Worth it - nice mood and mix! Since you mention learning and theory, here is one of my fav sites for theory - it is jazz oriented but has basic music concepts explained very well:

http://tamingthesaxophone.com/jazz-theory.html

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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
I'm always trying to learn something Mike
so thanks for the reference: I will check it out. I'm happy that you like my pencil work ;-)
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SylviaD said 1445 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
Amazing
The only way I know to create music is to put my hands on a piano keyboard and play! Your description of how you accomplished this just blows my mind. Especially when I sit back and listen to your results! Amazing.
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
You're amazed?
I am blown away every time someone puts both hands to a keyboard and makes gorgeous music, like you or Karen or Paul or Gail or many others here. Since I don't know how to do that, I have to cheat ;-)
Thanks for the listen and the comment Sylvia. I'll be by later to hear your latest.
Check out my latest song called afternoon in heaven
Philip18 said 1445 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
Caledonia
Seems a complicated way of producing a piece of music, Richard, but it is nevertheless a very successful one. A lovely moody and evocative piece that could easily be played to a silent crowd at the Edinburgh Tattoo or some other place that gave the audience time to think and reflect. Beautiful.
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
I'm so happy that you think I was successful Philip
I guess it is pretty complex but I don't know how to do it the easy way. I wish I'd thought of the Tattoo when looking for an image: oh well. Thanks for the nice comment.
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Skean said 1445 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
Ricard
Now you outdid your self didn't you, this is huge piece of work, I'm almost speechless, I can hear why this so beautiful melody means so much to you, I'm sold to this work from you my dear friend, peace.
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Aw, gee
Shucks, I didn't mean to outdo myself Kenta: I was just trying to have a little fun, since MJ is apparently dead ;-)
Congratulations on your latest: a great success.
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rok41 said 1445 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
Caledonia
Richard, it's a great concept and it translates into a fine piece of music. I have done the doubling (or halfing) BPM drum track process and it really does give more options. Very, very well done.
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Whatever works is my (new) mantra
Thank you Chris, for enjoying and commenting. I appreciate it.
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Char said 1445 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
The
absolutely beautiful basic melody makes me think of Scotland. And I also think of something like a military brigade, because of the drums. A soundtrack for a movie. Well done. Thanks.
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
No, thank YOU!
I almost posted the melody track by itself (Solo Instrument, Open Collab ?) but I'm happy that I persevered and discovered the stuff I describe above. Thanks for checking in Char: I appreciate you too.
Check out my latest song called afternoon in heaven
paul f. page said 1445 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
To each...
There's an old Latin saying, "De gustibus non disputandum est" which most of us translate as simply "to each his own." I agree with Philip's comment about the complicated manner of creating a new composition, but one simply cannot dispute the clear fact that you have created something extremely special here no matter how you got to that final point. The story you are trying to tell is so clearly stated with all the manipulations of percussion, melody, and vocal harmonies that the whole thing sounds not only authentic, but also like it belongs in the time where you have cast it. I also agree with Charlie that the look into your own learning process is quite amazing and that you are generous in sharing it. ... And, lest I forget, the sober melody that hauntingly habits your campsite is just the thing that makes this invention sparkle like flickering campfire sparks. Now, who could that MJer be who keeps insisting on a melody?
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Hang on...
I think I have a mirror for you around here somewhere.
For someone like you who can make beautiful notes flow from each finger when you lay hands on a keyboard, my method IS, in fact, complicated. But I am delighted that it worked and that others are enjoying it.
Thank you, Paul, for your constant and enthusiastic support and encouragement. You have frustrated the hell out of me sometimes but I think your good natured hectoring might be beginning to pay off. Peace.
Check out my latest song called afternoon in heaven
gadzooks said 1445 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
Caledonia
I agree ... the work paid off and the drums sound good ... what an interesting process you went through to get to this. Wonderful, peaceful melody and really well done Richard. I enjoyed it.
Cheers
SG
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Thank you Stan
I appreciate your time and the comment.
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bud said 1445 days ago (April 11th, 2013)
I love it when problem solving leads to artistic
adventure. Seems to have been the case here - and the results are excellent. My only crit is that in my phones the high pitch is just slightly shrill. Likely it's the phones and not the mix.
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Gotta love artistic adventure
I glad you like it Kevin, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the shrillness is my fault. My ears have a few blind spots, as it were, especially in the higher freqs. Thanks for listening.
Check out my latest song called afternoon in heaven
PeterB7858 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Caledonia
I love the creative backstory, Richard. Made me smile but it is also indicative of your perseverance and joy in making music, by whatever means. I get a wonderful, timeless narrative from the result. Evocative and enthralling. Congratulations. Kind regards, Peter.
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Joy IS the keyword
I can't see much point in doing something you don't enjoy (unless you're getting paid big bucks ;-)
So happy you enjoyed the listen, Peter, and the read. Cheers.
Check out my latest song called afternoon in heaven
davisamerica said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Charlie said
"Shenandoah" .... and it does have a Scottish feel which.... makes me think of the Civil War.... which means....whew... mission accomplished! A very cool audio adventure.
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Thanks Jack
for stopping by and leaving a note: appreciate it.
Check out my latest song called afternoon in heaven
magnatone said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Caladonia
wow, this is really great work Rich! it's easy to tell that you put a lot of time and effort into every aspect of this - congrats!
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richard13 said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Karen
so nice to see you around (though we hardly ever get to see you ;-)
Thanks for the kind words. I'm still experimenting, having fun, and learning: all good things, I think.
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Loob said 1445 days ago (April 12th, 2013)
Classical march...
Good contrast! Would make a good soundtrack.
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richard13 said 1444 days ago (April 13th, 2013)
Thank you Fred
I thought so too ;-)
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mystrag said 1443 days ago (April 13th, 2013)
Is it old Scotland?
Very rich, cinematic sound here. Main wind synth sounds excellent, and nice arrangement with percussions. Also interesting explanation through the creation of this piece. Cheers.
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richard13 said 1443 days ago (April 14th, 2013)
Almost Brigadoon
Caledonia is/was the Latin name for Scotland (north of Hadrian's Wall, I think). Thanks for checking this out and leaving a comment. Glad you enjoyed both the listen and the exposition.
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DWL said 1443 days ago (April 14th, 2013)
Worth the complications!
A complex piece of work in both its creation and sound.

A wonderfully strong melody and very effective orchestration.

Cheers

Dick
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richard13 said 1443 days ago (April 14th, 2013)
Howdy, Dick!
I'm happy that you think so. It was a fair bit of work but I think it paid off, and I learned several somethings from doing it. Now, if I can just remember them ;-)

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Symphony101 said 1442 days ago (April 15th, 2013)
Very nice work
great composition, I love many details on this piece, one of them, in particular, the percussions. Great work !
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richard13 said 1442 days ago (April 15th, 2013)
Thank you, Yves
for stopping by and leaving such kind words. I'm especially happy you love the percussion for, while they are loops, I modified them in a few places to make them seem less like loops, and I played around a bit with FX and volume changes to give them extra interest. Cheers.
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FEEL said 1442 days ago (April 15th, 2013)
Fine composition
Beyond my musical abilities. I enjoyed the listen that took me on a journey, some great choice of instruments and the vocal backing fits perfectly.
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richard13 said 1441 days ago (April 16th, 2013)
No, I don't think so John:
your musical abilities are far beyond mine but thanks, I appreciate it.
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renecalvo said 1442 days ago (April 15th, 2013)
haunting
Has a nice cinematic quality. Good work.
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richard13 said 1441 days ago (April 16th, 2013)
Welcome to this little corner of MJ
Glad you like my modest efforts, and thanks for saying so.
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michaeljayklein said 1441 days ago (April 15th, 2013)
Belongs in a John Ford movie...
...your black keys worked well for you (personally I avoid the key of C sharp like a musical draft dodger). Cinematic as intended, creating some fine moods and emotions (are moods and emotions the same thing? Now I've started something...) I like how all the instruments and elements have a nice, crisp clarity to them; nothing is murky or gets smothered over. Well done Richard; this was excellent!
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richard13 said 1441 days ago (April 16th, 2013)
Ta muchly, Michael
I'm assuming you are getting settled into your new home and we'll be seeing more of you here (well, not more of YOU, but more frequently ;-)
Thanks for the listen and the nice comment.
Check out my latest song called afternoon in heaven
Monkaton said 1440 days ago (April 16th, 2013)
New Caldonia
Very well done, 13. Not only is this a good song, but is arranged and recorded very well.

Also check out Woody Herman's version of the old song "Caldonia" for something completely different.
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MartinD28 said 1440 days ago (April 16th, 2013)
Hauntingly Beautiful
Yes - you DO have a melody and what a lovely one it is. I really enjoyed it. The percussion enhanced the piece and did not detract from it - which it could easily have done. Congrats! Brad
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jiguma said 1440 days ago (April 17th, 2013)
Just shows
There are a number of ways of making good music, and this is a terrific, and very listenable result.
Impressive.
Cheers from Oz,
Neil
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andreasvanharen said 1440 days ago (April 17th, 2013)
Lovely piece
A very nice piece to listen to. I like the percussion intro that leads the way to the soft flute and voices pad. In the second part, the melody seems to float away from the snare that that accompanies it, is this intentional? Enjoyed listening to it!

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Bob Rodgers said 1440 days ago (April 17th, 2013)
A
wonderful piece of music Richard.
Very nice percussion with lovely voice pads and I love the flute, such a beautiful melody.
It was a lot of work by the sounds but well worth it, great to hear this and very much enjoyed.

Bob
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TvRicky said 1432 days ago (April 25th, 2013)
Your creative landscape is huge Richard
From Trip Hop to this and other various forms a traveller you are Mr. Music...Dig the Bagpipes much...Feel and journey tell in this very well produced visual gem...

A SincerelyZipped, TvRicky
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Doug Somers said 1425 days ago (May 1st, 2013)
Sounds like quite the birthing process
Richard your work grows in sophistication with each passing month. You have captured a mood here that is very evocative and emotional. A lovely tune that would not be at all out of place in a Celtic Twilight compilation disk.

Wise choice in your sparse orchestration and the impact is all the more for your wise artistic choices.

Keep well my friend,
Doug
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Jarvoid said 1399 days ago (May 27th, 2013)
very atmospheric...
and suits my new location, three fields from Hadrian's Wall.....
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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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