Disquiet Junto Project 0535: Jigsaw Disjunction

How exciting, this is my first disquiet-project! After playing around with the Ode to Joy theme from Beethoven’s Ninth and not coming to a satisfying result, I also defaulted to Eric Satie (thanks to the @krakenkraft motto “When in doubt, decide for Eric”). I used the “Vexations” theme, chopped it up and shoved it around between some MIDI instruments. (Not too happy with the piano sound, but I ran out of time). I’m sure there’s still a lot to find by playing the new melody/melodies on an actual instrument, so I might give that a try later on.

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“Bare for Every Storm That Blows” is a reworking of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More.” I played the song into Logic Pro, cut the MIDI and reassembled it, and then replayed it as best I could (my keyboard skills are remedial at best). I kept clustering repeated bars, and it ended up sounding almost fanfare-like to me. The title is from Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens and refers (like Foster’s song) to the vulnerability of poverty.

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I took the almost ubiquitous Canon in D by Pachelbel, divided it every second bar and reversed the notes. Then replaced the three violin parts with Spitfire Audio’s LABS Ondes Musicales. This was given some room reverb and Eventide Blackhole before being passed, appropriately, through AudioThing’s Gong Amp collaboration with Hainbach.

Originally intended to keep in the Viola and Cello parts but found the mix too cluttered so pared back the instrumentation and some of the effects I felt I’d slathered on too heavily.

As an aside, we used the 1968 Orchestre de Chambre Jean-François Paillard recording as part of our wedding ceremony.

Thanks to the LYCO Sheet Music Archive for the MIDI file this is based upon.

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This piece is vaguely inspired by the harmonies of The Beach Boys. I used Native Instruments Playbox for the pad and vocal effects.

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The song “Der Mond ist aufgegangen” was my favourite song as a small child. I was deeply touched when I heard the song again as part of a theater performance two weeks ago. Therefore this melody immediately came to my mind when reading this very inspiring prompt.

The text is a poem by Matthias Claudius published 1779, the melody is by Johann Abraham Petter Schulz (1790). There is even an english wikipedia-entry: Der Mond ist aufgegangen - Wikipedia

I started with the Midi-data from https://ingeb.org/Lieder/DerMondi.html
First I thought of working with phrases, but then I followed the great suggestion of @disquiet to break the melody into bars - resulting in much more freedom since the former phrases are broken up.
I stuck to the notation in wikipedia. I took the first 7 bars (including the first offbeat that I considered as whole first bar) and the last bar (since bars 8 - 12 are identical to 2 - 6). And then I started building a new melody by shifting the midi-blocks around. All 8 bars are used at least once.

When I had finished I used - for the first time - the capability of Cubase to show the notation of a Midi-track, and played the new melody with my keyboard.

I wanted to keep that deeply melancholic and peaceful ambiance (that is at least how I feel about the song), and built the ambiance around the melody. I used again Olafur Arnalds Stratus and Evolution for start, bridge and ending, the new Cubase Verve, and other sounds from different sources (pianobook, BBC Orchestra, Hauschka Toolset, LABS, decent samples…).

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Because I wasn’t sure about the rights thing, I first recreated the score in Ableton with orchestral instruments, then sampled that & chopped it up, ran it through some granular synthesis, added drums and a bass line. I’m probably not exactly following the instructions, though.

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Like @celeano, I also chose Ode to Joy, but I had a bit more success. I started by transcribing the melody in Lilypond, and rearranged the bars. Then I reharmonised it: as it’s in G major, I started with the relative (E) minor, and went from there, throwing in a bit of Japanese-inspired key fluctuation because I watched a video about that the other day.

I did most of the arrangement in Lilypond, generating MIDI and listening using a generic GM player. When I was happy with the parts, I pulled the MIDI file into my MPC One, assigned instruments, finger-drummed some drum and bass beats over the top, and arranged it a bit.

It’s a bit silly, and it was great fun to make.

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I only had a little bit of time to do this, so I took the old hoary classic Misty, which I know very well, and rearranged it into a new track.

EDIT: I suppose I could talk about the process! So, I recorded the melody as MIDI to a click track, then I cut up the recording into one measure each. Then, I used Ableton’s Follow Actions to make the measures play randomly. I generated an 8-measure A melody, repeated it for A, made a new B section, then repeated A again at the end, in homage to the AABA Tin Pan Alley format. I made a few tweaks to the melody, sometimes to clean up my own timing or ornamentations. From there, I tried to throw together chords that sounded interesting and unexpected. I differentiated the sections mainly using different instruments. The drums are a mix of my own programming and loops.

I’ve been on a lo-fi hip-hop vibe lately and also trying to get more adventurous with chord voicings, so that’s pretty much what you get here. I recorded the whole process (except for ear candy and rough mixing) on Twitch, which you can watch here - Twitch

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I decided to select a song from Kevin MacLeod, a prolific musician who has thousands of songs registered in the Creative Commons. With nearly six million plays on Spotify as of April 2022, “Sneaky Snitch” is MacLeod’s most played song.

While I am a lover of synthesizers, I am unable to play anything sophisticated on the instrument, so I searched for a midi track of “Sneaky Snitch” to mangle, eventually deciding on one created by Jacob Morgan and George Burdell.

The melody was split up into 22 sections and were all rearranged. Within those 22 sections, I nudged nearly every single note around to place in a new location to create a new melody. I switched the instrument patch from a pizzicato string ensemble to a celesta. Even after all those changes, the song still resembled “Sneaky Snitch”, so I dragged some of the midi tracks down to some percussion patches, one pitched (a timpani) and another unpitched (blocks, gongs, wind chimes, etc). After this was completed, some notes were deleted to make room for an ambient synth.

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Sliced and diced a MIDI rendering of Ave Maria into Mary Avenue. Came to terms with my music theory chops being trash bc I could not line up the backing chord blasts with the melody shifting up a couple keys. My approach here was to rearrange measures to get new melodies that are almost familiar.

I nixed an earlier idea of mixing and matching disparate parts of pop music choruses, over copyright concerns. Parts of this reworked public domain piece work, and some are a little discordant.

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I think the playlist is all up to date, but if it’s missing a track, lemme know. Thanks, everyone.

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