Thursday, 30 December 2010

Epic music and D Minor

What's with epic orchestral music and D minor? Whether it's in a film or a video game, most music is played in the key of D minor. Perhaps there is a 'composer's secret' where the key of D minor gives a more epic feel to the piece. Or maybe it's just the easiest key for the orchestra to play in (notably for the violins, as one of their open strings is a D4).

Good examples of such epic music include the soundtrack to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (just look them up on Youtube). And, of course, who could forget Chevaliers de Sangreal?

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Sounds from Space

Who would've thought that spacecraft can hear what is going on in a planet's atmosphere? Some years ago the Voyager spacecraft passed by Jupiter and recorded using special instruments the electromagnetic vibrations emitted by the largest planet in our solar system, which were converted into sound waves (as sound, despite not being audible in a vacuum like space, can still be detected). The results are staggering - it sounds so out of this world yet somehow familiar to us...

Not only Jupiter has been recorded, but Saturn, Saturn's Rings, Miranda, Uranus, Ring's of Uranus, Neptune, Io and Earth have also been recorded, and their full 30 min tracks can be found on the album 'NASA Voyager Space Sounds'...probably one of the only albums ever published by NASA!

Oh well, that's enough of me ranting about the solar system and next time I promise I'll post something more musical!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Scary Piano Pieces - Fantasy and Fugue on a Theme of B-A-C-H by Liszt

 Go up to a piano and play the notes B-flat, A, C and B. Sounds scary, doesn't it?

This is a frightening piece by Liszt which explores the theme of B-A-C-H on the piano (or B-flat, A, C and B). My favourite thing about this piece is the fact that this theme is used pretty much everywhere, whether it's in a slow, sinister passage or a fast turn. Above you can find the first part played by Marc-Andre Hamelin in the Canadian TV channel 'Bravo'. I apologise for the poor audio quality!

Please like and comment!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Chevaliers de Sangreal - The Da Vinci Code

I recently came across the soundtrack for 'The Da Vinci Code' written by Hans Zimmer, and was particularly amazed by the beauty of one of the tracks: Chevaliers de Sangreal, which is the main theme of the film. The strings really bring out lots of emotion and I love the 'epic' way in which the track was written. You can listen to the track below:

Experimental Pieces Explained

Not many people seem to be getting the point of my experimental pieces. They're not designed to sound beautiful, but they're just experimenting with the features of Finale, and therefore probably don't come out sounding too pleasant.

The first experimental piece deals with the glissando tool on Finale. After a short introduction made out of C major chords, I wanted to find out what fast, MIDI glissandos sounded like on a piano. The result: something between a laser beam and Beethoven's hell. Of course, it sounds awful, but I hope that people can see my aim in this piece and that I wanted to introduce incredibly fast glissandos to the ears of curious Youtubers, not create a romantic piece.

The other experimental pieces follow in a similar way, each time looking at different musical effects, including: pedal effects, block clusters of notes, fast scales and arpeggios, dissonance/improvisational jazz and octave chromatics with seemingly random notes playing in the background.

Please view my experimental pieces and comment! Below you can find my first experimental piece:

Oh yeah, and please don't laugh! :)

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Alkan's 'Concerto for Solo Piano', 1st Movement Analysis

Alkan's 'Concerto for Solo Piano', 1st Movement Analysis 

This is an analysis of Alkan's 1st Movement of his Concerto for Solo Piano that I wrote. It is a very difficult piece for the piano.

You can listen to it on Youtube; kastlesucksTDOTS has uploaded the 1st movement in three parts, played by Marc Andre Hamelin. You can also find a live performance by Hamelin of this movement uploaded by rcaterina: