Monday, May 11, 2009

Slapstick Music

April was a killer month!

First I had to move to a new place, then I had a concert, family gatherings etc... Too busy to do anything! Since last week the dust is settling finally, so I took the time to finish a little tune I promised to create for my brother. He's putting together a video and he needed some old style ragtime-like music that would fit into a black and white slapstick movie.

I searched YouTube for some Charlie Chaplin footage in hopes to find some hints, since I've never really written anything like this before. And YouTube is really helpful in that sense, you just find ANYTHING. I found some videos that gave me a rough idea of the general tendency in terms of instrumentation and orchestration. From there I came up with 2 themes which I used as a base for further arrangements.

So here's the completed song. I called it "The Good Old Days"

As opposed to other works, this time I didn't have to worry about clear sound quality. Of course I needed to make it sound right, but in this case my goal was to give it an antique, vintage sound. That meant: No beautiful reverb, but instead vinyl noise and random (slight) pitch shifts.

In order to "simulate" the speakers of an old record player (or phonograph), I also played around with the EQ (enhancing mid frequencies, cutting lower frequencies).

Given that I didn't need high quality sounds, using Steinberg HALion Symphony Orchestra seemed like overkill, but I realized that even with reduced sound quality, the articulation of each instrument is still audible (especially with instruments playing the lead melody), so I used HSO for some of the major tracks in this sequence. The remaining instruments come from the MOTIF ES.

I'm curious how this tune will fit into my brother's video!