Finished our piece in just intonation - The Death of Socrates

Bassomatic

Member
Messages
12,337
Me and my pal dBrown have (finally) finished our piece on the trial and death of Socrates, calling it Socrate for the moment (although Satie already nabbed that title for his only opera).

It was a fun project with a lot of logistical challenges, including beating our modern equal tempered instruments into submission - the piece is entirely in just intonation (not so hard with user tables found on the Proteus 2000, but a bit of a bitch in tuning for open strings on guitar, or shifting pitches around in Nuendo for the gongs, etc).

It's sort of filmic in nature (a term i'm a tad ambivalent about), and the third section was built up through semi-structured improv which was then edited (in some cases). Hopefully, we were succesful in evoking the right atmosphere.

Comments and feedback would be appreciated, as always.

Socrate III
 

rwe333

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,398
Conor - I LOVE this!
Absolutely beautiful, evocative, haunting music.
BIG props, my friend.

(I gotta hire you for some kind of collaboration, mate)
 

Bassomatic

Member
Messages
12,337
Thanks a lot, Wayne. You've made my day!

And yeah, we should def find a way of working together at some point soon. I'm eminently hirable (and likely to get more so in the near future;) ).
 

Red Ant

Member
Messages
1,358
Truly an AMAZING piece of music. I havent been able to stop listening to it - quite haunting :)
 

Bassomatic

Member
Messages
12,337
Originally posted by Red Ant
Truly an AMAZING piece of music. I havent been able to stop listening to it - quite haunting :)

Anton-

Coming from a cat with your multiple skills, that means a lot to me.

Guess i'll go ahead and post up the first section, which is probably my favorite of the 3.

Thanks again.:cool:
 

rwe333

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,398
Originally posted by Bassomatic
Put up the first section, for those who might dig it:

Socrate I: Through The Mists of Time
Freakin' amazing, Basso - awe-inspiring, really.

Stunning texture, evocative soundscape, compelling atmosphere.

Wow - and the work to put this into just intonation...
what an accomplishment.
 

Bassomatic

Member
Messages
12,337
It's ironic, really, because i never had much interest in jus intonation when i was privileged enuf to study thew subject with one of its leading proponents, composer Lou Harrison (yeah, i was a punk kid then, too). Now that i'm a tad wiser, i find it fertile ground for breaking out of certain ruts. It was really a blast to play with the scale and find some kind of (semi) functional harmony within it. There were certain intervals that evoked some gamelan tunings i've heard, which was a plus for me.

dB and i just finished the program notes (not that we may ever need 'em) which you might find interesting:

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Socrate: The Death of Socrates

Socrate is a composition in three movements: Through the Veil of Time, Crito and Funeral Procession. It uses an archaic hexatonic scale attributed to Terpander of Lesbos, circa 700 BCE. The ratios used in this scale are: 1/1, 11/10. 11/9, 11/8, 11/7, 11/6. This scale has a serviceable 5th in the 11/8, but no third, taking it outside traditional western musical theory. The scale is quite singable , however, and generally minor sounding in quality.

Through The Veil of Time
The first movement consists of long tones and is an exploration of the tonality. It also uses traffic noise and bird calls to evoke movement from contemporary urbane environment to a rural soundscape of the distant past.

Elements:
· Wind gongs (2)
· FM7 synthesizer –three tracks Hexatonic scale on C
· Didgeridoo in C
· Electric Guitar, in hexatonic tuning (open strings, octaves, harmonics only)
· Traffic Noise (including church bells)
· Bird Calls

Crito
This movement uses a reading of Plato’s Crito dialog as the structural basis. It makes use of pitch to MIDI conversion of the spoken voices to generate synthesizer control information. The voices are repeatedly run through digital reverb to obscure the content. This cumulative process maintains the structure and rhythms of the (translated) dialog while sonically smearing the content within a burbling, resonant space. Pitch-wise, this movement employs a combination of the hexatonic scale in C with the traditional Greek Mixolydian scale in G, also attributed to Terpander. This combination yields some very nice dissonances, which are used most noticeably at “cadence” points.

Elements:
· TX81Z synthesizer. Two tracks controlled by the spoken voices. No particular scale.
· FM7 synthesizer melody in Mixolydian mode on G
· Two FM7 synthesizer voices in Hexatonic scale on C
· Wind Gongs (2)
· Small gong tuned to 11/8
· Spoken voices (2), reverb processed (and re-processed)

Funeral Procession
A slow ostinato is established on drums and gongs (modelled on a typical gong “cycle” from Balinese gamelan). The electric piano, mixed toward center, represents the central melodic part, echoing the spirit of Socrates’ stoic acceptance of his fate. The woodwinds and brass weave a tapestry of melodies around this central voice in two separate sub-ensembles (generally panned leftward and rightward). The human voices form a call and response pattern, embodying the expression of the mourners in the imagined procession.

Elements:
· Tuned gongs and Tibetan Ting-Sha, one for each degree of the scale
· Percussion (Remo ‘Gathering Drums’ and ‘Ocean Drum’)
· Electric piano from Proteus 2000 and VSTi sources
· Woodwinds and brass from the Proteus 2000 synthesizer, six voices (3 per ensemble)
· Electric Guitar, in hexatonic tuning
· Spoken voice, backwards and forwards blended together
· Cambodian chant
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,661
I always dig when you throw a piece our way...but this is just TOO bichen. Awesome work Connor!!!!
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,481
Dark, beautifully bleak and unsettling, and quite vast, on a variety of levels. Not my usual musical thing at all, but previous descriptors sincerely apply, nonetheless. Really, I'm a bit surprised to say that I've listened to this piece five times repeatedly - it's a bit addictive (subliminally engaging? <|8^/ ). I play pop rock and Americana musics at present, for [?] reference. In any event, I admire and enjoy this work - and I'm rather the hardcore songfreak. Sincere kudos. - TB
 

Dajbro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,110
Thanks for sharing that. I really enjoyed listening to it and found it very inspiring. It's good to know that there are people out there doing this kind of work. Keep it up!

David
 

Bassomatic

Member
Messages
12,337
Thanks, guys. I really didn't think this piece would resonate as strongly as it's seemed to with some folks.
 

lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,368
I am totally moved. Very hard to describe but it goes right to the gut. I feel used up in a good way. Such artistry.

I got into gamelon in the early 80's on my trips to Thailand and just love that sound.

Great stuff Conor, thanks.
 

Bassomatic

Member
Messages
12,337
Thanks a lot, Lance. Yourt opinion means a lot to me.

As to Gamelan, it's really only evident in the gong cycle, though there's something clearly gamelan-esque about the tuning itself.
 

rh

Robo Sapien NoiseMaker
Double Platinum Member
Messages
6,950
I've been waiting for a chance to listen to this without interruption, and it finally came this morning.

Brilliant! What a wonderful, imaginative, evocative piece of music.
 

rwe333

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,398
Another bump as Basso's OutSpan project w/ David Brown readies release...
 




Top