I have started to perform some of the music, perhaps a part at a time on whatever instruments are handy. The results certainly sound better than the midi version from NoteFlight. Even if my playing is far from perfect.
I've recently started acquiring and reading the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett. I thought that some of the characters and scenes in the book might make a cool subject for a composition project, so I started writing a few for fun.
The Great A'Tuin - (Audio) Discworld is shaped like a disc and sits on the back of four giant elephants, which stand on the back of a giant turtle that swims through space. The turtle is named "The Great A'Tuin". This is my first "electronic" effort. All four parts are performed on my Tin Whistle, with added effects.
Assassin's Test(2012-06-01) (Audio is here) - This music was inspired by the opening scene in the Terry Pratchett novel "Pyramids", where there is an Assassin's Test.
Om, Brutha - (Audio) Brutha is the main character in "Small Gods" and the last true believer in the God "Om". He's a monk type dude. This was played on my new Ocarina. The Gong is me hitting a Tibetan Singing Bowl with a stick covered in a baby's bib.
I Was Once a Bigger God - This one is inspired by Om, a once powerful god that is now in the form of a small turtle.
Lords and Ladies
The Stick and Bucket Dance (Audio)- There is dance spoken of in hushed tones. It is the "Stick and Bucket Dance" and is danced by the Lancre Morris Men, champions of Morris Dancing. Dancing The Stick and Bucket Dance is illegal with women present, as it falls under the heading of sexual morrisment. I wrote this when challenged by fans of the books after I read Lords and Ladies. After my initial shock at the unfathomable magnitude of Morris Dancing, I researched a bit and found that the traditional instrumentation of Morris Dancing music is the Pipe and Tabor, with the occasional accordian. So I improvised a close approximation with a Tin Whistle, Tambourine, and Melodica from the kids' toy box.
Circle Time (Elves are Evil) - (Audio) There is a circle of iron stones in the forest around Lancre where the Elves can come through at "Circle Time". The Elves are evil, but incredibly beautiful. This music tries to create that impression too.
The Tale of Amber and Jasper
In the novel "Moving Pictures", we are introduced to a troll named Ruby singing in a troll bar in Holy Wood. She is singing a romantic song about Amber and Jasper.
I reckon this is how it might go...
Sheet music is here. A PDF of the vocal part is here.
I couldn't find a troll to sing so I made do with my wife, Shari.
I played all the other instruments, which are all real.
Here are the Lyrics:
Here's a lesson for all you guys of granite
Listen to Amber's favourite sight.
On her mantelpiece, there's a half a troll
looking surprised, Jasper was on a roll.
You see Amber and Jasper, they had a thing
With shiny rocks and some lava ice cream.
But when she made him conglomerate stew
she rocked by his cave and what did he do.
He was sharin' 'round his stalagmite, with a
Cute little pink Sphaerocobaltite.
So thump thump thump. She broke her best club.
But now they both have him next to the grog.
Here is the bit from the book (page 99 on my copy):
There was a sudden silence from the combo in the smoke. One of the trolls picked up a small rock and started to pound it gently, producing a slow, sticky rhythm that clung to the walls like smoke. And from the smoke, Ruby emerged like a galleon out of the fog, with a ridiculous feather boa around her neck.
It was continental drift with curves.
She began to sing.
The trolls stood in respectful silence. After a while Victor heard a sob. Tears were rolling down Rock's face.
"What's the song about?" he whispered.
Rock leaned down.
"Is ancient folklorique troll song," he said. "Is about Amber and Jasper. They were -- " he hestitated, and waved his hands about vaguely. "Friends. Good friends?"
"I think I know what you mean," said Victor.
"And one day Amber takes her troll's dinner down to the cave and finds him--" Rock waved his hands in vague yet thoroughly descriptive motions "-- with another lady troll. So she go home and get her club and come back and beat him to death, thump, thump, thump. 'Cos he was her troll and he done her wrong. Is very romantic song.
I was quite pleased with the Upright Bass. I didn't have an expensive sample library with the Upright Bass sound in it, so I grabbed a coffee cup, a pencil, a paperclip, some sticky tape, a rubber band, and a pocket knife.
After calculating the correct hole size using a formula related to a helmholtz resonator and cutting it out with the pocket knife, I had the instrument I needed.
Here is a picture.
Unfortunately, the Coffee Cup Bass is almost impossible to play. So I sampled it and played through a MIDI keyboard.
This piece, I wrote to go with a little video I made.
I was inspired to do something new for 30 days by a TED Talk by Matt Cutts. I decided to compose a tune each day for 30 days, each one based on a different emotion or feeling.
I found a list of emotions and feelings in an academic article that anayses such things, but I am getting the emotion I use each day from suggestions of my family and randomly selected from the list I have.