Tag Archives: classical music

Music Video – Electronic Little Fugue in G Minor (Bach)

One of my recent projects has been recording JS Bach’s Little Fugue in G Minor with a synthesizer. I will post the video here in case you you want to hear it but don’t want to read about it. Be aware that I did a few fumbles, but I think overall it worked well.

(Click here if you don’t see the video)

(Note – I replaced the original video with a newer version November 1, 2021 – below is still about the old version. Click here for info on the new)

OK, a little bit about it, then…

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Dido’s Lament – Music Video

Last week I worked on a little music project, arranging and recording an electronic version of Henry Purcell’s great aria Dido’s Lament (technically it is named “When I am laid in Earth” but everyone knows it as “Dido’s Lament”) .

Quick back story – Henry Purcell was a 17th century English composer and is regarded as one of the greatest English composers of all times (until he 20th century, no other English born composer compared since Handle was not born in England). One of his most famous works was the opera Dido and Aeneas, based on the Aeneid.

After escaping the downfall of Troy, Aeneas ends up in Carthage. Dido, the queen of Carthage, falls in love. He would happily spend the rest of his life there, but destiny calls; he has to found Rome, you know. So he leaves, and Dido commits suicide.

The opera ends in three pieces: a recitative to introduce the aria, the aria itself, and then a choral part in all of its Baroque counterpoint glory. The recitative (Thy hand, Belinda) is often performed with the aria while the chorus isn’t, but to me the chorus caps it all off greatly… But that aria, called Dido’s Lament, is what most people know.

Have you ever taken a music appreciation class (talking Western Classical music here)? If so, you most likely have heard this before. It does a great job of demonstrating a few Baroque techniques, such as ground bass (that part you hear from beginning to end). It is also often called one of the saddest songs in Western Classical music.

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Video – Piano Sonata in g minor, 1st Movement

Piano keyboard

First, here is the video:

(Click here if you don’t see the video below)

Years ago I studied classical composition.  After fiddling about for a year or so, I took lessons with an established composer.  As part of my lessons I wrote a little “classical sonata”.  It was more or less in a Mozart style, though perhaps it was closer to Clementi.  If you don’t know Clementi, look him up!    Although there are shining moments on this “sonatina”, I wasn’t satisfied. Continue reading

Country Dance – Music Video

Daffodils

Years ago I followed a music forum.  One thing we did was a “Composition Challenge“.  The winner of the last challenge would present a theme and people would create a composition based on that theme.  Most of the themes had been difficult and produced more “modern” music, but the winner of Challenge 13 put up a very simple phrase.

OK, I decided to play a bit of a joke.  I wrote a ground bass or passacaglia (think Pachelbel’s (misnamed) Canon in D minor) done with strings in 4-4 time, a Sousa style march done in brass and percussion – in “cut time” and a simple country dance (almost waltz) done with a small woodwind ensemble (I think flute, clarinet, english horn and bassoon) in 3-4 time.  I then had them all playing simultaneously but ending together on a huge C major chord. Continue reading

Child’s Play – Music Video

beach-sunset-02a

Last week I created a new music video.  Before we go any farther, just start it up.  It is only a little over a minute long (1:17 to be exact).

(Click here if you don’t see the video below)

OK, is it playing in the background?  Great.

I took two of the miniatures from my composition “Child’s Play” and rearranged them a little.  Actually the biggest rearrangement is making the super simple starting piece, “Happy Feet”, a little more complex by having it modulate from the key of G to the key of D.  When you hear it again at the end, that is how it is in “Child’s Play, Book 1”.  Actually, that piece, “Happy Feet”, is based on one of the first things I ever wrote, back when I was a Freshman or Sophomore in college.  I broke a few counterpoint rules at the time, which were fixed when I added it to “Child’s Play, Book 1”. Continue reading

Video – Winter

Snow field

One of the reasons I have been off line for the last few days is that I have been working on some music.  I now have something to share with you :)

Quick background – I studied classical music composition in the mid naughts (00s).  To hear the music I was composing, I used a product called GPO. You can hear this on some of the videos on my video page.  Sounds pretty realistic, if not exactly like a live orchestra.

As some of you may have seen, lately I have been playing with old-school analog modular synthesizers.  What?  OK, that sounds odd, but this is the type of synthesizer they used in “the old days”, synths that sounded like synths.  The “modular” part means that I pretty much create a new instrument using patch cords every time I make a sound.

Lately I have had the idea to recreate some of my old music using this even older technology.  It won’t sound as realistic, but perhaps it will add something. Continue reading

Weekly Smile 80 #weeklysmile

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile

It is funny but my mom is much better known in classical music circles than I am.  Of course the contemporary classical music that I’ve written has been heard by only a few people.  Yes, you can buy a CD of my Hamlet Symphony or listen to some of my classical music here on my blog or on YouTube, but not many have heard it.  My mom, though…

I don’t know, maybe 20 years ago, give or take, she bumped into a man at a Cleveland Orchestra concert.  They started talking and he said he was a classical composer, that at the time he was concentrating on on Art Song, but he was writing his own lyrics because  nobody else said what he wanted to say.  So she said, “I’m a poet.  How about I send you some of my poems?”  Funny thing, he said sure, why not?

The composer’s name is H. Leslie Adams, and he is a well known son of Cleveland, though his music has been (continues to be) played around the world.  He’s used a few of my mom’s poems for his music. Continue reading

Challenge Thirteen

Osprey

One of the very first posts I ever put up on this blog was called Challenge Me!  It was about musical challenges that I used to participate in when I followed a music forum back about a decade ago.

Here is a super quick synopsis of that post.  Someone would post a phrase or a theme.  The “contestants” would compose music based on that theme.  The music could take any form, any genre, etc., as long as it used the music software that the music forum was about.  The winner of each challenge would post the theme for the next challenge.  You can read more on the original post. Continue reading

Music That Means Something – Recap!

Pyschodelic Music

I recently finished the “Music That Means Something” challenge.

Don’t know this challenge?  Here is the basic idea:

Post a song a day for five consecutive days.
Post what the lyrics mean to you.  (Optional)
Post the name of the song and a video.
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge.  –>Well…, All of you! :)

I was “volunteered” by Sue Vincent ;) And I did it my way (like Frank, both Zappa and Sinatra).  Because of that, I felt I needed a little nightcap.  Uhm, I mean I need a little recap….

Here is the Intro I did for this.

And here is the list, with links, of posts:

First, you’ll noticed I chose entire albums, not songs.  I also posted videos instrumentals (OK, since I ended up posting the entire of Shine on You Crazy Diamond there were lyrics). Continue reading

Music That Means Something Day 3

Pyschodelic Music

This is Day three!  I’ll tell what album I chose in a minute.  Look here for my intro.

Don’t know this challenge?  Here is the basic idea (which I’ll semi-ignore):

Post a song a day for five consecutive days. (will do, well album, not song)
Post what the lyrics mean to you.  (Optional) (nope – instrumental)
Post the name of the song and a video. (will do – a song from the album)
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge. (Well…, All of you)

(I was “volunteered” to do the challenge by Sue Vincent ;) )

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Yesterday I talked about Wendy Carlos’ Switched on Bach.  After that I was always in search of electronic music.  A lot of it was garbage (not that I cared as a kid), often kitsch or novelty.  Often just bad.  But I listened to what I could find.

One day when I was about 10, I saw a very cool looking album.  It was too expensive, but I had a plan – I bought it as a Christmas present for my brother (the same one who received Tommy).  It soon became a favorite.

This was Isao Tomita’s Snowflakes are Dancing.  Continue reading