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chet reinhardt
05-26-2005, 11:23 PM
Two things: there is so much music and I know such a small part of it and I am interested in knowing how many composers using many techniques express a similar mood. SoÖ

Clare de Lune and The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy both convey a mood of magic and mystery. And one of the John Williams Harry Potter themes conveys a similar mood (I donít know how to identify it more precisely but I trust you know the one I mean.) Another example is the first of the Goldberg Variations. I am interested in knowing of other music constructed using widely differing techniques of harmony and melody that conveys a similar mood. The mood I am interested in is one of magic, mystery, and wonder. I am not looking for ones incorporating elements of the sinister, the grotesque, or the horrible. I am hoping to find interesting music that I am not yet familiar with and to learn how to achieve the same compositional result using differing methods.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Chet

newmewzikboy
05-27-2005, 09:48 AM
Thats like saying MINOR is SAD and MAJOR is HAPPY.

I don't agree with your assessment of either Debussy or Tschaikovsky's works.

This is a subjective middleschool joke right?

JonFairhurst
05-27-2005, 11:55 AM
Chet,

There are moments in Stravinsky's Firebird that portray the mood that you are describing. The Firebird Lullaby may be the longest such section. Williams has other scores that have a fantasy feel, for instance, ET. You may also find that sound in some of the animated Disney films of any era. Holst's Planets has mysterious moments as well.



-JF

chet reinhardt
05-27-2005, 11:35 PM
Jon

Thanks for the references. I don't think I've listened to the Firebird since college and I'm sure it has just the sort of thing I'm looking for. I look forward to looking into the others.

Chet

chet reinhardt
05-27-2005, 11:42 PM
newmewzikboy

Perfectly serious.

Many people treat music as an abstract unemotional enterprise and of course even among those who recognize emotion and mood in music opinions vary regarding the content of any particular piece.

Thank you for your opinion.

Chet

JonFairhurst
05-28-2005, 01:57 AM
Regarding Disney movies, you can probably get them really cheap at garage sales across the country. Parents bought the VCR tapes by the gazzilions. Now that their kids have grown up and they've moved to DVDs, it's time to dump the tapes.

How would I know this? Three kids, ages 13, 14 & 17. ;)

-JF

chet reinhardt
05-28-2005, 11:57 AM
Jon

Thanks for the idea.

Every time I see one of your posts I think of the wonderful One Day More mp3 you posted. Best wishes to you and your family.

Chet

JonFairhurst
05-29-2005, 10:36 PM
Thanks Chet!

I'm glad to know that recording made such an impression. After seeing the play, I've now read The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Les Miserables - first abridged, and then unabridged.

BTW, I've recently completed a mock up of the Firebird Lullaby. You can hear it from this thread: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35023

All the best,

-JF

chet reinhardt
05-30-2005, 01:50 AM
Jon

I just finished downloading the Firebird Lullaby and look forward to enjoying it.

Chet

chet reinhardt
05-30-2005, 11:55 AM
Jon

Very impressive and enjoyable.

Just the sort of mood I'm looking for too. Unless its hidden in an obscure corner, my current books don't talk about the Firebird. Can you direct me to some good analysis? Best would be a qualitative discussion that would help me ease into more detailed analysis so perhaps to references.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Chet

chet reinhardt
05-30-2005, 01:03 PM
That is of course "two references" rather than "to references."

Off topic perhaps, but reading a perhaps somewhat elementary qualitative analysis first is analogous to an idea my wife had for getting to know a new city when we were doing more traveling. On the first day we would take one of those tour bus tours of the city. After that familiarization we felt more at home and could spend more time at places of particular interest to us because we had a general idea of what the place was like.

Best wishes

Chet

JonFairhurst
05-30-2005, 03:38 PM
Jon

Very impressive and enjoyable.

Just the sort of mood I'm looking for too. Unless its hidden in an obscure corner, my current books don't talk about the Firebird. Can you direct me to some good analysis? Best would be a qualitative discussion that would help me ease into more detailed analysis so perhaps to references.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Chet

I don't have any references that analyze the Firebird, but here are my own thoughts on the Lullaby...

The orchestration is amazing. It has three flutes, three oboes, english horn, three clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon and contrabassoon. There is no doubling in the woodwinds. It uses these techniques: solo, parallel melodies and chordal pads. If you break the piece into three sections: 1) quiet intro, 2) expressive peak, and 3) descending end, you find that in 1 the only woodwinds are the solo basson and oboe. 3 is the same, except it adds a pp flute ostanato. Section 2 is where the woodwinds rise. The flutes play chrodal pads. One oboe and english horn play one bar of parallel melodies (5ths!). Later there is one four voice chord of oboes and english horn. The clarinets also play parallel melodies and also play the chord with the doible reeds.

The strings are almost all divisi and muted. This gives a very full harmonic base, but keeps the sound thin and ghostlike. Some pizz and tremolo is used.

There are also three harps, generally playing an ostinato with harmonics. Harp 1 gets two glisses. A celesta plays two bars at the end of section 2.

So, how does this all contribute to the mood?

It starts with a bass pizz as an anchor point. The cellos play a pedal, and viola and harp harmonics play the ostinato. This represents the environment which is mysterious. The quarter notes give the feeling of walking through the space quietly and slowly. The solo basson gives a feeling of being alone, asking if any one is there.

The bass/viola pizz gives a feeling of being stirred. Bass and cello continue the notes by playing arco. The violins add a higher ostinato and half notes to widen the harmonic range. The oboe responds to the bassoon.

The bassoon continues its journey by repeating itself, and the oboe responds in kind. The higher violin ostinato is doubled as the backing builds.

The solo cello responds to the oboe, and gives a feeling of caring and compassion, compared to the dry double reeds. The second bar of the cello part changes the underlying chord to add tension and foreboding. This leads to the the harp gliss with violins and violas playing a rise with 32nd notes. It is as if the firebird has risen and spread its wings.

The strings play a lush melody that portrays the grandeur of the firebird as the clarinets continue the quarter note theme and the flutes play an upper pad. The melody and dynamics descend just before the bird rises again.

After the second creshendo there is a full woodwind chord followed by a chord by just the flutes and oboes. Not only does it thin the dynamics, but it changes the color as if letting go of one's grasp. During this time the celesta takes the quarter notes in parallel octaves, leaving us with a dream-like, magical feel.

We now enter the third section, which basically repeats the first. The main difference is that we have eight bars of descending quarter notes from the violins in parallel harmonies. The 1st violins double the 2nds on the octave, and all are playing double stops. As the descent continues the first violins drop out and half of the violas are added, moving from legato to tremolo bowing. The descent signifies a falling into the dream world. The basson solo is longer letting the descent cover eight bars.

The oboe responds but by the third bar the response falls away. The underlying strings are fuller than in the opening parts, with most playing harmonics. The harmonics give a ghostly exit and allow the dynamics to get even lower. (I don't have a full set of harmonic samples, so I had to fake it.) Apparently, Stravinsky rewrote some of the ending string harmonies which add fourths to the mix in my version. I agree, as I found the fourths to give a feeling of continuation, rather than of descent.

I haven't read analysis by others, and I don't know exactly what Stravinsky intended, but that's my analysis of the piece. Other opinions may vary - widely!

-JF

chet reinhardt
05-31-2005, 01:54 AM
Jon

As I read your analysis it was as if I was entering into an imaginative reconstruction of the music. Absolutely wonderful. I will profit from it for years. Thank you so much.

Chet

JonFairhurst
05-31-2005, 03:23 AM
From the back cover of the score (published in '87):

"Today, The Firebird is as popular and enthusiastically received as it was following its triumphant premiere in Paris almost 80 years ago. Greatly admired for its orchestration and harmony, the composition is widely studied by practicing musicians and music students."

That about sums it up!

-JF

chet reinhardt
06-01-2005, 08:48 PM
Jon

In addition to changing the way I hear the Firebird Lullaby and getting me eager to see the score (quite a trick for since I improvise fluently and write at a reasonable speed but read quite slowly) you inspired me to rework my goals and plans with respect to music. I'll post a summary when it is complete.

In the meantime I wonder if you could point me in the direction of a score and a good recording that follows the score since I understand there are various versions.

Thanks kindly

Chet

JonFairhurst
06-01-2005, 10:55 PM
I've got the Dover score (original 1914) and the London Philharmonic Orchestra recording. It includes Firebird, Petroushka, Rite of Spring and Apollo, but doesn't list the date of the score. At least the Lullaby matches.

You describe my reading skills as well. I'm getting better at sight reading bit by bit, but it's a slow process. I'm also a guitarist. It would be a stretch to call me Django Atkins though. ;)

-JF

chet reinhardt
06-01-2005, 11:53 PM
Jon

Thanks for the references.

As to the user name, it was late at night when I chose it and maybe my sense of humor got the better of my good sense.

It was (and is) -- of course -- part whimsey and part homage to my two favorate guitarists. I was introduced to Django and Stephane while I was in college (studying mathematics during the day and playing music at night.) I wasn't sophisticated enough to appreciate Chet until relatively recently (when the Stay Tuned album came out all of a sudden like an avalanche in slow motion I came to realize just how good he was--a wonderful combination of temperment, technique, and depth).

And although their technique is beyond me, I hope that perhaps some slight echo of their temperment might be reachable.

Best wishes

Ken (aka Chet Reinhardt)

JonFairhurst
06-02-2005, 12:27 AM
No need to be humble. It's a killer alias. It communicates a lot about your musical influences in just two words. :)

-JF

chet reinhardt
06-02-2005, 12:51 AM
Thanks Jon

JonFairhurst
07-11-2005, 11:53 AM
Chet,

Yesterday on the radio I heard another, longer piece that has that sense of wonder that you mentioned at the start of the thread: Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn. Its orchestration is very similar to the Firebird Lullaby.

One beautiful effect that was presented on the radio recording (from Minnesota) was a double picking of the harp glissando notes. The harpist played these especially clearly and smoothly.

http://www.music-with-ease.com/debussy-afternoon-faun.html

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000041CL/ref=pd_sxp_f/104-4101577-5359140?v=glance&s=music

-JF

musical.matthew
07-11-2005, 07:00 PM
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is really the quintessential piece that captures this mood. It is considered by many to be the birth of modern music. Don't miss it! You may also be interested in the Nocturnes for Orchestra by Debussy, especially Sirenes and Nuages. I would also suggest checking out Neptune from The Planets by Gustav Holst. Very much the mood you're looking for.

Matthew

chet reinhardt
07-12-2005, 12:42 AM
Jon

I will indeed look into the Prelude.

The Firebird Lullaby has been particularly inspiring (I'm up to three versions of an experiment using harp, bassoon, french horn, clarinet, and pizzicato strings) and I'm sure the Debussy will be inspiring as well. I've been doing relatively short and undeveloped (in the development section sense) pieces usually focusing on one aspect at a time. I plan to select from the set and use the more interesting ones as seeds for longer works. I've done a series of short three voiced modal counterpoint pieces to improve my abilities along those lines. I've gotten to the point where I can now write three voice counterpoint almost as easily as I could write two part counterpoint before. Four voice is next.

I'm also experimenting with the rhythms of Indian music (I've constructed two 11/4 pieces based on Jagapala which is divided up 5+2+2+2 that are sort of interesting to me anyway) and have been entering in transcriptions of some of Django's solos (a fascinating exercise). It is helping me loosen up a bit more regarding harmonies and melodies outside of my modal focus.

Thanks again for the suggestion.

Best wishes

Chet

chet reinhardt
07-12-2005, 12:44 AM
Matthew

Thanks for the great suggestions. I will certainly look into them. I was interested to note that Debussy wrote a piece called Nuages since Django wrote a piece by that name and also (according to his biographer Michael Dregni) admired Debussy's music and was the one who introduced lush Debussyian chords into jazz practice.

Regards,

Chet