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Virtal is mainly classical music for virtual orchestra instruments with minimalism, serialism, impressionism and romantism. The project started in 2008 with the first pieces of string quartet.
[2015-08-02] The Cloud
Download mp3 In this piece I use new approach to harmonic structure: first decide the movement of one voice (choosing first note of a chord), then select a chord that includes this note, then find other voices for chord using voice leading. I tend to choose chords, that are not dominants or subdominants of surrounding chords and are far from surrounding chords in terms of circle of fifths. This leads to a constantly developing harmony without standard resolutions.
After building harmonic structure this way, I add note changes and sometimes add melodies.
I tended to avoid progressions and finishing tonic chords at the end of harmonic structures.
I used two new libraries here, both with their internal convolution reverbs. For Session strings I used default 1+2 contemporary production sections with closer sound, but increased reverb mix to 60%. Dynamics balance between two libraries was close to ideal and I just decreased Clarinet by -1.5 db.
Session strings is a powerful library with small to medium sized string orchestra (no solo). Although some transitions do not sound good, you always can choose different types (legato, portamento, glissando) and usually one of them sounds very good. Sometimes I had to decrease CC1 dynamics near legato transitions or separate notes to make transitions more smooth. I used only legato/tremolo/portamento/glissando/staccato/spiccato here. So there are many more articulations to explore in the library.
I use many glissando transitions in strings, because in this library it is difficult to achieve smoothness of some transitions other ways without decreasing dynamics or separating notes. On the other hand, glissandos sound good in this library.
I did not find second violins, so I just stereo inverted+panned first violins.
While sequencing this piece I was thinking a lot about cresc-dim vs dim-cresc dynamics curves of long notes. I used cresc-dim at the beginning of the phrases most of the time, but preferred dim-cresc for long notes inside phrases. This guaranteed smooth dynamics, at the same time eliminating long note fatigue with dim-cresc.
Chris Hines Clarinet is a good solo library with a lot of parameters, resembling Sample modeling in some aspects. I liked possibility to control noise, transition speed, accent control, pre-recorded short notes of different length, 6 velocity layers. This library feels closer to samples and real recordings, but lacks some physical-mathematical tools of Sample modeling like timbre, random vibrato and temperament.
Air noise level in CH Clarinet does not depend on current crossfade dynamics level, so you need to either correct it dynamically with another CC or set it low enough not to interfere with the piece. Without these corrections air noise will decrease realism in dynamic solo parts.
Sometimes crossfading sounds limited when you start from the lowest or highest dynamics (no big problem).
Download mp3 In this track, like in others this year I am moving from the concept of simple repetitions, that I often used in the previous tracks. Now if I reuse any material, I modify it, making the whole piece not only a meditative pleasure full of repeats, but also more rich in information, when listening to every minute brings something new.
In the sheet music I highlighted notes that were creating dissonances with red and notes that were not used in any dissonances with green.
The other new concept in this track is the inversion of classical harmonic principle: I tend to use dissonances for downbeat and long times, while allowing some consonances in passing notes.
When composing this track I created a first voice (flute or violin) and then built other voices adding consonances or dissonances.
Here I use three new libraries, each of them producing interesting new sound. You can hear, that cello plays soft legato notes exclusively (limitation of the library). Other two libraries show staccato and accents.
All three libraries support legato speed control and thus needed a lot of tweaking of note starts. The result is plenty of hand-shifted note starts, creating a more live groove.
Spitfire Flute Consort includes three short note lengths, which is not very common in today's libraries and which sounds realistic.
8dio adagio violin has many different legato types, which decreases machinegun effect significantly.
Tina Guo library is very melodious and does not need much additional CC dynamics tuning for long notes. I had to move cello notes to the left more than other instruments because of long attacks. Yet cello still sounds a little bit after the tempo. I did not correct it further, because bass in large spaces can be delayed.
All three libraries sounded good to me, although I missed cello accents when it played solo or shorts. I used 2C Aether for violin and frullato flute. Main flute uses T/A/O mics. Cello uses IR reverb, that is included in the library.
Download mp3 This string quartet seems an important stage of my musical development. This is the first time I achieved atonal quality writing each note and interval consciously without using serial techniques like retrograde inversions.
This is also the first time I avoid melody thickening with constant intervals. In the first part I use dissonant intervals (major second, major or minor seventh, tritone) while avoiding parallel voice movements and keeping orchestral density. The rhythm of the voices is synchronized about 70% of the time. The main melody starts pentatonic and later is transposed and converted to diatonic, becoming chromatic in the end. When violin starts to play solo, I create a new 12-tone melody from the first melody, that it was playing in the beginning.
In the second part, which sounds most consonant and rock style, I prefer perfect 4th and 5th, but also use other intervals, gradually using more dissonant intervals to the end of the part. The rhythm of higher voices is very synchronized, while cello creates a separate accompanying rhythm using pedal tone.
In the third part I use all 12 notes to build melody with tritone and 7th leaps, diatonic scales and chromaticism. When the second violin comes in, I add dissonating intervals, while avoiding parallel voice movements and keeping orchestral density. The rhythm of the voices is synchronized about 50% of the time.
In this track I use four different solo instrument libraries without native reverberation (LA for violin2, Spitfire for viola), later panning them and adding common 2C Aether reverb. Libraries used:
Spitfire Audio - Solo Strings, Sable (Strings) Embertone - Friedlander violin (Strings) Audiobro - LA Scoring Strings (Strings) Embertone - Blakus Cello (Strings)
[2015-06-08] Visions of Yesterday
Download mp3 I used some ideas of Richard Strauss in the first minute of the piece. Piece has generally homophonic texture with diatonic melodies, which rarely change to atonal polyphonic texture. Most of phrases are short. Instruments use is sparce and free, leading to situation when some instruments play only in 2-3 places of the piece (this is the first time I do not try to balance instruments use).
The first part is evocative, has high dynamics, syncopations, homophonic texture. The second part is hazy, thoughtful. The last part sounds more chamber and introduces atonality and polyrhythm.
Most of the libraries used in this track were created by Cinesamples. I was glad to use these easy to use libraries, which blend good with each other, being recorded in the same space. They do not always sound good with fast melodies, but it is a problem of most orchestral libraries today.
Download mp3 My first house (electronic dance music) track written exclusively for orchestral instruments. The idea was to use only real instruments and real sound effects without any heavy processing except for equalizing, reverb and limiting.
I used several new ideas like violin groups alternation, wavy violins playing, echo emulation by changing instrument, opposite hairpins to create timbre changes resembling LPF/HPF, string effects.
Bass drum and timpani are from Spitfire HZ01. Cymbals are from HOP. All other percussion is from Spitfire Percussion Redux:
Download mp3 My first minimal-atonal piano concerto for three quality piano libraries: Fazioli (intro and lower part), Alicia's Keys (higher part and finale), Mavericks. Each library has its own reverberation. The idea is that three pianos are played in a single hall:
Imperfect Samples - FAZIOLI Ebony Concert Grand (Piano) Native Instruments - Alicia's Keys (Piano) Native Instruments - The Maverick (Piano)
[2014-12-21] Black moon
Download mp3 | Tutorials: RUEN Alternative opera for alto, soprano, strings and kalimba. Soprano vocal part is difficult, while alto is singable. This is my first project in Reaper and you can find a little information on migrating from Cubase to Reaper in my video tutorials on youtube. Libraries used:
Realitone - Realivox - The Ladies (Vocal) Orange Tree Samples - Grand Kalimba (Percussion) Audiobro - LA Scoring Strings (Strings)
Comments by Morpeheus:
General Impression: Unclear, Constant change, Unresolved, Drama, Absurd
I've listened to this track at least 5 times in different situations and still never managed to make a consistent understanding or feeling of it.
The beginning is a bit messy, many different kaleidoscopic sounds in no particular style. General feeling is smooth, but also troubling a little.
The 1:20 main voice theme could make it more clear, but the emotion behind singer is completely unknown. This female voice is either playing around with notes, just having absurd fun, or asking for something desperately, or shouting at someone with anger or even crying of sadness contained within... And actually all of this at once.
There is a kind of Kafka character in this voice. Constant changing of situation and emotion (within seconds!) disorients the listener, and it's impossible to grab the sound, it is remarkably elusive. Actually, it's hard to stay focussed during listening, attention is deliberately distracted by music canvas.
At 2:55 some structurisation occurs by a big slow down, but the true meaning or emotion remain unrevealed. The continuation at 3:25 sounds very artificial to me, it doesn't create any interesting effect, but disturbs and bores a little, it seems it just shouldn't be there.
And then suddenly a rich and rhythmic theme appears from nowhere at 3:52. This theme is great, rock-like, and the whole piece sounds like a preamble to this, however everything is misleading about this track, as this theme unexpectedly fades away without any final or conclusion... I really wish the track was like 10 min long, with something proper and understandable happening onwards. However, as a piece of absurd, this is acceptable and good.
Conclusion: Unclear feelings prevent from listening to this more than once, but at the same time challenge you to do so! Still, it seems to me that the track is so flexible within itself, that it actually curls up around itself and it's impossible to untangle it.
[2014-11-25] Gnome Forest
Download mp3 Composition for a woodwind quintet using Sample modeling instruments (flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon). Starts with folclore theme and then travels into minimalism.
[2014-11-23] One day on the Red planet
Download mp3 | Tutorials: RUEN Composition for 6 french horns and orchestral percussion in romantic style with elements of minimalism and film music. For horn 2c-Aether reverb was used. For percussion equal portions of stage and far mics were used. Libraries used:
Download mp3 | Tutorials: RU Chamber orchestra (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Tuba, 2 violins, Viola, Cello, Double bass). I developed approaches, that I first used in Day Night Day.
I recorded an 8-hour video while setting up the samples of this piece. It is available in Russian here.
Download mp3 Chamber orchestra (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Tuba, 2 violins, Viola, Cello, Double bass). I used some new atonal approaches first and some elements of Richard Strauss style.
Download mp3 Walker performed live by Fratres quartet in Vermel club, Moscow.
Unfortunately, quartet was replaced three days before the performance and musicians had almost no time for rehearsal. This is why there are some shortcomings in the performance, but generally it is ok. EWQLSO. Len: 11:47
Download mp3 This string quartet consists of 11 parts. Each part is created in a specific style and all parts are connected with transitions. Most styles go in a historical order.
Download mp3 Strangely, Run was originally composed for a starting 3Harp project, for melodica and 4 harmonicas. Later, it was rescored for a woodwind sextet (2 flutes, oboe, english horn, clarinet, bassoon).
It was my first try for woodwinds. Samples are from EWQLSO (all solo, 3 microphone positions). In this piece I used some quartet techniques, 12-tone serial and non-serial technique and some DSCH/BACH magic :) Len: 04:03
[2013-07-13] Interstellar - 1. Dark crusade
Download mp3 Interstellar String Quartet was created for the contest of works for string quartet in the first half of 2013 year.
The main idea of the quartet is mixing of late romantic approach with minimalism, impressionism, expressionism and rock music.
Download mp3 Composition for Brass quintet: 2 x Trumpets, Trombone, Horn, Tuba. Style is rock/noise/minimal. EWQLSO. Len: 03:06
[2013-02-25] Iron Lord
Download mp3 Composition for Brass quintet: 2 x Trumpets, Trombone, Horn, Tuba. Style is rock. EWQLSO. Len: 02:31
[2013-02-14] Silent Hints (live)
Download mp3 Live performance of the piece by Fratres Quartet in Shokoladnaya Fabrika club, Moscow. Len: 02:34
[2013-02-14] Falling From The Window (live)
Download mp3 Live performance of the piece by Fratres Quartet in Shokoladnaya Fabrika club, Moscow. Len: 01:50
[2012-12-11] Alien Annihilation
Download mp3 Composition for brass instruments and orchestra percussion: Trumpets, Trombones, Horns, Tuba, Timpani, Bass drum, Snare drum, Cymbals, Anvil.
This was the only composition that I did not write sheet music for. I created it entirely in cubase DAW, although I felt some difficulty writing the final melody without the staves. The whole concept of this composition is closer to avant-garde musique concrete than to traditional note-based music. It is based on sound spectrum more than on particular notes and chords.
Sound used was the same as for Bioforge. Len: 04:39
Download mp3 Composition for brass instruments and orchestra percussion: Trumpets, Trombones, Horns, Tuba, Timpani, Bass drum, Snare drum, Cymbals, Anvil.
Style is close to brass rock, extensive use of pentatonic, blues notes and complimentary rhythms.
For sound EWQLSO was used, mainly grouped instruments, except Tuba and percussion. Here I first use compound CFS sampling with equalized C and dynamic C/S levels. This allows to use no effects at all (except limiter, but I do not use it much). All reverberation is sampled. Len: 04:00
[2012-10-29] Falling From The Window
Download mp3 String quartet consisting of two violins, viola and cello - played by a string orchestra. EWQLSO sound was used. Len: 02:41
[2012-10-27] Silent Hints
Download mp3 String quartet consisting of two violins, viola and cello. EWQLSO sound was used. Len: 02:55
[2012-09-01] Yellow spirit
Download mp3 After the City project I decided to write something simple and nice using a little polyphony. I used tempo changes here a lot. Sounds are from Truepianos. Len: 03:22
[2012-08-04] White spirit
Download mp3 I started White Spirit experimenting with some serial mutation. Then I chose another series. Then I decided to make some polyphony. At last I thought: Well, I can really mix it here.
I ended up with a phylosophical thoughtful composition...
Sibelius Sound Essentials. Len: 03:46
Download mp3 Prometheus composition was written for the Prometheus movie. It has three parts.
The first part is full of unknown and unusual.
The second part is full of technology and progress (minimalism).
The third part is the death, when technology does not help and only destroys.