Made by Teddy Lee

Created: December 4th, 2014


I'm going to use the trailer for David Blaine's split spades playing cards. In this video there is both movement and silencer and I will need to make good use of tension and continuation to get past the constant changes in pace in the video. My goal is to capture the ebb and flow of the video in my composition and to create epic climaxes that will occur at appropriate moments and to focus on slightly intriguing false cadences to give the piece a sense of mystery and magic.


Curatorial Statement

My objectives for this piece were to use contrast of tempo and pitch, as well as instrument choice to reflect the conflicting natures of both the slower, magical sequences, as well as the fast moving, flashy flourishes of the cards to create a piece that, when listened to, intrigues the brain. I chose to represent certain flourishes with defining hits with changes in the music such as drumbeats like for vertigo (when he kicks the packet of cards in the air) or a long guitar chord when ann elongated flourish is preformed. The use of bells as one of the main instruments was something that for me, is really a magical sound, as even after it is played, it reverberates all around you. The intent behind this entire sequence was to make the customer of the cards that the trailer is advertising feel like they really are something special by associating their movement with dynamic agility through fast, aggressive sound, and their beauty and aesthetic appeal with slower, more clear and pure sounds like the bells and the drums. 

Account of the Process

In order to begin this, I went back and outlined my piece, highlighting the parts of the video that I felt were distinct. I then separated the video into 3-4 major transitions that I wanted to highlight. I then moved on to my instrument selection. I decided to use a bass drum for large hits, a set of bells for lighter, higher, and clearer tones, as well as an electric guitar and bass combination in order to express the fast pace that I wanted for faster parts of the trailer. I decided against synthesized notes as I didn't feel that it fit the theme of magic, feeling too unnatural and synthesized.  For the beginning part, before any flourishing begins, I decided to use the bells in a slow series of jumps in major second and third intervals This then led into the first, slower flourishes, which I used the guitar to build up a slight amount of tension. I then decided to use the drums for when vertigo hit. I then created a fast paced melody for the flourishes using a long sequence of notes for the base. I then proceeded to stop that when the slow part came showing off the cards, leading into an extremely high pitched clear melody, then another drum hit, and then the same fast paced bass melody as before except for this time, in order to create the gradually increasing ebb and flow that I wanted, I added the guitar, playing the same part as the base to both give the chorus section more body. When the action changed from magic to flourishes, I then changed from the main melody, to the high bells playing a softer descending melody into a false candence, then I wrapped it up using a short, truncated loud reprise of the main melody.

After I wrapped up the main scoring, I went back and used automations to pan the intro sequence back and forth to make it seem more magical, then I used the automation to fade in a particularly harsh guitar chord that was causing artifacts and I also changed the volume to make some of the bells lower to further enhance the contrast. I then went back and quantized some of the longer melodies and corrected any glaring mistiming in the recordings. 

Critical Reflection

I think the synchronization in my music is decent, but I could have coincided things a little more precisely. Also, I could have had shorter silences that did the job just as well, maybe some of my melodies were too slow. It would have been interesting to explore more complex melodies and variations, but I do not feel as if I am skilled enough to compose more complex melodies and have them sound good. I think that some parts, especially when the bass is playing alone are a little weak sounding. and I would definitely try to improve the sound, either finding better bass samples, or changing the register so it is higher. I would also probably go over one more time to redo some of the timing. 

Right now, I see this piece as definitely having me feeling the contrast in tempo, the false candence at the end just before the true ending, and having me recognize some of the changes in tempo and pitch in order to create a swelling sound. The panning from left to right in the intro section creates an interesting, sleightly magical effect, which, combined with the bells and the video, feels slow and like a buildup to something. 

Before I entered this module, I would have not even noticed the panning or the different musical techniques such as candences that are used to create these sort of effects in a listener. I thiink the point of this module was a transition from someone who only listened to and cared about the effects that music has on a person, and not why and how the music was created and the different artistic inspirations and technique it was comprised of.