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About Gongchime

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  1. Here's the other track mentioned in the post. "Green Tea" http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=310397&songID=11178414
  2. Where do I get the password to the World Music Group. Thanks, Greg
  3. I don't really remember how long it took to write. Thanks for the compliment. My wife's eyes glaze over and she starts to get a far-away expression on her face when I start to talk about music. Sometimes I think I even detect a little drool. When I start talking, especially about music, it just puts some people into a trance hopefully from which they can never return.
  4. Abstraction, Zen and Experimental Music. Heart of the Water Dragon http://soundclick.co...cfm?id=11110912 Ritual of Conversation http://soundclick.co...cfm?id=11042400 Dharani of Banishment http://soundclick.co...cfm?id=11033512 No Harmony Only Balance http://soundclick.co...cfm?id=11033510 Ritual of Confession http://soundclick.co...cfm?id=11033509 Semi Buddhist http://soundclick.co...cfm?id=11033508 Vajrapani http://soundclick.co...cfm?id=11033507 Green Tea... I’ve been inspired to compose a lot of Japanese and Korean music lately because of inspiration I have gotten from Zen. one idea, is that you don’t try to make the mind quiet; you get rid of discrimination. It makes me think that music can mirror "bad" sounds as well as the good if we’re not being discriminatory but of course we don’t have to "like" them either. The music would be empty as in non/dual. The Japanese philosopher Karatani, operating in the Western tradition says the way out of the dilemma of postmodernism is Paralaxity which is the holding of two opposing views as in the Paralax technique in art where, for example, opposite ends of a street are shown on the same canvas. This makes me think of the bitonality used when Shakuhachi accompanies Koto. They play two different scales at the same time; a technique favored by the Western composer Bartok as well. One "artist" created a video installation at the site of a polluted river in Poland where all the people involved; the polluting company, the people who lived there, the politicians, the environmentalists were interviewed and their interviews played back simultaneously "on site" where many people often visited the location. It caused the company and the government to cooperate in channeling the pollution to only one side of the river. I feel art can that can create positive change like that embodies the highest goals of art. A rethinking within modern mathematics is the concept of the absolute, unique unit such as the number "one" or the size of a tessellation (or interval in music). There is now a greater importance being placed on the possibility that the basic unit of something can also be treated as being relative. In Quantum Optics, if an optical circuit made of optical fibers has a fork in the path, a single photon, the smallest packet of light, changes shape and travels down both roads simultaneously. A single photon can be in two different places at the same time because it partakes of a greater dimension than what three dimensional space can contain. Contrary to what we normally experience, space is relative. To show the global picture of our current understanding of our omniverse perhaps the smallest units of music (rhythmic and melodic intervals) can be made to embody more of their relativeness, even simultaneously with their absoluteness. A melody can be compressed into a smaller range than the octave, which will create microtones, or stretched into a larger range. Rhythms can also be stretched to cover more space, cutting its direct relationship to the melody. This is already done in Japanese Taiko drumming, a technique which was copied by the composer Messiaen. Another occurrence in nature is the fact of resonant frequencies. Several moons of Jupiter orbit at a ratio of 4:2:1. That’s the same as dividing a sting in half and dividing it again, or playing music at twice the speed and twice the speed again. For an electron or a planet to change its current state, it has to enter a more chaotic state before it can jump to the next resonant frequency. The lesson is that "complexity" occurs at the boundary between order and chaos. This reminds me that the intuitive mind is the link between the intellect and the universal mind. It also makes me think of two players with the exact same melody and rhythm can go out of phase rhythmically by having one play slower and the same one also go out of tune until enough complexity between the parts has been reached when the relationship between the two parts can logically jump to the next resonant frequency. Those involved with Zen who created Noh theater co-opted an existing form to suit their purposes. What are our purposes and what form of music can we co-opt? Perhaps using whatever instruments we have at hand; even normal, household objects since the focus can be on the mundane. The green zen garden is an "abstraction" of a landscape painting. The zen rock garden can be a monochrome abstraction of the ocean of milk and mount meru or Buddha and Boddhisatvas. This is similar to the black ink brush paintings which are minimalist monochromes in order to get us to look past the surface to the essence of the subject. Art (and music) is an inherently religious concerns. To get the viewer (or listener) to look past the surface to the essence of something we have to paint the surface as superficially and unreal as possible. We must suggest but not fill in the details. The minimalist techniques from brush painting can be applied such as the one corner technique or the thrifty brush technique. Nature is not symmetric the way city streets are, so it’s said the rhythm in Shakuhachi playing and other Japanese music should be the mind’s breath, like dripping water, or a child clapping. That’s the reason for constantly changing time signatures in traditional Japanese folk music and other Japanese music. Aleatoric processes such as painting with ink by blowing through a straw encourages the "controlled accidents" which occur in nature. A plant or animal has to see how the accidental qualities they’ve acquired from expressions of errors in their DNA can be used, in their efforts at adaptation to their environments. One of my tunes Vajrapani has a drone of a Major 2nd. The interval of a M2 has the ratio of 7:8. (One of the resonant frequencies). The first (A) section is in 8/8. The second section (we will call the B section) is in 7/8 time. They both repeat then in the C section when I superimpose/stretch the 7/8 rhythm to fit over the 8/8 rhythm and playing them simultaneously, effectively expressing the interval of a M2 in the rhythm which is actually what your ear hears but at a much faster tempo when two different notes a M2 apart are "beating" against each other. The piece is bitonal in that the only "chord", the interval of a M2 between C and D, has a scale/melody that contains no D playing over the chord/interval. Blues/rock is also bitonal because a C Major chord plays but the soloist plays C minor pentatonic (5 note scale): a wonderful invention of the Africans. I chose a Japanese scale C Eb F Gb G B which has several changing tones expanding its chromatic possibilities. That scale’s intervallic design of m3, M2, m2, m2, M3 can also create a rhythm in 12/8 ( l.. l.l ll. ..l). I need to be in 8/8 to express the abstraction of the M2 drone to the rhythm so I put the matrix for a measure of 8/8 underneath the chart for the rhythm in 12/8 and I put the rhythms in the 8/8 matrix on the rhythmic events nearest to the positions for rhythmic events that are occurring in the 12/8 pattern to get (l..l …l ll… ..l). I play the rhythm on the Korean Changu drum, only I don’t have a Korean changu drum so I used found sounds; a five gal plastic water bottle, a small white paint can and a small black one played with a real marimba mallet and a bamboo whip you’re supposed to use, but its one I handmade. In Japanese Zen theater Noh, the form was appropriated from something that already existed so I feel O.K. in using what’s at hand. Also, in the Japanese Zen tea ceremony, they value pottery cups and other tools for the ceremony which are made in Korea because of their rustic simplicity. Although the master craftsman can make ceramics using more modern methods he purposely fires the cups to have "imperfections" in shape, texture, glazes because the look, feel and sound of the cups appeal to the mind. It reminds us of a more simple, uncomplicated life of a dweller in the countryside. I took the Japanese preference for Korean pottery and applied it to instrumentation. The drone is played on a reed mouth organ I McGuyvered from a Kontakt 4 sampler’s instrument sample. It’s called the "Sho" in China and it’s cousin is also used in Japanese Gagaku music: the longest continuously existing ensemble tradition. When going to the B section, the drone modulates up a M2, changing the key to reflect the M2 in the drone which has given me the reason to change key. The samples I used sounded more like the echo of thunder so I enhanced that with a lightening strike played at the beginning of the rumble by slapping all the strings of the Santoor/Hammered Dulcimer simultaneously after tuning it to the chosen scale. I was struck by lightening when camping and feel lightening chose me to be my totem element. I studied Korean changu drumming in Korea and learned the rhythm syllables for each stroke that the teacher says to inform you which strokes to play. In Buddhism, nonsense words are used in Dharanis which are spoken before a ritual because they are believed to protect the rite from evil spirits. Not proper to Zen but exists in it anyway. In Ritual of Confession I have the reed mouth organ play a M7 drone the way the Indian tamboura would accompany sitar. A drone on the fifth note of the scale is not used if there’s no fifth in the raga. They either use a fourth or a M7th. My chosen scale is a hextatonic (6 note) scale with changing tones having a C, no D, some kind of E, some kind of F, a G, an A, and some kind of B. I could have used a fifth drone for my scale since it has a normal fifth but I’m focusing on the M7 for this piece. The ratio of a M7 is 8:15. This time I took the drum’s rhythm from a traditional pattern from Kim Deok Su’s book on changu drumming for Korean Samulnori music. He’s the most famous and best changu drummer. I got to meet him when I was there. I took the rhythm from Gutgeori Jangdan. Gut means ritual and Jangdan means rhythm. I’ve placed the rhythm into the 8/8 matrix which also has 16 sixteenth notes per measure. To create the measure of 15 beats, I just subtracted one 16th note from the existing rhythm. Entrance Chant uses gamelan techniques of anticipating and echoing the core melody. Books on ethnomusicology say the Indonesians developed this technique because they have to be concerned about the water both upstream and downstream from their personal rice fields. I take looking upriver to be a metaphor for looking back in time and looking downriver for looking into the future. The inner melody represents the present moment when each of its pitches arrives. In my realization, there are no pitches so it’s like a monochrome black and white ink brush painting of rice field irrigation but painted in the syllables of primal speech units in this case. I got the idea for that from an article on infant vocalizations. They often double syllables to get words such as mama, papa, dada, peepee, poopoo. This track can also be thought of as another Dharani, a meaningless prayer with supernatural power to repel evil from a rite. Dharani of Banishment does what Buddhist ceremonies do where monks walk around the building ringing a handbell, afterwards striking the large bronze bell, then striking the gong before moving on to saying the Dharani prayer. The drone in my piece contains the interval of a tritone between C and Gb. The scale is C Db Gb Ab B which has no normal fifth (G). I’ve taken the syllables from infant vocalizations again. The tritone has the ration of 7:8. I didn’t have a shamisen which is used in Zen Noh theater’s transitional sections but I’ve heard them played live and I discovered if I held my Indonesian rebab sideways and plucked it, it sounds like shamisen quite a lot. The rhythm I’m playing is from the beginning of the Korean Gutgeori jangdan which is one of my favorite parts because of the bounding stroke. It sounds like a ball bouncing gradually going from few to many strikes between 3 and 6 seconds. One of my ethnomusicology texts says it’s the most indicative rhythmic gesture of Buddhism. It’s also played on both small and very large wooden "bells" which look more like wooden jingle bells than another kind. Those sound like what are called Chinese temple blocks. Green tea starts as a fairly traditional composition for Shakuhachi, Taiko drum samples played in the Korean manner but I have two flutists and two drummers. At :51 they start to go out of phase both in tempo and tuning by 10%. At 1:17 it jumps to a probable resonant frequency of 2:1 so I’ve compressed the octave into the range of a tritone/#4/b5 (C-Gb). The drum rhythm has also doubled. In the last section the octave has been compressed into a single semitone but it’s a multi-octave melody so that’s why it sounds like it’s alternating between more than one note. In the creation of a Zen garden the great landscape gardeners of Japan say that a garden should capture the spirit of the age it was created in. Fairly sure my music doesn’t do that. What style or which composer/composition captures the essence of our age?
  5. Here are some scores and videos put together on techniques for applying the "Rule of Three and Subfigurations: The Write Song: The Rule of Three and Subfigurations There's another post with scores and videos on Compositional Techniques: The Write Song: Compositional Techniques- My friends on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube seem to like them. Enjoy,
  6. I created a new, free ebook for beginning and intermediate guitarists and pianists to get their theory and chops together. The url is Item not available . It's free because its not formatted yet. It's just digital photos of handwritten pages in my notebook pasted into Microsoft word. Enjoy, Greg
  7. So, come down on the guy who posted a video instead of on the guy who said "Is this a joke?" about it just because you've known him longer? Around here, high horse probably required.
  8. This is mostly taken from the Berklee book on Melody Writing. They say that the chorus usually starts on the downbeat and an important part of the scale. The professors at Berklee say that the verse can start on the downbeat but then you have to be careful with starting notes between the verse and chorus. I think I said that. I think I'll listen to them. Ignore as you like.
  9. The study of melodic rhythm is probalby THE most important element one could focus on, even if my theories about it are wrong. Carefully constructed bricks such as these are indeed the way to compose minimally folklike music. The only things about it that were not mentioned is that they do not have to start on the downbeat and where you start will affect where you stop. I normally compose instrumental music but the terminology of popular music is relevant here. The "Chorus" should end on a rhythmically important position. That's different for a 4 measure phrase than a 2 measure phrase. So, if I started my rhythmic example on the down beat and wanted a two measure phrase, then we would have to truncate the rhythm at beat 3 of the second measure or another strong rhythmic position such as that. Of course this is in relationship to the other section of music, the "verse". If the chorus ends on a somewhat weaker rhythmic position than on beat three, then it probably doesn't make much sense to end the verse an a similarly strong or even stronger position. Any examples you get from me will all be related to popular styles such as rock, pop or hip hop. This is the only composition forum where everyone, including the moderators focus on requiring posts be in a different form and not on the current content. The post about ties was not in response to you Cowboy. Anyway, knowledge about melodic rhythm applies equally to both classical and pop only the melodic lines are longer in classical music. Frankly, I don't care to give examples from the classical repertoire. Many young people will have had more exposure to popular music. It's important to build on a student's prior knowledge not force them to accept my prefered styles within the western canon.
  10. Usually the chorus starts on the downbeat and on an important note of the key/scale. That's usually the 1st note/tonic but may also be the 3rd or 5th in that order. I haven't seen any books cover this point except the Berklee book on Popular Melody Writing. Period. Finished. It's the only one and I've read A LOT. I'm certain Mariah Carey's songwriters know this stuff. You should too. You can break these rules but you'll want to know that you ARE breaking them and better yet why you're breaking them. A related point is that if the chorus starts on the first note of the scale and the first beat of the first measure then the verse shouldn't do either. For variety's sake you should start the verse on a different note and a different rhythmic starting point. This is the main thing amateur composers miss. I've heard it on all of the songwriter/composition forums I've belonged to. 95% of the stuff peole are posting for review aren't taking advantage if this basic strategy. Every section sounds like its supposed to be a chorus if they all start on the downbeat and on the first note of the scale. The effect is usually boredom. To recap, the Chorus starts on the downbeat and on the first note of the scale. If it doesn't start on an important beat then it really MUST start on a very important scale tone. The verse doesn't start on the downbeat (perhaps on the "and" of 1 or on beat 2 or before the downbeat) and on some other note of the scale such as the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 2nd, 6th or 4th in that order. If your chorus started on the 5th which is a slightly weaker note then you probably don't want to start the verse on the 1st note of the scale because it's a stronger note and you'll be relegated to choosing from the 7th, 2nd, 6th or 4th. The fourth is actually a dissonant interval which is why it's placed last and most tunes don't start with it so if you feel like you need to narrow your choices feel free to drop it from your available options especially if you're a beginner and arent' sure how to treat it. Now, what are you going to put in those sections? A better question is how are you going to put it in? Did you know that most sections of popular music have at least two melodic phrases? And you have to write the first one to sound like it's not finished so that people will be expecting the second one? There are two ways to accomplish that. The first way is where it ends and the second way is what not it ends on. In a 4 measure phrase if you end on beat one of the 4th measure it will be a strong ending position. The phrase will sound finished. If you also end on the first note of the scale or the root of the chord that's playing then it may even sound like the end of the whole tune. Obviously you don't want to end in that position or on that note if there's more music coming. So don't. End somewhere else and end on any other note, preferably not the one you started on either. Again I've never seen this advice anywhere except in the Berklee book. Not even in books on classical composition. It's very specific and advice that's easy to accomplish. Another point is section length. Tunes will tend to run on the short side if you have verses and choruses back to back with only 8 measures each. So one or both of them should be 16 measures. F.Y.I. A vast majority of western music is built in blocks of 2,4,8 or 16 measures. Also, you can contrast phrase lengths not only between sections but within sections as well. If the first phrase is 8 measures long then the second phrase could be 4 measures long or you ccould have two 4 measure phrases for balance at another even 8. Other possibilities include a four measure phrase followed by two 2 measure phrases etc... So, go get your note book. Make some schemes for the song form, decide how long each section will be and which key, then how long each phrase will be and write in the starting and ending pitches of each verse and chorus. Don't agonize over these decisions. Just plop them in. If you catch yourself spending too much time on this process go get some dice and let them decide. Then decide the starting and ending notes for the phrases within each section for the positions that are still left undecided. That would be the ending of the first phrase and the beginning of the second phrase. Isn't planning for variety fun? This is the method that I have used a lot and recommend to beginners. Not everyone needs to do it. They have heard and played so much music that the right moves come out unconsciously. Much of the time it falls nearly exactly like I'm talking about here. Another consideration is that the chorus should reach a higher note than the verse.
  11. Also wanted to mention interlocking rhythms as something to play with.
  12. What's wrong with video? O.K. Score too. But seriously, at least with popular styles of music, they are not known for being stored in the form of a score. Even with classical music, the score isn't the music. Do you want a map of your destination or the actual destination? The Beatles didn't use scores and hopefully we all take them VERY seriously.
  13. I take it you mean to say that the music up on myspace/gongchime doesn't count? Only the score? I've got those, if you want to see.
  14. In the book Sparks of Genius, the authors indicate the tools for creativity; observing (perhaps watching someone else perform, practice or compose) imaging (replaying what you observed) hearing (attending a performance, listening to CDs) feeling (noticing what your body does while playing an instrument) abstracting (making things simpler) recognizing patterns (Seeing that a pop song usually has at least 2 sections and each section usually has at least two phrases etc...) pattern forming (composition or improvisation) body thinking (proprioception=our bodies know how to do things and we don't know that until after we've already done them.) analogizing (composition is like a recipe, composition is like a language) empathizing (knowing that what makes an emotional response in oneself is also what may work for others) dimensional thinking (depth and space of instruments when engineering a recording) modeling (building models based on theories and then testing the theories to see if they work in the real world) playing (with distinctions, boudnaries, unassailable truths and limits of utility) transforming (inversion, retrograde, retrograde-inversion etc..) synthesizing (sense impressions, feelings, knowledge, and memories come together in a multimodal, unified way) A realization came to me that when the Gongster is making a list of rhythms or most common solutions to the melodic puzzle, that is the act of abstraction: simplifying things which was based on patterns recognized in the research cited and will be available for use when reaching the stage of new pattern formation. The tiles with all the rhythms and melodic cells written on them are the same as models, just like the authors talk about. The model was built to test my theories in the real world. We can experiment with combinging them in different, hopefully surprising ways (retrograde, rhythmic mode, simultaneous) which would be the act of play. Here are my new rhythmic tiles for just such a purpose and an example combination creating an a), b), c), d) arrangement.
  15. DOFTS, if you think the theories behind my music are so bad, I'd like to hear your music because if your music is better than mine, which in my opinion is quite excellent, your music must be positively spectacular. Also in my theory, a tie between two sixteenth length rhythmic events would bring a rhythmic cell closer to optimal since two sixteenths added together equal an eighth which is what the evidence in the link posted suggests is the optimal which most melodic rhythms cluster around. The same way that a student of language would need to study the basic vocabulary to speak the language well (even though he may know a few more complex sentences already) a student of music would perhaps do well to limit their melodic and rhythmic vocabulary at least much of the time, until they have their skills down. If they can't regularly put a folklike melody together, then the fact that one time they accidentally hit a nail with their head while jumping around doesn't really mean they know how to build a house.
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