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Improvisation on ‘In The Air Tonight’


I always wanted to do a cover of Phil Collins ‘In The Air Tonight’..  I think it is an extremely powerful sounding song. It has a haunting quality to it, it almost sounds like it might be a ‘holy’ song.  

Part of that is a low drone of A through out the song.. It ‘holds’ the piece. 

As I worked with the song, I realized how important the quality of Phil Collin’s  voice and the lyrics were to the piece.. He has a rather plain, slightly nasal quality.  But it adds to the emotion. It is an ‘everyday voice, an ‘anybody’s voice’.. He also sings the same melodic phrase quite a bit, which adds to it’s hypnotic quality. Without the lyrics and his voice, the melody wasn’t as attention grabbing.  So I took considerable leeway with the melody and let a few instruments take turns sharing and improvising on the melody.

I also continued to explore the avenue of sound design.  Many of the instruments at the bottom of the score are only one staff, because they really don’t have a real designated pitch center..  And I could never fit all those staffs on one page. 

I searched for, created, and modified interesting (to me) sound patches, from Kontakt libraries,  UVI Libraries, and a number of virtual instruments. I also layered some of the parts, with 2 or 3 different patches, at softer volumes, to create a richer tapestry on the one track.

I tried to juxtapose a few traditional instruments, with totally ‘unreal’ instruments, and sound collages which I created.  I did a fair amount of audio processing, using various audio mutation plug-ins to change the sounds and instruments into something different. 

I am trying to use created sound/ sound collage as an instrument in itself. It is more the strange harmonics, and processed rhythms to create an emotion. 

The Acoustic Guitar picking part is a function of the ‘Sunbird Guitar’ by UVI.  It plays a picking pattern to blocked chords, hence I could not notate it properly..  Like wise there are a couple of patches, which have soft arpeggios build in (some of the UVI libraries) so without the MIDI out, there is not a proper way to notate them..  (maybe in next life, I’ll have perfect pitch).. 

This and the last few pieces I’ve done, are more an exploration in an area I want to explore.  Eventually I hope to compose a huge piece with pieces more traditional (for me) and more exploratory. 

Edited by markstyles
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I really like this arrangement. In fact, I find it more interesting than the original. Well, although I like Phil Collins, sometimes his songs were too repetitive (for me).

Te intro is nice, with some anticipation of the melody a some oriental flavor.

I admire your taste to mix traditional instruments with electronic sounds. Wow, the musical part of my brain is much "smaller". Your music sounds like a rich orchestra... 

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Nice contemporary concert piece. Well written. Interesting use of sound effects. Great job.

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