Notes from the Shore

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Father’s World Arranging Done

Sunday night I officially finished arranging “This is My Father’s World.” Maybe.

That is, when I get fully into the tracking and mixing stages, I may decide that more is needed. Either way, tracking has begun.

Some of the tracks were essentially complete when the arranging stage was finished – namely the string tracks. That’s because I’m using the GPO strings from Finale for the recording. The catch is that I can only use the GPO strings within Finale. The workaround is to use Finale’s “Export Audio” function to turn each string staff into an audio file. Then those files get imported into Sonar. Here’s hoping everything lines up correctly. (I’ve had that problem before).

Here’s a general outline of the piece:

It starts with a Hammered Dulcimer intro, playing open intervals (rather than the flurry of rhythmic notes that the HD is known for). Then there’s a statement of the verse by the Record played rubato, with the HD continuing the intervalic chord structure.

At the end of the rubato section the HD begins an 8th note pattern, and the recorder comes back in in time with a restatement of the¬†verse. Once more the verse with flute harmony and solo violin countermelody. The violin didn’t quite pop enough, so I doubled it with a glockenspiel. It works pretty nice.

The first part of the song I worked on was the “in-tempo” section, writing in Finale. I did a fair amount of research¬† (on YouTube, of all places) on the hammered dulcimer. There is a wealth of information and examples of HD playing there.

After the second repetition of the verse, we hit the first chorus. This continues the recorder/flute/violin trio playing vertical harmonies, with the glockenspiel soloing a countermelody. Once more to the verse adding a string section.

At this point I wanted to move to a bridge section of some sort, that morphs the feel of the piece a bit. I worked the bridge out on the piano, figuring it would be solo piano in the end. Once I had what I liked, I exported the Finale file to MIDI and brought it in to Sonar. I shoved everything back a bit and recorded the intro. Then I recorded the piano interlude in real time. After a few listens and edits, I decided that it needed a little more, and some building, so I synced the tempo up to the free-time MIDI piano recording, and back to Finale we went.

This next part took the longest, both in real work and actual time (since I kept getting distracted). The interlude is basically made up of two sections, each one repeated once (AABB). On the second “A” I sneak in the strings. They switch over to pizzicato for the “B” section, moving to a held tremolo note one section at a time. By the last note of the interlude all the strings are holding tremolo notes, and suddenly smooth out to arco. It’s really a cool effect, and does a fantastic job of building and releasing tension.

On the second “B” section, the solo violin reappears to double the piano’s melody line. At the end of the interlude and moving back into the song proper, I knew that I wanted a Copland-esque restatement of the verse in the strings. I think it really came off well. In the second half of the verse the recorder comes in an octave up, and really strengthens the melody.

At the final chorus, the flute rejoins the recorder and the strings move to a more supporting role. The hammered dulcimer fades back in, this time playing 16ths at the slower tempo of the second half (slower tempo, still faster because 16ths rather than 8ths).

The piece ends with the recorder stating the last line of the chorus solo and rubato, and then the hammered dulcimer jumps back in time with 4 instrumental measures to end the song.

I have a little momentum going right now, so hopefully I will get some tracking done this week and can come back and describe the experience.

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