MATRIXSYNTH: Oberheim Etude #12: "Rapture"

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Oberheim Etude #12: "Rapture"

Published on Oct 2, 2018 Kris Lennox

"(Rapture @ c. 2:19) I thought I'd upload the final work from my set of Oberheim Etudes, a piece which brings the set to a very calm conclusion. I'm considering giving a performance of the set: important to me when writing music for live performance is the mood the audience leaves with. I essentially retired from public performance in 2011 (these days I spend my time helping others with tracks (songwriting/instrumental parts/recording & production etc), plus writing my own music), but I'd maybe crawl out of the woodwork for this set. ;) This piece is more 'requiem' than 'fireworks & bombast'.

Section 1 is the dirt of the earth; the swelling mass of humanity. There's a darkness in the music. Then we have the skyward ascent. If there ever were a rapture - and it were to have a sound - it should be an inverted Db add9 chord :) I wouldn't be shot skyward, but if I were and the sound wasn't an inverted Db add9, I'd have to have words with whoever was in charge :))

On a less flippant note: the add9, being in inverted form (rooted on the 5th), is what creates the sense of 'floating'. If the chord were root position, the music would feel too resolved.

RE the actual sound: this patch took considerable time to program. But it was a worthwhile investment.

The work is an etude RE portamento ('glissando' if you'r a classical musician), and the concept of voice assignation. Whichever note is played first is assigned to voice 1, whichever note played second is assigned to voice 2 etc. Therefore, the order each note of each chord is played can drastically affect the portamento.

For example: if I played a 6-note chord low-high, lowest note = voice 1, through to the highest note as voice 6. If I then played the same chord, but in a different order, the voices would move. Musically this is interesting, as a chord could be made to move to itself i.e. playing a chord initially as an upward arpeggio then playing the same chord as a descending arpeggio would invert the voices - voice 1 would transition from being the lowest note to the highest note etc. A chord moving from itself to itself is an idea worth taking on a walk. A chord can be made to move everywhere, yet nowhere.

Mathematically this means there are 720 possible voice permutations on a 6-voice synth of a 6-note chord i.e. a single chord could move to itself 720 possible ways with portamento activated.

You'll hear, at certain points, only certain voices moving whilst others are static. When writing the work, I was thinking of it as full 6-part harmony, and the interest was in choosing which voices would be functional/static for each chord change. It is very interesting to hear, for example, portamento with only the top voice moving. The first few chords play with portamento contrary motion between treble and bass, with other voices static. You'll also notice other permutations throughout the work i.e. central voices moving etc.

Essentially what is being done on a musical level is embracing the limiations/boundaries of the instrument as a springboard for creativity.

I'll maybe upload one other work from this set, after which I'll leave the set until the sheet music/patch downloads become available.

PS there is no audio manipulation: the sound is of the patch. This is, however, a piece to be heard live. The floor literally shakes with the swells at the beginning.

All best

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