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Josh Fredman

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The Curious Score No. 1: The Village of Ieik [Aug. 4th, 2014|11:15 am]
Josh Fredman

So we come round to the last of all the eight features to get its moment in the sun, The Curious Score: Music from the World of Relance. I'm posting the music at the end of this entry, in the hopes that you will listen to it without distractions--as opposed to, say, reading about it while you hear it.

To describe this piece, I find that words initially fail me, not for lack of things to say but because I just spent eleven hours on it, the overwhelming majority of which was on the same Four Damn Bars on just one staff in the score. It's the violins in the crescendo just before the big climax. You'll know it when you hear it: The violins keep doing their thing two bars longer than they should, and then jump up an octave for no musical reason (structurally, it's in order for them to be ready for the big climax). I'm still not happy with it! I considered sleeping and using the last hours of the postmeridian to continue my labors, but sucks to that. I'll fix the violins someday. For now we're going live!

I have veritably destroyed my mind trying to get those Four Damn Bars to someplace I like, from straining so hard, and so long, on such a small detail. Thus, words fail me. But I will try...

From concept to the final product, I composed this song more or less in two days. The vast majority of the melody and structure was on Wednesday, two weeks ago, and a slight bit the day after. The rest was today, which consisted of the aforementioned Four Damn Bars as well as polish, some final composing, and the denouement.

As I mentioned in The Curious Vlog, "The Village of Ieik" is an unambitious piece. After a false start on a much more ambitious piece of music, I realized that I needed to be working on something that I could finish to my satisfaction by the August 4 deadline. I needed a small, simple piece with a short, catchy melody.

As I also mentioned, I've gotten the comment many times over the years from quite the variety of people--some of whom don't even play RPGs--that my music has an "RPG" sound to it. I generally take that to be a polite way for people to say that it's not their cup of tea, but in this case I decided to really own that description, and I specifically aimed for an RPG-style sound and structure. The Village of Ieik is Galavar's hometown; it's where he comes from. In The Great Galavar, this is the first piece of music after the prologue. It's the "starting village" theme. You'll know it well, even though you've never heard this particular arrangement.

So, it's not creatively original. It's not ambitious. And it has "that RPG sound."

But I hope none of this is to say that it's not a nice piece of music. I like it, the Four Damn Bars notwithstanding. I was able to wrangle one of the free online soundfonts to cooperate with me--in this case, Merlin Vienna 3. It didn't handle the denouement as well as I would have liked, but it did a very good job overall considering I didn't pay anything to use it.

The flavor of this piece is "light East Asian" with a hint of European gypsy, an insight into how I perceive the God Sourros. It's scored in C Major with almost no deviation from the white keys on the piano. It isn't afraid to travel up an octave, and it makes use of that wonderful convention of stepping down from C to A and then back to C, something I've done before (on the theme for Davoranj, most prominently). However, this piece isn't explicitly based on any of my existing music, Curious Tale or otherwise. It's totally new, inspired by playing around on my piano.

It isn't optimized for headphones. If you try, you may find the tambourine harsh. I did.

Arrangement for:

Harp (lead instrument)
Steel Guitar
Violin Ensemble
Flutes (second instrument)
Chinese Cymbal (yay, midi!)

And maybe one or two things I'm forgetting in my addled state. =P It's a full-scale orchestration, anyhow.

All right; go listen.

And tell me what you think. I'll also take questions, of course.

[User Picture]From: kodokami
2014-08-24 11:21 pm (UTC)
I apologize for such a late reply. I finally caught up with reading what I've missed the past few weeks, and can now start doling out the comments. Also, I'm no music major, so forgive me if I miss the finer points in trying to capture how I feel about this piece...

I enjoy it. It's simple and pleasant. I definitely feel that you've capture the "RPG sound".

When I listen to this piece, I imagine a small, lazy town; lazy not in sense that its people don't work hard but that they don't have hard work, and thus have few difficulties.

It's not an ambitious piece, but I do get a sense of childish ambition from the song itself; of someone dreaming for more, but at the end of the day returning to a simpler life. Perhaps I'm erroneously applying what I already know from The Great Galavar of Galavar and the village of Ieik, but I get that feeling nonetheless.

You also said the flavors in the song--East Asian and European gypsy--are an insight into the God Sourros. That brings me to a question mostly unrelated to this song, and one which is perhaps already answered. Sourros is the god I hear you name the most, due to his connection with Galavar no doubt, so where are the other gods during this time? And do they have "flavors" in which you can describe them?

All in all, I like the song, and I'm looking forward to hearing more!

Edited at 2014-08-24 11:29 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: the_sinistral
2014-08-26 11:49 am (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback! It's funny how almost everyone who did give me feedback prefaced their comments by saying that they're not experts in music. Pshaw!

The music was received well enough that this feature will continue! (It had been on the fence.)

To answer your question, I've put that on the list of Curious Tale Saturday topics. Stay tuned!
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