Dropbox folder Link:
Unfortunately I was extremely disorganised with my “baby steps” scaffolding assignment and just finished up today! However I am looking forwards to this third task as it is a continuation of the scaffolding as we are now the ones following these “baby steps”. The model piece I used for my “baby steps” assignment was Daft Punk’s song Aerodynamic from their Discovery Album (2001). This album is fantastic and has many great tracks so it was quite hard to pick a song to use for my compositional model. The reason I chose Aerodynamic is that despite the song aesthetically sounding like modern popular electronic music, musically it has elements of genres such as baroque music.
My first step was to analyse the structure of the piece. The clear structure of the song also makes it superb compositional model as it emphasises the process of developing a musical idea. I began analysing the structure as well as the sounds used and took notes (shown below).
Now having analysed the structure and the sounds on Tuesday I formatted a garageband file with the exact same structure. To input this I clicked “Track” then “Show Arrangement Track” which appears on the left hand side.
My next process was to find a song to sample similarly to what Daft Punk has done in Aerodynamic by sampling the intro riff from”Il Macquillage Lady” by Sister Sledge. The technical genre for Daft Punk album Discovery (2001) is French house. French is house is a form of Euro Disco with more electronic and minimalistic approach and space disco has greatly influenced French House music.
There are 3 main musical characteristics to French House:
- The tempo range is 110-130 BPM (Beats per minute) and has a 4/4 time signature
- Musical material sampled from American and European Disco tracks from the late 70’s through to the early 80’s.
- Effects are used to produce a sounds of the future, sounds from outer space and mimicking a robotic notion (Space Disco influence)
After spending a day using Spotify and Youtube playlists listening to American and European Disco tracks from the 70’s and 80’s I came across Earth, Wind & Fire’s song “Let’s Groove”.
To follow along with the influence of Space Disco on French House I decided to sample the vocoder riff from the introduction of “Let’s Groove” which is quite robotic sounding.
Seeing that I have to see James this Friday to show him a draft I decided this afternoon to stop researching and start composing/experimenting! I felt that I had enough knowledge of the genre and style to try replicate not only the processes but also the aesthetic sound of artists like Daft Punk.
After some experimenting this afternoon I used chopped up the “Lets Groove” to nice fit into 2 bars by setting the tempo to 124BPM. At home I was walking through the kitchen to grab myself a drink when I heard a catchy guitar riff from a song my mother was playing in the kitchen while cooking. Using Shazam I figured out the song was call “We can fall in love” by Kimiko Kasai, a late 70’s Jazz/Pop fusion. I chopped up a bar from this song to use as a backing guitar riff. To harmonically match the “Let’s groove sample” I need a concert pitch E and F# so I created 2 tracks on Garageband and altered the pitch of both to create a guitar patten with E and F#. I next went about adding a bass line to go along with the sample. I used notes from the chords used in the sample which are Em, F# and Bm. I felt as if the bass line entry needed a bit more sound to fill so in addition to the bass line I added a shaker to come in.
Today I met with James to show him my draft so far for this assignment. After asking a few questions about musical context he suggested I used Logic Pro X instead of Garageband. At this point I did have access to Logic Pro X on my older brothers Macbook Pro however I wanted to challenge myself by putting myself in a “high school student’s” situation and to see how far I could take my composition in Garageband. James’ suggestion to use Logic Pro X was because the model piece used was a Daft Punk song and they’re notorious of how “tight” they get their tracks musically which can be achieved a lot easier through Logic Pro X instead of Garageband.
The photo below is what I had to show James. No changes were made from Tuesday (18/10).
In Aerodynamic, Daft Punk use a cathedral bell chime like sample in their introduction, transition and outro. So I decided to sample something that was not musically related to use in my own introduction, transition and outro. I came across a spaceship take off radio talk sample. I first chopped up the sections where there is someone speaking on the radio and scattered, layered, sped up, slowed down and continued a long process of experimenting with the sample to try create a good intro, transition and outro using the materials only for this sample. I managed to create an intro, transition and outro I was satisfied with.
I had left over sample material so I decided to place them in the A+ and A++ section.
Today In class I presented my 2 minute draft and received feedback from James and also from my peers. The sampling of the space shuttle take off had positive reception and made me glad that I chose to sample that. I probably could have got more feedback if I had more material to present however the main feedback was to now just write out the remaining missing sections.
Today I managed to finish off the B section as well as the AB sections. The guitar arpeggios I used some influence from not only Aerodynamic but also from Paganini’s use of Arpeggios in his violin music and ACDC’s Thunderstruck guitar riff. The notes I used were from the chords in the Earth, Wind and Fire sample. The guitar melody naturally came to me after listening to the guitar arpeggios a few times. Balancing the distortion was quite a challenge and before I realised I had used up quite a bit of my time experimenting with the distortion settings. Because I had used the same chords I was not too worried about my A-section (sample) and B-section (arpeggios and melody) not working together and in the end they sounds great together.
The last remaining piece to my composition was the final B+ section just after the transition and just before the Outro. Daft punk’s B+ section in Aerodynamic uses musical material harmonically from the B section. According to Rod Stanley’s article on “dazeddigitial.com” Thomas Bangalter mentioned how “The end of ‘Aerodynamic’ is completely baroque music, a classical composition we put into synthetic form,”. So with this in mind I tried to have a similar idiom as I composed my final section.
I ended up using the same chords, however re-voicing, changed the rhythm and most importantly changed the sounds completely. I tried to keep in mind the space disco influence and how this section in the music video is where the aliens take off in their spaceships and tried to replicate with music what that might sound like.
After finishing up the composition yesterday in Garageband, all I need was to write up a score for my composition. For this I chose to do it in Sibelius as it would look the neatest and cleanest and after all this unit is “Technology in Music Education” so pen and paper might seen outdated!
I managed to finish everything (Recording, Score, Reflections) however I had one last addition I wanted to make despite the assignment due today. I thought that it would be a good idea to take my recording and put it with the Aerodynamic music video. So using iMovie I combined the visuals from Aerodynamic and my original composition for this task (in dropbox folder).
Dropbox folder Link: