Limit yourself – guitar

Sometimes setting extreme limits to ones playing and composing can be very effective. With instrument you must really think technical things and break away from common patterns and fingerings. When composing, with limited material you really had to think musicality and musical solutions.

Actually extreme limits does unlock creativity.

I made a little project with guitar. I made new little solo guitar piece every weekday. First limit was time. Tune had to be completed in twenty minutes – no more. And every day. One week week was limited technically: first week was in open position, second A-,D-,G- and B-strings only. Every day there was also another limit – some musical thing: modes, chords, arpeggios… Every tune was also made public – the most difficult thing was seeing myself playing not so polished – overproduced – musical material.

You can listen examples at my YouTube Channel.

Musical key to Music För Svenska Deckare parts 5-10

This is the second part of explanation of my Music För Svenska Deckare -series. The series was originally inspired by swedish film music. All music examples are copyrighted ©Antti Sunell/Audacom 2011.

In the Shadow of Turning Torso (part 5, working title Malmö Blues) is one of last composed tunes in series. It practically has nothing new elements – mostly it is a combination of part three and my arrangement of catalan folk song El Testament               d´Amelia  (=part 7). There is variation of the jazz/blues-style theme appearing also in parts 3 and 9.

Action style tune part 6 starts with  funky 16th-note hi-hat figure, wah-wah guitar and multi-layered synth pad that was inspired by finnish symphonic orchestral music of 1990´s. Piano doubled bass line is also essential motive in the whole series. You can hear lots of piano/bass-combination in 70´s action film scores – just think film composer Lalo Shifrins music.

Variation of that harmonic progression appers also in part 4.

El Testament d´Amelia is traditional catalan folk song. I have wrote about composition process earlier.

Slide theme is in Malmö Blues too.

Chord progression of the middle section of Amelia can be also heard in differend part of series.

Part 8 differs completely of rest of the series. This americana-style tune is in major key – only one the series.

Part 9 is is mostly combination of earlier themes and motives. Last part, End Credits, is the oldest one in series. I recorded most of the guitars in summer 2008. Later I completed tune with elements from other parts from SD-series.

In The Shadow of Turning Torso is in equal dreams music store.

The whole series can be streamed on SoundCloud.

Read musical key to parts 1-4 here.

Musical Key to Musik För Svenska Deckare, parts 1 – 4.

My ten-piece series Musik För Svenska Deckare (=music for swedish crime fiction) is a thematic work. It means that music is composed on few musical ideas – themes and motives – which are repeated and variated in through the whole series. Let´s check out the themes and motives in order of appearance. Music examples are copyrighted © Antti Sunell 2010-2011.

First motive in part one is parallel major seventh chords.

These parallel maj7-chords appers in almost every part in the series in different rhythms and transposition.

In part one is also 7/8 -crossrhythm motive, which actually is based on piano figure that dominates intro of third part. In a cross-rhythm function this figure appears on first and last part (End Credits) of series.

Part two introduces many motives that appears in whole series. First is schubertian walk-motive.

The main theme appers on part 9 also.

Eight bar chord progression.

Piano figure in the third part appears in many places in different rhythmic and harmonic variations.

Piano figure in part 4.

Part 4 main theme.

Both appers also in End Credits (part 10).

You can buy In The Shadow of Turning Torso (part 5) in equal dreams -shop.

You can listen the whole series in Audacom´s SoundCloud -profile.

Next time we look on things in parts 5 – 10.

Background for composing series Musik för Svenska Deckare

I´m a great fan of swedish crime fiction both as books and films. They are never black-and-white and always includes some social aspects. They can be very violent and brutal, but they still have some human touch in them. Oh yes, small criminals has always finnish name…

There are some common aspects in that film music also, here are few examples:

– minimalistic piano (for example Adam Nordens music for 12 first ”Henrikson-Wallanders”, Spotify-link)

– more guitar than, for example, in finnish and american film music – I like as guitarist that!

– folkloristic elements

– rhythmic ambiguity

– original swedish sense of sound design: very tastefully mixed film soundscapes to the music

Let´s listen Johan Nilsson´s great opening title for Höök (SVT 2007)

– time signature is more 3+3+2/8 than 4/4

– listen the sounds of northern-swedish Luleå in opening!

– use of traditional swedish instruments: strings, flute, percussion

Music is really shamanistic! Music brings the listener immediatly to the dark land of ice and snow! By the way, Höök´s second season begins in FST5 friday 6. August!

In the spring 2009, I began to make music that was deeply inspired by swedish film music. Work goes still on. In future I will explain more detailed things about these tunes. Part of that music can heard in my Soundcloud-page.

The Process of Making ”Amelia”

Hello there! This is new blog by Antti Sunell, guitarist and composer from Helsinki, Finland. This blog is about music. My mother-tongue is not english – constructive critics are welcome! I´m really working on my written english. So, to the first article…

This is the story of making piece of music. And also this this is the story about how social media can have an influence in making music.

Sometimes in spring-winter one of my Facebook friends told his love for Miguel Llobet´s guitar music. So I went straight to Spotify to listen that music.

And here that was: a beautiful piece that I´ve played as a kid over twenty-five years ago! My original paper hadn´t composers name on it – until that composer/arranger of that piece was great mystery to me!

El Testament D´Amelia is one of the catalan folksongs that Llobet har arranged.

As I found the sheet music, it was time to re-arrange that. First we (=me, percussionist/drummer Tuomo ”Vänni” Väänänen and our fusiongroup CODE 1480) did pretty straight-ahead arragement – just Llobet´s version played with classical guitar added with fretless electric bass and some percussion and improvised solo. Pretty soon we left the Llobet-thing completely out and took only melody and harmony was long drone-like synthesizer chord, we added melody from old finnish choral and so on…

I continued to work with tune alone as a part of my electroacoustic series Music för Svenska Deckare. First I reharmonised the original melody. Basic chords are very simple:

Dm – Bb – Em7b5  A7 – Dm -Gm – C7 – F and so on.

With utilisizing tritone substitution, deceptive cadenzas and substitude chords I made re-harmonisation like that:

Dm – Bb/D – Em7b5 Eb7b5 – Dm – Ebmaj7 D11 – Gb7b5 – Fmaj7#11 – Eb7#11 – D5 – Em7b5 – Bbmaj7 – Ebmaj7 D5 – Eb7b5 – Dm – Ebmaj7 Eb7

It has some phrygian flavor in it. Eb7 is a tritone substitution of A7 and it is easy chord to modulate to G# minor as I did.

I like lot finnish rockgroup Sielun Veljet song Talvi (=Winter). Guitarist Jukka Orma (and maybe Ismo Alanko and Jouko Hohko too) does incredible work! In my jobs as school music teacher I have also made The Corrs song Only when I Sleep about thousand times. I like the sound of playing melody on a B-string and keeping high E-string open. So I played Amelias melody this way. The problem was that my tempo playing melody with this style was naturally faster than original tempo. And the new key is C#-minor…

Solution was metric modulation. The 1/16 -notes are triplets in new tempo. But how to do that with computer. Again Facebook-friends were helpful: new tempo is original x 1,333333…. With Logic I used same synths but with different delays.

Here is the tune in Soundcloud. Thanks for listening!