Tag Archives: classical music

Child’s Play – Music Video

beach-sunset-02a

Last week I created a new music video.  Before we go any farther, just start it up.  It is only a little over a minute long (1:17 to be exact).

(Click here if you don’t see the video below)

OK, is it playing in the background?  Great.

I took two of the miniatures from my composition “Child’s Play” and rearranged them a little.  Actually the biggest rearrangement is making the super simple starting piece, “Happy Feet”, a little more complex by having it modulate from the key of G to the key of D.  When you hear it again at the end, that is how it is in “Child’s Play, Book 1”.  Actually, that piece, “Happy Feet”, is based on one of the first things I ever wrote, back when I was a Freshman or Sophomore in college.  I broke a few counterpoint rules at the time, which were fixed when I added it to “Child’s Play, Book 1”. Continue reading

Video – Winter

Snow field

One of the reasons I have been off line for the last few days is that I have been working on some music.  I now have something to share with you :)

Quick background – I studied classical music composition in the mid naughts (00s).  To hear the music I was composing, I used a product called GPO. You can hear this on some of the videos on my video page.  Sounds pretty realistic, if not exactly like a live orchestra.

As some of you may have seen, lately I have been playing with old-school analog modular synthesizers.  What?  OK, that sounds odd, but this is the type of synthesizer they used in “the old days”, synths that sounded like synths.  The “modular” part means that I pretty much create a new instrument using patch cords every time I make a sound.

Lately I have had the idea to recreate some of my old music using this even older technology.  It won’t sound as realistic, but perhaps it will add something. Continue reading

Weekly Smile 80 #weeklysmile

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile

It is funny but my mom is much better known in classical music circles than I am.  Of course the contemporary classical music that I’ve written has been heard by only a few people.  Yes, you can buy a CD of my Hamlet Symphony or listen to some of my classical music here on my blog or on YouTube, but not many have heard it.  My mom, though…

I don’t know, maybe 20 years ago, give or take, she bumped into a man at a Cleveland Orchestra concert.  They started talking and he said he was a classical composer, that at the time he was concentrating on on Art Song, but he was writing his own lyrics because  nobody else said what he wanted to say.  So she said, “I’m a poet.  How about I send you some of my poems?”  Funny thing, he said sure, why not?

The composer’s name is H. Leslie Adams, and he is a well known son of Cleveland, though his music has been (continues to be) played around the world.  He’s used a few of my mom’s poems for his music. Continue reading

Challenge Thirteen

Osprey

One of the very first posts I ever put up on this blog was called Challenge Me!  It was about musical challenges that I used to participate in when I followed a music forum back about a decade ago.

Here is a super quick synopsis of that post.  Someone would post a phrase or a theme.  The “contestants” would compose music based on that theme.  The music could take any form, any genre, etc., as long as it used the music software that the music forum was about.  The winner of each challenge would post the theme for the next challenge.  You can read more on the original post. Continue reading

Music That Means Something – Recap!

Pyschodelic Music

I recently finished the “Music That Means Something” challenge.

Don’t know this challenge?  Here is the basic idea:

Post a song a day for five consecutive days.
Post what the lyrics mean to you.  (Optional)
Post the name of the song and a video.
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge.  –>Well…, All of you! :)

I was “volunteered” by Sue Vincent ;) And I did it my way (like Frank, both Zappa and Sinatra).  Because of that, I felt I needed a little nightcap.  Uhm, I mean I need a little recap….

Here is the Intro I did for this.

And here is the list, with links, of posts:

First, you’ll noticed I chose entire albums, not songs.  I also posted videos instrumentals (OK, since I ended up posting the entire of Shine on You Crazy Diamond there were lyrics). Continue reading

Music That Means Something Day 3

Pyschodelic Music

This is Day three!  I’ll tell what album I chose in a minute.  Look here for my intro.

Don’t know this challenge?  Here is the basic idea (which I’ll semi-ignore):

Post a song a day for five consecutive days. (will do, well album, not song)
Post what the lyrics mean to you.  (Optional) (nope – instrumental)
Post the name of the song and a video. (will do – a song from the album)
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge. (Well…, All of you)

(I was “volunteered” to do the challenge by Sue Vincent ;) )

— —

Yesterday I talked about Wendy Carlos’ Switched on Bach.  After that I was always in search of electronic music.  A lot of it was garbage (not that I cared as a kid), often kitsch or novelty.  Often just bad.  But I listened to what I could find.

One day when I was about 10, I saw a very cool looking album.  It was too expensive, but I had a plan – I bought it as a Christmas present for my brother (the same one who received Tommy).  It soon became a favorite.

This was Isao Tomita’s Snowflakes are Dancing.  Continue reading

Thirteen! (Music Video)

Small clip of score - music by Trent P McDonald, phot by Trent P McDonald

Several years ago, when I was deep into composing contemporary classical music, I belonged to a music forum.  One of the things we used to do on the forum is have challenges.  You can see this post for more detail, but basically the winner of the last challenge would come up with a motif and everyone else had to write a piece of music based on the theme.  I thought I had a real chance to win Challenge 12 (I might have if I would have only put in one entry) so I decided to create a theme for Challenge 13, just in case.  I wrote a short sample piece to go along with this little motif, not to play as I posted it (no influence to the competitors) but just to show that the abstract motif wasn’t that far out.  I didn’t win Challenge 12, so I never used that theme except for this short work.  I posted it and everyone loved it, but that was the end.  I had always meant to expand it, and the people on the forum expected me to, but I never got around to it and eventually stopped writing classical music.

I really liked the music, Thirteen!, and so I decided to make a little video of that snippet I created as an example.  It’s a little dark at the end, so I thought “Halloween”, but I didn’t have time to make Halloween graphics.  I used fall foliage scenery, including short videos of me running around in the woods behind my house and call it “autumn inspired” instead of “Halloween”  Enjoy! Continue reading

Video – Hamlet Symphony IV

Since today is a special day, I had to post another movement of my Hamlet Symphony.  This is the Fourth Movement – Remembering Ophelia.

(Click here if you don’t see the video)

This movement is in some ways the most beautiful, the most sad, the most delicate, the most simple, the most complicated the… well, you get the idea, there are a lot of contradictions.  It is by far my favorite.  It doesn’t end here, but goes right into the fifth movement, so the ending is abrupt.  Anyway, here is what I wrote about it as I was actually composing the music (I worte most of the below before i wrote the music and then corrected i to fit the music after I was done) ::

Continue reading

Video – Hamlet Symphony, 3rd Movemenet

Hamlet Symphony, Movement 3, Scherzo – Mad North by Northwest.  Here is the video:

(Click here if you don’t see the video)

If you want a really indepth look at my thought process, which goes a long way into my interpretation of the play, continue reading… Continue reading

The Hamlet Symphony – 1st Movement

Hamlet Symphony | Trent McDonald

I have decided to do videos for every movement of The Hamlet Symphony.  I started with the second movement last year because it is the most accessible.  Yesterday I posted the First Movement – Introduction, The Midnight Watch, to YouTube.

The main purpose of the movement is to set the mood and to introduce the main musical material.  Both 12-tone rows are given near the beginning and there are many short motives that will return.  The Death Theme is played several times.  This theme will return! In ways this is the seed that all of the other material grows from. Continue reading