Tag Archives: Modern 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

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 5

Pyschodelic Music

This is Day Five!  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 ;) )

— —

In my teen years I continued my search for electronic music, but I also got drawn deeper into the world of harder rock.  I soon began to listen to what would later be called “Progressive Rock ” – the name existed back then but had a very different meaning.  I liked Genesis, but my favorite was Yes.  And yet, these bands just didn’t go far enough into pure electronics…

At the fringes of Prog-Rock was a blues based band that didn’t push as deep into the classical or into the bombastic.  They didn’t show off their skills just to show off.  Back then I heard this band described as a Heavy Mental band (notice, ‘mental”, not “metal”), but usually not a “progressive rock” band.  But they created one of the best electronic rock albums of all times.

Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here. Continue reading

Music That Means Something Day 4

Pyschodelic Music

This is Day Four!  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 ;) )

— —

When I was a freshman in high school I used to tag along with my brother who was a senior that year.  This was very true during marching band season (not football season ;) ).  I remember one night sitting in the back of his car while a group of us were out doing stuff.  Someone put a tape in the player (cassette tape – if you don’t know, Google it – I’m old).  I closed my eyes.  I rarely have synesthesia, but I had it that night.  The music came to me as colorful geometric patterns.  They swirled and danced according to note, harmony, instrumentation, etc.  I kept bothering my brother after that about that tape, but I didn’t hear/see it again.  Until Christmas, when the vinyl album was waiting for me under the tree (notice this was the third Christmas present in this series? And the last was me to my brother).  And what was this magical album? 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

The Hamlet Symphony


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

In my life I’ve done a few things I’m proud of.  For example, I’ve written two books.  The first of these books has undergone extensive revision.  And yet, in my mind these two books combined pale in comparison to the accomplishment of the Hamlet Symphony.  From the first note to the last, every part of this hour long symphony, from notes to phrases to themes to sections to entire movements, interrelate and work together to form a cohesive whole.  A note in the third movement is impossible with one from the second.

As many of you know, I decided to release the symphony back in February.  All I’ll say is that although The Hamlet Symphony may be the culmination of my musical life, it is definitely not my most successful achievement!  The Hamlet Symphony is available on iTunes and Amazon.  It’s also available on CD Baby. Try here for Amazon UK.

The Hamlet Symphony is a companion to the famous play and portrays a little of its complexity in music. There are a few scenes set to music, but this isn’t a straight forward soundtrack, being meant more as a reflection on the characters and the action. In some ways The Hamlet Symphony is the emotional reaction one might have while reading or seeing the play. Continue reading