Sad/Haunting Intervals? (Avatism/Tale of Us)

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N - Jay
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Sad/Haunting Intervals? (Avatism/Tale of Us)

Post by N - Jay » Thu May 10, 2012 2:40 pm

Guys,

I know about the other topic, but that's about the sound/patch. I want to know the composition approach, the musical approach behind their sound.

Could you give me some advice or direction of the haunty sounds of Avatism and Tale of Us. Their basses,pads and stabs all sound so minor/sad/haunting/thrilling to me.

When I play a bassline for three notes (cause that's what they use in some tracks) it doesn't come near those.
For basses I detune my oscs and for pads/leads/stabs I set the intervals so 5ths/7ths but still it's too euphoric.

I play in A minor.

Should I play in other modes? Dorian? D minor?

Life and death - Morgana

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v61nzW7YL4

It's all about the lead. But I cannot even come close to this.

Avatism - Within

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNJBHBr53QY

oblioblioblio
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Re: Sad/Haunting Intervals? (Avatism/Tale of Us)

Post by oblioblioblio » Thu May 10, 2012 6:25 pm

i don't think i would listen to this music for fun, but I can tell you what I know about atmosphere and emotion in music.

With the melodies and chords, I think the key is to be minimal. To hint at the key change by dropping little bits of it, maybe one note in a sequence, but to never fully give the listener all of it, I think that is really crucial in keeping things back and making the emotion deeper into the structure of the track and not jumping out like a big trance riff. Another important aspect of this is to be subtle with your filter, try to keep the cutoff low apart from when you need it. Especially with chords on a subtractive synth you can fill the emotional space too quickly with a big chord with all the harmonics unfiltered and spilling out everywhere. (again sometimes you want that though)

I never learnt any keys/chords whatever. I just listen to how the notes make me feel. I've never had any problems getting to where I want emotions and feelings from music.

Both those tracks the part you're talking about is I think a 2 or 3 oscillator monophonic subtractive synth with a load of reverb, playing quite a complex sequence with a lot of modulation, filter and such.

One thing I like to do is to keep one oscillator at a constant pitch and change the other ones... not sure if that will help you or if that's a way to do it. Lots of my favourite music has that trick, like using guitars with an open tuning.

Don't overlook the rest of the arrangement as well, these tracks are really minimal and there is not much going on, which might also stop things from getting too obvious.

Not sure if this is any help or not.

steevio
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Re: Sad/Haunting Intervals? (Avatism/Tale of Us)

Post by steevio » Thu May 10, 2012 7:25 pm

why dont you spectrum analyse the frequencies in the breakdown then you'll exactly whats going on.

only listened to the morgana track
sounds like it might be a diminished scale. but it could be a harmonic series with odd numbered harmonics, but i'm only guessing after a quick listen

the bass has obviously got a pitch envelope on it.

a lot of wisdom in what oblio was saying, if you want wonky riffs that arent obvious use individually tuned oscillators and mix them in different amounts till they sound different but right to you.

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Re: Sad/Haunting Intervals? (Avatism/Tale of Us)

Post by AK » Thu May 10, 2012 8:01 pm

Maybe don't start with a bassline, or if you do, use a static bassline first, ie: get a rhythm going using just the root note of the key you're in. If the first thing you do is enter a melodic bassline, it might be difficult to have musical freedom if you want a melody driven track. Once you hit upon a melodic idea you think works, support it with the bass notes and just keep moving things about until it works both melodically/harmonically and rhythmically. You essentially begin with what's called static harmony by doing things this way and like I was saying it offers a lot of creative freedom as it doesn't put any emphasis on chord progressions. Try using just the root for the bass or the root and fifth and see what you come up with in terms of melody on top of it. This way you don't put emphasis on harmony but on melody, colour and atmosphere via the melodic use of the scale which in turn is supported by the bass using the strongest intervals.

You can make a bass out of the root, the perfect fifth and an octave of the root and it will support pretty much any melodic idea in the key that you write on top of it. It's foolproof for melodic stuff and you can always and interest to the bass by adding end of bar fills that use notes that are in the melody or chord or whatever. Your root and 5th are the 2 main intervals in the vast majority of keys, ( tonic and dominant ) obviously how they work rhythmically is another matter. A lot of melodic stuff can work well when it is separated into a 'call and response' type of structure. The low bass 'asks' a question and the melodic idea 'answers it'. That can be a very effective way of doing things too.

If that's the type of feel and emotion you want, I wouldn't bother with the Dorian mode, it's more upbeat that a minor scale due to the natural 6th interval as opposed to the flattened in the Aeolian mode. This makes a big difference to the sound of say a melody in the key, Dorian tend to lend itself well to funky type stuff. A darker sound than the Aeolian mode is the Phrygian, think the same as the Aeolian mode but use a minor ( flattened 2 nd note ) instead of a natural. That really darkens the mode and works well for some eerie type stuff or deep emotive content.

mehta
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Re: Sad/Haunting Intervals? (Avatism/Tale of Us)

Post by mehta » Thu May 10, 2012 10:02 pm

Not 100% sure but I think Morgana uses the Phrygian mode

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Re: Sad/Haunting Intervals? (Avatism/Tale of Us)

Post by kdgh » Fri May 11, 2012 12:45 am

dorian, phrygian, melodic minor, harmonic minor. (combination of those, example : harmonic phrygian )
try those scales and you'll discover same kind of tones.

Tho it's also in the sound design of your synth like others already told you.
Next to that the timbre of certain notes. Some are filtered, some aren't etc. etc. etc.

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Re: Sad/Haunting Intervals? (Avatism/Tale of Us)

Post by NoAffiliation » Fri May 11, 2012 8:34 am

http://www.huygens-fokker.org/scala/

i also know tale of us use logic which allows you to tune individual midi notes. why ableton can't do this is beyond my understanding

these are good topics to be discussing. alot of the visionquest stuff has the same type of interval feel to it

ive also heard guys like nico jaar and company make heavy use of melodyne, in fact melodyne would probably be a good tool for figuring this out. gonna try it now, will report back

N - Jay
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Re: Sad/Haunting Intervals? (Avatism/Tale of Us)

Post by N - Jay » Fri May 11, 2012 10:18 am

I'm at work now. So I cannot make a long reply but thanks for the excellent replies guys.
I've already noticed that the flattened second interval is kind of dissonant and gives a lot of tension.

I'm with Ableton so I'm afraid midi tuning is not for me then. But I haven't heard of it till now.

I'll check http://www.huygens-fokker.org/scala/

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