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Made for the Disquiet Junto. The assignment was as follows:
"This project is about how a simple matter of sequence can provide a sense of development and compositional momentum.
"First step: Construct three simple, self-contained sounds (or sonic elements) that are distinct from each other. For example, don't use three similar drones, or three tones that are the same note value, or three interchangeable percussives. Use one of each, or some other assortment of three distinct sonic elements: a snippet of a field recording, a bit of static, a short melodic segment, a spoken word or phrase.
"Second step: Make a three-minute track out of these sounds, based on the following rules. For each of the three minutes, one of the three sounds should be prominent, and the other two should be less prominent. By the end of the complete three minutes of your track, each of the three sounds, thus, will have been prominent for one full minute and will have served a background purpose for two full minutes.
"You can transform the individual sounds, certainly, but they should still be somewhat recognizable even in their transformed state."
I decided to stick rigidly to 'three' as a concept, so I went to Freesound and searched, simply, for samples related to the keyword 'three'.
I chose nine different methods for finding the samples, based on dice rolls to determine the page number and result number of the search results.
I ended up with 27 samples, and took three at random, based on a dice roll.
I didn't like them. (Mainly because two of them were very similar bells).
So, I went back to the 27 samples (27=3^3) and chose three samples as different from each other as I could find.
I chopped them up into small segments in Audacity and played them all on a Korg Electribe SX. No other sounds were added; everything in the track comes just from the three samples and a few effects applied (mostly compression and a little delay).
These were the samples used:
cello chords » cellos three chords.wav - http://www.freesound.org/people/jus/sounds/39557/
METAL LOOPS 4 » LOOP 2C.mp3 - http://www.freesound.org/people/REVEREND.BLACK/sounds/54154/
20070918_143246_IndiaZanskarThonde_GrandFatherRecitingSutras.wav - http://www.freesound.org/people/snotch/sounds/96757/
The cello sample was the third result on the first page of results.
The metal guitar sample was the third result on the 16th page of results. (Pitch-shifted portions of the guitar sample provide the 'beats' and percussive noises).
The grandfather sample was from a different search; I took a break in looking for samples, and picked up a book I had in front of me: Shakuntala Devi's 'Wonderland of Numbers.' I opened it at a random page - pages 90 and 91. It happened to be about the number Three! It says this:
"When Neha reached the home of Number Three, she found a triangular shaped building. A big bronze sculpture in the garden showed the three heads of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. A tall trident rose up from the ground in front of the sculpture and on a three-legged throne sat Number Three. His head was tied with a scarf of three colours and three long chains of coloured beads hung down his chest."
On the next page (92), it has this passage:
" 'The world is full of interesting triplets, have you noticed, Neha? Land, water, and sky, father, mother and child, sun, moon and earth.'
'Yes, I remember,' said Neha, thinking about the 'three' nature of things.
Something else occured to her and she said out loud, 'When I go to music class I have to sing a song in three different tempos - first slowly, then a little faster, then much faster.'"
I tried to use this passage of the book as a guide/plan for finding samples, and so I searched for 'land', 'water', 'sky', 'father', 'mother' and so on... The grandfather sample was the first result that sounded like a 'father' in the father search. Sadly, using the sets of samples (land/water/sky, father/mother/child, etc) didn't work out for me - the samples just didn't sit right together (or didn't contrast each other enough).
The BPM is 83.7 for a reason:
3 to the power of 3 is 27
I would have used 81 BPM, but it didn't fit with the guitar sample. 83.7 was nearly spot on.
The time signature is 15/16, and the total number of bars is 66 - that's 22 bars for each segment, but you can't have everything...
After settling on the BPM, I calculated how long I needed to make each track using the following formula (adapted from findings from a quick web search):
d (duration) = 3 minutes = 180 seconds
t (tempo) = 83.7 (BPM)
m (metre) = 3.75
b (bars) = 1 bar in length
d (duration) = ? seconds
180[seconds]/2.688172043 = 66.96 bars in total
So, my piece was a little short, but the fade-out from the delay carried it up to exactly 3 minutes.
The image is adapted from here:
I was originally going to use an image of the number 3, but when that came up in the search results, I couldn't resist its tacky charm.