I was fooling around one day, trying to see if I could come up with something in Locrian, and came up with a starting riff and some chords that I was happy with. Wrote it out and finished it in Notion, then exported it to my DAW, recorded the guitar parts, synth and bass live, and added percussion. 

Any comments are welcome, but in particular, I'm wondering if you feel I hit the mark with it being in Locrian, and of course whether it's listenable. It's B Locrian, and it's so easy to stray off into C Major or A Minor. I tried to keep "resolving" back to B minor 7 b5.

It's called Mixed Messages because it sounded a little Spanish, then a little Japanese to me.

Mixed Messages

Mixed Messages.pdf

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  • Thanks, Dave. Appreciate the comment on my other work.

    Interesting thoughts. I have always felt that it was better to play than input via midi, to get that touch of looseness. That's part of the enjoyment for me. I do like to play both percussion and guitar parts myself, just because I enjoy it. I could see getting lost in the entire midi world really easily, I have just gotten started on that, and it's opened my eyes to a world of opportunities. I'm still part player though.

    I always start off with the music. I can't think about percussion parts until I have the rest done. My brain just does not seem to function that way. I should try it as an experiment. But my last piece, "Fracture", the drumming was much better, I think. Listening back to Mixed Messages, it sure could have been better.

    I have had a number of comments on the synth sound, that generally agree with you. I like the feel I got with the playing, not so sure about the tone anymore. If that's automation on that synth line on your piece, that's quite incredible. I'm not a synth guy, or an electronica guy, so this is also a learning curve for me.

  • Hi Rick,

    This is way interesting...really kept me involved. The tension is unrelenting, of course. "I tried to keep "resolving" back to B minor 7 b5"...good luck with that one! It resolves into, what? Irresolution!

    The piece, of course, stands on its own. However, from a theoretical standpoint, since the "tonic" is a half-diminished, there are many ways to modulate out of here and get some resolution. am I right? I'm not sure what would work, but, might be an interesting exploration. Maybe the tough part is to convincingly get back to the B Locrecian after tripping off somewhere else.

    As I said, really hooked...me. It makes me want to fiddle with it a bit, myself. 



  • Thanks, Bruce. Yes, it was interesting. I'm surprised it turned out as musical as it did. I found myself constantly catching myself; the descending run of chords originally went right down to E minor, but that's the dominant of A minor, and just felt too much like I was not sticking with the spirit. The F that it does go to is "dominant" of the Locrian mode, so I just went with that, and I like how it sounds. It's awkward but sweet at the same time.

    One thing I see often when people talk about playing in modes is the criticism that's not modal, it's simply C major or A minor, you're just starting at a different point. Which is true, to a point, but, that IS the point. A couple of Santana's song are in dorian. The arguments over whether they actually are or not are quite ridiculous.

  • Rick Waugh said:

    Thanks, Bruce. Yes, it was interesting. I'm surprised it turned out as musical as it did.

    Lol...I saw you were going to wander off into Locretianville and I said "I've got here this!" And it was like "Oh, well, ok..yes...this is really good..".

    Mixed Messages - Piece in Locrian
    I was fooling around one day, trying to see if I could come up with something in Locrian, and came up with a starting riff and some chords that I was…
  • Hi Rick, I really like what you have done here, I like the composition and the sounds you have and I don't feel you need to change anything.  With that in mind I hope you'll consider my suggestions. I'm having trouble hearing this clearly for several reasons also so, take my suggestions with a grain of salt :-)

    First off, since the synth sound is electric guitar like, and you are obviously an accomplished guitarist, why not just do a Santana or Di Meola line there?  Also, the strummed rhythm parts seem to have some distortion beyond the inherent dissonance of the chords, that's always a problem for recording acoustic guitar but with careful mic set up and level setting (compression ?) I believe it can be minimized.  (Again, I'm nitpicking based on not having a good listening situation here.)

    Finally, locrian is whatever you say it is ( I'm no expert ) and how you use it is of course up to you.  But what many musicians and jazz players do is to superimpose a locrian scale over any chord, doesn't have to be a B dim for instance. This serves to give you chord extension sounds.  So one common approach would be to resolve to a B minor or major or B5 power chord underneath a B locrian melody, which then gives you the repose we all expect.

  • I have been thinking about getting a midi guitar, to help drive midi play, but the thing is, I'm trying to branch out a bit. I should be trying to use my keyboard more to drive midi, just because, or a control surface on the iPad. I really like GeoShred, and the sounds in it. But there is something that seems to bother folks about that lead sound. But I definitely have multiple reasons for doing what I'm doing, and one of them is try different things. I'm learning lots about mixing and arranging from folks through this.

    I hadn't noticed any distortion in the acoustic, will have to listen again.

    Will have to mess with those music suggestions. I like the tension in the piece, but there's so much more to try.
  • No, can't use GeoShred as a midi controller. They want to add it in. But I do have GeoSynth, it's predecessor, and it makes a nice midi controller.
  • I like this one a lot!  Anything I could offer in the way of suggestion would be not much more than quibbling.  It is engaging, well laid out and original.  I always like hearing the acoustic guitar used front and center on the melody line as part of the ensemble. The use of the toms also works well (could come up a bit in the mix  - OK, there's your quibbling) and the piece is not too cluttered, it leaves room to breathe.

    I haven't listened to a lot of Al Di Meola so I cant speak to the comparisons made there.  This piece does remind me a lot of the guitar based instrumental gems that the late-great Captain Beefheart would occasionally include on his albums.

    I think that you have answered your own question that you raised in your last post.   This is one of the more interesting and original pieces that I have heard on the Forum in a while.

    Thanks for posting!


  • Thanks kindly T.T. I appreciate the comparisons. I'm happy to have posted it somewhere where I didn't feel I'd confused half the listeners. ;)
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