Roaring Plains

Hi everyone. 

Funny thing happened in this song.  I was trying to write something more organic, and I kept noticing I needed an extra beat...or two...or three.  It starts in 4/4, but I ended up with something like 23 time signature changes.  Not sure if that's the best way of doing it, but it worked for me. 

The inspiration for this piece was Florent Schmitt's Antoine et Cléopâtre.  I really loved the moody, organic feel to it and wanted to write more of that into my own music and experiment with it.  

Thank you for listening. 


Roaring Planes on YouTube


And my messy, unorganized score:

Roaring Plains Score


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  • Moody and organic, check. Is this intended to go under a film or so? I love the mood, but it stays a mood: I'm not getting a feeling that it develops between the beginning and the end.

    • Not really meant for film, but I usually try to write with some story, image or mood in mind, so if I'm doing that well I guess it will sound like movie music.  I'm still learning, so I think of my compositions as studies.  I'll pick a style and see if I can let it influence me without copying it.  See if I can come up with something of my own that's unique.  

      One of the things I wanted to do was to keep the mood throughout the song.  My original vision was a trek across a dystopian wasteland.  I wanted to keep a creepy, otherworldly mood throughout.   



  • You could try fitting the whole thing into 5/4.

    • I thought about working out all the math on something like that.  At least some of what I did could probably be handled by the conductor.  

      After I finished I read that Percy Grainger actually used 2.5/4 time.  If I had known that I would have probably used it.  hehe.  He also once discussed not having time signatures at all.  That would be an interesting experiment.  


  • It feels like trapped in a dream and trying to get out. It kinda did around 3:20, only for a moment as the dream seems linger on. How did you manage with so many time signatures? Did you plan it that way? or did it come naturally as you're writing it?



    • Hi Sam!  As I was writing the next measure, I'd often think it just felt like it was getting there too quickly.  I needed an extra beat to make the flow work.  At first I tried using fermatas, but it always sounded unnatural.  Eventually I'd just add a beat in the measure and write it as normal.  It worked, and I liked the results, so I kept doing it.  Sometimes the first beat still wouldn't be enough, so I'd add a second, and so on.  Some would even stretch out so that I ended up with a full measure.  It was all on a feel of how it should flow.    

  • Good stuff Doug, I like it.  Very expressive, good sounds and ideas, you could take this a lot farther too I think. I certainly am not thinking "too many time signatures" as I listen but then I'm not a conductor and it is only a 5 minute piece so  . . . .

    I didn't know Schmitt so thanks for the tip, he's pretty interesting.

    • Thank you, Ingo.  

      Yes, he is.  I want to revisit this style later as I learn and develop.   

  • I wonder what kind of wasteland you had in mind here? For me the music is too "nice" to describe what I would envisage as a wasteland with mostly effective but rather gentle instrumentation. It certainly doesn't strike me as being generally creepy even if there is the odd more sinister moment there I felt like Victor that the music doesn't really develop -- however in a piece of this length, it doesn't actually need to so this is not in itself a criticism, particularly if it's designed to be illustrative as seems to be the case here.

    • I think this was the original feel I had as I began the song.  I think it was more about lonliness than anything.  

      Thanks for listening! 

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