Coriakin’s Addendum to Trep’s Fabulous Music Scrolls

This scroll is just a quick effort to point out some useful things not covered in Trep’s scrolls. You can find them here.

NOTE: Play any examples on a starbuck harp at tempo 120 unless stated otherwise

1. Volume
Unfortunately, the introduction of dynamics only allows us to make notes quieter than the default volume, not louder. One way you could get around this is by setting most of your song to a volume such as %8 and then using %9 and % for the louder notes. There is also a sneaky way to make notes louder on chorded instruments, but it sometimes sounds strange. If you have a note in the melody, and have a chord with that note in playing at the same time, that note will be played louder. For example, in the short phrase


All the ‘c’s will be played louder. If you listen closely to this following group of G chords, listen for which note is louder in each chord.


When used correctly, this volume change can make for some pretty neat effects. I used it in my song “Journey’s End.” Also, it is central to Rakshasa’s song “Fog of War.” If you haven’t heard that song, I suggest you do. :)
However, it's important for me to note that sometimes the quicktime midi player reacts badly to this trick, and the note might get cut off or not play at all. I'd need to do more extensive testing to figure out what's really going on, though.

2. The Invisible Note
Thanks Trep! I didn’t know that you could use that high C, and it actually is very handy. HOWEVER, you should know that it’s not there on all the instruments. If your instrument can use it, great! However, if it can’t, the note won’t get played in Clanlord, and if you’re playing it in the tune helper, you will get a 'note out of allowed octaves' error message.

The instruments which can use it are:
Starbuck Harp
Temple Organ
Orga Drum (No, really! Try it!)
Those that can’t are:
Lucky Lyra
Bone Flute
Reed Flute
Centaur Organ

This used to be a known, repeatable crashing bug, and Michel was originally going to get rid of it, but so many bards wrote so many good songs using it (naughty bards! ;) ) that he made it a "feature." Thank you, Michel! :)

3. Timing/Rhythm
Trep does a really god job of explaining this, and I just have one little trick to add. Whenever you’re writing a melody, it’s a good idea to divide it up into ‘phrases.’ A phrase is a segment of the melody that could be pulled out of the melody, and sound like a complete (but short) melody on it’s own. Generally, most melodies can be divided up into 4 phrases as follows:

1: Basic phrase
2: First phrase repeated, possibly changed slightly
3: Different phrase, based on the first one
4: First phrase repeated, end changed slightly to provide a conclusion.

For example, here is the main melody for ‘Electric Clay’

<Phrase 1> [=a]p[=b]p[/c#]p[/d]p4[/e]p6[/d]p4[/c#]p[=b]p4[a]p6
<Phrase 2> [a]p[=b]p[/c#]p[/d]p4[/e]p6[/d]p6p8p
<Phrase 3> [=a]p[=b]p[/c#]p[/d]p4[/e]p6[/d]p4[/g]p[/f#]p4[/d]p6
<Phrase 4> [=a]p[=b]p[/c#]p[/d]p4[/e]p6[/d]p6

But the big main important part here is this: Make sure all your phrases are the same length!!!!! Otherwise your song will sound weird. Of course, if that’s what you want, then go for it. But here’s a simple trick to make sure all your phrases are the same length. Add up all the numbers behind all the notes in your phrase. Lower case letters count as 2, upper case letters count as 4. Chords don’t count, ‘cause they’re they’re included in the note that follows them. If your phrases don’t add up to the same number, something’s probably wrong.

Or, the dead simpe method: When your song is playing, clap your hands along with it. If you can't clap a steady beat to accompany your song, something is wrong. Unless you really, really, really want it like that. i.e. the Qual Song. :)

3. Song Sizes
Trep’s method will work, but there’s an easier one. In CLTH, there’s a “Copy for Clanlord” option under the Edit menu. When you select it, if your song is too long, you’ll get a message like “This song won’t play properly in Clanlord. It is [x] too many characters long.” If you didn’t get a message like that, open a simpletext file or something, and hit paste. Your song will appear, plus /use and whatever tempo you’re at. If your tempo is 120, then there’ll only be /use. The only problem is that, if you use this method to format multi-part songs,you’ll need to add ‘/part’ to each part yourself.

To learn more about /part and /with, two very useful commands, go here.

4. Chord Stacking
Have you ever thought "Gee, this song could really use some syncopation?" Well, so have I. And this is how you do it.

Note: the examples don't show well on harp. use vibra or gitor for these ones.

Chords are written [ceg]p, and you're allowed to put a duration on a chord that's independant of the melodic line. This allows for sustainined passages like [c]8p[e]6p[g]4p/c. But wait, there's more! You can also 'stack' chords of different durations onto a single note, allowing for things like [/c]8[\ceg]4p4[cfa]4p4, in which the high c is sustained through both chords. For a bigger example of this, look at "Nameless" in my favourites. It's a 100% chord piece, and if you can figure out what's happening in it, it's a perfect example of this.

5. Composing for Instruments
Obviously, every instrument is different. Each is played a different way (IC, at least), and each has its own sound. A bard should keep this in mind when composing. If you write a masterpiece for harp, it probably won't sound quite as good on gitor. Or on an ocarina, for that matter. Here's some ideas I had for what sort of songs work well on certain instruments:

Um, that’s about all I can think of for now. If I think of any other mind-boggling CLTH tricks, I’ll be sure to post ‘em.

Go back to my music.

Psst! If you have a copy of Tune Helper 2b8, it expired on September 1st, 2004!