Friday, March 25, 2011

3/25 Beethoven on Exotic Percussion Instruments

African Slider Guiro - Ghana Shaker

Beethoven never visited the African continent or any other truly exotic tourist destinations in his lifetime, so he probably never heard any indigenous folk music from Egypt or India for example.  But if he had, I wonder if he would have incorporated some of these instruments into his work?  Since he was a big proponent of music technology and the first to use percussion as a primary motivic element (timpani in many symphonies/concertos and the "Turkish" interlude in the 9th Finale), I'm sure of it.  However, what I'm presenting today is probably nothing like what he might have composed.  It's still "from" Beethoven tho (in a sense).

I took a midi file of Beethoven's 32 Variations in C minor WoO.80 (1806) and mapped the notes to a soundfont comprised of exotic percussion samples. Though the pitches are no longer Beethoven's, the rhythms, dynamics and phrasing are still his. Still "classical music"?  Either way - I thought this came out pretty good...or at least fascinating.  (Visuals by Malinowsky MAM Player.)

Next, I took a midi file of Beethoven's "24 Variations on Righini's aria 'Venni Amore', WoO.65" (1791)
and arranged it for "junkyard percussion".  These are sounds recorded from pots, pans, powertools, and stuff you might find in a junkyard....the nature of these variation pieces lend themselves well to rhythmic transformations, I think.  By the way, these variations were originally dedicated to Countess Maria Anna Hortensia von Hatzfeld.  Somehow "The Hatzfeld Variations" has a nice ring to it.

These "arrangements" were alot of fun to create - I just hope this won't be known as the post where the Daily Beethoven "jumped the shark".

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