Hoping to inspire participation in the current Midisparks Art Sales composers contest ‘Old School Victorian Tracks’, Lolita submitted a contest entry. Her composition is presented with an image from the Carney’s collection, ‘Victorian Ball Gown‘.
Lolita is best known as the vampire host and principal contributor to Lolita’s Music for Art Blog. But she has also composed since she was a little girl, well over 100 years ago. (for those who would like to review Lolita’s short biography, it can be viewed on her website profile page. View Lolita Vampiress bio).
Electronic Music Production and Classical Music Values
Lolita had reservations about the project at the outset. Our vampire’s music production is strictly electronic and strictly midi. On top of this, Lolita has become addicted to loops and the repetitive, minimalistic tracks that loops often spawn. For the romantic style called for in the contest, she needed to create a through-composed piece with a sustained and expressive melodic line. Could she hope to achieve a good result given her current compositional process?
Nevertheless she was encouraged by her mentor of many years, Blind Monk. Our transplanted Thai monk and master of the gopichant offered the following: “Think of this Victorian tribute track as a cover. Cover bands cannot help but put their own creative stamp on tributes and that is what makes covers interesting. You will do the same, dear Lolita, with your Victorian track.
Thus encouraged, Lolita set about the problem of creating an expressive melodic line. Entering midi notes from the typing keyboard was out of the question. Instead, Lolita entered the melody from her midi keyboard, which transmits velocity data. Likewise, a keyboard style preset humanized the accompaniment somewhat. There was also a problem with note samples. Even if all notes are performed at similar velocity levels, certain samples stick out for one reason or another. Lolita managed to smooth things out somewhat with additional velocity adjustments (although equalization adjustments are sometimes the better choice).
Despite some positive feedback on the project in the composer forums, Lolita had mixed feelings about her track. Editing had diluted the track’s sense of spontaneity, of live performance.
“Now you are suffering from some authentic Victorian angst,” Blind Monk chuckled. “Yours is truly the self-doubt of the romantic artist, seeking for some unattainable perfection of emotional expression. We hear that struggle in your track, and for that reason alone you have succeeded. Beyond this, you have brought important musical values from the past back to the present for a new generation of composers. All of us, composers and audience alike, will surely be the better for it.”