Ted, Michael and everybody


Ted, Michael and everybody. Despite the weather being just great for Christmas (it is getting on for midsummer here, clear skies for the last ten days and daytime temps up to mid-twenties centigrade). However, I have been keeping out of the worst of the midday heat reworking some music which I wrote during last winter for the climb of a local landmark, ‘Highcliff’,only about 250m above sea-level but spectactular, especially when close to the summit. The music written previously was for a version in standard definition, shot during last winter. The new version is in Hi-def. and all the better for it.

The climactic moment occurs as you approach the very top. Having slogged uphill for something like forty minutes, you’ve largely lost track of the landscape you have been passing through. Pausing, at the top, reminds you, in a big way, of why you put in the effort, with a steep view down onto a local landmark, ‘Boulder Beach’ and a considerable swathe of coastline fading into the distance. For once, I had abandoned my principles, and thrown the whole (symphony) orchestra at the audience at the end of a longish build-up and crescendo. It was always hugely effective, if bordering somewhat on being ‘over-the-top’. Problem was, the timing of the music no longer fitted the re-edited Hi-Def. version and, worst of all problems, in my experience, I had to write 16 bars of music to ensure a longer ‘build-up’ and graft it on, at the beginning, but still put the (musical) cilmax in the place it was intended to be. Fortunately, sixteen bars is easy to deal with, as it is the time usually taken, (in classical music anyway), for a ‘module’ to work its way to some sort ofconclusion. Sixteen bars of music, was duly composed, made into ‘wave’ files by performing from the ‘score’, (I file-away all scores, on finishing) and mixed in ‘Reaper’. I had to work backwards to a suitable key, as the sixteen bars did not conclude in the key it started out in. However, G-minor was what it turned out to be and that meshed nicely with what I already had ‘in-the-bag’. The nett result I am quite happy with, especially now that the complete unbroken passage of music continues for something like three minutes, without a break, every part of it ‘fits’ and the audience is prepared, gradually, for something momentous to take place, but until the final moment, there is little indication of ‘what’ it is. There is sufficient variation in the screen action, such as changes of landscape, track-gradient, and so-on, and there is a commentary which overlays the whole thing, nicely. So, in all, it was a satisfying day’s work and, for my money the music is as apt as anything I have seen from other sources. The whole thing has a ‘plodding’ theme, quite deliberately, as the nature of the climb, is very much of a sustained ‘plod’, which, looked at from that angle, is what most tramping, (hiking if you like), and climbing on trails with uphill grades, usually is.

Unfortunately ‘Digimik’, I am on dial-up, here in New Zealand, (waiting, like the rest of the country, for ‘High-Speed Broadband’ which seem to be no closer to fruition that it was a couple of years ago). For that reason, I have not been able to watch your ‘Oregon’ piece, as yet. However, if my daughter, (who has broadband, as it is at present), is able to download the file for me after her return from her holidays, then I may get to see it, then.

Meanwhile, its’ ‘back to the coalface’.

Happy New year, everybody,

Ian Smith

Dunedin, New Zealand.


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