Composition Two – Progess Report

In my project proposal I outlined Composition Two as follows:


“A recorded composition that deals with the themes of mindfulness and mental health. The piece will fuse an alternative rock form with techniques used in electro-acoustic music. There will be an extended passage of cello towards the end, coupled with processed cello sounds similar in style to the ambience created by the processed sounds in Smalley’s ‘Tides’ (Smalley, 1984). Through stretching, panning and disguising the cello and its timbres, the electro-acoustic material will be used to enhance gestures and reflect motion in my solo cello part (, 2016).”


Listen to ‘Pentes’ from Smalley’s ‘Tides’ album here.


The piece as it stands now does deal with the themes mentioned. This is shown lyrically and musically. The large bulk of the piece is in the alternative rock format, the proposed electro-acoustic section now only remaining as a coda. I decided to keep this section short as it tails the tension of the piece of nicely and I don’t believe I have anything more to say with the music at this point. I have also limited the processing of sounds in this section to a little time stretching and reversing of sounds. I want to get the most out of the natural sounds of the instrument but I am including the aforementioned processes and some eq filtering to enhance the overall sonic effect.


Image of Logic Pro X Channel EQ plug-in interface taken from


The piece is played for the most part on conventional rock instruments and has an alternative rock /post rock feel with effect-heavy guitars, bass, drums and vocals that stray between mid-range and falsetto. The falsetto vocals and clean guitars bring an ethereal quality to the composition that foreshadow its conclusion with the dirty guitars and accompanying bass and drums bringing out the more conflicting feelings contained within the portrayed journey.


There is a building of tension resulting from the second chorus that unravels into the more relaxed, “mindful” section. We are then introduced to a number of layers of cello, including both lead and supporting parts the latter of which include harmony, harmonics and also processed (reversed, stretched) material. This completes the aesthetic journey from a busy to a mindful state of mind.


Mindfulness Graphic taken from


I aim to bring a sense of homogeneity to the structure of the coda influenced by French Spectral Music. I think I can better arrange small sections of material to reflect the idea of the whole of the section. The music should be visibly similar on a micro and a macro level. I may also add subtle parts in the rest of the piece that foreshadow the unravelling of tension and herald the transition to mindfulness.


Overall, I feel this composition is heading towards completion. I just need to give thought to details and really focus on getting the best out of the material I already have. This may mean addition, subtraction or alteration of materials drawing on sources from the types of music I am trying to write in the style of, for example post-rock and electro-acoustic music.


– Sandy Power

Composition Two – Progess Report

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