Mr. Wilson Presents

I caught up with DJ Sona after a set at Triangle and got his comments on producing for the dance floor.

This is Digital D. He’s a DJ in Taipei and you can get more of him at:

I’ve been spending some time at a club called Triangle where the booking agent has been working hard recently to build a scene for underground house music. I got wind of the place and infiltrated the club with a camera, hoping to satisfy my curiosity with regard to creativity among purveyors of contemporary dance music. If all goes as planned, this will hopefully be the first of a series of talks with club DJs on the business, practice, motivations and various complexities involved in live mixing. Stay tuned and with a little luck we may all learn a thing or two.

I have some big band music for you today in 6/4 time and without drums. I put last week’s music on Reddit’s drum forum and got a response from user /u/youngavlol who was looking for some more drumless music:

youngavlol
Are you open to requests?
MrWilsonPresents
Absolutely, I love requests. What can I do for you?
youngavlol
Awesome! Any chance you’d be willing to throw together a 90BPM (or around there) 6/4 track?

I’m happy to oblige. 90 bpm is a bit quick for 6/4 time, so I hope I interpreted the request correctly by writing 90 bpm per dotted half note rather than 90 per quarter note. There is no small amount of ambiguity to the way I chose to use the meter. The rhythm alternates betweens patterns in 6/4 and patterns in 3/2 and there groupings of fours and fives peppered in here and there. I figure that should give an ambitious drummer plenty to chew over.

Now it’s your turn Reddit user /u/youngavlol (or anybody else who cares to) to show us what you’ve got. I’ll be waiting eagerly for your response.

I sat down with Charlie from composerquest.com to look back over the past couple years here at MrWilsonPresents and talk about what’s entailed in composing for the internet in this day and age. If you haven’t already, you really should take a look at some of his past episodes. I frequently take up Charlie’s challenges and this occasion is no different in that respect. Charlie challenged me to write a theme song for this episode of his podcast, so here you have it.

This is a challenge that had me scratching at my head a bit, since there are just so many different directions from which to approach it. Reddit user /u/Quertior writes:

Variously called “The Devil’s Interval” or “The Devil in the Music”, the tritone (or diminished fifth/augmented fourth) is one of the most distinctive intervals in Western music, used to some degree across every genre. (Okay, maybe not Gregorian Chants, but I digress…) Your charge, then, is to write a song that is mindful of the tritone: use it harmonically, melodically, nested inside a C9#11♭13 chord, or all of the above. Have at it!

The chord you mention contains three tritiones, actually.

Managing the tritone is such a ubiquitous part of composition that you may just as well ask me to write some music. Period. Full stop. In the diatonic scale the tritone is comprised of the two tones — the subdominant and the leading tone — with the strongest voice leading tendencies, a characteristic which makes them individually immensely useful in establishing and reinforcing a tonal center. Perhaps it would instead be more interesting and informative to look at ways to write convincing music while conscientiously avoiding the tritone, as you would in pentatonic folk music or plainchant (hmm, maybe some other day, do you think?).

What I’ve done here is I’ve packed more tritones than I normally would into this piece of music, and used them in a variety of ways. Let’s think of it as a tritone Where’s Waldo. Go ahead and see if you can spot them all. Bonus points if you can find the wizard.

Hint: there’s no wizard.