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Stay A While (For PVC Instrument)

from Stay A While (Extras) by Rettward von Doernberg

Aboard the Caravel exclusive

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I mentioned that I'm trying to figure out a possible collaboration with the YouTuber SNUBBY J. You might recall: he has this bizarre instrument consisting of plastic plumbing pipes that are played with plastic mallets. It is really a variation of an instrument that the BLUE MAN GROUP made known (the PVC Instrument). I had asked him if he perhaps wanted to play "Stay A While" on this.

Well, he couldn't quite imagine what my piece would sound like on his instrument, the RIMBATUBES. Quite frankly, I couldn't either. I had suggested then to finish about 30 to 60 seconds of the music and to send it to him so that he can try it out.


GREAT…

Now what? What have I gotten myself into this time…

First, I took the chords of »Stay A While« and played a little with an arpeggiator. As an aside: an arpeggio is a way of playing a chord by playing the individual notes of a chord consecutively. Usually according to a set pattern. An arpeggiator is a software that does this for you automatically.

I chose ten of these chord patterns and put them together. Prior to that I had tried to create a sound that would resemble the RIMBATUBES somehow. And this is what I came up with:

hold.thecaravel.net/releases/stay_a_while/documentation/Rettward-von-Doernberg-Stay-A-While-For-RimbaTubes-Draft.mp3

I thought this was already quite good but soon I realized that on the one hand this is much too fast. I was afraid that nobody would be able to play this. And on the other hand it somehow didn't sound like RIMBATUBES at all. In my defence: I had created the sound with quite poorly sounding earbuds (BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 20I) while I was on the go.


SECOND TRY

Ok. Firstly, I tried to improve the sound for the RIMBATUBES. I think I actually was successful: This time I took a short snippet out of one of SNUBBY J's videos – a so-called "sample". With a special algorithm (IRCAM STRETCH) I mapped this sound across the range of his instrument (using the plug-in MACHFIVE3/FALCON).

So that quieter notes would sound a little softer I also varied the start time of the sample according to the strength of the hit. For softer hits the sample starts a little later because then there is less from the peak of the hit, the so-called "transient". I find it does sound much more realistic now.

Then I took the very fast version which for itself was already quite good but unfortunately, well, much too fast. With my newly created virtual instrument I could now much better imagine what it might sound like for real.

I fashioned then a slower version of which I believe that it actually can be played now.

Finally, I made some sheet music so that SNUBBY J can try out the piece:

hold.thecaravel.net/releases/stay_a_while/documentation/Rettward-von-Doernberg-Stay-A-While-For-RimbaTubes.pdf

Well, and then I sent all of this to SNUBBY J. Now keep your fingers crossed that he likes it. If so then I might make a longer version and he might make a video of this. I would very much like that.

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from Stay A While (Extras), released March 14, 2018

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Rettward von Doernberg Berlin, Germany

Just like Columbus in times past, I'm on a very personal, musical voyage of discovery.

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