Out in the Country

I wanted to write a majestic piece of music influenced by the country and bluegrass I am rehearsing with my partner in the Fabulous Gary and Kelly Duo. Frankly I am a big fan of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and it was Keith Emerson who first inspired me to start writing music like this. They famously covered Hoedown by Aaron Copland so I am definitely influenced by musicians who are eclectic, experimental and are innovative. Since I was studying reels, pentatonic scales, mandolin technique, country guitar solos and banjo rolls at the time it was fun to put together a piece of music that reflected those efforts. It was definitely fun to see if I could put together a majestic piece based on those elements.

Out in the Country is in the Key of D, tempo is 85 and I used 34 tracks. This included server different type of violin articulations from the PreSonus Presence Software Synthesizer, a banjo synth as well as banjo samples, Sample Tank penny whistle, various type of drums, Modo Bass, and BBC Symphony Orchestra from Spitfire Audio. I also used some ambient samples to includes sounds that you would expect to hear out in the country. Out in the Country was the working title and I almost changed it until I realized that out and in were opposites and it seemed pretty funny to use the two together like that so it stayed. The DAW I used was Studio One 5 pro, my Cyberpower AMD Ryzen 5 gaming machine and my recently acquired Gibson Les Paul Slash model - which is truly an amazing guitar.

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I like the diverse instrumentation in here and the funny animal sounds, it makes things interesting. The parrallel intervals with the brass is cool but maybe you could experiment with adding some contrary motion at the tail end of the phrase or interspersed instead of keeping it all parallel (just my taste). I thought it was interesting how the flute was playing a hard swing feel but then it moves to a slightly more straight feel. I think you could vary the articulations (more slurs and subtle articulations) more especially with the flute so it doesn’t sound too “toungy”.

Thanks for your feedback, really appreciate it. Great observations. I will have some feedback for you too.

Man, a banjo and pizzicato strings playing together, followed by a harmonica! This piece just made me smile the whole time. I love the blending of different styles, worlds, instruments, and animals. Very unique piece!

Thanks, I really appreciate it and feedback like that really makes the whole effort worth doing.

Some creative ideas here. Not sure I understand the mix of genres presented but it is something fresh to my ears. So congrats on presenting something new sounding.

A lot of my compositions are influenced by bands like Emerson and Palmer, the Nice, Yes, Jethro Tull etc. The challenge to me was how to get country/bluegrass music to sound majestic because on it’s own I would not call it a majestic genre. So the idea was to take some of the pentatonic major ideas and use them with orchestral instrumentals and the intersperse that with folk instruments. A pretty ambitious project and if I had more time might have listened more to Keith Emerson, Aaron Copland and some other composers that used folk music themes. I’ve always wanted to be innovative and play stuff new ways, I’ve been like this since I picked up classical guitar at age 10 or 11 and started trying to write my own stuff. My first public performance at age 12 in 1967 was a fusion of rock and classical. So that’s just my personality. At this stage in my life it is too late to change! Thanks for your review, very helpful.

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