Don’t Tell Me… [CC9]

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On the very slim chance that anybody reads these regularly, I should make a quick disclaimer:

You might remember that in the last instalment, I claimed that the next thing I’d be posting for Chiptune Chaos would be a minimalist piece. At some point, I also gave a title for that track: ‘Cross-Pollination’. Well, that’s still happening, at some point, but I was working on it today and decided that I didn’t like any of it. So it’s going to be restarted. It’ll still have the same title and work with some of the same musical ideas, but I just hated what I’d done. Instead, I spent my lunch hour writing this piece, ‘Don’t Tell Me…’, just to try to achieve something other than deleting hours of work.

What with having been written in an hour, this is a very simple piece. It uses three instruments: an electric piano (conventional enough), some sort of woodwind synthesiser (not too out-there) and a musical saw (I just liked the way it sounded). Now, as I’ve mentioned before, the quality of the software I use means that these instruments don’t necessarily sound an awful lot like what they claim to be, but the reverberating tone playing the melody through most of the piece is the musical saw.

The piece is based on constantly (but slowly) changing chords, which never do anything too adventurous. In the key of D major, the root notes, played by the electric piano for the first part and the synth for the second, revolve around the fifth of A and minor sixth of B, spending most of their time working their way up or down from those intervals. The electric piano also plays two or three notes of the chords represented by the root (the bass almost never plays anything other than the root note of the chord, with only one or two exceptions where C sharp underpins A major). There are a few suspended chords in there, but again they tend not to stray too far from conventional harmony. The only chord not belonging to the key of D major is E major, which comes in to bring a little movement in a new direction (and closes the piece on a positive resolution).

It’s a short piece, the melody staying simple and within its expected boundaries. It’s not exactly something that demands to be listened to; it’s just sort of there. Perhaps more than any other track I’ve done so far, this is definitely a background, ambient piece of music. I named it ‘Don’t Tell Me…’ because I can see a couple of places this tune might fit into the game: upon defeat in battle, the protagonist breathes ‘don’t tell me it’s over’ as the party fades away and it’s game over; when a party member is lost (perhaps killed, perhaps defected, perhaps just wanted to go home), the rest of the party sit and try not to let themselves think that everything will be harder now; perhaps a tragic revelation might lead to a dreamy flashback.

Next time: ‘Cross-Pollination’! I promise!

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