This is ‘Quiet Lake’, and it might sound a little familiar if you’ve listened to the last piece I posted, ‘Cross-Pollination’. The two aren’t that similar, but they are both in E minor and around the same tempo; the reason is that the opening few bars of ‘Quiet Lake’ were actually supposed to be the beginning of ‘Cross-Pollination’ before I decided that I didn’t really like them for the minimalist piece I was going for. I saved them for later, though, and came back to them for this.
‘Quiet Lake’ is another tune that doesn’t play too fast and loose with conventional rhythm or key. I think over the course of the nine pieces I’ve now done for Chiptune Chaos, I’ve moved away from the experimental, almost random sounds that I was making a lot of use of at the start to hide the fact that I really wasn’t sure whether I was capable of making decent music at all. I like to think that this is because I’ve got a bit more confident, or perhaps just gained a bit of experience and come to realise what kind of sound I like. That said, I don’t feel that all the pieces I’m writing are that similar to each other. There’s not much of a consistent feel between them, which probably makes the overall project a bit of a failure as a game soundtrack, but then I was only doing this to try to be more creative, and if I’m learning a lot and creating a wide range of sounds then that can only be a good thing.
This piece has a piano ostinato throughout, which would sound much nicer if it were played on a real piano with sustain. To be honest, the only reason I felt it necessary to include the synthesiser was to cover up the piano sound a bit and make it sound more joined together; I’ve been falling back on synth instruments a lot to provide a little extra texture, which I think has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t have access to software that can produce decent simulated instruments. If this were being played by a real piano, it’d sound much different. The instrument playing the melody is, according to my software, a theremin, though I don’t think it sounds much like one. I’d probably have its part played by a flute if I had the opportunity to get a real orchestra recording my soundtrack (now wouldn’t that be something?!).
I haven’t been too out-there with the accidentals here, although I have experimented with a couple of chord progressions. I think the A major (which also appeared in ‘Cross-Pollination’) is the only chord that really isn’t native to E minor, but the C major that follows it up a couple of times seems even more like a shift because, having shifted towards A major, it seems like the C natural (A major has a C sharp) is out of place. I actually really like the effect that some of these changes give; I think the piece moves from quiet and reflective to resolved and almost triumphant in parts. I tried to solidify this movement by ending on E major, completing a total transition from minor to major – by moving in fourths to get there (making use of the circle of fifths once again), it doesn’t sound too unnatural of a leap.
Because of this feeling of a shift from sombre to triumphant, I imagine the party of my imaginary RPG perhaps completing an important objective by the quiet lake. Or perhaps the lake is where they go when things have gone bad, and they need some time to reflect on things and build themselves up until they feel ready to go again. Either way, I’m quite happy with this one!