Breaking down a trance-classic fusion – “Sonata in Trance”

Last week, my track SinT (Sonata in Trance), track 5 on the album Armin2016, went live on SoundCloud. It is, of course, not something that is to everyone’s taste. Even a film soundtrack would not be one unbroken piece of music, but rather short parts played in the order of the scenes in the film.

However, it happened. In trying to combine a Trance track and a sonata, I had to unify both the parts that are typical of both, and the movements of both, each of which has a different emphasis and tone. For instance, a Trance track can be identified by the breakdown and drop. A sonata can be identified by the variations on the central theme. In the end, this is how I combined them:


The trick was to find parallels between the two. I had guessed that there were parallels, but then I had to sit down and identify them. Luckily, it worked out. (Though all the dead classical composers are now spinning in their graves.)

Movements and leading instruments

Next, I had to give expression to those parts, meaning that the instruments had to tell the story. This meant that each part or movement had a different instrument that dominated, and on which the melody was performed.

For instance, the moderately fast Allegretto/Intro, was best performed on violins playing in a staccato fashion. The 8th stage, the development of the main theme, had to be a variation in terms of harmonies and texture. So I made a big change, from the synths, keyboards and strings, to a tender, sweeping tango variation performed on an Afro-Cuban piano with somber-sounding choir vocals.

To make the composition both a sonata and a trance track, all the variations and parts had to go in, and that’s why it’s just under 20 minutes long. Personally, I feel the best bits are after stage 6, and the highlight is probably stage 10, the built-up recapitulation of the main theme.

In any case, here it is – enjoy!


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