“Water Music” – waves, whale sounds and melancholy wind

Track 3 on “Painting Music”



This track has nothing to do with the 1717 Water Music Suites by George Frideric Handel, though when I chose the name I might have dredged up a memory of it, since it is one of my favourite classical music compositions. I could not resist having some fun with the track’s cover design though, as you can see at the end of this post. It’s called Water Music since it started with me using the “Underwater” canvas of the “Paint with Music” differentiable digital signal processing (DDSP) platform. It really is a fun thing to do, by the way, you should try it.

Lyrical Video – “Water Music”

The lights moving along the lines on the screen is the effect of my manual “brush-stroke” on the digital canvas. You can see how the movements coincide with the melody, tempo, beat and rising or falling notes.
Audio track: “Water Music” ©Cōdae 2022      
Album: “Painting Music”
Album ISRC CBAKR2203000
Audio track ISRC CBAKR2203003
Audio track mixing & mastering: Banana Llama Studios
Lyrical video production and publishing: Red Pennant Communications Corp.
Music visualization: Made on Google Arts & Culture A.I. app “Paint with Music” , created by Simon Doury and Caroline Buttet
Video clips of dancers from: Pexels.com (royalty-free) – Attributed to:
·       Koolshooters (Dancers in glitter body paint, production ID 7691430, production ID 7691440)
·       Cottonbro Studio (male dancer in water, production ID 4736829)

There is no way that I could have created the songs on the Painting Music album, from the particular audio clips generated on the platform, had I not been as competent as I am with using a DAW like Logic Pro. (Let’s say, two years ago it wouldn’t have worked.) To get the sound right I had to use Logic tools that I don’t normally need – a lot of quantizing, a lot of plugins.) 

Water Music is a case in point: It came together quickly and effortlessly since the machine-generated sounds led naturally to a specific melody. I only had to go back to the platform once to create another set of notes to build out the transitions in the Verse sections. However, that’s where it stopped being straight-forward. The devil was in the detail!

In the gallery below, you can see the GUI controls used on the platform, as well as the instruments, and information on the scale. The sound output from the platform is basically a series of notes, repeated as a cycle. It includes a note like a whale song, as well as a bubbly, susurration background effect, all part of the “underwater” canvas on which you draw. This led me to choosing instruments to harmonize with the audio clips that have similar lamenting, susurrations (or wind) sounds, namely the Celtic Harp and the Highlands Bagpipes. I backed up and reinforced the melody of the watery-sounding audio clips by a score for a piano and a carillon.

As with the other songs in this collection, I wrote a new chorus and bridge, as well as, overall, new variations of the verse. I also wrote new MIDI loops for the harmonies. This composition did not get a bass track, because the bagpipes are sonorous and deep enough already.

How the raw file sounds

To give you a taste of what is involved, this is the recording of one cycle of notes from the “Paint with Music” platform – it’s the raw file, unformatted, and unstructured. What you are hearing is what I drew. A section of this file became a component of Water Music. Warning: It’s loud, weird and screeching.

Edouard Hamman painted his depiction of the first performance of Handel’s Water Music, on July 17, 1717. Here is my take on this event: George Frideric Handel (baptized Georg Friedrich Händel) is in the centre in a red coat. King George I, who commissioned the composition, is sitting under the canopy of the royal barge, while it’s being rowed on the River Thames. Handel’s electric guitar is resting between his feet while he explains to the King how digital music works.

Next: Track 4 on “Painting Music” – “Swagger and Swing

Leave a Reply