Music for TrinityVR

Having previously acquired an M.Mus in Production of Popular Music, I thought it would be good to make a contribution of some original music to the app. This not only demonstrates the breadth of skills in the project, but also served a valuable purpose. While the photospheres are stationary, hence so is their ambience, the videospheres involving Adrian walking with the camera, which would change the audio ambience as he went. Unfortunately, the microphone built into the camera is quite low-fidelity, picking up wind noise and rumble from footsteps too easily. Instead music could replace this ambience when in videospheres. In addition, Ying found the ambience recorded in the Museum Building and Long Room to be inadequate. We intended to have the Chapel playing music recorded there constantly, and it was decided that this concept would suit all indoor areas, making them feel a bit more different from the Trinity exterior.

All pieces of music were created and processed in Avid Pro Tools 12, except for Captain O’Kane, which was created in Logic Pro X, due to its more appropriate virtual instrument selection.

Trinity Dawn

My initial idea with music was to create sounds in the style of the ambient music genre. This genre was pioneered by Brian Eno (in works such as Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978)), and places an emphasis on creating atmosphere through sound over traditional music structures like rhythm and melody. I wanted to sculpt a piece that was simple and unobtrusive, which felt both light and comforting. I call the finished work Trinity Dawn, as it seemed to naturally coalesce with Adrian’s 360º photography of Trinity, taken at a rather beautiful dawn. The music features long, deep and swelling tones, accompanied by a slow harp melody from which evolve light, crystalline sounds.

Ancient Stones

The harp became an important idea to me in thinking about music and sound for this project. The harp is not only a truly Irish symbol, but also a symbol of Trinity. Something about the gentle lull of the harp also evokes an older, more ancient world. For this reason, I composed Ancient Stones. The song is mostly driven by a rhythmic harp and a simple melody that has a universally traditional sound. In  Originally, the outdoor videos were to alternate between this song and Trinity Dawn. However, when it became more appropriate to have music in the indoors areas, I moved this song there, naming it appropriately, being inspired by the Museum Building’s old marble and limestone, as well as its ancient fossils and relics.

Captain O’Kane

Ying conducted research on Irish harp music and found some very nice pieces. In particular, she transcribed the melody of Captain O’Kane, a traditional harp piece by Turlough O’Carolan. However, the virtual instruments available in Cubase left much to be desired. I found a full score, including the rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment and transcribed it in Logic Pro X, which comes with some very good quality sampled instruments. I also included some extra voices: an Irish tin whistle and Irish hammered dulcimer, which added to the traditional sound. I also wrote a string accompaniment to enhance the second repetition of the tune. The striking and poignant sounding song came to reside in the Long Room, as well as the introduction video Hailee created.

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Chapel Music

There were a few different ideas for the music in the Chapel, but unfortunately, time was against developing a particularly interesting feature out of it. However, my sister-in-law was a member of one of the Trinity choirs. She offered me several tracks of her choir that had been recorded in the Chapel itself. I processed these in Pro Tools, making sure to enhance the lush natural reverberation that the Chapel possesses. I created a script which would iterate though a these songs in a list, at the users discretion. The songs, which are mostly religious in nature, include: Faire Is The Heaven, Bring Us O Lord God, Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), Ubi Caritas and Pastime in Good Company.


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