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Guards of the Cannon



 Genre: Renaissance

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The guards at the gate can barely hear the festivities deep in the castle. But standing watch over the cannon is no hardship: they tell each other stories, and sometimes a kitchen wench comes to bring them food and ale, and possibly a quick smooch behind the guard house.

Any musical eggheads, stop reading now and try to figure out what's happening in this tune.

spoiler alert.....

Ok, first of all, there is an ostinato bass, meaning that the same pattern (4 bars) repeats throughout. Secondly, it's obviously a canon, which means that the second voice plays the same as the first, just a little later, one measure in this case. But listen closely. It's actually a canon "at the second": the second voice echoes the first, one tone (actually, one step of the scale) lower! How on earth do you write something like this? Well, Bach could do it without any problem (see the Goldberg variations) but I just hooked up a delay and a diatonic pitch shifter, and toyed around looking for melodies that would work this way. Isn't technology wonderful?

This is one of the movements in my Courtly Suite.
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Uploaded: Jun 09, 2008 - 10:53:04 PM
Last Updated: Jun 19, 2014 - 05:01:51 PM Last Played: May 28, 2019 - 10:40:55 PM
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Alto and tenor recorder. Percussion: shaker egg, dumbek, udu; tabor played by my girlfriend. The krumhorn and lute are software.
Feter said 4152 days ago (June 9th, 2008)
Guards of the Cannon
Brilliant ..the first word came to my mind hearing
the eastern beats withg the recorder start ..
its a lovely canon with brilliant imagenary to the
story you tell here .most charmin music ever you
done these renaissance always looking forward to
explore and enjoy them ..you such telnted musician
Hats of to you !!!!
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said 4152 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
Very nice work, always I'm impressed by your playing. Cool choice of sounds in the background and wonderful Recorder harmonizing. Thanks for sharing!

Take Care
- Yeman A. Al-Rawi
Moviz said 4152 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
Clever title
my friend, love the gaiety you've captured in this piece, so it must be a peaceful 'cannon'. Lovely feel to it as though I want to jump up and beat my tambourine, as I skip around to the music, regards M
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VicDiesel said 4152 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
It's a canon. But there is something more to it.....

Thanks for the compliments.

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dajama said 4152 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
Very nicely done
Great playing and good dance rhythms. Very evocative of a place and time (love the backstory, by the way...) Very cool. Nicely done. Peace.
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Ibstrat said 4152 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
I Would
say that this is a cannon with a ground bass or ostinato.Very well written and played-writing a cannon like this isn't easy.Did you write this quickly or have you been working on it for a while? Great music.
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magnatone said 4152 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
Guards of the Cannon
WOW! Wish I could unravel the canon riddle, be sure to post the answer on the forum when somebody finally figures it out. Meantime, what a wonderful - uh - canon! Great use of instruments, so sublimely put together - you made it sound easy, but I know it's not. congrats!
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pooey said 4152 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
This is awesome! I've been away too long. Thanks for making my morning. --Jim
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perceptualvortex said 4151 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
Canon sez boom
Cannon duty doesn't sound so bad. This is cool, but I don't really know the answer to the riddle. Are you playing the same melodies forwards and backwards? Anyway, it's a nice bit of olde style music, like some troubadours stopping by.
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VicDiesel said 4151 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
You're giving my ideas!
There are indeed some passages that sound like others reversed. A canon in forward and retrograde motion? Wouldn't that be something? Unfortunately this is not it.

Thanks for listening and commenting.

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drakonis said 4151 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
a war zone...
OK, first of all, this is definitely very fun composition, and as always, wonderfully played & mixed.

OK, on to the riddle. So, first of all, it is a nice "round", and you have a solid "repeated bass part", and the melody has a "song-like feel" with some variation, so I'll go for wordplay (surprised?) and say that you have "Canons on the Ground and in the Air". :-)

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kassia said 4151 days ago (June 10th, 2008)
A beautiful little tune. It's a canon on the Canon in D. And that's my guess. :)
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rsorensen said 4151 days ago (June 11th, 2008)
i dont know what the hell is going on, but i like what i hear. nice work vic.
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said 4151 days ago (June 11th, 2008)
delightful tune you have devised here Mr. Vic. Endless listening joy as the song continues. Something how the repetitiveness doesn't get old at all... very fresh.

jgurner said 4151 days ago (June 11th, 2008)
Very enjoyable
I love the recorder. It's wonderfully done and a lot of fun. Makes me want to go home and break out my recorders....
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edpdx said 4150 days ago (June 11th, 2008)
I had a long day today and upon hearing Guards of the cannon it got me into a better mood.

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aclarke said 4150 days ago (June 11th, 2008)
So cool-
Neat stuff, Vic. Reminds me much of the music my choral director in high school was always having us perform. Naturally, I didn't appreciate it then as much as I do now. Pity how cluesless we are when young.

In any case, very enjoyable! (And that recorder still rocks!)
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michael2 said 4148 days ago (June 13th, 2008)
oh man
i was not expecting this. this is amazing, i'm really into it. i'm embarassed to say that I didn't know what a canon was, and now that i do: what a great musical device. really well done, i'm jealous.
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Cameron said 4148 days ago (June 13th, 2008)
wonderfully relentless
Excellent recorder playing and sound.

The live percussion adds a lot, and you weave the krumhorn and lute software instruments seamlessly into the mix.

Very interesting canon concept which works very well. Canons by their nature are a bit relentless.

But in this case, it is hypnotic, and the addition of instruments creates further interest. The overall effect is excellent; you have created a vivid medieval atmosphere which would serve very well as part of a movie soundtrack.
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leemiguel2004 said 4146 days ago (June 16th, 2008)
This really is a fantastic piece! I love this style. It's inspired me to experient with recorders myself. I used to be a recorder played when I was younger but it has been a while. Really joyful.
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jiguma said 4145 days ago (June 16th, 2008)
I love these recorder posts Vic
A really beautiful post that stirs something deep in the soul.

Thanks Vic,

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LaLa_Divina said 4144 days ago (June 17th, 2008)
Recorders and Cleverness
This is such a quality piece I don't even know where to start. Firstly what great recorder playing. I am really impressed. And the canon at the second with ostinato plus the story about the cannon lots of clever fun. But even without recognizing that constuction (and I am very good at not recognizing the music theory) this piece is such a joy. I know so many early music fans who would jump to see this in concert, and they would buy a copy of the cd too! Really well done.
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VicDiesel said 4144 days ago (June 17th, 2008)
Thanks for the compliments.

Interesting point about early music fans. I'm not sure that serious fans have much need for this sort of retro music. After all, the real stuff was written 400 or more years ago, and it's a bit strange now to recreate that era. That said, I have no pretenses as to breaking new ground or being a legit classical composer. This piece, and the other movements in my "courtly suite" (click on it in the keywords) are pieces that I've written for amateur recorder players, and they are mostly intended to be fun. If you google a bit, you'll find that I've published the scores online for free download.

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Jarvoid said 4143 days ago (June 19th, 2008)
We had an Ostin 8...or is that an Austin 8 once and that was very basic and obviously its a canon 'cos you said it was about the guards what are looking after it
who are freezing their nads off while the posh bints and princey type toffs are larfing it up in the carstle.So you done give it away mister.....:-)

However...normally the mention or sight of a recorder has me running screaming for the hills,particularly(and this is a bit cruel)if said recorder is heading mouthward of a young thing in pigtails and a green checked frock!!!!But it is great to hear it played properlrly and excellently.Baroque(possibly)around the clock,Nice.

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sloparts said 4137 days ago (June 24th, 2008)
Like nothing I've ever heard before Vic.
But very interesting never the less.I'm afraid since I come from a RockBluesCountryJazz background, I don't get exposed to this kind of music so this is indeed a new one for me. And may I say a most enjoyable excursion it has been.

Thanks for opening my ears and my mind to new possibilities Vic, it's much appreciated. Very nice piece of work here my friend.

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guygrooves said 4128 days ago (July 3rd, 2008)
Thanks for the lesson as well as a really beautiful piece of music.
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Name: Victor
Location: Austin TX
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In past lives, VicDiesel was a country fiddler, a shawm player at the Burgundy court, bellows pumper for JS Bach, Geoff Emerick's factotum, and a beggar playing drums in the streets of Calcutta for alms. Unusually, the memories of all that co... [see more]

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