Circus Music

22 Oct

Nice project for a morning:

I had to write a tune for this listing asking for:


I thought it wouldn’t be a problem.

But there was a little more than meets the eye with this style of music. My big issue was figuring out how to recreate that Calliope sound. I thought I would have lots of sounds that were close to it so programing it or pulling up the sound would take seconds. I was wrong.

I auditioned lots of sounds and nothing was exactly like it. It has a reedy quality and a flute quality at the same time. Flutes didn’t sound right. Accordions didn’t sound right. But these were all steps in the right direction.

I finally I had a couple breakthroughs while watching videos of Calliopes:

1) The orchestration of the music plays a big part in the overall ‘sound’ of the Calliope. Even if my sound wasn’t quite stellar, if the arrangement was solid then the composition would probably be convincing.

2) The Calliope makes its sound by blowing air through wooden or metal pipes, just like an ORGAN. So I started with a pipe organ sound and immediately got much closer to what I was going for.

Here is the end result:


I wrote another one, in the same style. But I tweaked the sound and added something that made it sound even more lifelike. It occurred to me that the old sounding Carousels have this kind of electronic wavering vibrato that colors the sound it outputs. So I did the same, and here is what I got:


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