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Sunday, 18 January 2015

New Track: Oriental Canon in D

Listen on Soundcloud

My new track is an oriental rendition of Pachelbel's very popular Canon in D. I created this oriental arrangement at a friend's request for his oriental themed wedding.

I always have had reservations about oriental instruments sounding less authentic when they are not playing in their native pentatonic scale.

Living in Singapore I have heard a great many tracks that use oriental instruments to play western melodies, some even pop tunes in the 80s or 90s. Many times in the past when I encountered these oriental adaptations, they were played at more traditional Chinese restaurants, maybe at a relative's wedding banquet or an auntie or uncle's birthday. I feel this was one way these traditional restaurants were trying to add a modern twist to their traditional ambience.

Chinese new year is another big thing for Chinese folks. In the last 10 years the Chinese community in Singapore and Malaysia has been under the onslaught of oriental festive tunes infused with Techno beats and bass (always the same pattern, same sounds and same arrangement). Maybe another attempt at reinventing the otherwise evergreen new year songs with a modern element.

Hence among many younger folks they probably find oriental instrumental adaptation of a western work to be cheesy, or low-class conversion.

That was my greatest worry when making this track.

My first attempt was a very resistant attempt that tried to conform the melody to a more oriental phrasing and in the area of scale used too. The outcome? The track became unrecognisable by my friend/client, who isn't a musician. That would disqualify this track as an adaptation.

This final piece is also not an exact transcription of the original, but it has enough elements to make the listener recognise the piece. Also I applied changes to the main melody very sparingly. Maybe a bit of pentatonic scales here and there in the supporting instruments.

I hope you enjoy it :)