Aere's First Album Of Improvisations

My first album of improvisations I did mostly playing the Qsynth software synthesizer (running on Linux), using an 88-key MIDI keyboard, (for the main instrument), and a 25-key MIDI keyboard mounted on the larger keyboard for the solo instrument (an oboe). These pieces were done in 2012.

A MIDI keyboard is like a synthesizer, in that it has a piano-type keyboard, and is velocity-sensitive, which means the loudness of the note depends on how hard you hit the key.

Unlike a synthesizer, a MIDI keyboard sends its performance-data over a MIDI interface to another synthesizer, which generates the actual sounds of the notes played. In this case, the synthesizer is running on a laptop computer, whose audio output is connected to an amplifier with speakers.

Here is a picture of me performing in an event at Westminster College, in 2011, using just the main MIDI keyboard, playing the Qsynth software synthesizer on Linux (running on the laptop in the lower right of the picture). Notice that the MIDI keyboard also has a sustain-pedal.

For the first four pieces, I would play mostly the main MIDI keyboard, but at times during the piece, I would play the smaller MIDI keyboard with the fingers of my right hand, with the thumb of my right hand playing accented notes on the main keyboard below, as shown in the following picture:

The last of the piece in this album is done more recently (in 2016), on the Yamaha S90-es synthesizer, using its “PianoBack” sound:

In all of the pieces, rather than just using a piano (or guitar) sound, there is an orchestral background sound of the piano (or guitar) part. This lets you use the very high piano (or guitar) notes, and they are sustained by the orchestral sound, rather than quickly dying away.

With all of the pieces, though I played a version of the piece before a few times, there came a point where I just hit the 'record' button on the sequence-editor, and started playing. I repeated this process three or four times, and picked the version I liked best. On the last piece, I did it just once, using the first version (I think I'm getting better at it).

Unlike my earlier albums, I can perform new versions of these pieces live.

In the album, the name (and track number) of each piece is the link you can click-on (or right-click on and download) to listen to the piece. Use your browser's back-button to return to the index (here).

You are free to use this work in any way you want to, as long as you attribute me as the author. Depending on the scope of the use, it would be nice if you could also tell me about it, at:

So with no further comments, here is my first improvisations album.

Improvisations, Vol. 1

By Aere Greenway copyright © 2016

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

01 – Improvisation For Piano And Oboe       3:55

This piece has the strongest emotions of the pieces on the album, and the music forges ahead with great confidence. The oboe comes in several times, tempering the optimism of the piano part with its more tragic sound.

02 – Sweet Mystery        3:34

This piece uses an electric piano sound, with a Metal-Pad background sound, and to me, seems more mysterious, sad, and introspective. Again, I am improvising an oboe part along with the piano, adding its plaintive tones to the whole.

03 – Improvisation For Guitar And Oboe - Guitar Fantasia        3:22

This piece uses a steel-string guitar sound, but is played using a keyboard, and ventures up beyond the range a guitar would play. The background sound of the composite voice, is the “Metal Pad” sound of the General MIDI set of sounds. Again, I weave the oboe's plaintive tones into the tapestry of the entire piece.

04 – Scarborough Fair Improvisation        2:25

This piece is my jazz-style improvisation on the Scarborough Fair folk-song, though using classical/new-age harmonies, rather than what seems typical of jazz. As with the prior piece, I'm using the guitar sound (with Metal-Pad in the background), and the oboe.

05 – Improvisation Using The PianoBack Sound Of The Yamaha S90-ES        3:01

I included this piece to give you a sense of where my improvisation of music has gone more recently. This piece was the first 'take' of the recording session, which is the usual case nowadays.

So here, in this album, is a sample of the pieces I can currently improvise in a live performance.

Given how much I like what I can come up with on-the-spot, I'm not currently working on any carefully-crafted composition albums at present, but – who knows? It can still happen in the future.

- Aere

Back To "A Composer's Life in Music"