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A Buoy's Beacon

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by 88man, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    While sailing miles offshore in Cape Cod, surrounded by ocean I began to worry as the fog grew thicker in the distance and visibility worsened. I sailed on and steadily as time passed, I was delighted to hear the bell of a familiar buoy, as a beacon in the distance: "Ding ding... Ding ding... Ding ding..." Then I was comforted with the feeling of knowing my location on the chart. The rhythm of the bell can be slightly erratic too, as it sways in the water, being influenced by the waves and wind. I tried to portray the fascination of this little buoy in the middle of Nantucket Sound, along with its characteristic "ding ding, ding ding," bell rhythm. It is a brief moment in time as one approaches the buoy, only to have it fade away as one sails past it into the distance...

    Perhaps not even worthy of submission, I wasn't going to post this at all, but I figured anyone who has gone sailing or boating in the ocean, may relate to this spontaneous little improvisation. Buoys mark location on charts and are very useful when relying on dead reckoning as the sole navigational aid when GPS goes down. Buoys may have numbers, sonar, radio beacons, lights, or bells which indicate their presence on charts to mark your location.
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Once my dad and I were fishing on lake michigan and a thick fog settled in. Boats would be visible for only brief glimpses and then the fog would cloak the crafts again. Our compass was spinning round, and round. So we relied on the directions of the waves and my spidey sense. Luck may have it we saw the opening of the break wall in which we went out of before the fog.

    Otherwise we could've been motoring to Muskegon or Chicago. :x

    Anywho, an interesting little composition, a prelude of somekind. I cannot comment too much more than that. Is this your idea or are / were you influenced by past composers?
     
  3. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That's nice. But it does not recall me at all my experience of searching a buoy in the fog at night fall 25 years ago when GPS was not yet existing, which was much more anxious than what your music is suggesting . May be because the buoy had a whistle rather than a bell, that I did not hear until suddenly the buoy came out from the fog at one boat length in front of the stern. I dropped the anchor one mile further, my dead reckoning navigation saying that I should be close to the coast of an island, the very close shore of which which I could see see only on the morning. And I heared this f...... whistling buoy during all the night.

    Congratulations also for the beautiful sound. :)
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That was nice and peaceful, George. But I also do not think it reminds me of a buoy out in the ocean. Maybe if you made the music more in minor harmonies, or better yet, a mix of minor and middle-eastern sounds. That would surely make it ‘erotic’ I think. But I know what you mean. I like distant sounds - like the sound of a train way out on some far away track, or when it is late at night and you are in a motel/hotel and hear a semi-truck going by on the highway, or an approaching thunderstorm. I really love those kinds of things!
     
  5. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi 88man,

    I enjoyed listening to your piece, "A Buoy's Beacon". It is quite impressionistic and captures the mood and randomness of the buoy's music well. Thanks for posting it.

    I recall back in the 1950s when my family had a 20 foot sailboat that we used to sail out of Salem, Massachusetts (on the North Shore). Along the coast there were bell buoys and chime buoys too. The former was actually a bell with a traditional internal clapper, but there were also exterior clappers that would strike the outside rim of the bell as well with wave action. The bell, like any other, was limited to a single pitch. The chime (or gong) buoy looked more like a short stack of several chimes. There, external clappers would strike the chimes with wave action, and this kind of buoy could produce two or more distinct clanging pitches. This was important in the dark or fog, as you could tell where you were from the differing sounds of the buoys. Occasionally we'd find ourselves in fog, usually in daylight hours. On an open cockpit sailboat nothing is automated. :lol: (Being purists, we relied on sails exclusively, so no auxiliary motor.) Being the youngest, I had the duty of giving fog signals at six minute intervals by blowing into a galvanized metal fog horn. (We had it tough back then!) It made a surprisingly musical and loud tone that would carry well over the water. Ah, those were the days!

    David
     
  6. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    I am glad to hear from the fellow sailors in the group! Thanks Julius, Didier, David! It's always great to share sailing stories. There is a familiar and genuine comaraderie for those who have spent time sailing, and it's great to see everyone gather and recall their wonderful experiences and memories.

    David, you know exactly what I am talking about - the nostalgic and familiar sounds in the acoustic of a wide open marine surrounding. What a captivating recollection from Salem! Man, I read it several times. It's fascinating how each buoy is different from another....

    Monica, it doesn't have any "Perfect Storm" plots or major drama, since I was only in Nantucket Sound, and not out in the rough Atlantic. Actually, I wasn't even trying to look for it - it's merely a nostalgic tribute to one little buoy far in the distance that signaled that I was getting closer to home. For some reason, I became captivated by it's characteristic F note and it's "ding ding..., ding ding...," rhythm which I tried to incorporate in the little piece.

    Another little piece in an ongoing musical diary - a one take improv. On this night, it was A Buoy's Beacon.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  7. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi 88man,

    These days we live very near the coast of Maine. When my wife and I take the ferries out to North Haven or Monhegan Islands, there are a couple of buoys that we pass in fairly close proximity. The wakes of the ferries agitate them resulting in a lot of clanging. I love that sound!

    David
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I like this little piece and the image it tries to conjure. Although it's really only the opening that makes be think of a buoy (not that I've ever met one haha, being a landlubber pur sang). After that it gets a bit too sweet rather than salty.

    Beautiful sound and touch, but I think you need some more pedal changes to avoid it sounding all washy (or maybe that is intentional). The closing chord cuts off a bit too soon, I would have let that die out completely.

    It's certainly worthy of submission, and we can put this alongisde your other improvisations.
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    ok, George - this is up. But remember - go under 220 kbps please.
     
  10. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Chris and Monica for your great comments. Since my teacher has long passed away, I have PS to rely upon for any appraisal of my playing. You are part of a handful on this site which I find very knowledgeable and seem to have just the right sense of judgment.

    I am usually deliberate when it comes to pedaling, and yes, with the looming fog, I thought it would be appropriate to create a "washy" blur and airiness to recreate the open vastness of the ocean. Chris, that's very keen, as the piece continues, I wanted the piece to become "sweeter," sensing that I am closing in on distance and the surroundings becoming more familiar - heightens the feeling that home is nearing closer. Good idea, Chris, to extend the final chord. Maybe, I should retrace this particular sailing voyage and make a short documentary type video and add this piece as an appropriate soundtrack?!....

    Monica, I made a sticky this time on my computer. It reads, "Piano Society = 220kbps" :) Thank you for taking the time to post my little piece.
     

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