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Long story short: The theme has regenerated into something old, and something new.
It has become a mutation of Delia Derbyshire’s theme and Peter Howell’s theme with a heavy emphasis on Howell’s end once more. F# Phrygian and all that. Yes, it does sound a little bit uncreative —- especially considering that’s basically what my megamix was. However, this remix has as always remained completely and utterly without samples from the real themes, all synth stuff (except for the couple parts where my voice has been filtered through.) Everything you hear is created independently from anyone else’s work on the theme.
It’s still not complete, and not as long or involved as I wish it could be right now, but as of the date I sent this e-mail (5 days before Christmas,) I’m running face first into a massive project of mine unrelated to Doctor Who, and probably won’t be able to update this anymore for a pretty long time. Along with the Beta 2 version of the main remix, I’ve included a version that has a basic orchestra and guitars added to it if you’re really anxious to hear a couple Murray Gold elements. Keep in mind, I intended it to be heard without an orchestra this time around as I think it sounds better as it is. Perhaps I’m simply insane.
I’ve also included the very, very first revision I did for a laugh just to show how far I’ve come since the beginning of September. Oddly enough, it sounded eeeeever so slightly like Dominic Glynn’s theme back then.
If you want to know what has gone into this in a general sort of way, I’ll put those down in here. Don’t read if you don’t want to know, of course. Included is an example file of the sorts of changes that happened between versions. A behind the scenes, if you like. And yeah, this is just shameful bragging, but I have to share this with someone and what better way than with the good people at whomix? I’ve heard this wonderful, accursed theme so much that all of my original compositions are accidentally ending up at 140 BPM, the same exact tempo as the Doctor Who theme. I’m trying to break this.
Without further ado, here are the…
Bass instruments used to create the bass-line: 10 totally separate bass instruments used in complete conjunction with each other, as well as about eight or nine different, highly modified layers of the “FunkyPlay” instrument of the CS-80 and a couple instances of a modified 4-voice CS-80 bass patch (which I just started experimenting with a couple days ago, so it isn’t completely integrated, but serves to beef things up a little here and there.)
Number of leads used to create the melody: 4. Two in the style of Peter Howell (a patch called “Charming Lead”) and two in the style of Delia Derbyshire (a custom-made sine wave.) After these were mixed together, many many hours of hand-done equalizing work were done on these sections to tweak the sound. None of these equalizer tweaks were used all at once, but instead on small slices of time to boost or reduce specific frequencies. Other modifications were made such as removal of specific frequency ranges for fine tuning tweaks.
Instrument used for brass: Many different layers of the CS-80’s brass emulations.
The “vocoder” effect: Since I couldn’t find a way to cheaply run my own voice through a vocoder, I opted for an in-engine robot voice ran through a vocoder utilizing guitar samples. Then I layered different takes of this for the first appearance of this instrument to get an interesting effect (the chorus effect on it varied each time I reincorporated it, so there were some semi-natural sounding oscillations.) It isn’t as good as I would like it to be, but it gets across the general idea. For added effect, I put in a little instrument similar to the one used in the same section in Delia Derbyshire’s original mix. However, I did record my voice for a couple short one-shots, such as the “ssshWEOW” accents during the chorus sections.
Middle-8: Some CS-80 instruments were used for the hyper-speed string-like sounds. After this, the same custom sine-wave used in the main melody was used again here to support it.
Final adjustment: Fine tuned the whole song by about 10 or so cents because for some bizarre reason that’s about how sharply out of tune the real Peter Howell theme is.
Total revisions since September: 56
Number of years lost from my life trying to figure out how to make the bass sound accurate: Incalculable
Special Thanks to:
—- BBC Radiophonic Workshop for getting this whole ball rolling in the first place