The Making of “Bytes of Bartok” – Video Transcript

by | Apr 10, 2020

Hi, I’m b schmidt, I’m a composer and songwriter, and a lifelong student of music as well, and this video is an introduction to my latest project –

The making of  “Bytes of Bartok” – a series of classical solo piano works re-imagined with electronic music synthesizers.

Bela Bartok is one of the great 20th century classical music composers, known for highly percussive and often dissonant works. He’s critically acclaimed, but not popular like the Mozarts and Beethovens.

His orchestral music has appeared in film, the most well-known being Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duval.

He also wrote extensively for solo piano, and while listening to piano recordings of his compositions, I would hear different colors and textures, and so I began experimenting with synthesizers to see if I could capture what I was hearing. I started this over two years ago, with the project evolving into four main areas of work.

First – arranging the music – making sure the piano notes for two hands were properly teased apart into melodies, chords and bass lines.

Then – performance – both choosing instrument sounds and capturing a sense of naturalness, even though everything was inside a computer program. 

I studied the piano interpretations by Margaret Argerich, Jerome Lowenthal, Zoltan Kocsis, Kristzina Fejes and actual recordings by Bela Bartok himself. With the instruments recorded, it was now time to mix them together, which is the third piece of work

In addition to moving through time, music has three dimensions – notes pitched low to high, sounds you can pan left to right, and depth, like the reverb or echo you hear when you’re in a big hall or church.

Mixing is taking the different instruments and placing them within this sonic space.

And finally, there is mastering – Shaping and enhancing the mix so that the music fits in with other commercial recordings,  plus meet the standards for radio play or music streaming services like Spotify or iTunes.

I decided to get help with the mixing and mastering and was fortunate to connect with Julian Fogel, a talented music producer & audio engineer and a composer in his own right. A big thank you to Julian for handling the mixing and mastering.

So there you have it – Bytes of Bartok – Solo Piano music re-imagined with state of the art synthesizers.

To access the album, click on link below.

Thank you for watching, and I hope you enjoy the music.