Twilight (original song: Tiple and Ukulele)

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This song evolved out of an attempt to extend a very short song, "The Oracle", that I wrote on a Tiple that I had borrowed. However, it went in different directions both lyrically and musically.

By the time I wrote and recorded "Twilight" I did not have the Tiple any longer but "Twilight" is in the same key as "The Oracle", Dm. So, after recording "Twilight" on the ukulele, I added a snippet of Tiple from my recording of "The Oracle", as both an "Intro" and an "Outro" to "Twilight".

I had some good feedback on that so I decided to try adding the sound of the Tiple at points within the song where the snippet of recording seemed to fit best, varying the volume.

This was all after I had uploaded "Twilight" to YouTube so the YouTube version does not include the Tiple:


  1. Yasuma Tiple: GCEA
  2. 1910 Koa and Mahogany Hawaiian Ukulele: GCEA Fremont Blackline strings

Garageband effects:

Track 1: Vocals - Female Basic
Track 2: Ukulele - Natural Strum (GarageBand Legacy Effect for Acoustic Guitars)
Track 3: Vocals - Ambient Vocals
Track 4: Tiple - Acoustic Guitars, Natural.

(The vocals were only recorded once and the track was duplicated).

Tempo, Key and Percussiveness:

I recorded the ukulele at 60 bpm using a metronome, then recorded the vocals. The Tiple is whatever it is from the original recording of "The Oracle" that I cannibalised.

My initial reason for thinking about recording the ukulele at 60 bpm with a single downward strum per beat was the symbolism, as this is a song about time as much as it is about twilight. I was hoping that the ukulele would sound like a clock ticking out the seconds and I think that does work.

I did some cursory research about the effects of music tempo on emotions and 60 bpm seemed even more appropriate. Although music tempos of 40-60 may be perceived as "sad" they may also be perceived as "serene". (Songs in a minor key generally evoke "sadness" but I thought that the lyrics might contract that effect.)

After adding the sound of the Tiple I did some more reading around about the effects of different aspects of music on emotions. One study that I found suggests that staccato percussive effects may enhance the positive emotional impact of music in both major and minor keys:
Emotional and psychophysiological responses to tempo, mode, and percussiveness. van der Zwaag, Westerink and van der Broek, 2011

The ukulele has a rather percussive sound. Maybe this is what helps me to hear the original version, with the ukulele as the only instrument, as "serene" rather than "sad" throughout?

The sound of the Tiple does not run through the whole recording and my own impression is that the passages without the Tiple now sound sadder than the rest. Previously, I did not hear the song as sad at all but everyone has different responses. Most of the second half of the song has the sound of the Tiple running through it and it ends with the sound of the Tiple. I am hoping that this leaves a final impression that is more serene than sad.

The key of the Tiple snippets did not fit with the chorus, so the chorus now sounds rather sad to me. I am thinking of experimenting by adding the sound of another instrument.


Could be better! I was impatient and recorded this when I had a cold, was rather croaky and my voice was weak. I should know better but - I was impatient. I reckon it is adequate though, if not as good as it might be.

Liz Panton

27 Dec 2015

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