Homepage > Compositions > Music Datasheet

"Dr. Faust in the Hall of Mirrors"

Title Dr. Faust in the Hall of Mirrors
ComposerF.G.J. Absil
Instrum.Studio Orchestra
DateJanuary 2014
StyleFilm Music
KeyC - Cm (symmetric root chord structures)
Tempo76-82 BPM


A musical score excerpt
  • Horns in F 1-2-3-4;
  • Celesta, Harp, Triangle;
  • String section: Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Contrabass;
  • Synthesizer 1 (Mallets), Synthesizer 2 (Atmosphere Pad), Synthesizer 3 (Mellow Pad), Synthesizer 4 (Bass).


This moderate tempo piece is an exercise in film music, combining acoustic and electronic instruments.

The source element is a set of triads with symmetrically distributed roots at the major third R4i. The triads start on C and alternate between major and minor. So we have two chord progressions: C-Abm-E-Cm and Cm-Ab-Em-C, see the synthesizer pad harmonies in [B] (m. 19-26) and [D-E] (m. 49-54).

This source material undergoes a number of applications and transformations, focusing on the string section:

  • Introduction (m. 1-8) Andantino (76 BPM) Sustained chords with chord extensions (functions 7, 9, and 11). The celesta also plays these extensions: 7-9-11-11, the pitches b-bb-a-f#. This yields a motif that is used in transitions, see (m. 8-12, 26-29, 51-54, and 64-65)
  • [A] (m. 12-18) An opening contrary motion setting with passing tones in stepwise motion
  • [C-D] (m. 30-45 and 46-50) A somewhat more lively middle section in Allegretto (82 BPM), using shorter note values (8ths and 16ths), appoggiaturas and passing tones, pizzicato playing, and cello arpeggios.
  • [F] (m. 51-63) Sustained chords, with voices entering in imitation (descending stepwise motion), starting with high violins and ending with low contrabasses in a 9-part tutti climax chord, supported by the French horns and harp glissandi.
  • Coda (m. 66-72) The final statement uses bitonal chord structures, created from the basic triads: Abm/C-Abm/E-Cm/E.

The synthesizers double the acoustic instruments: bass, pad. The synthesizer arpeggios create a subdued groove in the background.