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Topic: short orchestral piece

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  1. #1

    short orchestral piece

    This is my first serious try at writing something that uses traditional orchestral instruments. I am still experimenting with this process (instrument distribution, instrument blend, etc.) This became a lot more challenging for me than I expected. I would REALLY like to have some critique on this. Any and all criticism is welcome (as long as you don't tell me that I my nose is too big!). Please give a listen and comment. Thanks. Jay

    All instruments are GPO and COMB. As usual, for me, the strings sound weak.

    www.jesse.us.com/orch.mp3

  2. #2

    Re: short orchestral piece

    Hi Jay,

    I think musically this is going somewhere. Sounds like it's on it's way to being a very nice piece. I had no idea you didn't write for orchestra yet. If you don't have a score, it's not always easy to hear any real issues. Something does stand out though - it's very 'block chord' sounding to me. Chord steps up and down, a lot of parallel movement and unsions going on (I think).

    Needs more movement within the chords, a step off the chord triad, little flourish, and I would say less unsions - I think there are too many instruments throwing their weight into each beat. Think which instrument should be leading and build subtlety around it.

    A good exercise if you're willing to give it a go - using the bass, cello, violas, have them play chords. Note you wont always need the '5th' of the chord in the strings. Create a melody in violins and double it with violins 2. Use the horns to play full chords - which will counter any lack of a chord sound in the strings, 3 or 4 notes per chord for horns. Double the cellos with the bassoon. Clarinets with the violins melody. Halfway through, switch the melody to the cellos, doubled with bassoon AND horns. use everything else to keep the chords.
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  3. #3

    Re: short orchestral piece

    Hey Graham! This is great advice. I have printed off your reply and saved it for reference. I am definitely going to use your exercise suggestion for practicing. I do have one question about your statement "Needs more movement within the chords, a step off the chord triad". I am not exactly sure what you mean by this.

    I had asked you in a prior post if you could compare cinematic strings version 1.5 and 2. I am curious to know if the version 2 is good improvement over version 1.5.

    Anyway, I very much appreciate your input here. It will be very useful. Thanks. Jay

  4. #4

    Re: short orchestral piece

    Hi Jay,

    I forgot to reply to the CS inquiry last time, but added a response. But I'll mention it here again - in short, I don't really know as I didn't have the first version.

    It's important to note that CS2 is a new release, and not just an upgrade, and I would say it was done because a lot of improvements could be made (and where made). One of the obvious changes was the integration of the articulations into one patch. So Violins 1 for example has sustains, legato, tremolo, pizz, marcato, staccato and staccatisimo all in one. You keyswitch between them. But also sound quality and other control like vibrato etc - I just don't know if CS1.5 has this.

    And there would also be improvements to legato scripting etc. and overall ease of use. I believe the first release was a fiddly thing to use.

    I would suspect CS1.5 is really good regardless, and if it can be obtained very cheap it could be a worthwhile purchase, but as they felt the need to rebuild it and release CS2, I would have to recommend that latest one.

    On the 'chords' comment, it's hard to describe certain aspects without reference points - but say I have 3 block chords, C to F then to G.

    For interest and variation (if required) - I would sometimes add extra notes and steps, so the C chord, the G note of that chord might move up down to F or A (or anywhere) for a quarter beat perhaps before hitting the F chord. There's no rule I work to, I just try not to leave instruments playing their designated note without some movement off and leading into new chords.

    This link will take you 40 seconds into a piece I wrote - listen to the strings under the clarinet - they are playing the chords, but also 'moving' before the next chords. A good thing to do here is that if you create a lot of movement on purpose (because you want to) you could safely move out of the third of a chord if you support that chord instead by having the horns play it. Then the strings can move about even more and you'll still have a full chord maintained.
    Example

    If you want a good example of CS2 in proper action - listen to these two mock ups, two contrasting pieces, fast and slow: go here
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  5. #5

    Re: short orchestral piece

    The examples are just amazing. What a sound. I hear the flourish sounds that you were talking about. I think I understand better now about the chords. You seem to be referring to voice leading from chord to chord via passing tones or other sensible melodic movement to help avoid a chunky block chord movement. Thanks for the verification on this. The cinematic strings 2 has an incredible sound to it but for now, it is beyond my financial means. Thanks again for the followup. Jay

  6. #6

    Re: short orchestral piece

    This is a nice piece. There is some really nice material to work with. I would love to hear it if you should develop it further.

  7. #7

    Re: short orchestral piece

    Jay,

    I hate to admit this, but your first orchestral rendering of a full piece is far.....a mean far better than the one I did. Don't feel like you have to learn it all at once. It will come with lots of practice and gaining knowledge as you go.

    Graham had lots of great suggestions which I concur with. Have fun with orchestration. You are use to using six or so instruments at a time in your mellow jazz posts. Now you have 20, 40, or more to blend. Try different combinations in unison or octave apart unison. There is no right or wrong with this, if it sounds good to you...keep it, even if it's odd or non-standard. I just heard a octave unison with a piccolo and tuba playing the lead, and it was fantastic.

    Only other thing I might offer is....don't forget your own strengths which you excel at and others can't match. From what I've heard of your music so far, one would definitely be rhythm, syncopation, and other off beat wonders you have displayed. Orchestral music is livelier for it so don't be afraid to use it.

    Enjoy the creative challenge ...you're off to a great start.

    Cass

  8. #8

    Re: short orchestral piece

    Thanks for listening Richard. Rather than keep banging on a piece to make it work, I have decided that what I need the most is to write more music of this type. Hopefully I will eventually get it right. Thanks for the comment.

    Thanks Cass! This kind of writing is so different for me. It is going take getting use to it. I think if I just keep working at it, my skills will improve. I have to keep trying to apply the good suggestions that I have gotten so far. I enjoy working with rhythmic and syncopated things but I feel that I want to expand my skill set.

    Thanks to you both for listening and commenting.

  9. #9

    Re: short orchestral piece

    Jay, this is a really nifty piece of music. Graham "Plowking" has really given you great feedback on the pianistic effect of the way you're playing those chords - as if you're at a keyboard hitting chords instead of playing a group of instruments. It gives the sound kind of a Baroque effect, and that's probably unintentional. More sophisticated phrasing between the instruments will smooth that out, just as Graham described.

    Randy

  10. #10

    Re: short orchestral piece

    The advice that you and Graham have given me is very helpful. I plan to keep writing small pieces so as to build up my skill level. This will be a fun challenge for me. Thanks for commenting. Jay

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