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Topic: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

  1. #1

    Red face First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    Hello. I'm new to orchestral composition, although I've been an amateur musician for a long time. Tonight I loaded up GPO and started banging out a tune. It's a space theme that might be included in an independent computer game, although I'm not too concerned about whether or not it ends up being included -- I'm just using it as an excuse to try to write something. :-)

    Anyway, this is the result of two sessions with Cubase & GPO... probably about 5-7 hours invested so far:


    I'm working my way through the song just trying to focus on getting some ideas on the virtual page... my plan is to double back later and smooth out the edges. Things I've noticed: I need to work on my mastering, the structure seems lacking (like it's not going anywhere at the moment), and my biggest gripe, the instrument blending/overall tonal balance. Hopefully once I finish up the Rimsky-Korsakov text I'll have a better idea of how to fix it.

    Anyway, all feedback is encouraged.

  2. #2

    Re: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    Hello there!

    A wonderful space theme! Very spacious and lush; you seem to have a good sense for sound - a great rendering especially brass.

    Excellent job!

    "...Wiktor's a Jekyll-Hyde personality..." - Lycos Music

  3. #3

    Re: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    What you have sounds fine to me. I don't know what you could do to improve what you have exactly... Since you're not done, I might suggest adding a section that counters the section you already have. Perhaps something like ABA form. I have ideas what these counters could sound like, but it's your song, and I'm not going to tell you how to write it , so that whole ABA thing you could ignore if you like as well But I think it's a great start, it creates a feeling that there is some depth, but that whole depth is intangible and unknown... kind of hard to describe, but perfect. Sometimes there are things you can't describe in words, like space, but you've described it perfectly through music!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  4. #4

    Re: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    Hi, venzon

    You're off to a great start!

    Here's some feedback which will hopefully be helpful:

    --I have the impression you're trying to do Everything at once, that you're being impatient with yourself. You said that you sat down and "banged out a tune," but you're already unhappy with the blending, the mix, the mastering - You've only just begun. It will help you immensely if for now you just focus on the composition itself, tolerating a so-so playback until Much later. When you've really put together the piece musically, then you can switch hats and be the engineer, concerned with the sound of the final mix.

    You said, "...the structure seems lacking (like it's not going anywhere at the moment..." And I believe I understand what you mean. What you have so far I'd say is mostly texture, primarily dealing with your two chords which keep resolving to the tonic. You have some figures to flesh out the chords as you go back and forth, but I agree that it doesn't really go anywhere yet - because there's no definite theme established. Over a minute into it, the strings briefly sound like they're going to play a theme--but then it's cut short.

    I would recommend developing a more definite theme, and letting yourself expand beyond this chord progression, exploring shifts in keys also.

    Like I said, it's a great start - Now try to remain patient with yourself as you really dig into it. 5 to 7 hours may sound like a lot, but it's really just the beginning.

    Keep having fun with it!

    Randy B.

  5. #5

    Re: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    I like this, has sort of a Scissorhands-ish feel! Some adjustment to the dynamics of strings & bass could help with the sorta synthesized sound it has, the brass sounds nice though! If it were me, I would apply a different and more saturated reverb to the snares to make them sound more distant and 'spacey' but I think you are off to a good start

  6. #6

    Re: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    Welcome to the forum.

    For 5-7 hours this is a nice start. I have many pieces that I have invested over 50 hours into and they are still not completed. One piece is now around 100 hours and is 'almost done'. That is the nature of the beast.


  7. #7

    Re: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    Thanks for the feedback. 5-7 hours just represents 2 sessions with my keyboard & computer. So far the trend is about 1 minute of music for each "session"... after that I'm sapped and out of ideas. I totally agree about ignoring the mix until I get more musical ideas fleshed out. It is indeed very textural so far -- good point. I'm a big fan of Philip Glass and other minimalists... but I would like my piece to have more of a theme than it does. Maybe I'll flesh out the strings at around 1:00, as suggested... I think it'd also be neat to modulate to a different key and then try to bring back and flesh out the melody that the violins were playing at around 1:50. Man, it's hard to try to build a long, cohesive composition when it's really layed out in a set of distinct work sessions! :-)

  8. #8

    Re: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    A warm welcome aboard, Venzon!

    As others have said, 5-7 hours? This is excellent progress
    for that amount of time! (I admit I'm slow at things; but
    I've got pieces around with 200 hours on them... lol.)

    Technically, a few thoughts:

    I'd suggest not mixing quite so wide. That is, position the
    instruments a little more toward center. There's a good sense
    of space and dimension in this with the reverb used as it is;
    placing the instruments too widely doesn't accomplish that
    so much as the "room" does.

    A concomitant of too-broad instrument placement is often
    a problem getting good relative instrument balance; so that
    might also gain you a little more control over how the
    instruments work, sound, and level with and against each

    On the writing, there's a lot of strong, solid raw stock in here;
    but it seems more accompanimental in some cases, and
    preparatory in others... waiting, to my ear, for the imposition
    of melodic and motivic organization and direction to impart
    structure and form to the material.

    Keep it coming, Venzon! This is able work for just a few
    hours spent, and I'm looking forward to hearing much,
    much more from you.

    My best,


  9. #9

    Re: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    Hello again, Venzon

    I really appreciate your latest reply on your thread - I can hear you stating the frustration that I made reference to in my earlier reply.

    David "Et Lux" just now stated exactly what I was referring to, "...waiting, to my ear, for the imposition
    of melodic and motivic organization and direction to impart
    structure and form to the material..."

    And you yourself already said, "...I would like my piece to have more of a theme than it does..." which is your statement on the same issue.

    You've been focusing on the texture, now you need to include the meat of the piece.

    Perhaps it's more ideal when the theme comes first, and the underlying texture which supports the theme emerges from the needs of the theme.

    Isn't it rather amazing how Philip Glass can hypnotize us with his hammer blows of repeating rhythms, but something more than just the texture of that rhythm still exists in his work?

    I'm here again to encourage you to take Really deep breaths--and focus on the essential elements of your work first. Have something which when plunked out on a piano is still interesting and hopefully even mesmerizing. THEN go to developing the orchestration, the textures.

    I really feel that you're too impatient with yourself - and when the cart is before the horse, --there's always an accident in store.

    Randy B.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Dallas, TX

    Smile Re: First Orchestral Attempt - Space Theme

    5-7 hours and you have this, you're the one who should be helping us.

    Great start! I look forward the hearing this when it is completed.


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