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Topic: - Newbie to orchestration needs feedback on 2 short pieces -

  1. #1

    - Newbie to orchestration needs feedback on 2 short pieces -

    Hey guys, so I've been studying composition, instrumentation, and orchestration without any aid from a teacher for about the past year. I've learned there was a lot of basic music theory I didn't know and have been catching myself up, and trying to learn to compose in a more sophisticated manner than intuition and ear alone. The problem is, it's very hard to gauge my progress and weaknesses without the ears of people who know what they are doing.

    So any feedback, positive and negative, would be greatly appreciated!

    Both pieces are for an indie game being developed, which I figured was an excellent way to get practice and learn.

    First piece - Ruines of Aiteas http://soundcloud.com/bustthenotes/ruines-of-aiteas
    I was instructed to compose something unique and mysterious. Given that it's the ruins of a lost civilization, I also wanted it to have a melancholy element. It's intended to loop seamlessly. I'm having trouble making some of the string parts sound authentic however.

    Second piece - Domhan Forest http://soundcloud.com/bustthenotes/domhan-forest-wip
    Still a work in progress. The Domhan Forest is supposed to be a pretty calm and peaceful place. I felt like there still needed to be some tension in the song, and a feeling of moving towards something; as it's also the first place the player adventures in, so I started it on the dominant 7th instead of the tonic. Hopefully my climax just before the tonic doesn't take away from the peaceful feeling I'm trying to inspire. I also utilized a triplet rhythm (what is that, duple meter?) to give it a bit of a "bounce" if that makes sense.

    Thanks in advance for ANY feedback that can be given! It would be unbelievably wonderful to get any decent feedback on this stuff, because I can only go so far without it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Canyon, Texas, USA

    Re: - Newbie to orchestration needs feedback on 2 short pieces -

    Welcome to the Forum. I enjoyed listening to the two fragments.

    Quote Originally Posted by bustthenotes View Post
    and a feeling of moving towards something
    The musical effect of moving towards something requires that you carefully control changes in one or more aspects of your music so they move to a point in the piece that seems to suggest arrival. Some common ways of doing this are to get gradually louder or softer, higher or lower, more active or less active, etc. Almost anything that can be heard can be used to get this effect. Most accomplished composers will use a subtle sense of change in a relatively calm piece and will arrive at their destination after a few interesting detours.

    I suggest this approach to composing this effect. Step one is to get a good start. You have done this. Now jump ahead to the point of arrival and compose that part of the piece. Third, write the measures that lead into the point of arrival to be sure they set it up well. Now compose the music that connects the two. It is generally easier to compose good linking material if you know where you are going.

    Good luck and please post more as you make progress.


  3. #3

    Re: - Newbie to orchestration needs feedback on 2 short pieces -

    Hello, "BustTheNotes" - Thanks for joining in and posting your music!

    I'm impressed - there are a lot of musical ideas in both of these pieces. They're more interesting, more shifting in moods than what I think of as typical gaming music. Too many ideas for the genre? I don't know, I'm not an expert at gaming music by Any stretch of the imagination - that was just the first thing that struck me as I listened, that the textures seemed much more changeable and numerous than I expected.

    The recordings themselves aren't too bad, but there's a bit of stiffness to the tracks, which I'm thinking could be because these were created in a notation program? - But besides that, I feel certain you need to lay in with the reverb more to get that bigger, more lush quasi-cinematic gaming sound.

    What you're not liking about the strings is that the solo strings in GPO don't do very well in the spotlight. Even though I can hear that you want just solo strings to begin, with the full strings coming in later, I think if you forgo that idea, you'll be happier with a more realistic string sound right from the start. Layer several of the string group patches together, and add these solo instruments to them, but not so they stand out as soloists - That gives you the best string sound with GPO.

    More thoughts - Enough for now. Thanks again!


  4. #4

    Re: - Newbie to orchestration needs feedback on 2 short pieces -

    I'll give it to you straight. Can you take it?

    Both of these snippets are perfectly good writing, well managed
    on the overall, and able work for this style and genre of use.

    I might also comment to your opening remarks: the ear is the final
    arbiter. If the ear says it is right, it is right. Period. No amount of
    "knowing what you're doing" supersedes that simple fact.

    Learn to listen to your own material (which is way harder than you'd
    think it should be) -- really hear it, objectively. If you can do that,
    your ear'll get you out of more corners than a whole boat-load of
    theory books... lol.

    I might suggest the Rimsky-Korsakov [here] if you haven't gone
    through it. I do sense you have some uncertainties about building
    solid orchestral voicings.


    David Sosnowski

  5. #5

    Re: - Newbie to orchestration needs feedback on 2 short pieces -

    "Bustthenotes"--- Have you noticed the enthusiastic responses you've gotten to your post? I'm thinking maybe you don't have the auto-email alert thing turned on, so maybe you're not aware of the posts. Having auto-email on is the only way to keep in touch with what's happening here at the Forum.

    SO - hope to hear from you again.


  6. #6
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Suburban NYC

    Re: - Newbie to orchestration needs feedback on 2 short pieces -

    Hi Bustthenotes,

    I enjoyed listening to your two cues; nice music nicely rendered.

    My favorite segment was the change in color to the woodwinds @ 1:03 in 'Ruines'. I think both of your pieces evoke the feelings you were targeting towards.

    Keep it up; hope to hear the final versions of these someday!


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