Cheers, thanks for sharing and welcome to Newgrounds. What string library is that? The piano sounds a little quantized to me - work on phrasing and pedal? Looking forward to checking out more of your work.
When it comes to libraries, vast majority of them comes from East-West and it's Composer Cloud. As for the strings- each instrument in the section contains two layers, of two different libraries layered together. It's not a common practice, but it's just my way.
And that is correct- the piano is quantized, which may not have been the best idea now that I think about it...
Wow, this is great; love that little drop at 1:15, and the lead entry at 2:15. Would love to see a vid of how you put this together.
Thanks for the kind words.
Hey man, thought I'd share some points from the judging, hope this is helpful.
I had a difficult time judging this, because I felt it was like 30-35 seconds of contest-winning awesome and then you kind of fizzle out. You have a great Tim Burton / Danny Elfman quality to the opening; several other people created music-box textures like this, but yours was clearly the best.
I didn't like your brass entrance or ending here.. it felt like you ran out of ideas and went "ta da". Work on transitions, blending from one texture to another. You proved you can creat a compelling orchestral texture, the next step is to show you can chain them together and really take the listener on a journey.
Looking forward to hearing more of your work!
Thanks so much for taking the time to write these notes, I'm glad you liked the orchestral texture, I'll definitely keep in mind your comment about the transitions when writing a new piece in the style!
I will be adding more music to NG soon :-D
Hey Peter, great piece. I had a couple of comments from the judging that I hope are helpful. Take or leave my comments of course :D
You got dinged a little because we felt that the overall temperament of the piece was somewhat flat compared to the other entrants. I think one problem is that your drums sit very aggressively in the mix, and take away from the changes in orchestration that you provide. The overall impression is sort of a relentless smash-smash-smash that makes the piece difficult to listen to. Even the softer sections still have FFF drums smashing away. You have a great melody buried in the mix at the 3:00 mark, I'd love to hear you let that really soar, but to do that you have to bring the drums down a little. If you try to emphasize *everything*, you really wind up emphasizing nothing.
In your orchestration, I think you'll get a more powerful sound if you use your horns in a percussive way. One of the things that Zimmer does is to use like 8 or 16 horns in a little cluster, and it goes "blat" in a very satisfying manor. Check out Stravinsky, Rite of Spring for some similar effects. So, the idea is to not just use single-note melodies in the brass, or even other instruments, but really fill out the harmonies and use extra instruments to provide depth to the sound.
Great work overall, congratulations on the top 8! A very professional sound. I know its difficult to get epic sounding drums to punch through like that, and you have that nailed here, so hats off.
I'll take them ;)
It's cool, I know there a lot of problems with it, and the orchestra is infact too strong. As you say, try emphasise everything and nothing sounds emphasised. The Blat thing is actually something I really like, but never done it as I feel people would just hammer me for being a Zimmer rip off. However seeing some trailers other composers are still doing it too.
I think for an orchestral track this is really too dominated by percussion, and it's as you said too aggressive. I think next time I'll try something a little more subtle to begin with and build up from there, instead of coming on strong and pushing to nothing really.
Thanks for your comments. Really trying to improve on every new piece and it really helps to hear how it was judged. :)
Very nice work man
Love the rhythm, love the blend of the old school hip hop lead with Halloween ambient stuff. Mixing was top-notch.
The only feedback I could give would be to agree with your points about the structure of the thing - I wasn't feeling like the break at 1:00 was connected with the amen break that you put in towards the end; i think the textures are too different? A totally trivial point. I really like this.
Yeah, structure's the next improvement point I'll be working on. Glad you liked the mixing, and good luck to you!
Lots of chracter
* Needs better production on the strings (bowing, crescendos, phrasings)
* Howling is cool
* You keep changing modes; sounding chinese at times and japanese at other times. Pick one and then trick it out;
* Use the pitch bender to bring some life into your zither part (hit note, do a super fast pitch wheel bend and release it so it snaps back for example)
* Shaker sounds like a drum machine, some way to spice it up?
Thanks for the tips. I'm gonna keep them in mind for the next song that I do. I'm proud to tell you though that I've been using dynamics recently =).
I can't tell the difference between Japanese rhythms and Chinese. But I'm gonna look into that.
Thanks for the review.
Wow this is epic!
Like it lots, much better than my remix :D
Some thigns to work on
Hey, this does in need deliver on the notorious pirate idea. Some ideas to get a better sound:
1) You're getting a "machine gun" effect from your drums. This happens when you fire exactly the same sample several times very fast. I'd listen to a real snare drum recording side by side with yours and see what you can do to simulate the sound better. I feel like your rolls could benefit from some crescendos. Also, snares sound better in a recording if they are in the "back of the hall" from a reverb standpoint.
2) Moar Accordian! I'd like to see you try to simulate some of the wheezing effects that an accordion makes. You can do this by drawing in some expression curves for it.
3) The trumpets are annoying me a little bit. In this style, I'd like to see close harmony with maybe three trumpets, playing within a fourth of each other. Adding some harmony to the part would make it less annoying, and also give you a sound closer to what you want. (I think anyways)
4) This sounds very quantized. Try playing in some of the parts live so that you get a more musical effect.
5) Try to keep the ranges of the instruments separate a little. For examples, the string lines are tripping over the trumpets a bit, I'd move the strings up and octave so that the line is more clear.
Hey PA, thanks for the good review.
1.For the drum roll, I've used are a soundfont that is supposed to be orch related. In fact, everything here is a soundfont. Anyway, Its like the one of those ones the longer it is, the longer the drum roll last. I've tried to do drum rolls in an earlier song, but that sounds even more machine gun like. I'm goinna give the manual way another go. It's a really good idea to listen to real snare drum recordings.
2. The funny thing that orginaly, I had the accordion playing through the whole song in the original version. They were as you hear them now, but when the "main part" repeats, it went up an octave. In fact, that wasn't the only thing I''ve dropped. there was originally a ride here. I thought it would be too much.
3. I can see how. But at the time, this was the only thing I could think of. Even the time when I've recreated it, I couldn't think of anything else. Chords are a good idea here.
4.Sadly, I have no idea what this means =(. I need to go search some recording terms and techniques. Every recording I've done has been trial and error with my own experiences...
5. This is definitively a good idea when the song is ending.
good directness, but needs some mix help.
I like the dynamic structure of how you build to the end. I also like that you have chosen to keep things fairly simple & direct, which is tough to do sometimes. Some suggestions:
1) I think the mix is the biggest thing holding you back in this track. I feel like you've used a very compressed and/or limited sound on the piano. It makes the loud parts ear splitting and undercuts the somber and meditative feeling that I think you were trying for in the soft sections. Make sure the choices you make in the mix are supporting the choices you make in the composition.
I'd pair down the mix effects to a simple reverb, set slightly less than what you think you need (10% wet?) and see if you like the results. Remember, the listener can't hear what's in your head, only what you present, so you have to put as much into the mix and presentation as into the composition. One of the beautiful things about the piano is the subtle dynamic range. Don't ditch your loud/soft contrasts unless you really mean to.
i mixed the sound in the space designer and put soccer field to get this loud feeling. With song is put on outdoors soccer field 08.2s and lower than that is 02.0s.
i can put it on 7.2 hall or indoor but it isn't the same. Do you have some suggestions how can fix this? a manuel mode maybe
I liked this a lot. You have a great flowing texture, and I also really liked how the delay on the piano flows into the played notes so that sometimes you can't tell which is which. On to the criticism:
1) The harmony at :30 sounded "wrong" me. I believe it is discordant rather than dissonant. You have a number of delicious sounding impressionistic chords throughout that sound very right to me so - if you want this passage to stand out that's fine, but just make sure your being honest with yourself that this is the sound that you want. If it is what you want, consider bringing it back at the end so that it is more memorable and sounds less like a mistake.
2) At 1:27 you suddenly lose a bit of the harmonic tension. It sounds unintentionally weak to me. You might consider smoothing over that spot with a more interesting harmony. (like what you just had a few seconds earlier). In impressionistic piano writing its important to make sure that the tension flows and ebbs in a convincing and smooth manor, in the words of my old harmony prof, "you want surprises, not shocks".
3) 1:44-46 sounds a little weak to me too, harmonically. It just feels like the oomph is falling away from your wonderful impressionistic flowing sound. Make sure this is actually what you want.
4) Loved :44-1:00, wish I had written that :D
Overall, I'm really happy to have discovered your music from the classical review thread.
Actually, there is no delay in the piano. Ever single note is played (I have the sheet music to show it! lol)
1) When I first included that chord, it was a struggle deciding whether to keep it or not. After a few listens though, I came to the point of loving it. It might seem abrasive, but I like how it creates a moment of heightened tension before transitioning into the main theme of the piece. Your advice about putting it in at the end makes sense though, and I'll likely try it out. :)
2) Originally, I was trying to do a call and response phrase there, but now that I listen, you're right. The point of that section is to build up to the coming section, but the energy falls at that moment and compromises that purpose. Thank you for pointing that out and getting me to think! I'll see what I can do.
3) I see what you mean, and I'll think about it. My intent was to thin out the texture some and lower the dynamics as if the wind is dying down and passing by. I also wanted to use the poly-rhythm there. Still, you have a good point, and I'll see what changing it sounds like.
4) Thanks!!! :D
I appreciate the in depth review. It is rare that anyone on newgrounds gives intelligent input regarding harmony, and you've given me points to think about that did not previously occur to me. Thank you very much!
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