Music Composers Unite!
Here's my latest composition, although it still has some (a lot) of things I need to fix. I did this mainly to practice theme making and some new orchestration theory I just learned some time ago, course now I figure I probably messed up some when I was making the first section from page 2. Theory which was about the use of 1 instrument per family on a line (which was mentioned on a book as an old method, in contrast to one figure per chorus in modern compositions), but which I've seen in some game music when they want thick, big sounds, but I'm guessing now that, that was only meant for melody lines... it's also my first time using woods in 3s (or even in 2s), and I utterly forgot to make sure to always assign original lines to every instrument, but I figure I have to get used to using them.
Still, I'ts my longest composition to date, it was actually longer before but I couldn't get a proper B section for a while, had to erase plenty of stuff. Still I'll probably have to re-orchestrate many parts of it, but I still wanted to show it to ask for opinions.
Anyways, I made it almost totally in Finale, mixed in Cubase and more or less mastered it, I guess, but I'm not an audio engineer... in the score you will find a lot of exaggerated expression marks (and some slurs and even split notes or in one case a staff) which are mostly meant for my virtual instruments, so when you see them take them with a lot of salt. Also all percussion are set for the actual keys needed for the vst, I don't yet have a percussion map so I cant use the standard line staves...
also I have very low ram so when the composition starts to grow too much, vertically, I have trouble loading all the sounds at the same time (even purged in kontakt), so I end up limited to hearing one or or 2 families at a time, which makes it hard to hear what I'm actually doing...
anyways, here it is, and as I said any opinions will be greatly appreciated.
thanks in advance
This piece has a lot of good bones. Harmonic language is very strong and the orchestration is for the most part good with the exception of a few spots.
Though interesting to listen to, it can get a little monotonous at times with the rhythmic pattern you establish. You only go away from that pattern for a brief section. In that regards I wish there was more variety.
Another thing I notice is that its not very idiomatic for the instruments. Yeah all the instruments can play their parts, but there isn't anything about their parts that is really fitted for their instrument. None of the parts play anything faster than a triplet eighth note and most of them are doubled by someone else. What could have been done instead of just doubling everything, is add more moving parts, more ornamentation, or use less instruments at any given time.
With moving parts, you could have used a countermelody, maybe even some canon style counterpoint, a descant in the upper woodwinds.
If you wanted ornamentation, your harps, flutes, oboes, and clarinets, and even your violins, could have played fast 16th note or even 32nd note runs. This goes especially for the harp because as it is now, with a live orchestra it will be inaudible. Places like measure 29 could have used a big sweeping harp glissando. The last section could have used very fast woodwind gestures and runs. That kind of writing would make the music sound exciting and more adventurous.
Orchestration wise, its good but could be better. It appears that you have gotten stuck in the idea that bass instrument are only allowed to play boring bass parts and that violins, trumpets, and flutes are only allowed to play melodies. Switch it up once in a while and let the basses play the melody, or any other instrument beside the obvious ones. This will create more dynamic colors throughout the orchestra.
Last thing I will say is, look at some orchestra scores, particularly for percussion and horn. They need some polishing up. You can condense the score a bit by putting multiple parts on one staff like flute 1 and flute 2. That will make this a 100x easier to read. Additionally, your horn parts look a little funky. Lastly take off the "CS2"off the instrument names. Im assuming that is in reference to the sample libraries you are using. If you want to this to be performed for a live orchestra, those things need to be taken off.
Other than that it was good. good job.
Thanks for the post, I'm gonna be honest and say that accompaniment is my weakest point in composition, none of the books I've read taught about evolving or moving accompaniment (all just showed basic piano accompaniments: repeated chords and ostinatos) so I often find myself confused about what I Can or Cannot do or what Will or Won't get in the way of the melody, and I've never heard any rules of thumb about them. Breaking out of the basic theory has always been one of my biggest issues in music, cause I'm scared to mess up, and I don't know what's the norm. I can usually do sort of okay when I work the accompaniment before the melody (still, it ends up somewhat like piano parts) but I often end up with writers block if I do the melody first.
Anyways, your mention of runs and moving parts made me imagine very exciting music but I find myself confused on how to do it... I've barely read about the use of runs and scales and I have a lot of trouble knowing when I can use them, or how to use them properly... like can the runs be any figure I want or do they have to be in scales or how do I know if they may eclipse the melody? Also I have the same issue with glissandos, especially cause what I notate doesn't really reflect on playback... anyways, do you think there's a book or some other source I could actually use to get acquainted with accompanying techniques fit for orchestra?
Also, sorry about the weird way I used the horns, I separated the woods and horns to facilitate the use of my vsts, each french horn staff is assigned to a solo horn, so the sound of polyphonic lines doesn't go wrong, if I use an a2 horn vst and play two lines on the staff the sound will be more like 4 horns playing, that's why I decided to put 1 solo per staff, that's also the reason why I had to put a solo on each staff when I wanted an a2 (I would've loaded 4 horns instead and have 4 staves, or figure a way to switch between solo and a2 patches but my pc isn't the best... though, if I get more ram I'll fix that problem). I also separated the woods for similar reasons when I loaded my 2nd chair woods, which have a difference in color. But I originally had all basic woods in a single staff each. But same as with the horns if I set both patches on a single staff I would get the sound of 4 instruments instead of two whenever Finale played the polyphonic lines... I will of course put everything in it's proper place if I ever feel the composition gets good enough to be played... but right now my vsts are my orchestra...
Lastly, sorry about the extra words on the staves, they are identifiers for the control schemes I've created for the playback of the different vsts (using custom rules in Finale, it uses the words to detect which method to use), I forgot to delete them when I exported the pdf, but I do need them for playback, because finale doesn't know how to use 3rd party vsts, else expression marks and dynamics work badly.