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I was testing out my new orchestral template yesterday and suddenly found myself working on the piece of music below.

This is targeted at the media so don't expect extremely complicated , classical, intricate or subtle music, this isn't the intention of this piece. It's quite bombastic I guess  but that was the idea. See it as the opening of an epic game or something.

Feel free to shred it apart !

Comments about the mixdown and other technical details are also welcome.

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excellently scored, beautiful samples. (jealous!) mix is sensational. you write verrrrry well for orchestra! the staccato string motif is very effective, under the solo's. i also like when this motif is given to bassoon and clarinet half way through. good use of brass, to achieve build ups, and also solo brass parts add a lot to the piece. percussion is tastefully scored. not too loud with the bass drums at the start... juuuust in the background. good to hear you are thinking about foreground/middleground/background clarity is the most important part of writing for orchestra and i can hear everything going on in the piece so you've achieved a very clear mix. personally i think its awesome!

Thanks Tom for the compliments :)

After listening it back a few days later I started to think it was maybe all a bit too simplistic.

I did take a lot of care to keep everything transparant so glad to hear that I succeeded in that according to you.

man, how did you mix this? whenever I'm mixing a symphonic composition, the strings always sounds too bright, btw I really love this composition, I feel like I'm going to slay some dragon when I'm listening to this haha!

Thanks Kane :)

And my general approach was setting up a whole orchestra 'in front' of me first, looking from the position of the audience.

I first decided where I wanted all the instruments to sit and than loaded the samples and placed them in the mix according to my seating plan.

All the strings for example are panned properly according to their positions: first and second violins to the left, violas in the middle , cellos and contrabasses to the right and than I sent all of them to a subgroup. There I applied the first ir reverb ( a cubase reverence instance) that mostly creates early reflections and a stage sound which already softens up the strings quite nicely. Than the signal of that group was sent to another bigger 'hall' reverb, where I sent most other instrument groups as well to create the concert hall space ( in a subtle way, otherwise it's drowning in reverb)

 

The same strategy is applied to all other instruments. I really wanted to be able to pinpoint their exact location on stage according to a logical seating plan. Strings in front, woodwinds behind them , brass behind the woodwinds and than the percussion, all panned out in a sensible way so every instrument has enough room to breathe.

 

The only extra engineering tricks I used were creating a sidechain subgroup for the heavy drums ( bass drum, timpani, toms ) and adding some subtle compression. Than I mixed that subgroup slightly with the original signal to make the drums cut through the mix when needed ( but very subtle , it has to sound natural. This is actually a subtle variation of the so called 'New York compression' trick from the audio engineering field manual :D ). I also rolled off the low end of the hall reverb a bit to prevent a 'booming' sound and get more transparency .

Beautifully scored! I love the mid ground writing :)

Thanks Stephanie :)

 

A+. I like it a lot. I think you could take it to the next level by concentrating on intensifying those beautiful rhythmic motifs. Try making them more dramatic with more variations with changes that are surprising. I like the lull that is introduced halfway through. Listen to the whole piece in terms of rhythm and you'll see where it is too uniform and hopefully think of more rhythmic variations that work like a melody.
Good suggestions Doug., thanks . This piece was written in a very short time and most of it is based on improvisation of the moment so I certainly can still dig a lot deeper. I plan on expanding it at a later time so I will keep your suggestions about rhytmic variations in mind, it certainly will make it more interesting and exciting.

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