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Hello, everyone!

New member here.  Nice to meet everyone and I absolutely love the varying styles I've seen so far.  Very exciting. 

This is technically my first song for orchestra.  I just started taking this seriously in April.  It was a learning experience.  I really didn't know anything about orchestra when I started.  I listened to classical music, but I never really listened.  

Most of the song is in the key of C, with a change to B minor in the oboe solo before the last movement (3:50). 

My vision here is sort of fantasy themed.  I imagine the first movement to represent the forces of darkness, marching to attack the forces of light, which are represented in the second movement.  The third movement is the encounter.  

I have a lot to learn yet, but I feel like the sky is the limit right now. 

I used Notion 6 for this, typing each note in and tweaking, tweaking, tweaking.  I didn't even own a piano or keyboard.  

I do now - along with some Spitfire sounds and DAW equipment (just this week).  I can't wait to see what it can do. Going to take me a bit to learn that too.  

Well, I hope you enjoy.  

note: I see a lot of people post the score, but because I was more intent on the mixing and getting the sounds I wanted, the score is very confusing.  For one example, to fine tune the dynamics with Notion, I sometimes used two, even three voices for the same instrument and tweaked the dynamics on each one to get the exact levels I wanted.  


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This is well done Douglas, you have good themes that the orchestra supports well with a good blend of instruments. You have good use of dynamics that helps give this piece an overall movement and arc. I like the transition from the first movement to the second. I'm not so sure that you are conveying the vision that you mention. You have some contrast between the movements but they seem to be different versions of the same feel. That's not a bad thing but you said you wanted something else so I'm mentioning it. Good work!

Well, Douglas, the hard and detailed work paid off. It was a pleasant listen and the instrumentation sounded pretty good and balanced.

The themes progress well and with good harmonic interest. The staccato rhythm is great and what’s noticeable is you’ve laid the vertical structure (the chords, the tune/accompaniment) very well. You have an excellent aural imagination.

I’m never sure how useful a score can be. As I work mostly on a laptop anything more than, say 12 staves means keep scrolling up and down to see what’s going on. It becomes a score study! which I might do on occasion but that takes up a lot of time. I don’t often submit a score. 

As you recognise, there’s a lot to learn but you’ve made a heck of a good start.

Very well done.


Thank you both for the encouragement.  Igno: You nailed it.  I didn't want to critique myself before I got some feedback, but as I'm still learning, a lot of times I feel like the music is going where it wants to instead of me guiding it.  I do a lot of tweaking and a lot of deleting when I feel it's getting away from me, but it's hard to "kill my darlings" at times.  I'm sure that will change as I learn.  

The main thing I'd like to work on in my next piece is having more moments of tension.  My only other experience has been in writing folk/rock music on guitar where the norm is to have everything neat and pretty.  I'm struggling a bit with that.  I don't have an ear for it yet.  I always thought atonality would be the easiest part of writing music in the classical style.  Now I'm thinking it might be the most difficult.  :)

Thanks again,


You raise some interesting points.

I tend to write "atonally" and it is difficult to ensure it's listenable but it doesn't mean you HAVE to avoid concord at all cost nor passing through moments of tonal. (You certainly don't have to write serial stuff either.) There are tricks to borrow from the romantics and even the classicists to help build tension, like the infamous diminished 7th chords resolving onto a major concord. (Those dim 7ths are fabulous to modulate to remote keys if handled properly - Beethoven showed us that) - but you can distort them a little with added notes to avoid the 'Hammer Horror'-styled tension if need be. I'm not suggesting that diminished 7ths are the only way, but worth the experiment.

Remember that a discord can always be resolved onto another discord.

But what you say of yourself shows a fair reliance on instinct which is a precious gift, along with the ability to capture it 'on paper'. A certain occultist said that an artist has to be two things, a genius and a secretary. Some have one or the other in abundance; few have both in good measure. You seem to be developing both in parallel.

And yes, there's always more to learn. It looks like it never ends. 

So, take your time. With 'atonal' be self critical (as you already seem to be from your bio notes) until you find solutions that please you. 

All good luck with your coming works.


Hi Doug, a credibly done DAW video-game-like piece with good production values. I would say for as much of a beginner as you describe yourself to be, this would be a high accomplishment, I have heard works from composers who have been at it for a much longer time, and this would stand among and perhaps even over some of their works. My only critical comment is that there seems not to be much difference between your movements, they sound of a piece to me. If this were indeed a composition for a game, I retract that critical comment, as a night-time battle sequence doesn’t need contrast as long as the music undergirds the action, which this would. If it was a standalone piece, then I do hold out that critical comment as valid. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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