I recently came up with the idea to write a basic story, or rather a sequence of events, and compose music for it to complement and enhancing it (like you would with a film score). Then I'd make a video containing the sequence of events, using text (I originally wanted pictures as well, but it would be illegal to just take them, and I would never be able to get permission for all of them, so I settled with text-only).
So I did all that, and here is the result. I am pretty happy with this piece, but I would like to receive feedback from you lot, as fellow composers. Specifically for how well it fits with the actual sequences of events, and also the orchestrations in general.
Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eufh4LpGkRI
Anthony. A really fabulous work. What I was impressed with the most is the number of variations. You can certainly write in many realms. Good job
Great idea of writing to a sequence of events, and words. You proved this is a great substitute to writing to an actual scene.
You should be proud.
Thank you, Paul Glover, for your kind words. :)
Any thoughts on how it worked with the actual sequence of events? Did it complement or enhance it in any way? Did it fit well? How were the orchestrations, except that they were very varied?
I am truely thankful for your comment, but I also want to improve. :) Of course it is possible that one might find it perfect, but I doubt that. :) There has to be something I can do better.
Like Paul I am very impressed with your composition. It is however quite difficult (for me) to give you the kind feedback you want. Then reason for this is, that in this format I make the pictures in my mind (based on your text) that fits the music.
In other words: without the visual action and expressions the actors would give, my mind makes up scenes that fits your composition.
So to say if the music complements the events or not are very hard to say - at least for me. I do however think that this is a good aproch to learn more yourself as a composer. Making a clear scene in your head and trying to make the music complement and enhance the scene / images.
Thank you for your reply!
I hadn't thought about it that way. Thank you for pointing that out. As long as the emotions are synchronized, of course it fits. But until I have actual visuals to write for, with a movie I like, but haven't heard the music for, this is the only way to do it.
But what about the orchestrations themselves? How can I improve them? What is good and what is bad (or not as good)?
Regarding the composition, I would not change a thing. You display a great command of diverse atmosphere for scenes.
A few small notes I have are:
1:30 range losing melody of flute clarinet?, can come out more
3:36 and on snare could be louder to accent
5:13 strings, bring them out more
5:28 snare can be louder again
5:47 timpani louder
5:50 instruments sound too mushed together.
As you can see, they refer more to the balance or mix. In some areas, there can be greater accents to bring certain instruments out. There does not appear to be any areas where you have an instrument too overpowering. If anything, you have the opposite issue, things are hidden too far behind, almost like you are concerned of them overpowering anything else, which is not a bad thing to be aware of, but they are too far behind. I am sure you have spent quite a bit of time on your mixing. Overall it is good. Some places sound a little dry, I would take a listen and ask yourself if there are any places that could use a little reverb.
The sound bank(s) you use are good.
I can assess two things with this composition
1) You have a powerhouse machine to handle the number of sounds/tracks needed
2) You spent quite a bit of time composing, but probably an equal amount of time mixing and adding automation
If you do not mind, could you give me an idea of what sound banks you use and the number of hours you spent composing, and then mixing?
Thank you for your comment, Paul!
Mixing is the part of all this that I am least good at, so thank you for pointing all that out. I will definitely try to improve it. When I make the changes, is it okay if I send you an mp3 version, to see if you think it does improve the production quality, or if I just messed it up? :) These things are so hard to learn by yourself. Your brain gets so adjusted, especially when you're still learning, so it's hard to hear all the mistakes.
To answer your question; I did this track over a period of 7 weeks, as I didn't have much time to do it. When composing, I spent about 4-5 hours a week, and that went on for 4 weeks if I remember correctly. So I composed for about 16-20 hours. I also spent two hours planning the track, what to do with the story, etc, the first week. Then I spent three weeks mixing, for 2-3 hours a week, making a total of 6-9 hours of mixing.
As for the sound banks (or sample libraries, as I call them) I used East West products. For the brass, woodwinds and percussion, I used Symphony Orchestra Platinum, with the Pro XP addition, and for the strings, I used Hollywood Strings.
If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask!
Paul Glover said:
I would be happy to hear the piece again after you have it updated. I would suggest placing it on your page on this sire and then post in this forum for others to listen to as well. I am just one voice with one opinion. There are many on here who can bring perspective in many other areas and ways that I would not think of.
Keep writing and working at it. You have a wonderful gift.
What I think you could improve in this score is the dynamic range in some places of the composition.
At 1:55 I really feel that the music should open up even more (more string sections / volume) and perhaps some cymbal at the chord shift. To give you more of that feeling of you hairs standing up on your arms.
3:13 the sample you use for the violins in this part (the ones that play the melody) seems sound to artificial to my ear. Maybe using a few other samples for variation.
3:44 in this part I would make the bass stand out more, give it more of a pounding feeling, like he is unstoppable. Adding timpani to enforce the bass line would be a great idea.
I don't know if have something like storm drum 2 but in some places your high points could become more powerful with some of these massive drum-effects, rumps etc. It could give it more of a epic soundtrack "sound" but I don't if that is your style or not, just an idea.