Hi composers & friends
This is my take at a soundtrack theme for a pirate movie. I bought EWQL Complete Composers Collection a few weeks ago and are having loads of fun making soundtrack music.

Something like Complete Composers Collection is what I wanted since I was a kid and I am therefore  thrilled by finaly having it and being able to use it as much as I want :-)

This is my first complete symphonic composition. I have however been making my own compositions on the piano for at long time and play other instruments as well.

I think it turned out okay and I now have a better starting point for the next track when it comes to orchestration - making the music feel like it is being played by a real orchestra, hehe i hope...

Idears for improvement and comments are more than welcome.

...I also made some cover art for the track.

Thank you for your time :-)


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  • You might have as well called it "Captain Sparrow", haha. The influence is almost too obvious.
    I like the beginning - it feels a little scary as any badass pirate should; however, as soon as the chime rings, you give up on the cool harmonic possibilities. It's almost like saying "okay it sounded nice but I'm afraid of digging it any more, I'll just stick to simple stuff" to me, and here we go back to "He's a Pirate vol. 2". Which does sound good especially in the part where drummers do their job. Further fragment, however, feels a bit nondescript to me. It's not really slowed down and relaxed - but it also lacks vigor, maybe not that much on its own but you hear it right after quite a powerful part. Maybe using shorter articulation for all these strings could help sustain the intensity.
    You don't like woodwinds, do you? neither do I, haha. And they're a real pain for me to make them sound realistic. However, they are capable of adding a real lot of body to the piece.
    I don't know if you're interested in polishing the audio itself, or rather want to focus on the composition only. Anyway, there are moments when the track feels very synthetic, and a simple thing would help it sound much better - messing with the velocities, that is. String player never plays 3-4 subsequent notes all the same, there's always some accentuation or the feeling of striving somewhere - even adding/substracting 2 velocity here and there will help get the feel, even if it's not audible at all.

    This review was brought to you by Greg, who hasn't composed more than 10 complete pieces himself. You needn't worry too much about my blabbing :D However I'll tell you this: now that I wrote this wall of text, I have a feeling that such activity (trying to analyse others' work, looking for what you consider wrong) is highly educational. I'm so glad I've found this community, haha.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your work :)
  • Hi Anders and a hearty welcome to the Composers' Forum. I love your enthusiasm and it's great to see how much you're enjoying the digital orchestration.

    I think you've gone for more of a Zimmer sound than a pirate sound here. As Greg noted, the straightforward harmonic schema and lack of woodwinds are big trademarks of Zimmer's blockbuster sound (not Zimmer in general as he is far more versatile than that). The funny thing is that I've read at least a couple of reviews which slated the Pirates scores for not sounding remotely 'piratey'. Of course this is probably what Bruckheimer wanted as he had previously rejected Alan Silvestri's score for sounding too piratey.

    Anyway I think this is a great start. Check out John Debney's Cuthroat Island score for something a little more piratey and with far better orchestration than the PotC scores.

    Feel free to ask any questions you wish on digital orchestration and I'll help as best I can.


  • Just had a listen again through my main stereo and I have to say I think you did a great job with the digital mockup. Very nice balanced mix and nice overall sound.

    I stand by my comment that it doesn't really sound piratey though. On a second listen I'd say this sounds more like Narnia than anything else (and you did use the 'secret' HGW chord progression).

    Of course it's still an excellent piece of music and I think you did a great job and got a great sound out of EW.
  • @ Greg
    Yes, with this piece I have tried to make a sound similar to pirates of the carribian. Hehe I know it is not that original - what I am trying to do is to learn how that big "hollywood sound" (that I among lots of other music admire and love) is structured and mixed.

    About you comment: "okay it sounded nice but I'm afraid of digging it any more, I'll just stick to simple stuff" to me, and here we go back to "He's a Pirate vol."

    To me the first part was the simple one to do and the next one a lot harder.

    I totally agree with you, I could have worked on the first part but thougt that it would become kind of borring to the listener. Next time I will try to digg deeper into the harmonic posibilities.

    Actually I love the the flute (both classic and also irish flutes) At the moment I am learning to play the flute. But EWQL is kind of stealing all of my time at the moment hehe. Woodwinds will definantly be a part of future tracks :-)

    "there are moments when the track feels very synthetic"

    Yes, even more work at tweaking velocities is need (and belive me I have tweaked them alot). All of the notes in this composition is record live via my digital piano so I don't think, there even two notes after each other with the same velocity value.

    Setting up separate tracks for articulations will be an experiment for future tracks. This definably needed to get a more realistic and human feel music made on the computer (more work but who cares when we are all having a great time making music).

    Thank you for your reply, I really appriciate you took the time to give a review :-)

    ....oh and compositions that are more original will come - but for now I have to learn a "few" tricks from the many great film composers out there :-)
  • @James Semple

    About the Hans Zimmer sound you are absolutely right, I also agree on the theme not being much of a pirate theme. I thought about this myself too after composition was finished, but maybe that will emerge on "Captain Blackbeard vol. II" ;-)

    "John Debney's Cuthroat Island score" I will definantly look up listen to, thank you for the reference.

    "(and you did use the 'secret' HGW chord progression)" What is the HGW chord progression? I just sat down a made something that sounded good to me. I did not really think about chord progressions (I know I probably should begin to do so to take my music a step further up the ladder - can you even say that in English, heh)

    I have just been listening to your some of the tracks from your profile. Amazing stuff and I love that you a lot different styles.

    Thank you for your for reply and warm welcome :-)
  • Hi Anders, I'm glad you took the comments in the positive spirit I intended. I think you're getting a great sound out of EW and your composition and arrangement nail the modern Hollywood sound.

    I was joking a little about the secret Harry Gregson-Williams chord progression, it's just a chord progression he uses a fair bit (vi-IV-I-V). Howard Shore makes use of it in Lord of the Rings as well. It sounds great and I've used it myself.

    Thanks for the comments about my music. Really glad you like it.
  • Hi Anders--

    All I can say is EXCELLENT..on both the music AND the art work.

    While I agree about it probably not sounding "piratey" enough, you piece WORKS....
    and was very enjoyable to listen to:)

    Thanks so much.
    Bob Morabito
  • I just had to hear this. caught snippets on my friends pages about the pirate track...

    wow. That has a very clean sound. quite thrilling "adventure theme". I heartily enjoyed it!

    (scribbling down the name of the software, so i know what to ask santa claus for...LMAO...)

    m6-5-1-4 progression someone mentioned? thats been dioiscussed on some other music sites too... they claim there a LOT of pop music making use of it right now. i suppose these things go in and out of fashion.

    jolly good track, though. I enjoyed it. Big adventure sound...
  • Just wanted to say thank you for all of your comments.

    Your comments means a lot to me and inspires me to keep on making this kind of music.

    More soundtrack scores will come and for the next one I am using kind of a different approach. The main goal is to make this new track support the telling of a story :-)

  • This is a nice track. Though it sounds a little held back, during the big parts, especially at 1:50 - 2:00. I'm thinking it needs more bass and perhaps more percussion to give the strings more punch, in key parts.
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