Sunrise Rhapsody

First I'd like to say, I go by Doug.  Douglas was just for the sign up for this site. :)

Second, I always feel a little intimidated here.  I've never had formal music training.  Most I can comment on your songs is "I like it. Sounds good."   Doesn't mean I don't listen, though.  I try to listen to everyone's music.  I'm still impressed at the spectrum of composition that is here.  So much interesting work.  

Between work, writing, and studying, I haven't had much time.  I hope to be on more and learn from you all in the future.

Just this week, learned you can build chords on a harmonic minor scale.  Dreamy!  

Anyway, I just finished this.  Still a lot to learn, but  I'm liking it more and more as I listen to it more.  I hope you do too.  

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  • HI,

    Well done, an extended piece that came across as impressionistic, clever use of the thematic materials, much use made of motifs. It evoked a tropical daybreak to me, the waking up of a quayside. Busy.

    I like the slower more lyrical section entered at about 1'40".

    The orchestral balance sounds fine. You've accomplished a lot with the scoring, the contrasts although it seems dominated by the brass much of the time. You bring out solos well. Around the 5 minute mark the orchestration seemed slightly repetitive but I think you were preparing to bring the piece to a close.

    Easy to listen to.


  • Hi Douglas,


    For someone who isn't formally trained you do pretty well! We have several here the same. I am semi-formally trained, meaning I went through a few music programs at an educational institution as a sideline. Never was the focus of my education. I enjoyed the music and have kept at it in one form or another. I think a person can be overly formally trained and end up becoming a music snob . Looking at those poor little underlings trying to make music lol. One of the founders of Spitfire isn't formally trained and has written countless film and game I guess it all depends and is relative in this case...not that everything is. 

    You seem to have a nice palette of sounds there. You also have some decent mixing skills. I enjoyed this track and I appreciate that you took the time to listen and comment on others work. The main thing is that we have fun right? Enjoy what we are doing. I can almost feel your enthusiasm for the craft. I hope you don't ever loose that. 

    The music itself was an almost melancholic feel in my opinion. Everything fit well and sounded good as a sort of abstract piece that although melancholic in places manages to have some light and airy moods mixed in. I enjoyed the listen. Not sure if you wanted to discuss the meal or the recipe here. I mainly talk about the meal.Thanks for posting it and commenting!

  • Hi Doug

    Just been listening to your piece “Ex” on soundcloud.

    Once you get loud you tend to stay loud. Try staying quiet longer and slowly ramping up. I think it would add more tension and excitement.

    Do you use Notion for IOS?

  • Thank you for the comments!  

    Yes, Dane, one of the things I wanted is to work on (and still want to work on more) revisiting earlier parts of the song, since that was lacking in my first two songs.  I felt it was a little clunky, but I was happy that I made it work at all.  I feel like it opened a door for me.  Gave me some confidence in doing that more, going forward.  Thank you for the kind words.  

    Timothy, I've really been wondering lately about the same thing you mentioned here.  I've been reading a lot of books on composition lately and some of the "rules" they lay out bother me.  I don't think there should be any rules other than do I enjoy it and will it be enjoyable for others.  I have to admit that I got a little bored with this one toward the end.  I was trying to do some things I learned and felt a little stifled at times.   Still, I know that I need a toolbox.  Right now, it's pretty bare.  lol.  It makes it extremely tedious at times.  I'll know I want a certain chord, but I don't know automatically what it is.  I have to hunt for it.  However, I wonder how bad of a thing that is because very often I will accidentally find something that works much better than what I had in mind.  Right now it seems like a tricky balancing act.  And so, I'm not great with the recipes at this point. :).  That will come with learning.  For now I'm just excited to be making music.   Thanks for the compliments!   

    Michael, yes, I use Notion 6.  I really enjoy writing the music as sheet music.  There is something...quaint? about it.  I can also see things more clearly.  My plan is if/when I get more serious, to take my songs into a DAW and mix them a little better, make the dynamics a little more interesting.  I like Notion, but dynamics is one area where it comes up short, IMO.  Very often I just can't find that perfect mix with it.  Very often, it makes the orchestra sound more artificial.  For some of the instruments, it seems they are just volumed up/down versions of the same sound.  It bugs me.   For now I just want to write, study chords and melodies, and build some skills that will make it more worth my while to take it into a DAW and fine tune.  Thank you for the comment, though.  I'm not sensitive with critique.  The whole reason I started putting this much effort into this pursuit is because someone bashed one of my songs.  haha.  Every time I write, I think of that person and what that did for me.  I'll never forget that moment.  

  • Hello Doug,

    Very well done! It’s a lovely piece! In general I like your orchestration, very colorful. Careful though with Gran Casa and Timpani. It could improve with a wider stereo image.

    0:30 Beautiful horn part, well written

    Between 0:49 0:56 (4x Gran casa) I think this part is too thin to be supported by Gran Casa

    2:02 Harp, well chosen but lacks the typical harp sparkle, I mean the harp sample doesn’t sound well. Oh, wait, is that a harp though?

    3:29 Hmm, maybe the Gran Casa is too much here

    3:54 Is that a muted horn?

    Well done Doug, good work, I’m ready for your next piece….

  • How do I like Joost's comments? Such a thorough examination any poster would want! Thumbs up Joost!

    Hey Douglas....look at Scaler 2. I don't use it as a direct composition tool but it's an amazing way to see theoretical relationships. Download is free to try. I also downloaded a few issues of either computer music or music tech from They were running a .99 sale and I bought a handful of those mags. Several of them have articles that close in on  music theory. Those articles tend to be informative without delving so far into the rabbit hole you never come out.

    Good luck! If you're anything like some composers you likely hear the music before you attempt to analyze it.It all depends on your leaning construction approaches.

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