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KyleMck
04-08-2010, 05:28 PM
Here's my latest working in progress. It's roughly two minutes in length and is designed to capture a lively and grand mood. Over the past few months, I've been working with an upbeat major-key-based style. This piece is a combination of what I've learned from those various works.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=1002205&songID=8993022

As always, any criticisms/comments are appreciated.

tedreedy
04-09-2010, 04:04 AM
hey Kyle! not bad, very interesting! some Back to the Future in there, as well as a little bit of our own Denny S's Secret of Ayers Rock.

I feel like you have to get careful with this type otherwise it can get "cheesy" fast... I think you managed to avoid a deep dive though :)

I like your occasional rhythmic changes that drive variation and movement forward.

the piece sounds at one level the whole time, and so my ears get a little tired. did you use expression? a little bit of dynamic variation would work wonderfully with this piece.

TheRaider
04-09-2010, 04:25 AM
Awesome, had a lot of starship troopers about it at the start.

TGV
04-09-2010, 05:00 AM
Very nice theme. It's lively indeed, knights racing on horses kind of imagery, and they're going FTW! Lots of little details make it enjoyable over a longer period.

Wrt sound, I feel that he lower mid frequencies are missing, and that the low frequencies are basically percussion. Did you put a (multiband) compressor on the master bus? Wrt the the music, there is a downward modulation halfway, which disagrees a bit with the lively character. Perhaps you could have it modulate back up again in the last step, to give it some optimistic turn.

For the rest, a perfect cue.

n3wman918
04-09-2010, 06:08 AM
I enjoyed this! You seem to have a real good handle on orchestration! The only thing I would mention would be what other have suggested, mainly expression. Otherwise, this is really good. good job!

audica2
04-09-2010, 06:53 AM
I loved it!!!

johncarter
04-09-2010, 07:21 AM
Sounded okay to me. Good orchestration, but the down point to me is the theme which really sounds cheesy especially toward the end. But that point is a matter of taste

KyleMck
04-09-2010, 02:23 PM
Thanks for the comments everyone.

hey Kyle! not bad, very interesting! some Back to the Future in there, as well as a little bit of our own Denny S's Secret of Ayers Rock.

I feel like you have to get careful with this type otherwise it can get "cheesy" fast... I think you managed to avoid a deep dive though :)

I like your occasional rhythmic changes that drive variation and movement forward.

the piece sounds at one level the whole time, and so my ears get a little tired. did you use expression? a little bit of dynamic variation would work wonderfully with this piece.

Thanks. You're actually the third person to mention Back to the Future. I loved Alan Silvestri's score, although that's not exactly what I was aiming for. From the start of this piece I knew it was going to be a bit on the "cheesy" side, so it's good to hear I didn't go off the deep end. Regarding expression, there is some work, primarily at the end. However, looking back, I could probably do a bit more work on expression, especially in the first half to accompany the cymbals and gongs.

Awesome, had a lot of starship troopers about it at the start.

Thanks, although I haven't listened to that soundtrack in a while. I'll have to go back and give it another listen to see what you mean.

Very nice theme. It's lively indeed, knights racing on horses kind of imagery, and they're going FTW! Lots of little details make it enjoyable over a longer period.

Wrt sound, I feel that he lower mid frequencies are missing, and that the low frequencies are basically percussion. Did you put a (multiband) compressor on the master bus? Wrt the the music, there is a downward modulation halfway, which disagrees a bit with the lively character. Perhaps you could have it modulate back up again in the last step, to give it some optimistic turn.

For the rest, a perfect cue.

Thanks for the advice. I was concerned about the lower frequency being overpowered by the main melody, although it's difficult to tell (I don't have the best speakers). I didn't use a multiband compressor on this piece (I still have to add some finishing touches before I'm done). For the downward modulation, are you talking about 1:07? If so, the key stays the same. The melody is an octave lower, but the key change at 1:20 moves the melody up to a new key, so I figured that would help keep the lively feel.

I enjoyed this! You seem to have a real good handle on orchestration! The only thing I would mention would be what other have suggested, mainly expression. Otherwise, this is really good. good job!

Thank you, and yeah, I'll try and work some more on the expression.

I loved it!!!

Thank you :)

Sounded okay to me. Good orchestration, but the down point to me is the theme which really sounds cheesy especially toward the end. But that point is a matter of taste

Thanks, and as a said to tedreedy, I knew this piece was going to be a bit on the "cheesy" side before I started. I was just hoping I didn't go overboard.

rolifer
04-09-2010, 05:30 PM
Kyle

Like everyone else, I also enjoyed this one. It does come very close to being cheesy, but some movies call for that type of music so it is always nice to be able to compose that way.

Nice work

Ron

TheRaider
04-09-2010, 06:36 PM
I didn't mean it as a negative comparing to starship troopers, i love that soundtrack :)

just at the begining it has that epic "inspire to go to war" feel that starship troopers uses so often.

KyleMck
04-09-2010, 07:00 PM
To Rolifer, thanks.

To TheRaider, don't worry. I didn't take the comment negatively. I was just surprised. I understand what you're saying though.

V o n h ö g e n
04-12-2010, 12:40 PM
Nice track, Kyle.

However, I think it's way too fast. If you'd slow down and add expression to the instruments, your piece would be much more effective. Imagine being a musician in your own orchestra, would you feel comfortable playing at that tempo? ;)

I also think there is too much cymbal in your piece. By using cymbals all the time, the effect quickly wears off, which makes it impossible to use the cymbals for accentuation later on. Besides, it's reverb doesn't match the reverb of the other instruments.

By the way, I think nowadays many composers for film are using cymbals were it's not necessary to do so. When studying Rachmaninoff's orchestration, I was surprised by the lack of cymbals in many of his greatest orchestral works for most of the time. Apparently, his orchestral pallet was so rich, he only needed to use the cymbals occasionally. Still, his symphonic works are extremely effective, dramatic, and very impressive as well. It's my belief that we can still learn an awful lot from the great classical composers of the past. Even more than by just studying film scores!

- Jerome Vonhögen

fongi
04-12-2010, 03:12 PM
You need to check out your high woodwind trills, sounds like they´re playing the wrong notes! :confused:

Denny S.
04-13-2010, 04:37 AM
hey Kyle! not bad, very interesting! some Back to the Future in there, as well as a little bit of our own Denny S's Secret of Ayers Rock.

Well, not like this track but a lot like the old version of a superhero fanfare I posted here last year (mostly at 0:25). However, the topic wasn't too big so I doubt that many people listened to it. I'd say it's just a coincidence.

Anyways, nice track you got going there! You might boost the mid-high and low frequencies with a multiband compressor a little because the mix tends to sound a little muddy... At least on my crap speakers so you can possibly ignore this advice. :D

KyleMck
04-14-2010, 02:59 PM
Nice track, Kyle.

However, I think it's way too fast. If you'd slow down and add expression to the instruments, your piece would be much more effective. Imagine being a musician in your own orchestra, would you feel comfortable playing at that tempo? ;)

I also think there is too much cymbal in your piece. By using cymbals all the time, the effect quickly wears off, which makes it impossible to use the cymbals for accentuation later on. Besides, it's reverb doesn't match the reverb of the other instruments.

By the way, I think nowadays many composers for film are using cymbals were it's not necessary to do so. When studying Rachmaninoff's orchestration, I was surprised by the lack of cymbals in many of his greatest orchestral works for most of the time. Apparently, his orchestral pallet was so rich, he only needed to use the cymbals occasionally. Still, his symphonic works are extremely effective, dramatic, and very impressive as well. It's my belief that we can still learn an awful lot from the great classical composers of the past. Even more than by just studying film scores!

- Jerome Vonhögen

Thanks for the advice. I agree that I used cymbals a bit excessively, and I'll take another look at the mic positions I used to see if I can blend them a bit more naturally. However, I disagree on the tempo. The piece (especially the first half) is meant to capture a very lively feel (bordering on action). That said, I could see how lowering the tempo would help with adding expression. I'll experiment with lowering the tempo some and seeing how that affects the piece.

You need to check out your high woodwind trills, sounds like they´re playing the wrong notes! :confused:

Really? I went back and checked, and although of the trills were on the correct notes? Which one (or ones) are you referring to?

Well, not like this track but a lot like the old version of a superhero fanfare I posted here last year (mostly at 0:25). However, the topic wasn't too big so I doubt that many people listened to it. I'd say it's just a coincidence.

Anyways, nice track you got going there! You might boost the mid-high and low frequencies with a multiband compressor a little because the mix tends to sound a little muddy... At least on my crap speakers so you can possibly ignore this advice. :D

Actually, I had heard that piece of yours before. I went back and had another listen, and I can hear where it sounds similar. However, this piece was mainly inspired by a combination of soundtracks I'd recently been listening too and some experiments based on Alex Pfeffer's trumpet tutorial, so I apologize for any unintentional similarities. Regarding the mix, I'm about as good as mixing as I am playing the violin (having never picked on up in my life), so I'll take any advice I can get. I'll experiment some more with a multiband compressor and see what I can do.

Simon Schwab
04-14-2010, 03:23 PM
Hey, very nice work done! I suppose it could fit to some animation movie pretty well.

But after working with the same samples and listening to tons of EastWest sounds, I'm kinda tired of these snares. If you want a more personal touch, you can tune your snares down about 2 notes or such. Please give it a try to customise a little. :o

KyleMck
04-14-2010, 10:24 PM
Well, here's another version of the same piece. No new music, although a made quite a few small tweaks. I tried some work regarding expression, although there's nothing major. I also reduced the number of cymbals/gongs, did some work with a multiband compressor, and slightly lowered the tempo. Looking back, I may want to try some more drastic expression work, but I was primarily focussing on the mix for this time around. Let me know what you think.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=1002205&songID=9019009

Oh, and to johncarter, thanks for the suggestion regarding the snares. I never thought of using the tune adjustment for percussion, but I'll have to try that.

V o n h ö g e n
04-15-2010, 06:08 AM
Bravo, Kyle! The improvements you've made are quite spectacular.

There's much more balance in your mix now, and I love what you did with the tempo! Your piece now has a natural flow which it didn't have before the changes. The listener now has the time to hear what is actually going on in the orchestra. Don't you think this is a much better tempo than your previous version?

The only suggestion I would like to make is to watch your high percussion instruments. There's too much triangle in the first half, if you ask me. I wonder if it wouldn't be more effective to introduce the triangle only in the (wonderful) second part of your piece. I also wonder why you have left out the high percussion instruments in the last few bars of your piece. Maybe you could extend the glockenspiel and triangle all the way to the last beat, perhaps with a trill on the triangle? (In addition, you could perhaps shorten the length of that final diminuendo-crescendo for a more dramatic effect.)

One more thing: I believe the Back to the Future reference/association is mainly due to the part between 0:29 and 0:43 (of the second version). I personally think you don't really need that part in your piece. If you would leave it out, any resemblance to Silvestri's score will probably disappear. You would then only have to compensate for the modulation, but that doesn't need to be too difficult. You could, for example, start in A instead of E, then skip the part between 0:29 & 0:43, and then simply continue with the theme in G.

Please, understand that I don't want to question your choices as the composer of the piece, I just think your piece doesn't deserve the association with that famous theme, since I believe the Back to the Future-like elements present in your piece are not essential to your theme and could as well be left out without damaging the structure of your piece.

By the way, I love what you've done with the theme in the second half towards the end.
Well done Kyle, you are a talented composer!

- Jerome Vonhögen

KyleMck
04-16-2010, 09:16 PM
Thanks for the kind words :)

I stand corrected regarding the tempo. When I first made the change the piece didn't sound right (I guess I'd grown a bit too used to hearing it with the faster tempo), but I left it as is and came back a day later with an open mind. Personally, I don't hear a massive difference between the two speeds, but from a composition standpoint, the slower tempo gave me that bit of extra time to make the expression feel more natural (that and I finally decided to read the freaking Axiom 61 Manual on how to set the sliders to specific cc values).

Regarding the percussion, I suppose I could cut back on the triangle a bit, although I thought it was moved far enough back in the mix to not be obtrusive. For the second half, my goal was to give the rythm to the violins and remove any rhythmic percussion for contrast (except for the timpani roll and the hits at the end). I'm not sure how the triangle would fit into this design, although I'll do some experimenting and see how it sounds. I'll also try some work with the glockenspiel at the end and the final diminuendo/crescendo.

I guess your right about the Back the the Future association. I can hear the similarity. However, I'm not sure that cutting this entire part out of the piece will work. I like the balance that the two portions of the song have, so I feel that if I were to cut that portion out, I would need to replace it with something (ideally something that brings the key up from E to G major as well).

Thanks again, and I'll try some more work with this piece, although I'm think I'm going to have to move on soon (it's never a good sign when you find yourself humming your own themes :D ).